Luxury co-ops see upside as market softens

Sale of condos $5M+ dropped 5% in 2017: report

From left: 432 Park Avenue, 12 East 69th Street and 520 Park Avenue
From left: 432 Park Avenue, 12 East 69th Street and 520 Park Avenue

Is there an upside to a softer luxury market? For co-ops there is.

After playing second-fiddle to new development condominiums in recent years, co-ops are finally gaining value as condo prices fall back down to Earth.

According to Stribling & Associates, the number of condo sales above $5 million surged 74 percent between 2014 and 2017, while co-op sales at the same price point dropped 25 percent.

But in 2017, the number of condo sales in 2017 dipped 5 percent to 838, while co-op sales held steady at 182. The median condo price slid 2 percent to $7.3 million while the median co-op sale inched 3 percent higher to $6.8 million. Overall, luxury pads spent 183 days on the market.

Thanks to the new development boom, condo sales increased 74 percent since 2014, while co-op sales dropped 25 percent.

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“Not only have buyers’ preferences shifted from cooperatives to condominiums, but they have also shifted from uptown to downtown,” Kirk Henckels, director of Stribling’s Private Brokerge luxury division said in a statement. Of 2017’s 838 luxury condo sales, 57 percent were downtown.

Price growth in Brooklyn outpaced Manhattan, the report also found. The median condo sale price rose 6 percent to $6.1 million, while the average price rose 17 percent to $7.1 million. “Over the past several years, we have started to see the real presence of an ultra-luxury market in Brooklyn,” said Garrett Derderian, Stribling’s director of data and reporting said, citing slightly larger homes, ample new construction and views of Manhattan.

In both Manhattan and Brooklyn, the vast majority of luxury sales were condos, which accounted for 82 percent of sales above $5 million, compared to 55 percent in 2012.

Given the dominance of condos, the value of uptown co-ops dropped more than 15 percent since mid-2016, Stribling reported. But that dip has “triggered a sense of value” among buyers, who inked more contracts on luxury co-ops in 2017 compared to 2016, the report stated. The most expensive co-op sold in 2017 was the late art dealer Robert Ellsworth’s apartment at 960 Fifth Avenue, which fetched $55 million.

In 2017, many of the highest-priced deals were in new development buildings like 443 Greenwich and 432 Park Avenue — although many of those contracts were signed several years ago. Nonetheless, 432 Park logged the year’s priciest condo sale when an unknown buyer paid $91.1 million for three units.