New York eclipses London in ultra-luxury resi sales

Top 10 home sales worldwide totaled $1.24B

From left: 520 West 28th Street and 432 Park Avenue (credit: Google Maps)
From left: 520 West 28th Street and 432 Park Avenue (credit: Google Maps)

New York City has jumped to second place among the world’s most luxurious cities based on residential sales volume. The city surpassed London in a move from third to second place, just behind Hong Kong in the top spot, according to a new report from Christie’s International Real Estate.

Globally, the luxury real estate market rebounded in 2017 from a staid 2016, when buyers held their breath doing the political surprises of the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s presidential win. Luxury sales overall increased, and the time to sell a luxury listing decreased from 220 days to 190 days, with New York and Miami as noticeable exceptions.

New York also took second place in trophy sales behind Hong Kong, with seven sales above $50 million, and seven of 24 penthouse sales. The top 10 trophy sales worldwide totaled $1.24 billion, down slightly from $1.32 billion in 2016. New York City’s contribution to the list was the the $91 million purchase of the penthouse at 432 Park Avenue which was fifth most expensive sale globally. The No. 1 sale was a property in Hong Kong, called the Peak, which sold for a stratospheric $360 million.

In 2017, the wealth of the world’s billionaires grew to $9.1 trillion, according to Forbes, with more than 2,200 billionaires worldwide. If you include those with $500 million or more, that number increases to $11.7 trillion, said Conn. This means there is an incredible amount of capital to be deployed, he added.

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New York’s average luxury sale was $3.6 million, an 80 percent premium over overall average sale price of $2 million, and one of the highest in the United States.

One feature of the market in 2017, and continuing into 2018, is the degree to which it is a buyer’s market, said Dan Conn, CEO of Christie’s, particularly uber-luxury buyers. “They don’t have to go the dance,” he said. It’s up to sellers to woo them.

One additional trend in ultra-luxury is the rise of the starchitect-designed condominium as the ultimate trophy home. Nowhere is this trend more clear than in West Chelsea, where a proliferation of developments by celebrity architects has made it one of the hottest markets. The buildings include Zaha Hadid’s 520 West 28th Street, Foster + Partners’ 551 West 21 and Jean Nouvel’s 100 Eleventh Avenue.

Bordered by Hudson Yards to the North, the Whitney to the South, and straddling the High Line, luxury units in the neighborhood run from $8 million to $40 million, according to the report. “West Chelsea is the undisputed art center of the world,” said Conn.