Manhattan luxury home market off to worst start in seven years

Slow fortnight in luxury sales called "worrisome"

118 East 76th Street and Developer Joseph Chetrit (Credit: Google Maps and Getty Images)
118 East 76th Street and developer Joseph Chetrit (Credit: Google Maps and Getty Images)

The first two weeks of January saw just 19 contracts signed for Manhattan homes asking at least $4 million — the fewest in that time period since 2012, when 13 such deals were reached.

For context, 50 contracts were signed in the first two weeks of both 2014 and 2017.

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Developer Joseph Chetrit topped last week’s luxury list, finding a buyer for his brownstone at 118 East 76th Street after more than two years of trying.

His 13,000-square-foot property two blocks from Central Park went into contract last week with an asking price of $39 million. It was one of six brownstones Chetrit bought from Lenox Hill Hospital in 2007 that he later combined into three homes.

The contract was the priciest last week, according to the latest luxury market report from Olshan Realty, which tallied 11 signings for homes asking above $4 million.

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“I can’t say that two weeks are going to make a difference, or call a market. I would never do that,” said Donna Olshan, who head the firm. “But it’s worrisome.”

The second priciest signing last week was for 33 West 74th Street, which went into contract asking $8.845 million. It was initially listed for $9.495 million in April of last year.

The 20-foot-wide property, which is divided into two units, features nine bedrooms, six bathrooms and two kitchens. A handsome wisteria vine that drapes over the facade blossoms purple flowers in the spring.

The total sales volume of all the contracts — for eight condos and three townhouses — was $98.45 million, with an average discount of 7% between original and final asking price.

The average number of days on the market was 905.

Write to Sylvia Varnham O’Regan at