“Lonely lotto winners”: Luxury contracts fall again in Manhattan

The latest meager numbers follow prior week’s flicker of activity

27 East 79th Street and 43 West 13th Street (Credit: 27E79, Google Maps)
27 East 79th Street and 43 West 13th Street (Credit: 27E79, Google Maps)

After a brief glimmer of activity, luxury deals have fallen again in Manhattan.

There were just two contracts signed last week for properties above $4 million, according to the latest luxury report from Olshan Realty. That comes on the back of a week in which six contracts were signed — the highest total since the shutdown took effect.

In an unpredictable climate, Donna Olshan, author of the report, said the fallout from the pandemic was still coming into focus.

“I am hearing people are busy with a lot of calls and inquiries,” she said. “But there are a lot of contracts that have been out for a long time, and they just haven’t been signed.”

She described the latest contracts as “lonely lotto winners.”

The priciest signing last week was a 3,000-square-foot duplex at 27 East 79th Street, asking $11.9 million. The buyer was not from the U.S. and had never seen the building in person, but had reviewed photos, renderings and floor plans online.

“The buyer knew what he wanted,” said Broker Pamela Johananoff of Corcoran. “He was referred to by a group of friends who knew about the building. He took a leap of faith.”

The second priciest deal was for a three-bedroom unit at a co-op building at 43 West 13th Street, which went into contract asking $4.5 million — down from $5.3 million.

Scott Hamm of Compass, who represented the buyer, told Olshan they had attended an open home in February and started negotiations in March.

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The process was complicated by the pandemic, which has put particular strain on co-op deals that traditionally require in-person contact.

Douglas Elliman broker Barak Dunayer, who had the listing with Jacky Teplitzky, told Olshan the buyer was “a savvy real estate person who wanted to live in the area.”

Developers across the city have been hit hard by the pandemic, which slowed sales in an already weak market and triggered a wave of renegotiations on existing contracts.

In response to the shutdown, Extell Development recently announced it would cut prices by up to 20 percent on all remaining units at its One Manhattan Square condo, citing “global conditions related to Covid-19.”

The lending environment has also taken a turn.

Art Hooper, president of Ceruzzi Properties, told The Real Deal last week that a pre-pandemic financing deal his firm was near to closing with Slate Property Group fell through because of the shutdown. The developer is now considering its options.

“People are coming to us all the time now, and we’re certainly willing to listen to everybody,” Hooper said. “We’re not committed to anything.”

Write to Sylvia Varnham O’Regan at so@therealdeal.com