Manhattan luxury contracts hit 12-week pandemic high

Seven luxury properties went into contract as city commences reopening plan

111 West 57th Street and 20 East 78th Street (JDS, Google Maps)
111 West 57th Street and 20 East 78th Street (JDS, Google Maps)

As New York City entered its first phase of reopening last week, Manhattan luxury contracts hit a new high.

There were seven contracts signed for properties above $4 million — the highest number in 12 weeks, according to the latest market report from Olshan Realty.

The first phase of the reopening means that construction has now resumed, while in-person showings remain prohibited until phase two. Donna Olshan, who authors the market report, said there wasn’t a clear explanation for the uptick in new contracts.

“Everybody’s looking for some kind of thread here,” she said “These are just random deals,” she added, pointing out that some were months in the making.

The priciest deal last week was for a 70th-floor unit at Michael Stern’s 111 West 57th Street, which went into contract asking about $30 million. The deal, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, was done virtually. The buyer — identified only as an international businessman who works in tech — saw the unit off pictures and through a virtual tour.

The second priciest deal was for a 25-foot-wide townhouse at 20 East 78th Street, which was last asking $24.9 million. The seven-bedroom property features an elevator, a garden and a gym. It also includes a wall with a hidden door guarding a vault for shoes and bags.

Loy Carlos of the Corcoran Group, who had the listing with Carrie Chiang, told Olshan that the buyer saw the property several times, starting late last year, and the seller accepted an offer before the lockdown.

However, he said, “for at least a month, the purchaser had to figure out when he wanted to close because if you want to buy a house, you want to be able to close and do work and that was not possible.”

“What’s the point in rushing through a contract and you can’t close and do work?”

Chiang and Carlos were also behind last week’s second-priciest contract, a 3,777-square-foot unit at 260 West Broadway.

Write to Sylvia Varnham O’Regan at