Manhattan luxury contracts reach 13-week high

There were 12 deals signed above $4M last week

56 Cooper Square and 500 Park Avenue (Google Maps)
56 Cooper Square and 500 Park Avenue (Google Maps)

As the city edges toward reopening, luxury contracts in Manhattan have reached a new high.

There were 12 contracts signed last week for properties above $4 million, according to the latest market report from Olshan realty. It was the highest total in 13 weeks.

Contracts were severely slowed by the statewide shutdown, but deals have begun to gain a little momentum in the last two weeks. And while the activity aligns with New York’s reopening period, it’s not necessarily the only cause, said Olshan Realty’s Donna Olshan.

`“The people who stepped to the plate during the pandemic period, most of them were interested in the properties before,” she said. “Or if they hadn’t seen the properties before, they were interested in buying New York at a very good value.”

“I would expect my report to continue to improve because we’re reopening,” she added, “but also the results are going to have to do with how well properties are priced.”

The most expensive contract last week was for a penthouse at 56 Cooper Square, which was last asking $9.9 million — down from $14.5 million when it was first listed in 2018.

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Listing broker Tal Alexander of Douglas Elliman told Olshan that the seller had accepted an offer before the pandemic hit, but the deal fell through. Later, Austin Schuster from Compass reached out to him with another interested buyer, and the brokers set up a virtual tour.

“They started at a much lower price, and it took Austin about 10 weeks to get his client up to where my seller would accept an offer,” Alexander said of the negotiations.

The second-priciest deal was for a 4,682-square-foot, four-bedroom unit at 500 Park Avenue, which went into contract asking $8.5 million, down from the 2019 listing price.

Listing broker Anthony Barillo of Douglas Elliman told Olshan that the buyers saw the unit about five times before the pandemic.

“The negotiation took a week and a half,” Barillo said. “The contract took forever, mostly because the managing agent took a long time to answer questions.”

Write to Sylvia Varnham O’Regan at