Price drops fuel bump in Manhattan’s luxury market

Largest two deals last week involved $5M discounts

From left: Massimo Ferragamo with 655 Park Avenue and 111 Murray Street (Photos via Getty, StreetEasy and Wikipedia)
From left: Massimo Ferragamo with 655 Park Avenue and 111 Murray Street (Photos via Getty, StreetEasy and Wikipedia)

Discounts and days on market.

That is what defined the biggest luxury deals in Manhattan from Aug. 17 to 23 as pandemic price drops offered a boost to an otherwise slow summer and moved properties that had sought buyers for years.

Contracts were signed for 14 homes asking $4 million or more, matching the total for the same week last year. The most expensive was a 15-room duplex at 655 Park Avenue, which was asking $12.8 million — down from $18 million when it was listed in 2018. The seller, Massimo Ferragamo, is the son of late Italian fashion designer Salvatore Ferragamo.

The second-priciest was unit 61W at 111 Murray Street, which went into contract asking $12.4 million. The property was originally listed for $18.9 million in 2015.

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Discounts have been inconsistent in Manhattan’s luxury market since the pandemic hit, despite falling sales. Since the beginning of March, on average, $4 million-and-up homes for which contracts were signed had been discounted 14 percent from the original asking price and spent 633 days on the market, according to Donna Olshan, who tracks luxury deals in a weekly market report.

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Many developers are holding on to pricing that ignores the pandemic and in some cases the de-inflation of the luxury market that preceded it.

“The market has got an anchor around its neck with overpriced properties,” Olshan said. “The ones are moving are the ones that reflect new market realities.”

Indeed, some deals offer a window into the tough realities of 2020 pricing. The Murray Street unit, for example, was dropped to $16.75 million in early March — before the state shutdown. In July it was lowered again, to $12.4 million.

Property records show the final asking price for unit 61W, a five-bedroom unit spanning 4,014 square feet, was significantly less than neighboring units traded for. Unit 60W, for example, sold for $14.9 million last June. Unit 58W sold last May for $14.4 million.

Jason Walker of Douglas Elliman, who represented the buyer, told Olshan his client “did not pay ask but got a fair deal.”

“He’s a local New Yorker with a family and he appreciated the views and amenities,” he added.

Write to Sylvia Varnham O’Regan at