Manhattan’s luxury market sees best week since 2016

Surge in larger, new development condo contracts continued last week

Michael Stern’s Walker Tower condo among 38 luxury contracts inked last week. (Compass)
Michael Stern’s Walker Tower condo among 38 luxury contracts inked last week. (Compass)


Manhattan’s luxury market has another strong week under its belt.

Last week, there were 38 contracts for properties asking $4 million or more — the best week since August 2016 when 43 contracts were inked, according to Olshan Realty’s latest market report.

Of the 38 homes that went into contract last week, the vast majority were condos in addition to seven co-ops and three townhouses.

Last week’s contract activity is a continuation of the upward trend that began in Manhattan’s luxury market late last year, particularly among new developments. Of the 38 luxury condos that went into contract last week, 17 were sponsor units.

“It was an extraordinary week by any stretch and if you look at the numbers you would never know that we were in a pandemic,” said Donna Olshan, author of the report.

That said, Olshan noted that on average, the properties’ final asking prices were 13 percent below original ask.

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A two floor unit in The Benson on Madison Ave was the priciest home to go into contract last week. (The Benson)
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Buyers are also looking for larger condos. Over the last eight weeks, the size of units going into contract averaged 3,144 square feet. That’s 6 percent larger than the average condo size of 2,953 square feet last year.

“This is maybe a pandemic result of people needing more space,” said Olshan.

The most expensive contract last week was a nearly 7,000-square-foot penthouse at Chetrit Group and Clipper Equity’s The Tower at Gramercy Square. The five-bedroom condo at 215 East 19th Street also has a private 5,680-square-foot terrace with exposures in all directions.

Douglas Elliman’s Matthew MacKay represented the developer, while his business partner Ben Dixon represented the buyers, who were New York locals and had been looking at the unit since last March. They visited the property several times after Covid restrictions were lifted in the summer, but the major sticking point was whether they would be able to install a pool on the terrace, according to MacKay.

“We had to get involved with engineering, and it took probably at least three months to negotiate the price,” he told Olshan. “The buyers were really specific. They wanted views and privacy, as well as a very large outdoor space and a pool was the priority.”

The property’s final asking price was $29.5 million, down from its original ask of $33 million when sales at the building launched in September 2016.

The second priciest deal was Michael Stern’s spacious duplex at Walker Tower, a condo conversion handled by his firm JDS Development Group and Kevin Maloney’s Property Markets Group. The developer bought the unit in 2014 for just over $16 million and listed it in June 2019 seeking nearly $28 million. The four-bedroom unit spans 4,748 square feet and includes a 686-square-foot terrace.

Compass broker Vickey Barron handled the listing for the developer, while Leonard Steinberg, also of Compass, represented the buyer, according to Olshan.

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