Manhattan luxury home market braces for dog days

Pace of high-priced contracts kept up, but dollar volume his five-month low

21 East 61st Street and 200 Amsterdam Avenue (Photos via Extell, 200 Amsterdam)
21 East 61st Street and 200 Amsterdam Avenue (Photos via Extell, 200 Amsterdam)

Summer is officially here and along with it a likely slowdown in the Manhattan luxury home market.

Though the number of such contracts inked last week remained a healthy 33, the dollar volume dropped to the lowest total since the final week of January, according to the Olshan Report, which tracks contracts for homes in the borough asking $4 million or more.

The asking prices of those homes totaled just over $237 million, barely above the $235 million for 27 properties in the final week of January.

Of last week’s 33 transactions, 19 were condos but only six of the sellers were developers, a change from recent weeks where developers were responsible for the majority of condo sales.

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Donna Olshan, the report’s author, called that “a telltale sign of summer.” Though the number of contracts maintained its “remarkable, astonishing” run, she said, Olshan expects to see prices of contracts fall as many of the year’s most desirable properties have already been spoken for.

Sales have picked up in recent months compared to a year ago, when pandemic restrictions crushed the city. Closed Manhattan condo and co-ops sales during the last three months increased by 40 percent year-over-year, according to Douglas Elliman’s second quarter report.

“As we chew through the inventory, the numbers are going to slip,” she predicted.

Last week’s most expensive home to go into contract was a 3,582-square-foot co-op at 21 East 61st Street. The three-bedroom pad features a library, Central Park views and 1,100 square feet of outdoor space. It was last asking $15.5 million, though the owner had paid $21.6 million in 2015.

The second priciest was a condo at 200 Amsterdam Avenue asking $14 million. The four-bedroom apartment spans 3,188 square feet and boasts a 326-square-foot terrace.

The average discount from the original to the final asking price was 5 percent, down from 8 percent the week before.