Townhouses drop from Manhattan luxury contracts

Property type’s streak continues to cool despite market’s rise from mid-May slump

From left: 740 Park Avenue and 500 West 18th Street
From left: 740 Park Avenue and 500 West 18th Street (Getty, Google Maps, Eden, Janine and Jim from New York City, CC BY 2.0 - via Wikimedia Commons)

Activity in Manhattan’s luxury market ticked back up toward normal last week, but some of the borough’s property types fared far better than others. 

The borough saw 32 homes asking $4 million or more enter contract, according to Olshan Realty. Of those, 21 were for condos, 11 for co-ops — their best week since the end of April 2022 — and none for townhouses. 

The dearth of sales for townhouses marks a sharp dive from April, when eight contracts marked the property type’s strongest week in nearly two years, and red-hot activity recorded in May 2022

The townhouse market was more resistant to headwinds last year because of the larger contingency of all-cash buyers. But sales volume last quarter fell 30 percent, according to townhouse brokerage Leslie Garfield, due to the expectation gap between buyers and sellers: Buyers expect steep discounts while sellers are holding out for top dollar.

The most expensive home to enter contract last week in Manhattan was unit PH35A at 500 West 18th Street, asking of $30 million.

The 5,800-square-foot penthouse was initially listed for $34 million in 2018 when the building started marketing. The unit has five bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms, as well as a 1,300-square-foot great room that opens onto a 322-square-foot loggia. 

Formerly known as the Xi, One High Line is a project with a condo building and hotel that landed in a $1 billion-plus foreclosure two years ago. Amenities include a fitness center, a 75-foot lap pool, a spa, a golf simulator, private dining and a games lounge. Services are offered from the adjacent Faena Hotel, part of the re-branded project.

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The second most expensive home to enter contract last week was unit 10/11C at 740 Park Avenue, with an asking price of $23.8 million, down from $26 million when it was listed last August. The duplex co-op has 11.5-foot ceilings and a 720-square-foot living room with a fireplace that opens onto a library.

If the sale goes through, it’ll mark the end of retired semiconductor executive Hamburg Tang’s tenure in the building.  Tang, who bought the co-op in 1995 for $7 million, had been involved in a lawsuit with his neighbor over noise from renovations to Marks’ unit, which is directly above Tang’s.

Tang accused billionaire Howard Marks of working beyond the hours allowed by the building and blamed the co-op board for not enforcing them, ultimately convincing a judge to limit the time per day Marks could renovate.

Amenities at the building, which doesn’t allow financing, include a doorman, gym and storage.

The asking prices of the 32 homes totaled $273 million, with an average of $8.5 million and a median price of $6.3 million.  The typical home received a 9 percent discount and spent 630 days on the market.

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