Prices at the very high end of the housing market — the kind of prices that break records and seize worldwide media attention — have surpassed the peak levels of the housing boom in the last 10 years, according to a new report by Stribling & Associates.
In contrast, silver-trophy homes between $5 million and $20 million have only experienced mild price increases this year, the report discovered.
“The uber-rich have finally unleashed the liquidity that was well known to exist,” Kirk Henckels, director of private brokerage at Stribling, told the Wall Street Journal. “Clearly they are no longer embarrassed to show their wealth.”
During the apex of the housing market in 2008, the record sale price was about $6,000 per square foot. Now, the record is over $10,000 per square foot, according to Henckels.
The most expensive sale this year was the $88 million condo at 15 Central Park West, sold by former Citigroup head Sanford Weill to a Russian billionaire. The sky-high figure was 83 percent over the top condo sale in 2011, a $48 million penthouse at the Plaza Hotel. A penthouse at Extell Development’s under-construction One57 on West 57th Street is in contract for over $90 million.
The report says that there were 388 sales of $5 million this year through August, a 7.4 percent decrease in trades compared to the same time period in 2011. Henckels attributed the decline in co-op and condo sales to tightening inventory, as opposed to a drop in demand.
Manhattan’s luxury market experienced its strongest August since 2007, according to an Olshan Realty Inc. report that tracks the sales of properties $4 million and above. For the first week of September after Labor Day, there were 11 contracts signed for at least $4 million, the most expensive of which was a $9.5 million three-bedroom duplex at 102 Prince St.
Now that foreign buyers are putting their money into Manhattan properties, “$80 million is the new $20 million,” Henckels told the Wall Street Journal. Although these mega-wealthy purchasers “almost seem like Nero fiddling while Rome burns… they obviously believe in the security and wisdom of investing in New York real estate. The money has to be invested somewhere and in something.”