New York City residents prefer to live in Manhattan’s downtown condominiums, rather than in its uptown townhouses and co-ops, according to a recent Olshan report, which stated that this year’s Manhattan luxury real estate notched its lowest point in sales since 2013.
Townhouses and co-ops were on the market for an average of 318 days––up two months from 2015. Properties in that area that cost more than $4 million also saw an 18 percent decrease in sales from 2015, according to the same report.
In contrast, Manhattan’s condominiums made a brisker sale for several reasons.
Downtown properties have attractive amenities and less restrictions. Frills include gyms, pet spas, and yoga rooms. Conversely, buyers of co-ops have to tip-toe to board decisions that include vetting buyers and regulating everything, from how much cash purchasers must have in their banks, to the weight of their dogs.
Then again, events such as Brexit, China’s rules on capital outflows, the uncertainty over the presidential election, and volatility of financial markets may further have unsettled Manhattan’s luxury market, says Hall F. Willkie, president of Brown Harris Stevens.
The Olshan report attributed uptown’s declining high-end sales numbers to “classic price resistance.” That may not entirely be the case.
Jacky Teplitzky, a broker with Douglas Elliman, says, “It used to be, if you were a partner at Goldman Sachs or a partner in a major law firm, what did you need? You needed a Park Avenue address, end of story. It’s not like that anymore.”
The Olshan report stated: “[There’s] a continuing market shift in the luxury market to new condos that offer freedom of ownership, new infrastructure, robust amenities, and some hip architecture.”
At one time, the neighborhood near Central Park was noted for trophy residents, such as Oaktree Capital Group’s Howard Marks and Millennium Management founder Israel Englander, both owners at 740 Park Ave., a 1931 limestone tower on the Upper East Side.
But the area is no longer the Park Avenue of Billionaires’ Row, where the Gadsby glitterati lived. Investors are sitting on their wallets; some sellers have made drastic price cuts. Downtown is where the market seems to currently be.
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