‘It’s the season of excess.
Manhattan’s luxury market epitomized that spirit last week, snagging its best week of Christmas deal signings since Olshan Realty began tracking them in 2006.
Between December 20 and 26, buyers signed 42 contracts for properties asking for $4 million or more, breaking the previous Christmas week record of 17 in 2016. Total sales volume for the week topped 360 million, surpassing another holiday record: the week of Thanksgiving. $315 million in luxury contracts signed.
Typically, signings ebb from late December through the start of the new year, when luxury buyers are typically out of town, said report author Donna Olshan.
“But this year is unlike any we’ve ever seen,” Olshan said. “So with the rest of 2021, this week has been a record by far.”
A week into 2021, some 1,897 deals have been signed for luxury homes in Manhattan, more than double the 2019 total.
Olshan noted that 13 offers were for properties priced over $10 million, signaling the strength of the trophy market, and the average apartment was nearly 3,000 square feet, a size that underscores demand. Covid induced for more space.
“The rich are getting richer and they’re buying bigger,” Olshan said, noting the wealth affluent New Yorkers have accumulated during the stock market’s record pandemic run.
Olshan doesn’t see the Omicron variant reducing the demand for luxury spaces.
“Luxury buyers are coming to the conclusion that no matter where you go you won’t escape Covid, so might as well decide to buy and live where you want to live,” she said.
Condos accounted for the bulk of luxury sales last week; the majority of these contracts were for downtown properties. The median asking price for the 42 homes was $6.4 million. The average decline in the asking price was 3%, compared to 4% the previous week.
The most expensive listing to close a deal was a historic six-story townhouse at 248 Central Park West asking for $30 million. The home’s former owners, Matthew and Janet Geller, had invested $10 million in a gut renovation of the 19th-century property, adding a 60-foot pool, theater and penthouse apartment that bore the hallmark of the house over 9,000 square feet. But after the revamp, the Gellers in 2019 only got $16 million for the home, which sold 44% below demand — a sign of the then-sluggish luxury market.
The second-highest price was $28 million for a duplex at antebellum-inspired 515 Park Avenue, a Lenox Hill building two blocks from Central Park. The four-bedroom condo spans 4,916 square feet and includes a library, living room with a gas fireplace, and a floating metal and glass staircase that leads to the upstairs bedrooms. The unit also includes two guest apartments on the third floor and a studio.