- High-end condo deals have slowed at several luxe buildings, including One57, the skyscraper that symbolizes the new Billionaire’s Row on W. 57th St.
Where did all the billionaires go?
After a year of frenzied sales in 2013, high-end condo deals have slowed at several luxe buildings, including One57, the blue glass skyscraper that symbolizes the new Billionaire’s Row on W. 57th St.
This time last year, the 94-unit building was 70% sold. Now, it’s just above 75%, said Jeff Dvorett of Extell Development, meaning only a couple of apartments have been bought over the last 12 months.
The remaining units are mostly priced between $20 million and $40 million. And the 1% is balking.
The uber rich are also slow to sign on the dotted line at 432 Park Ave., Harry Macklowe’s high-end condo slated to become the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere, and at a much-lauded condo conversion at 737 Park Ave. (r.), brokers said.
The developers of both buildings recently brought in outside brokerages to help move units — a clear suggestion that they’re nervous. They declined to comment on sales figures.
It’s not that the petrodollars, Siberian gemstones and Saudi gold reserves have dried up. There is still a globe filled with Russian oligarchs and Egyptian construction magnates, like Nassef Sawiris, who just bought the $70 million penthouse at 960 Fifth Ave.
But supply has finally started catching up with demand. Right now, 43 Manhattan units are listed at more than $40 million — a 48% increase from last year and a 126% increase from two years ago, according to StreetEasy.
Suddenly, there are just a lot more posh pads for today’s Gilded Age jet set — and that’s cooling the market a bit.
“Some of the frenzy and froth has dissipated, for sure,” said developer Ziel Feldman of HFZ Capital, who is doing well with his high-end — but not super high end — condo in Chelsea. “The supply and demand is still very healthy, but people are seeing more options.”
And even more options are coming: The well-to-do will soon be able to snag apartments in the ultra-skinny, 1,350-foot hotel and condominium glass tower at 111 W. 57th St. and a 950-foot limestone tower at 220 Central Park South.
Such buildings have that new car smell for billionaire buyers, who no longer feel any urgency to lock down a pad.
“People are taking a breath,” said broker Reba Miller.
Billionaire’s Row is not about to crash and burn anytime soon, but prices in the high-end market may begin to crack if developers keep building units only for the super wealthy.
“[The luxury market] was the last part of the market to come back after 2008 and it may be the first one to topple over,” said Donna Olshan, the owner of a luxury brokerage. “The market could become very fragile if too much product at that end piles up.”
Still, some said a slowdown in sales may not be the worst thing if it means the market is leveling out from the dizzying heights it reached last year.
“The last time people went out there and lit their hair on fire to buy apartments,” said broker Jason Haber of Warburg Realty, “we had the biggest crash in a generation.”