‘Merely Rich’ Are Outpaced In Manhattan | Armonk Real Estate

Buyers have bid up the prices on the biggest and best Manhattan homes and apartments far above the peak levels during the housing boom of the last decade, a new report on luxury housing market has found.

At the same time, homes purchased by the merely rich—those apartments and houses priced between $5 million and $20 million—have lagged behind the highest end of the market so far this year, with prices increasing slightly, according to the report by Stribling & Associates.

Ramin Talaie for The Wall Street Journal

A condo at 15 Central Park West sold for $88 million this year.

“The uber-rich have finally unleashed the liquidity that was well known to exist,” said Kirk Henckels, director of private brokerage at Stribling. “Clearly they are no longer embarrassed to show their wealth.”

At the peak of the housing boom, when prices on trophy Manhattan apartments surged to more than $40 million, Mr. Henckels, a longtime broker to the rich, observed that “$40 million is the new $20 million.” When the market later collapsed during the financial crisis, he quickly reversed himself, and concluded that “$20 million is the new $40 million.”

Now in a report on the luxury market, he has found that buyers from at home and around the world have bid up the prices once more: “$80 million is the new $20 million,” he declared.

At the peak of the market in 2008, the record sale price was about $6,000 a square foot, and has now topped out above $10,000 a square foot, he said.

[image] Dustin Drankoski/The Wall Street Journal

A co-op at 740 Park Ave. went for $52.5 million.

The highest-price sale this year has been the $88 million condo sold by Sanford I. Weill, the former head of Citigroup Inc., to a Russian billionaire. That price was 83% above the top condo sale last year, a $48 million penthouse sold to a Russian composer and music executive at the Plaza Hotel.

Another penthouse is now in contract at a new condominium, One57 under construction on West 57th Street for more than $90 million, according to the developer, and there are about a dozen Manhattan houses on the market for about $50 million and up.

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