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A flurry of $30 million-plus transactions — including the $39 million February sale of the Vanderbilt Mansion, which was owned by late Johnson & Johnson heiress Elizabeth Ross Johnson, to game developer Tianqiao Chen — can’t mask a hard New York real estate truth: Total sales across Manhattan are down nearly 25 percent in the first quarter of 2018, the steepest decline since 2009, and prices in the luxury sector dipped 15 percent in that same period, according to a Douglas Elliman report. Inventory, meanwhile, is up more than 4 percent.
It’s still New York — which boasts three of the U.S.’ top 20 priciest ZIP codes (10013, 10007, 10282), according to a recent ranking by Property Shark — but “buyers aren’t just going to write a check for any amount,” says Compass’ Leonard Steinberg.
Insiders attribute the slowdown partly to “legacy contracts,” which were set into motion at the height of the superluxury development boom in 2014-15 but didn’t close until 2016 and ’17, spiking stats for those years. Another factor: Today’s product is not quite as high-end, says Jonathan Miller, president of consulting company Miller Samuel and author of the Elliman report, who adds that a new cap on state and local tax deductions also has given buyers pause. “It’s not that New York has a weak market,” he notes. “But we’re transitioning from an unusually robust period to a not-so-robust period driven largely by uncertainty.”
To help buyers navigate the shifting sands, THR has identified 10 real estate stars — the agents who scored the biggest sales of 2017 and boast 2018’s hottest listings.
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