The Upper East Side, long synonymous with New York’s wealthy elite, might be losing its luster.
The latest wave of luxury buyers are snubbing exclusive co-op buildings on the Upper East Side in favor of sleek new condos in Downtown Manhattan and changing the city’s luxury landscape, according to a report Thursday by Stribling’s Private Brokerage.
As a result, the once-coveted Upper East Side is getting less expensive. The median price of a luxury condo—defined as $5-million-plus—fell 27% in 2017, according to the report.
Since mid-2016, the value of uptown cooperatives has declined more than 15% and is now looking like a relative bargain, said Kirk Henckels, vice chairman and director of Stribling’s Private Brokerage.
Meanwhile, sleek new condominiums in Tribeca are replacing exclusive and lavish pre-war co-ops in places like Carnegie Hill as hot properties for the upper echelon of the market.
The mix of luxury condos to co-ops has changed dramatically over the past five years. In 2012, $5-million-plus apartment sales were 55% condos and 45% co-ops. In 2017, luxury sales were 82% condos and 18% co-ops.
“Manhattan’s luxury residential market continues to morph from Uptown pre-war cooperative to Downtown condominium as the current generation of wealth matures,” Mr. Henckels said in the report.
About 100 years ago, the robber barons of the early 1900s unnerved the old guard elite living lavishly in midtown Manhattan when they headed uptown to build grand mansions in the until-then unstylish Upper East Side—think Andrew Carnegie’s mansion (now the Cooper Hewitt Museum) and the home-turned-museum of Henry Clay Frick. But the tide has turned and New York’s elite are moving downtown.
In 2017, the vast majority of luxury condo sales—57%—were in for apartments in downtown.
“The evolution of buying patterns among property type, style, and location in the first quarter of the 21st century is not unlike the paradigm shift that occurred in the first quarter of a century earlier, when the wealthy left their ornate Midtown mansions to live in more tailored Uptown apartment buildings,” Mr. Henckels said in the report.
“The humorous aspect is that in both cases, the ‘old guard’ were/are horrified.”
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