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Million Dollar Madness

AVERAGE PRICE IN MANHATTAN HITS $1 MARK, WITH BOSTON PROPER RIGHT BEHIND

NEW YORK The 900-square-foot bachelor pad on the Upper West Side may have a terrace overlooking the Museum of Natural History, but it also has a grumpy doorman, just one bedroom, and a hefty price of more than $1 million. And yet, seven potential buyers within an hour raced to view the apartment last Tuesday night.

On the Upper East Side, a feisty bidding war broke out last week around another apartment also listed for more than $1 million with one contender offering $10,000 above the asking price, beating out a would-be buyer waving cash for the 1,100-square-foot condo.

Even more shocking: This is what now passes for ordinary in Manhattan's real estate market, where, for the first time, the average price for a condo or co-op has surpassed $1 million. The $786 average price per square foot also broke a record in the three months ending June 30, said residential appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and Douglas Elliman, a large Manhattan real estate brokerage.

And then there's this city, in that familiar pattern, chasing New York's heels.

In Boston's Midtown home to the Ritz towers the average second- quarter con do price was $1,018,630, with an average price per square foot of $707, according to the Listing Information Network, or LINK. In the Back Bay, the average condo is selling for $800,009, with an average price per square foot of $652.

In Manhattan, an improving economy, low interest rates, Wall Street bonuses, and the lack of inventory have driven apartment prices to the new benchmark of $1,047,938 in the second quarter, the Miller Samuel report found, all while the average size shrunk to 1,332 square feet.

Jonathan Miller, author of the study, said he looked at a number of indicators, including median sales price and the price per square foot, all of which broke records. "So what it is telling us is that this is not a fluke," he said.

Some real estate specialists have suggested a $45 million apartment that recently sold in the new Time Warner building overlooking the southern edge of Central Park may have skewed the numbers. "We checked it and it only affected the average sale price by $17,000," he said.

Boston has one of the most expensive markets in the country behind New York City and San Francisco, but it is difficult to compare it or any other place to Manhattan's real estate market, which is literally an island unto itself.

"When you buy in New York City you are buying a way of life," said Jacky Teplitzky, the real estate agent for the Upper East Side property. "If you go to New Jersey . . . then you are going to get more space, but some people are willing to pay to be in the heart of things, to be in the heart of the action."

In Boston, $1 million doesn't go as far as it used to, said Dan Mullin of Daniel A. Mullin & Associates in Boston, but buyers generally get more than they would in Manhattan. "For $1 million in New York you're in a high-rise, not in the toniest neighborhood," Mullin said. "But in Boston, you are in a great neighborhood that's very convenient and most people can walk to work."

On Beacon Hill, which has always been among Boston's most expensive neighborhoods, the average apartment now costs $561,737, according to LINK. For $1.5 million in that neighborhood, you can buy a whole single-family home three beds, two baths on Rollins Place.

Still, anyone from outside of Manhattan visiting open houses may question if the prices are really worth it.

Agents tell stories of shocked transplants who realize the money they paid for their three-bedroom house in cities like Minneapolis or Dallas will barely afford them a one-bedroom apartment in the West Village. For those not willing to settle for a larger home in Brooklyn, Queens, or northern New Jersey cities such as Hoboken, agents say a $1 million apartment in Manhattan will get them no more than 1,300 square feet in a moderate to good neighborhood. While some will have amenities like the Upper East Side apartment that boasted sweeping views, a community swimming pool, and gym many do not. "There are fabulous places in Brooklyn, Jersey City, and Hoboken but they are not Manhattan," said Pam Liebman, chief executive of the Corcoran Group in Manhattan. "To some, once you live here, you have arrived."

All of this has fostered a bit of arrogance among Big Apple sellers. These days, New Yorkers are so confident that their small apartments will sell, said Teplitzky, that she has a maid on call to clean and organize closets before a showing.

And for their part, buyers desperate to be in New York will accept views of dumpsters, forgo amenities, and succumb to addresses in the far corners of the city. One real estate agent last week seemed confident that a one-bedroom listed for more than $1 million would sell, despite its modest size and scrappy doorman. Its location near restaurants and walking distance from Lincoln Center made it appealing, but the agent, Billy Pfaff, said it's the 900- square-foot landscaped terrace that drives the price.

So who's buying?

"Sometimes I am amazed," said Teplitzky. "You can have a 30-year- old bachelor who did very well in the stock market or made $150,000 and saved his money and is able to buy a $1 million apartment."

 

 

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THE JACKY TEPLITZKY  TEAM

THE JACKY TEPLITZKY TEAM

At Douglas Elliman Real Estate


575 Madison Ave

New York, NY 10022

Office: 212.891.7263

Mobile: 917.697.5457

 

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Miami Beach, FL 33139

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