It’s been a record-breaking year in Manhattan real estate, although things have slowed down just a bit this fall as more inventory has become available. As the most recent Warburg Market Report shows, various segments of the market are reacting differently. Co-ops priced below $2 million—often the most popular segment of the market—are still selling very briskly, while the demand for pricier homes may have peaked, with an increased average time on the market leading to more availability. Here on the Upper East Side, the median price for new developments more than doubled in the third quarter, reaching $4.5 million. Resale co-ops on the UES rose by a more modest 8%, and those above $4 million (even on Fifth and Park Avenues) are languishing except when renovated and priced appropriately. Overall, I expect the market in 2015 to look very much like it has this past year. The inventory shortage likely will persist in the under $2 million market and especially for two-bedroom apartments under $1.5 million, continuing to drive strong sales in that segment. Meanwhile, the very high-end new development market has shown signs of stalling as a flood of pricey towers debut along the 57th Street corridor (sales at the ultra-luxury One57, for example, have slowed sharply as of late), and I would expect sales to continue to slow there. One segment of the new condo market that does remain strong is on the UES, where co-ops make up such a large percentage of the housing stock and condos are a rare commodity. New condo developments like 60 East 86th, 151 East 78th and 135 East 79th have sold quite well. Streeteasy predicts a 3.9% growth rate in the Manhattan condo market throughout 2015 and that sounds about right. As always, reach out to me directly for news and advice about specific properties or neighborhoods.
Here’s the Upper East Side opening I’m most excited about right now: After a three-year, $81 million renovation, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in Carnegie Hill finally reopened last Friday, December 12 (my birthday—and also the same day back in 1902 that Andrew Carnegie moved into the mansion with his wife and daughter). I saw them putting up the holiday lights on the museum last week to signify the opening was near and it is absolutely beautiful. Inside, the renovation has preserved the Carnegie Mansion’s antique ambiance, with intricately carved teak wood running throughout, while updating it with 60 percent more gallery space, all fully equipped for cutting-edge design exhibits like the very exciting Immersion Room, where the Cooper Hewitt’s much-lauded collection of wall coverings are displayed and visitors can sketch their own designs and project them onto the wall. The most intriguing allure of the museum is the melding of the traditional with the modern. A passive museum no longer, it is filled with interactive digital tools that bring out the accidental designer in all of us. It was as accessible to me as it was to my eight-year-old son. I was particularly thrilled to watch a 3-D printer in action, churning out objects such as a prosthetic limb (coincidently high school math students at my daughter’s school across the street are doing the same thing). Tip: buy your tickets online to save $2 and more importantly—skip the lines.
If you’re looking for lunch after the museum trip, take a stroll down 92nd Street to Bar Roma a great new Italian bistro that opened a few months ago. The baby sister restaurant of Via Quadrono and Bottega del Vino, it remains a serene neighborhood secret. Bar Roma’s allure is as much about the ambiance as it is about the food. Stepping into this quaint little spot is like being transported to a trattoria in Rome—my other favorite city— cozy wooden tables, terracotta walls, a curved wood ceiling, and warm and attentive service. The food, like the staff, is right out of Italy. The wine and cheese selection is uniquely Italian. The chilled asparagus salad and freshly-made tomato and basil penne (cooked perfectly al dente) make for a deliciously light lunch. The braised ossobuco and lamb meatballs are more hearty dishes, perfect for a snowy winter day alongside a glass of the Altemura Primitivo. Note also that the portion size is also authentically European, giving you a perfect excuse to order an extra pasta dish for the table to share!
This gracious two-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home is a beautiful light-filled apartment in a premiere white-glove Park Avenue coop with gorgeous leafy views of stately townhouses and Park Avenue. The 28-foot living room and adjacent dining room provide ample space for entertaining, while the flexible layout allows for easy conversion to a three-bedroom. Both bedrooms are generously proportioned and the bathrooms feature floor-to-ceiling marble. All just minutes from Central Park on one of the Upper East Side’s very best blocks. Contact me for more details or see the full listing here.