A Round-Up of the Biggest Home Sales to Close in Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens in Q3 2019

The PropertyClub Team
Oct 30th 2019
Fall is officially in season in New York City, which means it’s time for our quarterly round-up of the biggest home sales in the city. This time around, we thought we’d spice things up by looking separately at the top home sales in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, to showcase the price differences among these boroughs. We checked public sales records from the DOF to extract the 20 largest home sales to close during Q3 2019 in each borough.

A few months ago, we came to you with a list of the 20 biggest home sales to close in New York City during the year’s second quarter. At the time, we welcomed Jeff Bezos to his new, $80 million digs in Flatiron, and John Griffin to his record-breaking townhouse on the Upper East Side. Vornado’s 220 Central Park South tower was the belle of the ball in Q2, with half of the list comprising sales at this address. 

Now, looking at the NYC home sales to close during Q3, we realize that, while some things have changed, others have stayed pretty much the same. Units at 220 CPS continue to sell like hotcakes, taking over half of our list of the 20 priciest Manhattan home sales. The borough is still the most expensive in the city, with home prices well above those found in other boroughs. This is why we thought it’d be interesting to throw in three separate lists of the 20 largest home sales in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Some say that prices in other boroughs, Brooklyn in particular, are rising at a worrying pace, but looking at our lists, the borough is far from rivaling Manhattan in terms of luxury sales anytime soon. 

Read on to see the top 20 home sales to close in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens during the third quarter of 2019, along with some highlights on the most exciting sales. 

In Manhattan, 220 Central Park South Steals the Show—Again 

Vornado’s luxury residential tower on Billionaires’ Row is having a pretty great year, considering the project keeps making the news due to units selling for exorbitant prices. The street it’s located on, Central Park South, is officially the most expensive street in New York City as of 2019, with a median sale price of $9,800,000. 

However, we’re sorry to disappoint, but there was no record-shattering sale closing at this address during Q3 (thanks to Ken Griffin for setting the bar so high). But even so, Vornado’s ultra-luxurious supertall was the backdrop for the quarter’s priciest home sale; what’s more, 10 of the 20 most significant deals in Manhattan closed at 220 CPS, for a combined total of $298 million.

The biggest home sale of Q3 in Manhattan and the biggest overall in NYC was the sale of a luxury penthouse at 220 Central Park South to British singer Sting, aka Gordon Sumner. Rumors of this purchase made the rounds for many months after Sting and wife Trudie Styler sold their condo at 15 Central Park West for $50 million in 2018. 

The couple has now purchased a 5,807-square-foot condo in the ‘villa’ portion of 220 CPS, according to The Real Deal. The Robert A.M. Stern project features a 79-story tower and an 18-story villa nestled above it; the units in the villa section feature breathtaking views of Central Park. The sale price of $65.8 million comes down to a whopping $11,323 per square foot for the PH16 unit at the top of the tower’s villa. 

The second-biggest home sale of Q3 closed on the Upper East Side in September, when a mystery buyer paid $53 million for a palatial co-op unit at 834 Fifth Avenue. The Gutfreund duplex, as it is called, is located on the seventh and eighth floors of the Rosario Candela-designed property, and was reportedly bought by billionaire Stanley Druckenmiller. The duplex boasts roughly 12,000 square feet of living space divided into seven bedrooms, seven full bathrooms, and three partial baths. It was initially listed in 2016 with an asking price of $120 million, and over time that price was steadily reduced. It was last listed on Sotheby’s for $59 million

Other notable sales to close in Manhattan during Q3 include a $37 million unit at Renzo Piano’s 565 Broome Street, a $34 million penthouse at 11 East 68th Street, and a $23.5 million condo at Robert A.M. Stern’s 520 Park Avenue. 

Cobble Hill Proved Most Appealing to Brooklyners in Q3

Eight of the 20 biggest Brooklyn home sales of Q3 closed in Cobble Hill. Seven of these sales actually closed in the same area, namely Amity Street, a posh little street composed mostly of Greek Revival-style brownstones. Here, homebuyers paid a combined total of $82 million in the year’s third quarter, with the top 3 sales for the borough closing here as well. Amity Street is currently the 11th-priciest street in NYC and the priciest outside Manhattan, as well, with a median sale price of $2,545,000 in 2019. 

The priciest home sale of Q3 in Brooklyn was Michael Strauss’ $8.5 million acquisition of 96 Amity Street in July. The 5,294-square-foot home is part of the Polhemus Townhouses, a project developed by Fortis Property Group comprising eight individual townhouses built in 2017. The townhome at 96 Amity Street was last listed by Douglas Elliman for $8.4 million, and it was snatched up by Amity Fiddlehead LLC. 

The project spearheaded by Fortis Property Group is part of a larger-scale development in Cobble Hill, dubbed River Park. The development lies on the site of the former Long Island College Hospital, and its first phases are centered around the Polhemus Building on Amity Street, according to Curbed. River Park will ultimately include five main components: the Polhemus Building, which is being converted to luxury condos; the eight newly built townhouses; a 15-story, 48-unit condo building dubbed 1 River Park; a 475-tall residential tower known as 2 River Park; and another 15-story tower named 5 River Park. 

The second-priciest Brooklyn home sale of Q3 was also closed by Fortis Property Group, which sold a $6.8 million condo unit within the Polhemus Residences at 100 Amity Street. Unit #9 was purchased by Samuel James Kendall and wife Georgia Pask in August and is located within the 17-unit building initially completed in 1897. The stunning limestone building at 100 Amity Street has been restored and converted to luxury condos by BKSK Architects. 

Finally, the third most expensive home to sell in the borough last quarter was another 2017-built townhouse at 91A Amity Street. The four-story, 3,720-square-foot home sold for $6.1 million to Lawrence M. Gile, according to public records. 

It’s not hard to see why Polhemus homes are selling so quickly and for such high prices. The Cobble Hill neighborhood is one of the poshest - and priciest - in Brooklyn, lined with 19th Century townhouses, cobblestones, and trees. The area is nothing short of a great place to live, both for families and for singles, as it’s relatively quiet and mainly residential, but at the same time, it houses a myriad of great restaurants, cafes, and bars. However, living here doesn’t come cheap. Cobble Hill is the sixth most expensive neighborhood in New York City so far in 2019, with a median sale price of $2,550,000. 

Queens Homebuyers Keen on LIC, Forest Hills in Q3

Zooming in on the biggest sales to close in Queens during the year’s third quarter, we see that homebuyers were most keen on Long Island City and Forest Hills; each of the two neighborhoods saw five major home sales close here, making up half of our list. The top spot, however, goes to Long Island City, namely 42-62 Hunter Street, which sold for nearly $3 million in September. Guo Zhong Lin and Luo Jie Chen acquired the 1,764-square-foot house from seller Raymond MacDonald, according to public records. 

The house had been marketed as a prime development site, in an area of Hunters Point that is attracting quite the investor interest recently. Just a few steps away from the house at 42-62 Hunter Street is the JACX development, which features Long Island City’s first new office towers in a decade. Spearheaded by Tishman Speyer and Qatari Diar, the development at 28-07 Jackson Avenue includes two 26-story office towers that are already fully leased to tenants like WeWork, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, NewYork-Presbyterian, and Weill Cornell Medicine. 

Close by to the 42-62 Hunter Street house is Jackson Park, a three-tower, luxury rental development right across the street from the JACX. The Two Gotham Center office complex is just around the corner, and Dutch LIC, an 86-unit condo building, is also nearby. 

The second-biggest home sale of Q3 in the borough was of a $2.85 million single-family home in Whitestone. Adam Skarzynski bought the five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom home at 16 Point Crescent from the previous owner Vasiliki Kaliva. It was the only major residential sale to close in the upscale Whitestone neighborhood in the past quarter. 

In Forest Hills, five notable home sales closed for a combined total of $11.2 million. The biggest sale to close in this neighborhood was of a $2.5 million single-family home at 74 Ascan Avenue. Oleg Isakov purchased the five-bedroom, five-bathroom home from Ruben V. Wiernik, in the fourth-priciest home sale in Queens during Q3. 

Data sources: The New York City Department of Finance - ACRIS & Rolling Sales data, proprietary research.