Using the most recent home sales data from the NYC Department of Finance, we looked over all the sales to close from January through July 2019. For the sake of accuracy, we only included streets that recorded more than 20 home sales during this period and sorted the contenders according to their median sale price.
We then thought it might be interesting to throw in a list of the 50 priciest neighborhoods in NYC during the first seven months of the year, and filtered these the same way. This way, you’ll get a clear picture of New York City’s most expensive streets and neighborhoods, and also an idea of just how much it costs to live there. Please note that neighborhood boundaries used for this article are as set by the NYC Department of Finance, and at times differ from our own neighborhood boundaries. In particular, these differences are perceptible in the rankings of Civic Center and Tribeca.
It should come as no surprise that the priciest street in New York City is part of Billionaires’ Row. The portion of 59th Street stretching from Columbus Circle to Fifth Avenue along Central Park is known as Central Park South, and it is the unofficial border between Midtown and Uptown Manhattan.
There’s no question about what makes developers and homebuyers alike so eager to invest in Central Park South. This stretch of 59th Street offers what most people argue are the best views in New York City, specifically expansive views of Central Park. Apartment developers keep building higher and higher in this area, making sure that those who live in the building will get the best possible vistas.
Central Park South is home to some iconic buildings, both old and new. Within you'll find the most luxurious NYC penthouses for sale with prices to match the lavish residences. The street houses luxurious hotels like the Plaza, the Ritz-Carlton, Essex House, and the Park Lane, as well as landmarks like Gainsborough Studios, the GM Building, Time Warner Center, and 240 Central Park South. Yet the shining star of West 59th Street is nowadays 220 Central Park South, a supertall residential skyscraper designed by Robert A.M. Stern, that was the setting for some of the priciest home sales of the past few years. In fact, early this year, billionaire Kenneth Griffin closed the most expensive NYC home sale of all time, shelling out a whopping $240 million for a penthouse within 220 CPS.
Luxury units at the 70-story tower developed by Vornado keep selling like hotcakes, and they each tend to fetch well above $20 million, which is probably why Central Park South is so expensive. A total of 53 sales sold on this stretch of 59th Street from January through July, for a median sale price of $9.8 (!) million. Central Park South is thus the most expensive New York City street these days, by far. No other street boasts a median sale price above $6 million, which makes CPS the undisputed king of luxury.
West 81st Street Sales Reaffirm Appeal of Upper West Side Real Estate
The second most expensive street in New York City lies on the Upper West Side, connecting Central Park to the Riverside Park area. Twenty-one home sales closed along West 81st Street so far in 2019, for a total sales volume of $152 million and a median sale price of $5.9 million, landing it the second spot on our list.
The bulk of sales to close on this posh and elegant street were for units within another Robert A.M. Stern-designed building, at 250 West 81st Street. A total of 15 units sold within the 18-story limestone building this year, which makes the recently completed building a success, considering it only has 31 units in total.
The residential tower stands out from most condominium towers being developed nowadays in New York City. Elsewhere in the city, developers are building shiny, glossy, sleek supertalls with incredible vistas and dizzying heights. Stern, however, alongside developers Alchemy Properties and Carlyle Group, wanted to design a building that embodies the spirit and the timeless elegance of the pre-war buildings on the Upper West Side and Upper East Side. The team chose to build a mid-rise building clad in limestone that blends in seamlessly with its surroundings and attracts families.
A couple of years ago, Kenneth Horn of Alchemy Properties told the New York Times that finding development sites in this area of Manhattan is nearly impossible, as many buildings on the Upper West Side are designated landmarks. 250 West 81st Street was possible because the developers bought a plot of land previously occupied by a low-rise retail building at the corner of 81st Street and Broadway. Horn also added that buyers in this area tend to go for the familiar and family-friendly and that flashy glass towers would be out of place here. Robert A.M. Stern managed to create a timeless-looking residential building that honors the heritage of the neighborhood, and so far, the project seems to be a success.
Zooming out a bit to the neighborhood level, we start to move away from Central Park and head towards Lower Manhattan, more specifically to the Civic Center neighborhood. The area around City Hall and Foley Square is the most expensive in New York City in 2019 for homebuyers, with a median sale price of $3.7 million. Sixty-eight sales closed here for a total volume of $341 million from January through July. It should be noted that, according to the NYC Department of Finance, the Civic Center neighborhood encompasses part of what the real estate industry typically considers to be Tribeca. For example, contrary to most other sources, the NYC DOF considers the Woolworth Building to be part of the Civic Center neighborhood instead of Tribeca.
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The Civic Center neighborhood is home to various NYC landmarks, including City Hall, NYC Supreme Court, Surrogate’s Court, and the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse. Another historical landmark, previously known as the Emigrate Savings Bank, was the most popular destination for homebuyers in 2019. Located at 49-51 Chambers Street, the H-shaped Beaux-Arts building was converted to luxury condominiums in recent years and saw 23 units sold so far this year. Other residential buildings in the area to record several sales are 56 Leonard Street, 30 Park Place, 2 Park Place, and 67 Franklin Street.
The second-priciest neighborhood in NYC is SoHo. Median sale prices on Soho real estate reached $3.6 million in 2019. A total of 99 sales closed here through July, for a total volume of $479 million. The 40 sales to close at Renzo Piano’s 565 Broome Street certainly helped push the neighborhood’s median sale price upwards. The glass-clad residential building was the busiest address in SoHo so far in 2019, closing on the sale of 40 of its 115 luxury residences. 565 Broome Street was one of the best-selling residential buildings in the first half of 2019, with buyers undoubtedly drawn by the unique chance to live in a Renzo Piano-designed building.
Coming in third on our list of 50 priciest NYC neighborhoods is, unsurprisingly, Tribeca. Luxury, starchitect-designed residential buildings are all the rage in the neighborhood right now, so it’s no wonder that median prices on Tribeca real estate for sale reached $3.3 million here in 2019. A total of 214 home sales closed here through July, for a whopping $993 million in dollar volume.
The most active address in Tribeca is currently 111 Murray Street, where 54 sales closed during the first 7 months of the year. Designed by KPF, the sleek residential tower is one of the tallest in the area, matching the height of the Woolworth Building, and it features 156 luxury condos. Other busy addresses in the neighborhood include 140 West Street, also known as the Verizon Building, where 11 home sales closed through July, and Robert A.M. Stern’s 70 Vestry, which recorded 16 sales.
Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights are two of the best neighborhoods in Brooklyn so it's no surprise to see them coming in as the 6th and 7th most expensive neighborhoods in NYC. Most impressively, the median sales price in both districts was over $2.5 million. While both neighborhoods are known for their impressive brownstones and townhouses, they also have some of the most luxurious and expensive condos in the borough, including Pierhouse at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Quay Tower, One Brooklyn Bridge Park, and 5 River Park.
We considered all residential transactions to close from January through July 2019, taking into account condos, co-ops, single- and two-family homes. Data was collected via ACRIS NYC and the NYC DOF.
We included buildings with the following classes: A3, A4, A5, A7, A9, B1, B2, B3, B9, R1, R2, R3, R4, R6, R7, R8, R9, according to NYC building classifications.
We imputed a minimum sale price of $1,000. All deals with undisclosed dollar amounts were excluded from our analysis.