Living in New York City is no cakewalk. With rents and home prices still on the rise, even though they’re already well above the threshold of unaffordability, the average homebuyer is being pushed further and further out of the city. It used to be that boroughs like Brooklyn or Queens were viable alternatives to the overpriced Manhattan, but nowadays, being able to afford to buy a home in these areas is becoming a luxury. That’s because developers are running out of space in Manhattan and are following trendy Millennials to up-and-coming neighborhoods outside the borough, like Long Island City or Williamsburg.
Sleek residential supertalls are rising higher and higher across the city; take Central Park Tower or Steinway Tower in Manhattan, Brooklyn Point and 9 Dekalb in Brooklyn, or Skyline Tower and Queens Plaza Park in LIC. Those who can afford to fork over millions of dollars to live up in the sky in amenity-rich towers have plenty of options to choose from, and many won’t give the idea a second thought. The beginning of the year saw the priciest-ever home to sell in NYC when Ken Griffin bought a $238 million penthouse at 220 Central Park South. Sales have been closing left and right in the following months, and the glossy new towers that are crowding NYC’s skyline are slowly filling up.
We wanted to follow up on our story on the best-selling residential buildings of the first half of the year, to give an end-of-year perspective on where NYC’s elite is moving to. Consequently, we extracted a list of the 20 best-selling residential buildings in New York City in 2019, ranked by the total number of units sold. All of the buildings on our H1 2019 list are featured on this new list, though the ranks have definitely changed. Check out the full list below and read on for some highlights on this year’s sales activity.
Just as it was in our half-year round-up, One Manhattan Square is the best-selling residential project in New York City. Developed by Extell, the 80-story, 815-unit luxury tower sold 217 units from January through October 2019, for a combined volume of $382 million and a median sale price per unit of $1.48 million. Located at 252 South Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the project is still under construction, scheduled for completion by the end of the year.
Overall, Manhattan was the busiest borough in 2019 when it comes to home sales, with 12 projects on our list that add up to 831 units sold for a combined $3.65 billion. The 88-story tower developed by Related and Oxford at 15 Hudson Yards lands the second spot on our list, with 141 units sold in 2019 for a total of $607 million. The sales closed at the Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed tower amounted to a median sale price per unit of $3.87 billion.
Brooklyn’s The Greenpoint, which occupied the third spot on our list of best-selling projects in H1 2019, climbed down one spot to land at #4 in our new ranking. That’s because a new contender has entered the list, landing the third spot.
This time, we’re talking about a project in Queens, namely the 182-unit GALERIE, located at 22-18 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City. The project, developed by Adam America Real Estate and Vanke US, sold 93 units during 2019, for a combined volume of $95 million and a median sale price per unit of $909,493. The Hunters Point project is conveniently situated right across the street from the MoMA P.S. 1 museum and features some unique amenities. The 11-story building incorporates a curated art program through its street-level, rotating art exhibit, dubbed ArtBox; the program is aimed at showcasing the art of local artists in a unique setting.
These art-oriented, luxury amenities do mean that prices at GALERIE aren’t for the faint of heart; the building offers studios to three-bedrooms ranging in price from $690,000 to $2,595,000. Nonetheless, units have been selling quite fast, considering this project didn’t make our list of best-selling buildings for the first half of the year.
The most successful residential project of 2019 in Brooklyn is The Greenpoint, located at 21 India Street in the Greenpoint neighborhood. The 40-story tower developed by Mack Real Estate Group, Palin Enterprises, and Urban Development Partners lands at #4 on our list, with 89 units sold through October. The sales amounted to a combined sales volume of $150 million and a median price per unit of $1.65 million and were closed with help from Citi Habitats and Pandiscio Green.
Another Brooklyn bestseller in 2019 is a one-of-a-kind former industrial facility initially designed by Cass Gilbert, the same architect behind the Woolworth Building. Previously known as the Austin, Nichols & Company Warehouse, the structure was built in 1914-1915, in a rare Egyptian Revival style; in fact, it’s one of New York City’s only buildings designed in this style. The building was converted to condominiums in 2010, with a revamped design by Morris Adjmi Architects. Redeveloped by Kushner Companies, LIVWRK, and Rockpoint Group, the Austin Nichols House, as it’s called today, features 338 units, some of them sold at market-rate. In 2019, the project, located at 184 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, sold 56 units, for a combined total of $81.4 million and a median price per unit of $1.2 million. Nest Seekers International is handling sales at the Austin Nichols House.
With all the new housing developments coming online across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, brokers have been hard at work in 2019, finding buyers to fill up these new towers.
Corcoran Sunshine had a very successful year in this regard, handling sales at 6 of the projects on our list, either on their own or as part of a partnership. The six projects that Corcoran helped market sold a combined total of 353 units and $2.26 billion in sales; the projects are those at 15 Hudson Yards, 277 5th Avenue, 21 East 12th Street, 220 CPS, Carnegie Park, and Crossing 23rd. At 15 Hudson Yards and Carnegie Park, Corcoran worked alongside Related’s sales branch and joined forces with Douglas Elliman for the Crossing 23rd project at 121 East 23rd Street.
Speaking of Douglas Elliman, they’ve been keeping busy in 2019, as well. The firm handled sales at 6 of the projects on our list, aiding in the sale of 267 units for a combined total of $910 million. Elliman worked on 111 Murray Street, 565 Broome Soho, Gramercy Square, The Sunrise Forest Hills, 200 East 21st Street, and Crossing 23rd. Like we mentioned before, Elliman joined forces with Corcoran to market Crossing 23rd, and they also partnered with Knightsbridge Strategies and Noë & Associates on 565 Broome Soho.
Overall, the most units sold at One Manhattan Square in 2019, which means that the Extell Marketing Group, the marketing and sales branch of the developer, was the most active player in terms of the sheer volume of units sold. Extell sold 217 units at the 225 Cherry Street project from January through October 2019, for a total of $382 million.
Halstead Property Development Marketing and The Aguayo Team also worked on two projects on our list, namely GALERIE and 264 Webster. The partnership helped close sales on 141 units for a total of $124 million. Related Sales also helped close 179 units at two of its projects, 15 Hudson Yards and Carnegie Park, for $679 million in total. The sales and marketing branch of the developer worked alongside Corcoran on these projects, as we mentioned before.
Data Sources: the NYC Department of Finance Rolling Sales Data, 2019.