As news broke this week that the Thomas Juul Hansen designed penthouse at One 57 (157 West 5th Street) sold for around $ 90 million, a new record for New York City real estate pricing, I am in California observing other markets. And all I can hear is how the real estate markets around the country, especially on the high end, have come roaring back to life in prime locations. In Boston, Montecito, Miami, Bel Air, London, Monaco, new pricing records are being achieved. A friend of mine recently completed a renovation of a house in Boston: within days they had multiple bids, over the asking price.
I did find it amusing how Gary Barnett announced blatantly in the New York Times this morning that the buyer of the penthouse at One 57 was NOT Russian, as if having Russian buyers in a building would somehow de-value the building? Is it possible that the Russian selling his MAJOR apartment at Time Warner is indeed this buyer? Or is it democratically-elected-president-for-life Vladimir Putin who was simply too busy buying real estate to attend the G8 conference? Is it Borat, or just the dictator he plays in his latest movie?
I have heard similar sentiments from brokers and owners from St. Jean Cap Ferrat to Santa Barbara. Some buyers actually ask the question: Are there many Russians in the building/neighborhood? I thought that was illegal….. Russian buyers have certainly been a potent force in the Manhattan market in the past few years: In New York, might sentiments of this nature spark the re-surgence of the tough, secretive co-op board that could prevent the sale of an apartment to a Russian without providing any reasoning for a turn-down?