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Luxury Real Estate Market Sales Plummet Almost 40%
The luxury housing market in the New York metro area remains icy with scarce inventory, as mortgage interest rates continue to rise. The latest data from the National Association of Realtors indicates a 36.5% drop in sales of properties over $1 million in April.
While February and March were slightly better, at 29.4% and 28.9% drops respectively, April’s numbers fared much healthier than January’s, with a reported 41% decrease in luxury home sales.
A recent Redfin report notes that luxury U.S. home sales have declined a record 44.6% year-over-year to the second lowest level on record during the three months ended in January this year. The report defines luxury homes as those estimated to be in the top 5% based on market value. Other factors being blamed for the slowdown include a tendency for people to be more diligent about finances during economic uncertainty, a turbulent stock market and wealthier Americans choosing to invest in other assets.
In the New York metro area, Redfin indicates that luxury homes sold year-over-year were down 44.4%, and new listings declined by 18.7%. However, the good news is that home prices are on the rise, with the area seeing a 10% growth to a median sale price of $3.625 million.
Hope Ross Mazzola, an Associate Broker with William Raveis-New York, LLC in Katonah, is experiencing that price growth firsthand—she currently holds the listing for the highest priced home in Westchester County at $100 million. Stonewall Farm, located in Granite Springs, is a 24,000-square-foot mansion built in 2004 and boasting 12 bathrooms, eight bedrooms, and 740 acres divided into 18 parcels of lawns, fenced paddocks, equestrian training facilities, barns and sheds, as well as guest and staff quarters. The world-class equestrian facilities represent the largest privately held parcel in Westchester.
A 4,000-square-foot pavilion style pool house with a 60-foot swimming pool, lounge area, fireplace, spa, gym, changing rooms and kitchen is located just adjacent to the main house. Other distinctive features include a two-story library with 24-foot-high fireplace, an indoor Zen garden, a 2,200-bottle wine cellar and tasting room, a pub and game room, and state-of-the-art security and technology systems.
In addition, a unique 36,000-square-foot building occupies the northwest portion of the property. Formerly the Granite Springs Bottling Co., the property represents a huge opportunity for an automobile collector’s showroom, residential development or recreation use.
Although sales are down, Mazzola indicates the luxury market is still strong. “We are moving at approximately the same pace for the most luxurious and most coveted locations of waterfront in Rye, Mamaroneck and Larchmont to village properties in Bronxville and Scarsdale to sprawling estates in North Salem, Bedford, Katonah and Pound Ridge,” she said. “We’re in a very stable pricing market but there’s just not a lot of inventory. We have had a tough year with interest rates rising, and inflation and that’s feeding into the luxury market as well.”
From June 2022 to June 2023, there were 574 homes sold in Westchester in the $2-million-plus range. That’s down significantly from 686 homes in the same price range from June 2021 to June 2022.
At press time, Stonewall Farm, her $100-million listing in Granite Springs, has had several showings and interest from both domestic and international potential buyers. Recently, Mazzola listed a new home currently under construction in Bedford Corners for $3.8 million. “I’ve already been getting a lot of phone calls on this and I fully expect we’re going to have a buyer before it’s completed in the fall,” she added.
Christian Perry, an agent with Sotheby’s International Realty in Greenwich, CT, is dealing with some homeowners who are reluctant to sell because they worry about being able to purchase another property in the area. Many of those who do sell are renting homes in the interim, and the price tags can be extremely high. One of his Greenwich rentals—a single-family home with almost 4,000 square feet, eight bathrooms, seven bedrooms, and a large outdoor swimming pool—is currently on the market for $35,000 per month.
“I also recently had an Old Greenwich property for sale at $6.5 million with multiple offers—all cash,” he said. “Unfortunately, the owners took the house off the market because they couldn’t find another house in the area to move into.”
Perry said most of today’s luxury market deals are in cash. “In order for people to be competitive, they offer cash,” he explained. “In some cases, people will liquidate their securities, use the cash to buy the property, and then take a mortgage later to replace the cash.”
One of his other listings for sale is a farmhouse in Armonk, now on the market for $1.75 million. The property sits on almost nine acres and offers four bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms, and more than 3,500 square feet.
Meanwhile, some luxury properties are moving. Just recently, Christie’s International Real Estate Westchester/Hudson Valley announced a record $5.8-million sale of “Villa Nuits” in Irvington.
Danielle Reese, Associate Broker in the Scarsdale Sales Gallery, represented the buyer of this property—the third highest price realized in Irvington on record and the highest price in all of the Rivertowns in the past 12 months. “I am very proud to have represented the buyer in the sale of this spectacular property, one with such a wonderful provenance. This iconic, Gilded Age Hudson River estate, has long been considered to be among the most beautiful in Westchester County,” said Reese.
Located at 2 Clifton Place in Irvington, the home offers more than 12,000 square feet of living space, including nine bedrooms, eight full baths and three half baths and almost five acres of sprawling grounds with winter views of the Hudson River. “Villa Nuits” was built in the early 1850s by Francis Cottenet, a wealthy, dry goods merchant and importer from France, and was designed by European-trained, Detlef Lienau. After Cottenet’s passing in 1884, the home was briefly owned by Cyrus W. Field and John Jacob Astor III.
The property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, and has been the setting for films, such as Martin Scorsese’s 1993 “Age of Innocence” with actors Winona Ryder and Daniel Day-Lewis and in 2016, for “The Wilde Wedding” with Glenn Close.
In Manhattan, novelist Erica Jong’s Upper East Side co-op was just listed for $4.25 million. Jong is best known for her 1973 hit novel, “Fear of Flying.” The almost 3,000-square-foot home was listed by Maria Daou of Coldwell Banker Warburg, who is also her niece. Located on the 27th floor in the highly sought-after Imperial House, the apartment offers breathtaking open panoramic views of the New York City skyline.
A 30-foot-long gallery at the entrance leads to a spacious, sunny south-facing living room with a custom bookcase spanning the length of the room. The grand gallery also leads to the enclosed solarium, showcasing sweeping vistas of Central Park and the city skyline.
The updated kitchen is spacious, featuring stainless steel countertops and appliances, an extra pantry and walk-in closet. Additional spaces include a small office nook and a small room with a full bath and a washer/dryer. The primary bedroom includes an en-suite bath and oversized closet space. The second bedroom offers a king-size bed, a walk-in closet, and an adjacent bathroom.
Designed by Emory Roth & Sons, Imperial House features sought-after amenities and services, including concierge service, full-time doorman and elevator operators, a state-of-the-art fitness center, yoga studio, game room, an on-premises tailor/dressmaker.
As for the remainder of 2023, Perry is optimistic for a good fall market. “I think people are going to start realizing that even with elevated interest rates, this is the new normal,” he said. “At some point, they can always refinance, and it’s not like back in the 1980s when interest rates were at an all-time high of up to 18%.”