Midyear Luxe Market Watch: It’s All About the Trophies

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Further confirmation that trophy apartments are ruling this year’s real-estate market: According to Stribling Private Brokerage’s just-released midyear report, the number of properties sold priced over $20 million more than doubled — up from six to 13 — in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2007. Last year’s highest sale for co-ops was $37.5 million and $33.2 million for houses — practically affordable compared to this year’s $46 million for co-ops and $49.8 million for the Milbank townhouse, a.k.a. Bob Guccione’s former pleasure palace. The year’s not done yet, obviously; who knows what will happen in the fall with those $80 million listings at 15 Central Park West? Also striking: The number of apartments selling for $5 million and up in the first six months of this year jumped 52.2 percent (23 percent when adjusted to make an “apples to apples” comparison) from January to June of last year. “As much as I spend time looking at these numbers, I was still shocked at the magnitude of increases in transactions and size of transactions relative to a year ago,” Stribling’s Kirk Henckels, who authored the report, told us. “We all hear that the overall market has dropped, so to have [that much of an increase] in the high end is impressive.”

Other nuggets from the survey, which tracks the über-luxury market:

• 71 co-ops priced between $5 million and $10 million sold between January and June this year, up from 45 during the same time span last year.

• Townhouse sales between $5 million and $20-plus million are flagging, however (down from 56 to 51), if only for a bit; of those that did find buyers, 39 percent were located downtown. Still on tap: a $75-million townhouse at 22 East 71st Street and a $59-million mansion, on the former Spence-Chapin campus, on East 94th Street.

• Trophy condos are doing quite well, thank you very much: sixteen units over $20 million changed hands in the first half of 2008 compared to eight around the same time last year.