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So What’s a Better Investment: A Meier or a Candela?

Appraiser Jonathan Miller took two name-brand architects—Pritzker Prize winner Richard Meier (one of an elite group of architects called the New York Five) and Rosario Candela, credited for the stately co-ops that rose uptown before World War II—and examined sales in three apartment buildings by each. He looked at data from 2004 to 2014, all while using price per square foot to account for differences in apartment size, in order to determine which one’s work appreciated more over time.

The Findings:
On a per-square-foot basis, Candela apartments appreciated in value more dramatically—by 70.9 percent. (This includes a record $70 million sale that, if removed from analysis, given its outsize number, still nets him a 32.2 percent increase.) Meier’s condos, on the other hand, rose by 7.2 percent.

The Explanation:
“In many ways, stately uptown co-ops were undervalued ten years ago,” says Miller, explaining that “they were overlooked in favor of the starchitect buildings. It was all about new.” In other words, Meier’s buildings (and other name-branded architect projects) pushed the envelope, price-wise, when they entered the market; they started at a higher number than the Candelas, beloved as they are. This isn’t to say that a Meier is a bad investment; give him a few decades, and Meier’s buildings could very well appreciate as much as a Candela.


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