Blocks & Lots

Does this Mega-Deal Signal the Comeback of Ultra-Luxury NYC Real Estate?

For one Upper East Side resident, a casual walk around the neighborhood led to among the year’s biggest real estate deals. The unnamed buyer took down the phone number of a developer of a property under construction. Now, they’re the future owner of a penthouse at 109 East 79th St with an asking price of $32.5 million.

That’s according to a report by The Real Deal.

The contract may be an early sign of the comeback of luxury NYC condo sales after COVID nearly sounded the death knell for a market already struggling in the wake of the 2019 mansion tax. Or is it?

Many of the city’s priciest properties are still awaiting buyers. Nearly 150 NYC condos with asking prices over $30 million remain to be sold, according to Marketproof New Development data. At the current pace, that is more than 10 years of inventory.

More than a quarter of these units are in Midtown’s Central Park Tower. The Extell project has a total sellout of more than $4 billion, the highest in NYC history. Midtown dominates the most costly market segment, while West Chelsea earns an honorable mention.

With so many expensive units outstanding, it is unclear whether 109 East 79th St’s early score signals renewed strength for the highest-echelon market.

109 East 79th St

For sure, 109 East 79th Street checks a lot of the boxes for the ultra-luxury set. At 34 units, it has a modest number of apartments. Units have fireplaces, outdoor spaces, and step-down living rooms.

Rendering courtesy of Noë & Associates (Click to expand)

The five-bed, six-bath condo that sold this month comes with three elevator entrances. The dining room measures 27×15′ and the living room 33×24′ with a 20′ ceiling. It has a private terrace and two balconies.

The $32.5 million penthouse was the first unit in the building, slated for completion in 2022, to go into contract.

Floorplan courtesy of Corcoran (Click to expand)

109 East 79th St’s developer, Legion Investment Group, previously was associated with Naftali Group. Naftali pioneered another nascent Upper East Side behemoth, Madison Avenue’s The Benson. The Benson reportedly sold its most expensive unit, a $35 million penthouse, in November.

Is the luxury market coming back? Will this prove an isolated incident tied to the unique strength of a single building? Or did someone with millions to spend just find something they wanted?

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Top photo courtesy of 109 East 79th St.

Joe Zappa