Maybe the Luxury Market Isn’t Doing Badly After All

redroom Maybe the Luxury Market Isnt Doing Badly After All While some high-end buildings–15 CPW, Superior Ink–have been doing boffo, recession be damned, others have languished.

Consider two long-awaited mega deals at 778 Park Avenue, where the discounts turned out to be more spectacular than the apartments. The Buckley maisonnette, originally listed for $24.5 million, went for $8.75 million. Likewise, Brooke Astor’s apartment, listed for $46 million, just went into contract for less than $20 million.

Today, The Wall Street Journal asks what gives, and presents one theory being passed around like bacon-wrapped lobster on the industry’s holiday party circuit. The fault may not be in our stars, some are whispering, but in brokers’ failure to price apartments properly.

“If you screw up prices,” Douglas Elliman’s Dolly Lenz told The Jourmal, “the sense of urgency is blown.” The theory goes that when brokers list apartments with dizzyingly high prices, not only are they forced to drop the price to a more reasonable level, but because the apartment has then been sitting on the market for a while it’s already lost some of its cache.

Of course, it’s been a little tricky to price an apartment these last couple years. Surely no one during the cork-popping days of spring 2008 could have anticipated how quickly the champagne was about to turn to ginger ale. Who can blame a broker for trying?

lkusisto@observer.com | @LauraKusisto