It’s easy to see who’s winning the popularity contest in New York real estate circles these days. Co-ops, like many a high school queen bee, are granted grudging respect: good looking, better grades, they hang out with all the best people and wield an awesome amount of social power. But condos, well, condos seem to have it all: they’re beautiful, friends with all the cool foreign kids and they’re so nice while still playing the edgy bad boy.
Over the past year or so, belligerently wealthy out-of-towners have been snapping up New York condos like so many Jimmy Choos and boarding school seats. The Russians have invaded and we couldn’t be happier, and the rest of the world is eager to follow. Glassy condo towers are—after their brief recessionary hiatus—rising again. Indeed, the biggest residential deals of the year went down neither at co-ops nor mansions but at 15 Central Park West and newfound rivals One57 and the Ritz Carlton. Amazingly the Ritz may look like an old co-op but it is actually a 2002 condo conversion of the old St. Moritz hotel. Back then, units sold for a fraction of what they are now getting, and certainly less than its co-op rivals on Park and Fifth avenues.
The same, alas, cannot be said of co-ops. Marvelous as those bastions of old money are, they are also notorious for their rigid policies and grueling board interviews, where one’s future neighbors—if one is so lucky—pour over financial documents and probe into personal lives. Look no further than the case of godly 740 Park. While the famed building notched a co-op record this year with the $52 million sale of Courtney Sale Ross’ immense spread, that is half the price of some of the record deals now taking place. Meanwhile Goldman guy Jonathan Sobel sold a penthouse at the Verona (a very nice one, but still, ever heard of the place?) for more than he paid for a new duplex at 740 Park. He got a 45 percent discount, to boot, from what the home was first asking four years ago.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. But might they rise again by becoming condos? Read More