Late last week, the 110 Central Park South penthouse that the philanthropist Iris Cantor bought in 2006 for about $15 million went to contract, after its price was cut to $11.9 million. “Everybody likes to make money,” her broker A. Larry Kaiser IV has said, “but you become realistic.”
“If they have to sell, for whatever reason, they’re going to have to take the nasty pill and swallow it,” said Barbara Fox, the head of an eponymous boutique brokerage. “This is not a time when we put our head under a blanket … shielding ourselves from reality. This is real life now.”
Friday’s third deed was for Bruce Lisman, Bear Stearns’ former co-head of global equities. Two years ago he put his four-bedroom apartment at 923 Fifth Avenue on the market for $22.5 million, which came down to $19.75 million, then $18.95 million, then $16.75 million. The place sold this month for $12.8 million, less than the $13,125,000 he spent on it.
One of his brokers, Mary Beth Flynn, said that the sale “turned out to be a break-even situation,” but she would not explain how he made up for the $325,000. “The apartment was a bit too big for him. It was just time to move on; he was very Zen about it, he really was, and still is.”
He’s not the only finance type suffering. Ramesh Singh, the former global head of mortgage-backed securities at UBS, which he left last year, has been marketing a 7,234-square-foot maisonette at 823 Park Avenue for exactly a year. He reportedly paid $20 million, and once wanted $24.75 million. Even though the tag came down in May to $14.5 million, the apartment hasn’t sold.
Meanwhile, Mr. Eisman’s family is looking for something larger. “Selling at a loss can be a very smart transaction, because this is a very good market to upgrade in,” said John Burger, a Brown Harris Stevens managing director. “It’s a very, very smart move to take a loss on an asset of lesser value—and upgrade.”