The Vanity Listings

Astronomical asking prices are nothing new to the world of Manhattan luxury real estate. Indeed, the island boasts some of the highest prices per foot of any locale worldwide. And, yet, people often get what they ask for.

So, what makes some sales prices silly and others legitimate? Who knows? What is agreed upon, however, is the fact that some asking prices appear inexplicably ridiculous—at first.

Enter the vanity listings.

These properties are listed at prices so seemingly exaggerated, so un–Great Recession–like, that those who follow such things can only speculate at the motives behind them. “It’s more of a California mentality than a New York mentality,” brokerage eminence A. Laurance Kaiser IV explained. “You know, it’s a showbiz thing. People will pay a fortune to live in Greta Garbo’s old house.”

SLIDESHOW: Five of the city’s most optimistically-priced listings >

cmalle@observer.com

The Vanity Listings