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Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities” gave me the phrase “master of the universe” which I can liberally use when (respectfully) describing the penthouse apartment demographic, but his earlier book cover better matched the chart colors – hence the title.

But I digress…

I got a call by a reporter who thought there was an uptick in Manhattan penthouse sales. So I looked at the market from January 2012 by month for frequency and price trends. Penthouse sales represent a very specific and small market niche with a huge disparity in characteristics.

I found 329 penthouse sales out of a pool of 14,612 sales over the past 14 months. I tagged any sale with a “PH or some abbreviation of the word “penthouse” in the label. Yes there are penthouses that aren’t necessarily tagged as such, but that occurance would be random and not likely a factor. That’s a 2.3% market share for penthouse sales which seems to correlate to the housing stock i.e. 100 unit building with 2 penthouses.

Although a 2.3% market share seems a tad high to me, no real trend or pattern emerged. I did observe that the average sales price of a Manhattan penthouse was $4,249,323 since early 2012 or 3.1x higher than the overall average sales price of $1,354,766 in 1Q 2013.

I can’t let a bunch of research time go to waste so I whipped up a chart that shows…nothing.

Conclusion: No uptick. (ie No Kool-aid.)


One Response to “Manhattan’s Electric Kool-Aid Penthouse Test”

  1. William Smolen says:

    Jonathan, Thanks for sharing the data. I love the association that led to the choice of title…very creative By the way, it looks like we may finally have AMC legislation in New York State….hopefully….and hopefully far-reaching in terms of protecting our NY State citizens, consumers, and working appraisers. Lastly and sadly, Michael Cartwright passed away in March. Not sure if you knew who he was (if you follow appraiser forums you definitely should). Anyway, keep fighting the good fight. Bill