APRIL 21, 2015 • A Manhattan apartment is the new gold.
Larry Fink, who built BlackRock Inc. BLK, -0.05% into the world’s largest money manager, had this to say at conference in Singapore, according to Bloomberg:
“The two greatest stores of wealth internationally today is contemporary art….. and I don’t mean that as a joke, I mean that as a serious asset class. And two, the other store of wealth today is apartments in Manhattan, apartments in Vancouver, in London.”
He isn’t kidding.
Just look at how Manhattan condo prices, as measured by Streeteasy.com, stack up against both that traditional store of value — gold (in this case, the continuous front-month futures contract) GCM5, -0.50% — and the S&P 500 SPX, -0.22%
Listen to the real-estate agents, and prices are headed even higher.
Douglas Elliman, a large New York real-estate broker, said in its latest report that the Manhattan housing market “took a breather” in the first quarter, and the shift reflects “the return to more sustainable conditions” after two years of robust growth.
The average sales price of $1.73 million was 2.3% below the $1.77 million of a year earlier, although the median price was off just 0.2% at $970,000.
“The strengthening U.S. dollar is expected to temper some portion of international demand although its primary driver has been the search for a safe investment haven over a currency play,” it added.
To be sure, the cost of holding property is much higher than storing gold, given the property taxes, condo and co-op fees and the cost of regular maintenance, let alone remodeling. But you have to live somewhere, and, of course, properties, owner-occupied or rented, come with tax deductions.
Now take a look at these two dueling $70-million-plus triplex apartments on the market today.
One, owned by Demi Moore, overlooks Central Park. The other, more than 50 blocks to the south, is being sold by Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp, which owns MarketWatch.
Moore’s six-bedroom, 17-room penthouse in the San Remo, a two-towered pre-war building at 145-146 Central Park West, between 74th and 75th streets, comes with about 7,000 square feet of living space, 1,500 square feet of terraces and a separate two-bedroom maisonette unit at lobby level. She is asking $75 million, according to the listing.
Moore and her then-husband, Bruce Willis, purchased the unit in 1990, according to The New York Times. It didn’t list the purchase price.
Murdoch’s triplex, also a penthouse with its own stunning views, is in a modern luxury tower, One Madison, located at the foot of Madison Avenue at 23rd Street, in the Flatiron district. He is asking $72 million for about 6,850 square feet of space now being built out, according to The Wall Street Journal, which is also owned by News Corp.
He paid $57.25 million last year for both the space and a three-bedroom apartment one floor below, according to The Wall Street Journal. He is keeping the apartment.