City real estate was not immune to an unprecedented year.
From Astoria to Park Slope, New York City neighborhoods have seen their sales records smashed amid the pandemic.
In February, engaged couple Dru Serkes, 31, and Lauren Weinberg, 33, went into contract on a two-bedroom apartment at a new six-story luxury development in Astoria, dubbed the Rowan.
The deal, worth $ 1.69 million, or $ 1,264 per square foot, smashed the neighborhood’s record for a two-bedroom condo.
And no wonder: Their new fifth-floor, 1,344-square-foot corner unit in the DXA Studio-designed, 46-unit building came tricked out with amenities like Miele appliances, high ceilings and a 549-square-foot terrace with panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline.
The opportunity to buy into a luxury building in Astoria was a “no brainer,” said Serkes, a software engineer, because despite the record-breaking ask, the unit has “great value” compared with Manhattan or even nearby Long Island City.
“Where else in the city can you get all that — the quality of the space, the amenities, the location — for that price?” added Weinberg, who is an actor. “It’s the perfect little sweet spot.”
Astoria’s previous record was set last fall when a 1,148-square-foot, two-bedroom penthouse also in the Rowan went for $ 1.65 million. Before that, East River Tower, which was built in 2007, held the record with a 2018 sale at $ 1.6 million.
But Queens’ top real estate plays paled in comparison to Brooklyn, where the pandemic has supercharged the luxury market, as buyers seek more spacious living quarters.
In December, the five-story, 11,580-square-foot, 1875-era townhouse at 8 Montague Terrace in Brooklyn Heights sold for $ 25.5 million — shattering the entire borough’s home sale record.
Sold by billionaire business mogul Vinnie Viola, the 30-foot-wide and 72-foot-deep mansion first hit the market for $ 114 million in 2013.
“Bigger sales require a different product,” said Lindsay Barton Barrett, the Douglas Elliman agent who brokered the deal. “It takes an uncommon property to tip the scale.”
The previous Brooklyn record had been a $ 20.3 million sale at Quay Tower on the East River waterfront.
In nearby Cobble Hill, River Park, a new development with five buildings, recently sold the neighborhood’s five most expensive new development properties. One of them — a four-bedroom, 4½-bath, 3,346-square-foot penthouse — is in contract at $ 7.5 million.
Over in Fort Greene, an 1880s-era townhouse at 198 Washington Park tipped the scales in January, setting a new sales record for that neighborhood. The 11-bedroom home situated directly on Fort Greene Park sold for $ 6.5 million to Peter Poopat, founder of sneaker brand Common Projects.
Brokered by Brown Harris Stevens’ Jeffrey Goodman, the property’s intact original details and its uniquely large size at 8,580 square feet with a 1,000-square-foot backyard made the home a rare find.
Previously, Fort Greene’s priciest sale was a $ 5.25 million townhouse in 2015.
Meanwhile, One Prospect Park West has broken Park Slope’s record.
Situated on a corner of Prospect Park and Grand Army Plaza, the 10-story, 1920s-era Knights of Columbus Club now boasts 64 oversized luxury residences designed by Workstead. In October, a four-bedroom, 3,175-square-foot penthouse with a 1,500-square-foot private rooftop terrace sold for $ 6.5 million there. Before that a $ 5.25 million unit at 25 8th Ave. that sold in 2018 held the record.
For Douglas Elliman’s Doug Bowen who brokered the deal, the building’s success is owed to its “highly unique” design with extra-large floor plates.
“People who were looking in Brooklyn prior to COVID are more motivated than ever,” said Bowen. “There’s also a new fresh crop of buyers coming from Manhattan who never considered Brooklyn before — and there’s no sticker shock.”
Unsurprisingly, cramped COVID-plagued Manhattan has been the loser in the race for records. But one deal did stand out.
Last July, the Vandewater, a new tower in Morningside Heights sold a four-bedroom, 2,264-square-foot corner unit for $ 4.55 million — beating out the previous record of $ 3.85 million at 440 Riverside Drive.
The 25th-floor condo boasts 14-foot-high ceilings and unobstructed southwest views of the Hudson River and the city skyline beyond Columbia’s campus. Designed by IAD, it’s the tallest building in the neighborhood at 33 stories and boasts 24,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor amenities, including landscaped gardens and a 70-foot-long heated pool.
“Morningside hasn’t had this kind of condo inventory before,” said Peter Denby, the Brown Harris Stevens agent who brokered the deal. “You’re getting more without sacrificing quality of life or luxury finishes. Buyers feel like they’re getting a good deal.”