The luxury condo market is dead.
COVID-19 spells the end of urban living.
Pandemic pushes buyers to outlying areas.
That was a common narrative in the first year of the pandemic. And, in many places that were already saturated (Manhattan, the Florida coast) with high-end attached homes, there was some truth to it.
For much of 2020, luxury homebuyers in pockets across the country eschewed the convenience and low-maintenance potential of condos, instead embracing the idea of more space filled with fewer people. Between March and November 2020, the height of quarantine, sales shot up in suburban New York areas like Westchester County and Long Island, while falling dramatically in Manhattan. The high-end urban properties that did sell in the city were largely marked by steep discounts.
Manhattan has largely rebounded, with the most pronounced increases in Hudson Yards and Chelsea—where contracts have tripled and pricing is up more than 20% from pre-pandemic numbers—and on the Upper East Side, where contracts are up 150% and pricing 15%.
The same is true in Miami; Sales of luxury condos are up 113.8% year-over-year and Q3 2021 saw the highest numbers for that time period in more than six years.
While condo sales may have slowed across the country for a time, the upside of urban living continued to drive interest, says Ricardo Rodriguez, a Global Luxury Ambassador for Coldwell Banker Realty in Boston. “Cities are the cultural and business engine of this country, and they continue to be desirable despite the narrative of the past two years. One of the factors that contributes to their desirability is the variety of inventory, particularly condos. From small or boutique buildings to full-service high-rise residential towers, buyers can find any type of condo home they want in a wide range of prices, walking distance to the things they and their families love to do.”
They’re in even higher demand across the country now for those same reasons. According to a new report from the Institute for Luxury Marketing: Between October 2020 and October 2021, the median list price for attached homes rose from $899,950 to $1,112,500 and median days on market dropped from 34 to 13. The total sales ratio for luxury attached homes rose from 20.19% to 43.78%, and, as sales picked up, inventory fell dramatically, from 18,607 to 11,212 over the same period.
Markets with the highest median sales price for luxury condos over the period studied were Vail ($3,200,000), San Francisco ($2,460,000), Park City ($2,300,000), and the Greater Boston area ($2,150,000).
“In Boston, year to date according to MLS, we have seen 34% more condominiums sold citywide than in 2019 and 43% more in comparison to 2020,” says Rodriguez. “When looking at $5 million and over, the total number of condos sold in comparison to 2019 increased by 43% and a staggering 111% in comparison to 2020, with the highest sale price this year at $21.5 million outperforming the past two years by 37%.”
In some areas, like Chicago, the high-end condo market isn’t just keeping pace, but is flirting with record sales numbers in late 2021. Appraisal and consulting firm, Integra Realty Resources, reports there were 27 attached homes sales over $4 million closed by mid-October; in the banner year of 2018, there were 36 units sold in the same price range for the entire 12-month period—an all-time-high.
In Los Angeles, high-end buyers may be more accustomed to sprawling than soaring, but that hasn’t stopped this segment from growing, and thriving. Sales of luxury condos are up 138% from 2020 and prices are up 7%.
Up north in Silicon Valley, buyers pay some of the highest prices in the country for single-family homes. Los Altos is home to one of the top 10 most expensive zip codes in the country, and Atherton often holds the No. 1 spot with a current median home sale price of nearly $7.5 million. But in the heart of downtown San Jose, a penthouse condo with ample space, city and mountain views, and a location within minutes of Googleplex, can be found for just under $2 million.
Ones to Watch
1 Bath and 3 partials
2,840 Square feet
Enjoy modern living in the heart of downtown Minneapolis with paneled walls, marble counters in the gourmet island kitchen, herringbone floors, and glittering city views. This premier condo has been completely remodeled and includes direct elevator access, walls of windows, and a 30-foot x 11-foot covered balcony, all in the shadow of the Walker Sculpture Garden.
2 Baths and 1 partial
2,468 Square feet
Beach-close property in Southern California is always in high demand, and this renovated condo offers a desirable lock-and-leave opportunity in a turnkey unit. Light and bright with views out to Santa Monica beach and the mountains, this residence is just adjacent to the oceanfront and a short distance from the shops and restaurants on Abbot Kinney.
The condo includes a private two-car garage and direct access out to the well-kept grounds. Amenities including a 24-hour guard, pool and spa, lush gardens, exercise studio and conference rooms.
This property is listed for sale for $3,200,000 by Rheannon Slover of Coldwell Banker Realty.
3 Baths and 1 partial
2,623 Square feet
This bespoke, architecturally significant penthouse boasts meticulous design and impeccable craftsmanship, with a custom kitchen, floor-to-ceiling windows revealing Back Bay and city views, and three private outdoor spaces including an expansive roof deck.
In the building, owners enjoy a boutique luxury living experience with concierge services, a fitness center, lounge, and a pet spa. The setting is ideal for anyone who wants a prime, walkable lifestyle; The residence is just steps to Whole Foods, art galleries, restaurants, cafes, and parks.
7 Baths and 1 partial
8,203 Square feet
The largest condo in this luxurious oceanfront offering, Unit 1709 is packed with fine features over its two floors, notably walls of glass that afford breathtaking ocean and sunrise views. Enjoy a home office, kids’ playroom, home gym, formal dining room with built-in bar, and a 350-gallon custom-built saltwater aquarium, plus 800 square feet of elevated outdoor space.
Resort-style amenities in the building include four pools, spa, fitness center, tennis court, business center, concierge, and 24-hour valet.
4 Baths and 1 partial
Glamorous living awaits at the iconic San Remo on New York City’s Upper West Side. This neo-classical wonder is a true landmark, and the fully renovated manse in the sky lives up to its promise. Beautiful scale and light, exquisite appointments, massive bedroom suites including the luxurious owner’s retreat, a fully built-out dressing room, and French doors opening onto Central Park are just a few of the enviable features.
This property is listed for sale for $19,975,000 by Frederick Warburg Peters of Coldwell Banker Warburg.