In 2021, the real estate market saw a phenomenal turnaround with some very high transactional numbers being achieved. This held true not only for a vibrant city like Dubai – breaking 7-year records and achieving some of the largest transactions in its history – but for many of the top metropolitan markets of the world. New York, for example, had a banner year with over $30 billion in sales and more than 16,000 signed contracts. A majority of these sales came from the luxury apartment/penthouse market (units priced at $4 million and above) in some of the more affluent neighborhoods, and the third quarter of 2021 registered three times as many sales in Manhattan as during the same period in 2020. Rising demand in the face of limited supply was one of the main factors that propelled Dubai real estate, and it has proven to be one of the key drivers in New York as well. The GCC region has always had a bit of a love affair with New York, and there has been a surge in inquiries from GCC buyers who are looking for an investment, a pied a Terre or, in the cases of some older buyers, a home for their college-going children in the city.
There are some incredible new projects in the works to try and meet demand, such as Cast Iron House, The Bushwick, and The Huxley. The most hotly anticipated project, however, occupies a spot in Manhattan’s famous Upper West Side – home to Broadway, The Julliard School of Music, and the New York Museum of Natural History. This 20-story residential tower, known as The Westly, is a unique option in Manhattan’s luxury landscape. Designed by innovative firm ODA Architecture, the tower has a stunning cantilevered design such that the rooftop level is wider and larger than the ground level. The stone-clad façade mirrors the design of classic New York brownstones while adding bold contemporary and Art Deco touches that give it a highly distinct aesthetic. Featuring just 57 residences divided into two to five-bedroom units (including two exclusive penthouse units), The Westly offers layouts that are more spacious than most modern homes in Manhattan, complemented by high-end marble and wood finishes.
The Westly is being marketed on an exclusive basis by SERHANT, the eponymous brokerage founded by celebrity realtor Ryan Serhant (of Million Dollar Listing fame, to international viewers). In the Middle East market, award-winning Dubai-based luxury brokerage LuxuryProperty.com is showcasing the project to clients. Mark Castley, COO of LuxuryProperty.com, has over a decade of experience in the North American real estate market and has developed a discerning eye for projects that are truly top-tier.
“It is an absolute privilege to have The Westly featured on our website for potential clients to discover,” says Mark. “This is easily one of the biggest new developments in New York, and it represents a new era of luxury for the city. Already, we are working with a number of high-profile clients in the UAE and across the GCC who have an interest in New York condominiums. This will tick all the right boxes for them.”
Apartments in New York can be roughly divided into two classes – co-ops and condominiums. Co-ops, or housing co-operatives, are buildings owned by corporate entities with residents purchasing shares in the building to live there for a finite duration (they could loosely be considered the equivalent of leasehold properties in the UAE). Condominiums, or condos, are buildings that offer apartments with individual ownership and can also refer to the apartments themselves (the equivalent of freehold properties). Co-ops make up approximately 75% of the Manhattan apartment market, but that market share is shrinking as newer condos are being developed. Since condos are individually owned, buying and selling them is easier than it is with co-ops, and in 2021, the ratio of luxury condos to luxury co-ops sold was the highest it has been since 2008, which shows a growing appetite for these units. One of the huge draws that condos have over co-ops is in the amenities that they offer. Co-ops are quite limited in their design scope, without the capacity or the resources to add in much beyond the basic residential units. Condos are created as lifestyle destinations, and thus have a broader range of options for residents to enjoy. This is another aspect in which The Westly excels, featuring a rooftop pool that looks out over the Manhattan skyline and the Hudson River, as well as an entire floor of amenities that includes a fitness center, yoga studio, music room, game room, playroom, and residents’ lounge. Concierge services are available 24/7, along with a few other essential services.
There is a tremendous amount of optimism for what 2022 will bring to global real estate. While the emergence of Omicron has caused a slight slowdown in activity for some markets, there is still a very healthy level of demand, and that demand will translate to a significant volume of transactions over the course of the year as the world adapts to the situation once again. The outlook for New York real estate, particularly prime real estate, is rosier than it has been in quite some time, and a project like The Westly is not likely to stay on the market for very long.