New York's “Billionaires Row” Suffers Biggest Foreclosure In History
In the latest sign that NYC’s ultra-high end property market is on the verge of imploding after a wave of overly aggressive development, another luxury condo at Manhattan’s One57 tower, a member of “Billionaire’s Row,” a group of high-end towers clustered along the southern edge of Central Park, has gone into foreclosure – the second in the span of a month.
The 6,240-square-foot (580-square-meter) full-floor penthouse in question, One57’s Apartment 79, sold for $50.9 million in December 2014, making it the eighth-priciest in the building.
“It’s probably the most-expensive foreclosure we’ve ever seen in luxury development,” said Donna Olshan, president of high-end Manhattan brokerage Olshan Realty Inc. “I don’t know of a foreclosure that’s larger than that.”
According to Bloomberg, the shell company that purchased the property took out an unusually large mortgage and promised to repay in full a year later.
In September 2015, the company took out a $35.3 million mortgage from lender Banque Havilland SA, based in Luxembourg. The full payment of the loan was due one year later, according to court documents filed in connection with the foreclosure.
The borrower failed to repay, and now Banque Havilland is forcing a sale to recoup the funds, plus interest.
And, in what’s become a strong contender for the “no sh*t” quote of the day, a spokeswoman for Extell Developments, the developer that built One57, said there’ s a lesson to be learned from this unfortunate situation.
“This shows that too much leverage is probably not wise,” Anna LaPorte, an Extell spokeswoman, said of the most recent default.
A June 14 auction was scheduled for a 56th-floor apartment at the same tower. That condo was purchased in July 2015 for $21.4 million. Public records have yet to reveal any transfer of ownership for that property.
Investors across the NYC property spectrum should take note; prices in Manhattan and Brooklyn have risen so quickly they’ve effectively pushed marginal buyers out of the market and forced renters to devote a greater share of their income to housing. Today, more than 30% of Americans pay half their income in rent – the highest percentage in decades.
And with more investors in the city concentrating on luxury properties, some ultra-luxury buildings like One57 are struggling with unsustainable vacancy rates of nearly 40%.
Until last month, no apartments on Billionaires’ Row, which also includes 432 Park Ave., had been subject to a foreclosure auction, according to PropertyShark. The loss of a Manhattan residential property to creditors is a rare event, regardless of the unit’s price-tag: Only 27 new residential foreclosures in the borough in the first quarter.
Could this be the start of a trend? We think so. Which leads us to our next question: How, exactly, does one short the luxury real-estate market?
We also look forward to The Left deciding that a probe into this transaction is warranted, just in case it was some complex way to transfer Russian funds to Trump… (only half-kidding).