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The Dakota Is a Mirror of Changing Tastes

Upper West Side, Manhattan

Dakota Decline

The Dakota on Central Park West.

Jan. 16, 2018

If you want to understand the changing fortunes of co-op and condo apartments in New York City, all you need to do is look inside the iconic Dakota on Central Park West.

There, according to the New York Post, the decline of the co-op – and the growing preference for condos – is on graphic, high-dollar display. A mystery buyer recently purchased the apartments of Grammy-winning singer Roberta Flack and the late socialite Jacqueline Bikoff, possibly to combine them into a sprawling 14-room unit. Both apartments languished on the market and underwent significant price cuts before the sales. Flack’s had been on and off the market since 2015, while the asking price slid from $9.5 million to $6.99 million; the asking price for Bikoff’s apartment, meanwhile, plummeted from $16.75 million to $10 million over the past two years. They were the first sales at the Dakota since 2016.

Other discounted units continue to languish on the market, an indication that the city’s high-end prewar co-op market is losing its luster, in part because it faces intense competition from new condo developments.

From the fourth quarter of 2012 to the same quarter in 2017, average sales for prewar co-ops priced over $3 million down Central Park West, Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side plunged 44.2 percent to $6.1 million, according to the appraiser Miller Samuel. Meanwhile, average sales for new-development condos priced over $3 million on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side rose 25.3 percent over the same time period to $4.96 million. While co-ops still outnumber condos, only a dozen co-ops have been created since 2014, compared with more than 600 condos, according to the state Attorney General.

“[It’s] the first significant competition that [the high-end prewar co-op market] has seen,” says Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel. “The new-development phenomenon is not a passing fad. It’s a significant change in the Manhattan housing market.”

Adds broker Donna Olshan, “The buying audience has gone elsewhere. It underscores the whole change in taste.”

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