x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Heiress trumps Donald's old place

The Life: New York is attracting headlines for big property sales.

The five-storey mansion in New York City has been sold for US$48 million (Dh176.3m). Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg News
The five-storey mansion in New York City has been sold for US$48 million (Dh176.3m). Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg News

London and Hong Kong make headlines for mind-boggling prices paid for homes these days, but don't count out New York City.

The latest big bite out of the Big Apple was the US$48 million (Dh176.3m) paid for a five-storey, 10 metre-wide mansion, described as a "roomy" 1,100 square metres. The buyer was Johnson & Johnson heiress Libet Johnson, who is reportedly moving up from a four-bedroom apartment in the Trump International Hotel and Tower that she listed for $24m last month.

Her new home dates to 1881 and was once owned by Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt of the famous New York Vanderbilts. The sellers, who reportedly paid $11.5m for the mansion in 2001, initially put the house on the market in 2007 with an asking price of $62m, which, it turns out, was a tad unrealistic.

There's nothing shabby about the $48m price tag, but it is far from the record price paid for a townhouse in New York. That is believed to be the $53m paid in the heady days of 2006 by the investment banker J Christopher Flowers for the Harkness Mansion, a "neo-French Renaissance" townhouse built in 1896.

But the Vanderbilt sale is one more sign the wealthy are once again ready to open their wallets for New York property.

The Vanderbilt mansion deal follows on the heels of the March sale of a 560-sq-metre condominium in the refurbished Plaza Hotel for $48m to Igor Krutoy, the Russian composer. The price is believed to be the highest for a condominium in the city.

But that record may be about to fall. Two adjoining duplex apartments on Park Avenue owned by Courtney Sale Ross, widow of the media mogul Steve Ross, recently went on the market for $60m. Past residents in the building include John D Rockefeller, Vera Wang and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who lived there as a child, according to The Wall Street Journal.

But the highest New York prices do not match London, where Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov recently paid £136m (Dh806.1m) for a penthouse apartment at One Hyde Park.

The Quote: "Art for art’s sake is a philosophy of the well-fed.” Frank Lloyd Wright

kbrass@thenational.ae