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A breather after the rush to beat New York's 'mansion tax'

A number of recorded transactions managed to miss the increase in the transfer tax that took effect on July 1

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The biggest sale was a sprawling penthouse at 220 Central Park South, purchased by Sting for US$65.8 million. The penthouse, designed by Robert A M Stern Architects, directly faces the park. It has 5,800 square feet and three bedrooms and 5-1/2 baths.

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The biggest sale was a sprawling penthouse at 220 Central Park South, purchased by Sting for US$65.8 million. The penthouse, designed by Robert A M Stern Architects, directly faces the park. It has 5,800 square feet and three bedrooms and 5-1/2 baths.

New York

LUXURY home sales in Manhattan slowed in July from the dizzying pace of the previous month, when buyers rushed to avoid New York state's higher "mansion tax".

But remnants of the brisk activity were still around, and this included a US$65.8 million penthouse purchased by British rocker Sting.

A number of recorded transactions managed to miss the increase in the property transfer tax that took effect on July 1. The reasons were purely technical: Either the closing documents were time-stamped in June when filed with the New York City Registrar or the sales contracts were grandfathered in.

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"Who wouldn't want to save a few per cent on a substantial sale by moving the closing date before the July 1 deadline," said Jonathan Miller, a real estate appraiser, noting that the sales of homes priced from US$2 million to US$5 million jumped 37 per cent in the second quarter, compared with the same period in 2018.

Previously, all residences selling for US$1 million or more were subject to a flat 1 per cent tax on the purchase price; it now rises incrementally, up to 3.9 per cent for sales of US$25 million or more.

Many of July's biggest recorded purchases made the old-tax deadline, like the triplex penthouse that was bought by Sting, using his real name, Gordon Sumner.

Also making the cut was a US$34.2 million triplex sale, along with two apartments - one that sold for US$30.5 million and one for US$26 million - and a high-floor unit at Park Ave that closed at US$29.5 million.

The month's other notable transactions included the sale of Barbra Streisand's former apartment and the former town house owned by Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.

Georgina Bloomberg, the youngest daughter of Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, bought an apartment on Central Park West, while Alexander von Furstenberg, the son of fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and Swiss-born aristocrat Egon von Furstenberg, sold one on Park Avenue.

James Catherwood Hormel, the former US ambassador to Luxembourg, bought a condo in Tribeca, and Alan Blinken, who served as ambassador to Belgium, sold a co-op in Turtle Bay. Also, actor J K Simmons and his wife Michelle Schumacher, a producer and director, acquired a Greenwich Village apartment.

Sting's new triplex is in the 18-story, 10-unit villa building of the limestone-clad 220 Central Park South complex, designed by Robert A M Stern Architects; it directly faces the park, with the main 65-floor tower rising behind it.

The apartment, which had a US$70 million asking price, has 5,800 square feet and three bedrooms and 5-1/2 baths.

Sting managed to circumvent the new mansion tax because he entered into a contract to buy the unit in June 2016. (The old rates were grandfathered in for contracts signed before April 1.) Last year, he sold a duplex at 15 Central Park West for US$50 million.

The other triplex sale was at the Marquand, a condo conversion on East 68th Street and a quick stroll from Central Park. The unit had been listed for US$36 million. Known as Penthouse East, the apartment encompasses 7,000 square feet on the 11th through 13th floors and features several large terraces, as well as a solarium and an exercise pool and hot tub on the top level. The four main bedrooms, each with a connecting bath, are on the lower level, including an enormous master suite, which has a large walk-in closet and a dressing room. There are also four fireplaces.

At 520 Park, another limestone creation by Robert A M Stern, full-floor condominiums on the 35th and 31st floors were sold. The more expensive of the two, the unit on the higher floor, was initially listed for US$35.6 million. Each contains 4,628 square feet of space, with four bedrooms and five baths, along with spacious eat-in kitchens and family rooms. The identities of both buyers were shielded by limited liability companies.

The purchasers of an apartment on the 86th floor of the 432 Park skyscraper were identified as philanthropists Roger and Susan Hertog. The couple's new 4,028-square-foot home takes up a half floor and features three bedrooms, 4-1/2 baths, a library and panoramic views of Central Park and the city skyline.

Among the other top transactions was a six-story mansion at 2 N Moore St in Tribeca, with a rare three-car garage and an indoor heated pool and gym. It sold for US$26.8 million, although the building was initially listed for US$48 million when it re-entered the market five years ago.

The sellers - reportedly financier Mark Zittman and his wife Noelle - had bought the home for US$24.1 million in 2010. The house, built in 2008, has 11,300 sq ft, with six bedrooms, seven full baths, four powder rooms, an art studio and a staff apartment. There is also 1,500 sq ft of outdoor space that includes a dining atrium and terraces on the second and third levels.

On the Upper East Side, a town house sold for US$25.5 million. It also has a garage (for two vehicles), along with a gym, and 1,500 sq ft of outdoor space (in the rear garden). The house is 40 ft wide with 14,000 sq ft of interior space over five levels. It has 12 bedrooms, eight baths and 10 fireplaces.

Streisand's former home, a duplex at 320 Central Park West, at 92nd Street, aka the Ardsley co-op building, sold for US$10.5 million. The sellers, Richard Prins, a lawyer, and Connie Steensma, a retired consultant, had a much easier time securing a buyer than Streisand did. Their deal closed just two months after the unit was listed for US$11.25 million.

On the other hand, Streisand saw the apartment linger for four years when she was selling, after the co-op board repeatedly rejected potential buyers, reportedly including Mariah Carey. Prins and Steensma bought the apartment from Streisand for US$4.25 million in 2002.

Onassis' former town house, overlooking the East River, sold for US$13 million. He had lived in the four-storey brick building with his first wife, Tina Onassis, in the early 1950s.

The most recent seller was the estate of John Whitehead, a banker and businessman who was the chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp, which led the rebuilding effort after 9/11. The 4,400-square-foot house, which was fully renovated in the mid-1980s, has four bedrooms and 4-1/2 baths, as well as an abundance of outdoor space, including an enormous, river-facing enclosed garden shared with 13 neighbouring town houses.

Bloomberg, an equestrian and philanthropist, used a trust to buy a co-op at 101 Central Park West for US$10.2 million. She bought it from the estate of socialite Sherry Bernstein, who died last year. The 12th-floor apartment, which has more than 3,100 square feet, offers stunning park views. It contains three bedrooms and 3-1/2 baths, plus two staff bedrooms and a bath.

Von Furstenberg, the founder and chief investment officer of Ranger Global Advisors, sold an apartment on the 53rd floor of 432 Park. The price was US$10.8 million, which was only slightly more than what he had paid for it last autumn, also through a trust. The 1,789-square-foot unit, with expansive cityscape views, has two bedrooms and 2-1/2 baths.

Hormel, the former ambassador to Luxembourg, paid US$11.3 million for a 71st-floor apartment of 30 Park Place, aka the Four Seasons Private Residences New York. The half-floor residence, extending 3,700 square feet, offers sweeping views of the Hudson River and midtown. It contains four bedrooms and 5-1/2 baths, plus a family room and laundry room.

The former US ambassador to Belgium Alan Blinken and his wife Melinda sold a fourth-floor co-op for US$5.5 million. Throughout the three-bedroom, 3-1/2-bath home are stunning East River views.

Simmons and Schumacher bought a full-floor, 3,056-square-foot unit at 16 University Place, a new boutique condo just a block from Union Square. Their home has three bedrooms and 3-1/2 baths and also comes with a storage room. The price was US$6.3 million. NYTIMES