Billionaires’ Row is a bust.
Nearly half of luxury units across seven buildings in the uber-exclusive Midtown Manhattan stretch — where apartments have sold for as high as $100 million — sit empty and dark, according to a study exclusively shared with The Post.
An analysis of recorded and known pending sales at the seven skyscrapers — 157 W. 57th St., 432 Park Ave., 111 W. 57th St., 53 W. 53rd St., 520 Park Ave., 217 W. 57th St. and 220 Central Park South — conducted by brokerage firm Serhant found that some 44 percent of the building’s collective condos remain vacant.
That translates to 341 of the buildings’ cumulative 772 units, according to the study.
The 772 units boast a combined value of just over $17 billion, with 39.7 percent of that sum — or $6.758 billion — tied up in unsold units, the study found.
The Post reported similar pre-pandemic problems moving the ultra-pricey stock in 2019.
Supply may have simply outpaced demand, said Serhant’s director of market intelligence, Garrett Derderian, with sales in the buildings all commencing within a period of less than seven years, spanning December 2011 through October 2018.
“There is no question there is a glut of inventory, especially [among units valued] between $10 to $30 million, where most product on Billionaires’ Row is priced,” said Derderian.
Donna Olshan, president of Olshan Realty and author of the Olshan Luxury Market Report, agreed.
“There was just too much inventory built,” said Olshan, who was not involved in the drafting of Serhant’s study. “No one knows how deep the pool of buyers is for these properties.
“The developers raised money, made rosy projections, and built buildings, but they didn’t sell,” she added. “They were overpriced, and in some buildings the only good views are very high up.”
Arguably the biggest loser in the crowded market, Olshan said, was 157 West 57th St., the first of the buildings to launch sales.
“You have older product getting buried by the newer product,” she said. “The pricing was off to begin with and then new things came on the market and they drown out the inventory and the scale of inventory.”
Eleven percent of the skyscraper’s units remain unsold, according to the Serhant study.
While, in that respect, it has fared better than most of the other six properties, re-sale prices in the building have tanked.
“At the time it was constructed, One57 was the pinnacle of the ultra-luxury market, having created an entirely new asset class,” according to the Serhant study. “The average discount on a resale property from the prior sale price is 25.4 percent, indicating the building has not held its value in the way many initially believed it would.”
Olshan added that sales have been depressed recently by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has kept foreign buyers — who typically gobble up Midtown units for their proximity to theaters and hotels — overseas.
“The foreign market evaporated once the pandemic hit,” she said. “That certainly had a huge impact on the Midtown corridor.”
But Derderian countered that the pandemic hasn’t completely deterred New York-based billionaire bargain-hunters.
“Buyers in this range [$10 to $30 million] have taken advantage of the opportunity the pandemic caused to buy some of the best real estate at pandemic prices,” he said. “In fact, the first half of 2021 was the strongest on record for the $10 million-plus market, a positive sign given the concern last year as sales were brought to a halt.”
But Billionaires’ Row still has a way to go to fill the units.
The Central Park Tower at 217 West 57th St., which was the last of the buildings to begin sales, unsurprisingly has the most vacancies, with a whopping 89 percent of its 179 units sitting empty, according to Serhant.
By contrast, 432 Park Ave. has the smallest percentage of vacancies, with all but one of its 125 units accounted for.
Also doing relatively well is 220 Central Park South, where Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai was recently revealed as the mystery buyer of two full-floor condos at a combined $157.5 million.
Ten percent of the building’s units are unoccupied, comparable to the 11 percent at figure at 157 West 57th St. despite sales beginning nearly four years later.
Developers for the seven buildings did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Pamela Liebman, the CEO of Corcoran, which handles sales for 220 Central Park South and Central Park Tower, defended sales at the two buildings.
“220 Central Park was the best-selling building in the history of New York and the United States and Central Park Tower is gaining momentum since we took over sales because the market got better and because 220 CPS and 432 Park sold out,” she said. “It also has great amenities and is now having its moment. We just signed a $50 million deal there a few weeks ago.”
Derderian said that the prime units remain sound investments, but that the market is unlikely to catch up overnight.
“In the long run these developments will increase in value,” he said. “But developers must deal with the reality of today.
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”
Additional reporting by Aaron Feis