Single-Family Manhattan TownhousesThursday, July 19th, 2012
The headaches of owning a Manhattan house are obvious. No super when a pipe bursts. No doorman to sign for deliveries. Trash cans that spill. Crazies on the stoop.
Want to play the drums at 4 a.m.? Paint your door in Peter Max sunbursts? Unless you’re in a landmark district, you probably can, and you are in rarefied territory: There are only a few thousand one-family houses in Manhattan. The go-it-alone romance is part of the equation.
As it happens, single-families are having something of a moment. Available inventory in Manhattan is down from last year, to 516, according to appraiser Jonathan Miller. Sales, which started the year slowly, have picked up, particularly at the very high end. From June to December 2011, only one downtown house with an asking price over $9 million went into contract; in the past six months, nine did. Weirdly, cost may be a factor, even in that elite market: Luxury townhouses can be cheaper on a price-per-square-foot basis than top-shelf apartments, and prices for many single-families have yet to catch up to increasing demand.
27 Harrison Street
The mostly original façade and upstairs window frames show off this Federal-style townhouse’s 1796 roots, though inside, all but a few beams have been hidden by renovations. It was built by John McComb, who was the first New York starchitect (he built Gracie Mansion and City Hall). Originally on Washington Street, the 4,000-square-foot house was moved to its present site when Independence Plaza was built in the early seventies.
Senior Vice President, Associate Broker
The Corcoran Group