“Real estate is irrational and emotional,” said one broker, in trying to sum up 2012, including why one owner is asking nearly $3,000 more per square foot than what another high end place sold for. “He thinks his address – his building – is far superior than that recent sale”, said the broker, “You can’t look at real estate in rational terms.”

IT was a year of record-high sales for luxury real estate. But 2012 will also enter the books for its chart-topping listings, as sellers sought to ride the wave of irrational exuberance for trophy properties. In Manhattan, it all began in March with the record sale of a penthouse at 15 Central Park West for $88 million by the former chairman of Citigroup, Sanford I. Weill, to the daughter of a Russian billionaire. Then the casino king Steve Wynn paid $70 million for a 14-room duplex at 50 Central Park South. Mystery buyers signed contracts for a pair of duplexes at One57, a Midtown tower still under construction, for at least $90 million apiece. The copycats soon followed. New York, while seeming to set the tone, was not alone. High-end markets in cities across the country, including Miami and Chicago, caught the fever, producing record sales prices in 2012, and affixing record price tags to houses and apartments. Yet for all the hype, at year’s end most of the biggest listings still remain on the market. In Manhattan, sellers of properties of $50 million or more have been stubborn about reducing prices, while in other parts of the country, brokers have begun to drop prices rather than lose out on the billionaire-buying wave.
By Alexi Barrioneuvo, Dec. 28, 2012 NYT

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Prime Manhattan real estate: One 57