New York's tallest building draws Chinese buyers

Developers bank on Chinese interest in 432 Park Avenue, which takes luxury living to new heights

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 July, 2013, 8:13pm

Apartments in a tower being built on New York's Park Avenue are likely to appeal to wealthy Chinese investors, who rank second among all overseas buyers of American properties.

The developers of 432 Park Avenue, CIM Group and Macklowe Properties, plan to visit Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai in the fourth quarter to market the property now rising on the most expensive piece of real estate in the United States. When completed in 2015, the 96-storey building will have a rooftop height of 1,396 feet, edging out the Empire State Building as the tallest building in New York. One World Trade Centre has an antenna that tops out at 1,776 feet.

“About one third of apartments under contract in the building so far have been sold to foreigners, including buyers from Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, and Russia,” said Richard Wallgren, vice-president of sales for Macklowe Properties.

Five were sold to wealthy Chinese, some of whom were young couples with small children who wanted apartments in which they could live while their children attended private schools in the city.

"Most paid with cash," Wallgren said. "Because of its political stability, New York is very appealing to Chinese buyers as well as buyers from the Middle East and eastern Europe."

Full-floor penthouses offering 360-degree views cost up to US$95 million, three-bedroom units with libraries start at US$20 million. A one-bedroom apartment starts from US$7 million.

More than two-thirds of the contracts at 432 Park Avenue - at the site of the former Drake Hotel - have been signed by US-based buyers.

Wallgren said most of the buyers intended to live in the apartments rather keep them as an investment.

National Real Estate Association of Realtors data shows that in the 12 months to March Chinese buyers bought US real estate valued at US$12.3 billion, second only to buyers from Canada. The median price was US$425,000, and nearly 70 per cent of Chinese buyers paid in cash. The association said sales of US homes rose to US$68.2 billion during the period. Just over half of the buyers were from abroad, with 23 per cent from Canada, 12 per cent from China, and 8 per cent from Mexico.