Billionaires' new digs are selling for a pretty penny

NEW YORK: ONE57, a 306-metre tower under construction in Midtown Manhattan, will soon hold the title of New York's tallest residential building. But without fanfare from its ultra-private future residents, it is cementing a new title - the global billionaires club.

The buyers of the nine full-floor apartments near the top that have sold so far - among them two duplexes under contract for more than $US90 million ($86 million) each - are all billionaires, said Gary Barnett, the president of the building's developer Extell Development.

The other seven apartments ranged in price from $US45 million to $US50 million.

The billionaires club includes several Americans, at least two buyers from China, a Canadian, a Nigerian and a Briton, according to Mr Barnett and brokers who have sold apartments in the building at 157 West 57th Street.

Since late last year, the ''trophy'' end of New York's real estate market has been recording eye-popping sales. The signed contract for the nearly 1000 square metre duplex on the 89th and 90th floors of One57 that sold for about $US95 million topped the record sale in March of a penthouse at 15 Central Park West to a Russian billionaire's daughter for $US88 million.

In June, Steve Wynn, a casino magnate, paid $US70 million for a duplex penthouse apartment above the Ritz-Carlton.

Individual sales aside, it is the sheer concentration of wealth in One57, a $US1.5 billion development, that is raising the eyebrows of some market watchers.

''The scale of wealth in this building is just unheard of,'' Jonathan Miller, the president of Miller Samuel, a property appraiser, said. ''Despite all the problems economically, you are seeing these people invest in real estate unlike in any period.''

The New York Times

The story Billionaires' new digs are selling for a pretty penny first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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