1980's flashback

A 1986 Wall Street Journal article about Tony James shows just how much things have changed in the Manhattan real estate market.

In researching the background of Hamilton “Tony” James, the president of The Blackstone Group whose comments on global real estate investing will appear in the March issue of Private Equity Real Estate magazine, PERE came across a 1986 Wall Street Journal article in which the very same Tony James is profiled alongside other Wall Street “whiz kids” as examples of a new, hyper-ambitious breed of Manhattan professional. The following quote made us pause:

“Mr. James himself owns a five-bedroom co-op apartment on Manhattan’s East Side. He says the apartment is essential because if he had to commute, he would never see his family. But even though he values the apartment at around $1 million, he wants something better.”

Readers today might find the reported value of James’ apartment obscene – obscenely cheap, that is. One mil for an Upper East Side five bedroom? Are you kidding? How things have changed in New York real estate. A recent report from broker
Prudential Douglas Elliman found that the average price of an apartment in Manhattan has risen to $1.44 million. A quick check on the Corcoran web site reveals the two Upper East Side, five-bedroom co-ops for sale are priced at $12 million and $50 million, respectively. Like many city dwellers, one of James’ best investment decisions undoubtedly has been to buy and hold Manhattan real estate.