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Is Downtown Manhattan leading the luxury condo resurgence?

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Venerable rich folk newspaper The Wall Street Journal says it is

Max Touhey

We’ve been hearing about a slowdown in the high-end luxury market all year long, but a recent Wall Street Journal article is questioning that trend, and is in fact suggesting that the market might be back on the rise.

For now, that uptick is focused on Downtown Manhattan, and in large part spurred by the opening of Silverstein Properties’s 30 Park Place. In November alone, contracts were signed for five apartments in the 82-story condo building with prices ranging from $20 million to $26 million, which in turn generated sales of over $110 million that month for the developer.

30 Park Place isn’t the only building partaking in this new surge. Several high-profile buildings downtown are seeing their units being scooped up. A $34.5 million condo at Herzog & de Meuron’s 56 Leonard went into contract at the end of October, and at Greenwich Lane, two units upwards of $25 million have gone into contract.

Brokers and sales agents the Wall Street Journal spoke with are attributing this slight uptick to various reasons. For one, there’s been a surge of recent development downtown. Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transportation Hub, and the mall within it opened, as did Wolfgang Puck’s steakhouse, Cut, at the base of 30 Park Place.

Furthermore, brokers attribute the rise to the number of new condos opening. Developer Ben Shaoul told the WSJ that the perceived slowdown had a lot to do with buyers looking at renderings and not wanting to buy instantly like in the past—instead many have waited till the actual opening.

Other brokers say that the uptick could also be due to developers’s increased willingness to cut deals. Now they’re saying that this resurgence Downtown will likely lead to an uptick in other parts of Manhattan, particularly Billionaire’s Row in Midtown, where all the conversation surrounding the slowdown got underway at the end of last year. Is this just a temporary uptick? Do you think the purchase of über-pricey apartments are really back on the rise? Sound off in the comments below.