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Putting Price Tags on Views of Central Park

What is an address along Central Park worth? A new report finds that the price of the typical apartment sold in buildings that border New York’s most famous swatch of green was more than double that for apartments in surrounding neighborhoods last year.

The price difference is even greater for co-ops on the park, according to the study by real-estate data firm PropertyShark.com, with those prices three times higher along the park than in co-ops in surrounding neighborhoods.

The report said the gaps were the largest reported since 2008, when the real estate boom came crashing down.

“Central Park is both a great tourist attraction and a huge real estate engine,” the report said. “Living close to the park is something that almost every homebuyer would wish for.”

But a number of brokers pointed to the resurgence of the waterfront and nearby neighborhoods that may eventually reduce the premium paid for shelter on park-lined blocks.

The report compared sales of all apartments in buildings along the park with all sales in the same ZIP Codes. It didn’t take into account differences in size of co-ops, since many listings didn’t provide square footage.

It found that the median apartment sale price on the park border was $1.85 million last year, compared with $850,000 for the park’s surrounding ZIP Codes as a whole, which include most of the Upper East and West Sides. That works out to a 118% premium.

The median co-op price was $2.4 million compared with $795,000 for the surrounding ZIP Codes, a 202% premium for Central Park properties. In 2008, when sales of more expensive properties surged, the differential was 233%.

Condo prices, which can vary widely as sales in new buildings begin closings, saw a premium of only 3% overall and 4% on a square-foot basis.

Jonathan Miller, an appraiser and president of Miller Samuel Inc., said that in many other cities, there is “a heavier premium” for views looking out over water, at a harbor or a river than for apartments in the middle of the city.

“For being such an outgoing and outspoken culture here, we are very inward looking,” he said.

Beth Fisher, a senior managing director at the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, said buildings on the park are centrally located and internationally known, giving them huge advantages.

But Ms. Fisher, who oversees sales at two large developments, the Aldyn and the Rushmore on Riverside Boulevard on the West Side, said public and private investments have reclaimed riverfronts across New York.

“There are definitely people—New Yorkers as well as people from across the globe—who prefer river views where the air is fresh and pure,” she said. “Some people don’t want to be in the heart of New York.”

Calin Onet, a marketing manager and analyst at PropertyShark, said that buildings facing Central Park and the open skies above have one enduring advantage: no new buildings would ever be built in front of them.

She said that New York real estate is the most local of markets, with prices and status varying from building to building. So it isn’t surprising that some of New York’s priciest sales aren’t on the park. But such chart-topping sales, including a recent contract for more than $90 million at One57 on West 57th Street, often include a Central Park view as well, she said.

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