Apartments in Manhattan’s Financial District aren’t exactly trading like blue chips on the nearby New York Stock Exchange.

Whether in converted Art Deco office buildings or new glass towers, units are spending more time on the market and often selling below asking prices. After a spurt of construction aimed at foreign buyers, whose numbers are dwindling, and finance workers, who have seen many of their jobs move uptown, the area is plagued by oversupply.

“There was so much new development in that neighborhood and I think that many of the people who wanted to buy there did,” said Steven Gottlieb, a broker at Warburg Realty. “I don’t know that there is such a huge a demand for that neighborhood anymore.”

The Financial District has undergone multiple transformations since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, each raising expectations for a long-term recovery that would bring more retail, boost tourism and draw investors who would help lift prices. The area did get some of that, but so did the rest of Manhattan, as well as Brooklyn just across the East River.

Financial District apartment inventory grew 24 percent from a year earlier in the second quarter, led by new developments, according to a report by Corcoran Group. With all that supply, the average price for resale condos dropped 11%, and average new development prices fell 46%. No previously owned condo was sold for more than $1,600 a square foot, the first time that’s happened since 2013.

“Buyers are keenly aware of the amount of inventory available, and want to negotiate at all price points,” said Garrett Derderian at the brokerage Core.

New Towers
In May and June, the most recent months available, the median time that Financial District apartments had been on the market was longer than either downtown Brooklyn, an easy subway commute to Wall Street, or the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, just across the river from midtown Manhattan, according to StreetEasy.

Meanwhile, the construction downtown continues. In the next year, new luxury residential towers are set to open at 130 William St., 77 Greenwich St., 25 Park Row and 1 Wall St. All those new buildings make it that much harder to sell the old, converted office properties.

More conversions also are in the works. Developer Metro Loft is in contract to buy insurance giant AIG’s headquarters at 175 Water St. and convert the top half of the 31-story building to residential units, The Real Deal reported Aug. 16, without naming sources. Once AIG’s lease expires in 2021, the conversion will begin, the website reported. Metro Loft has led other office-to-residence projects in the area, including at 20 Broad St. A message left at Metro Loft seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned.

When 15 Broad St., the former headquarters of a forerunner of JPMorgan Chase & Co., was completed in 1928 across the street from the NYSE, the neoclassical building stood at the center of the financial world.

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