Who says the luxury real estate market is hurting?
- May 6th, 2010, by Will Smith, Urban Turf
Turnberry Tower, the 26-story condominium in Rosslyn and arguably the most luxe new building in the entire DC area, just sold eight units in April for a total volume of over $11 million. That's an average of $1,375,000 per unit, an impressive number by any standard but especially considering that these are condos, not single-family homes or townhouses.
How is such a luxury building selling well in a tentative economy? Two reasons, according to vice president of sales and marketing Dan Riordan. The first is uniqueness. Turnberry Tower is the tallest residential building in the DC metro and the only large-scale project (246 units) to offer such a high level of luxury. “You're probably looking at five more years before you see anything else deliver that is this large scale and high end — if you even see it then," predicted Riordan.
Turnberry Tower The second reason is, counter-intuitively, value. Riordan acknowledged that the prices at Turnberry attract buyers of means, but noted that the prices are justified based on the level of service and amenities. All the standard stuff you would expect in a luxury building is there – high-quality everything, indoor pool and jacuzzi, huge fitness center, 24-hour free valet parking – but there are a few other touches that Riordan said make the development stand out even among luxury buildings.
Like private elevators, for example. The majority of units (over 80 percent) have direct elevator access. That is, you get in the elevator, swipe your electronic key, and the elevator doors open right into your unit. There is also a generous amount of outdoor space included with every floorplan; all units in the building have at least 300 square feet of terrace, many of which offer spectacular views of DC. The units are roomy inside, too. The smallest floorplan is a 1,322 square-foot one-bedroom.
Despite all this, we wondered if April's strong sales had more to do with pent-up demand than anything else. Recall, sales at Turnberry Tower went on hiatus for months last year as mechanical and construction liens prevented any contracts from going to settlement. In March, we reported that the liens had been paid off and settlements had resumed, and predicted a bump in sales activity as would-be Turnberry buyers could now actually purchase and move in.
Riordan didn't agree that pent-up demand was the reason for a strong April.
"We think May will be as good as April was," he said. “In fact, I'm hoping it will be better."
The building now has about half its inventory left to sell. Of the already-sold units, half have settled while the other half are still pending (due to the lien issue).
Riordan reworked some of the pricing with the re-introduction of the building, including bringing the entry-level pricing down to $599,000 from $699,000. You can see the price sheet here. Note that most of the units on the first 18 floors are priced below $1.2 million. Units on floors 19 and up start at $1.9 million.
"Having a lot of the building under $1 million is a huge plus," said Riordan. "That said, there is sales activity at all ranges of the spectrum."