Posted by Leonard Steinberg on October 26th, 2012

Yesterday a client mentioned to me an interesting phenomenon that is hitting the New York/Manhattan luxury real estate market. He was visiting a very high end new building in Greenwich Village and as he stood in one of the secondary bedrooms, he felt the entire world around him had shrunken dramatically. Have you noticed the dimensions on some of these new “LUXURY” apartments? 9ft x 10ft bedrooms? I guess this would be acceptable as a secondary bedroom for a housekeeper in a much larger home or in a cheap walk-up, but is this really the ‘new normal’ in Manhattan luxury real estate?

As bankers and developers are fixated with maximizing profitability based exclusively on dollars per square foot, those dollars become more profitable the more the room sizes shrink. A new building came to market in the Meatpacking District: An almost $ 3million apartment delivers a bedroom measuring 10’9″ x 10’3″. Another building on Gramercy Park offering apartments in the mid teens (yes, around $ 15million)delivers living rooms that are 14ft wide…..

While I believe buyers will flock to buy out of desperation from this ‘new normal’, I would caution them not to forget the fundamentals of good real estate…..good ‘luxury’ real estate requires rooms with good dimensions that can function in the real world. Maybe Bloomberg’s calorie counting legislation can help us all adapt to these shrinking dimensions? It seems the time has finally come for Leona Helmsley’s little people!