Jennifer Lawrence has finally sold her palatial penthouse in Manhattan for $9.9 million. The transaction was first reported by the New York Post. Originally listed for $15.45 million, Lawrence’s lair was most recently on the market for $12 million.
The “Hunger Games” star, now 29, was clearly hungry for a sale—her deluxe digs had been on the market for about a year. And she gave up on breaking even on the sale of her Upper East Side abode, putting it on the market for less than the $15.6 million she paid for it back in 2016.
That year, she was named by Forbes as the “highest-paid actress in the world,” for the second year in a row, and raked in a reported $46 million in 12 months.
So while the A-lister is bankable at the box office, her real estate acumen is up for debate.
If the final sale price is correct, J-Law is out millions, especially when you factor in transaction fees and decorating costs.
We asked some luxury real estate experts to give us their views on the transaction. Here are a few factors to consider with this deeply discounted luxury sale.
Let’s take a tour
First, let’s peek inside. No question, the upscale residence is undeniably gorgeous.
Entered via a key-locked elevator into a vestibule, the 4,000-square-foot penthouse, atop a 30-story high-rise, features loads of light, high ceilings, and 3,000 square feet of outdoor space spread over two floors.
Indoors, the layout includes three bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, and a great room with a two-sided fireplace. Walls of windows offer East River and downtown Manhattan views. The chef’s kitchen includes a casual dining nook.
Separated by a long hallway, the bedroom wing features two en suite bedrooms, a powder room, and a main suite with a dressing room, terrace access, and a bath. The condo also includes a family room and an in-unit washer/dryer.
Outdoors, the endless al fresco space includes a built-in table tennis table, full kitchen, and multiple seating areas, including an outdoor living area with gas fireplace.
Building amenities include full-time door attendants, concierge, and a drive-in garage that accesses the elevators, a definite must for a star craving privacy from paparazzi.
Other features for residents include a massive fitness center with a pool, as well as bike storage.
Given the apartment’s obvious appeal, why the need for a price cut? It’s a tired real estate cliché, but the location of Lawrence’s place is less than ideal—with one exception.
The very far East Side isn’t exactly a lively locale. The upscale but nontrendy area isn’t where you’d imagine a young movie star winding up.
“It’s not near anything,” says New York City luxury real estate agent Dolly Lenz.
She notes that the desolate destination is situated between the United Nations and a number of health care centers, and not much else.
“It’s not a location that New Yorkers ever were attracted to.”
And for a buyer willing to shell out north of $10 million, there are choices in the city.
“At that price point, you really have your pick of where to live. We would not recommend to someone to spend $15 million there,” says Jennifer Lenz, managing director of Dolly Lenz Real Estate.
However, the area is close to a number of world-class hospitals, such as New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center, the Hospital for Special Surgery, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
So if you’re a doctor, or in quick need of one, this location is an absolute dream. And at this price point, perhaps you have a car and driver at the ready, which means the inconvenient location isn’t a big whoop.
Was the price right?
Lenz added that the movie star “paid a little too much when she bought it.”
Which leads to a buyer’s ultimate dilemma—the decision to take a hefty loss. Clearly, the actress knew she wouldn’t get all her money back, given that she placed the apartment on the market for under what she paid. But don’t blame the lovely digs.
“It didn’t depreciate. She paid too much,” Dolly Lenz says.
The pandemic surely added to the stress of finding a buyer, with the Manhattan market grinding to a halt in the early spring. The slowdown may have contributed to the additional price drop.
“Given the price reduction history of this unit, she was likely wanting to unload the property, even if she had to take a loss, which isn’t always a bad thing for tax purposes,” says Cara Ameer, a bicoastal agent with Coldwell Banker licensed in California and Florida. “The New York City market had been slowing down prior to the pandemic, and inventory had been building.”
Ameer adds that the confluence of events “created the perfect storm for someone to find a deal.”
Time to move on
At the same time, the star has been juggling other New York real estate, and certainly didn’t need to pay extra costs for a place she isn’t using. She may not have wanted to bide her time to find the right buyer willing to pay top dollar.
“The market is particularly challenging at the high end. There are limitations to finding a buyer who would want to and could afford to invest in this home,” broker Becki Danchik of Warburg Realty says.
“If she absolutely wanted to sell without waiting out a slow process, it was a smart business decision to accept such a deep discount.”
Lawrence may not have wanted the added burden of managing a home sale on top of her other life plans.
Says Noemi Bitterman, an agent with Warburg Realty, “People sell fast and at any expense in a divorce settlement, an estate sale where heirs are eager to collect, a move, or getting married to a partner who lives somewhere else. Whatever the case may be, sellers are willing to take a loss and move on.”
Actually, Lawrence did get married last year, to the art dealer Cooke Maroney. And yes, the couple were reportedly hunting for a new nest in the city.
The listing agent, Pamela D’Arc with Compass, declined to comment.