To take away:

  • the most expensive home ever sold here was a penthouse fit for a king: price paid – $88M!
  • the largest home is a century-old 11,500-square-foot mansion next to Riverside Park
  • the UWS is one of the neighborhoods with the most permanent residences, percentage-wise: only 55% of all housing units are rentals , a low number for Manhattan

Some local context

Part fancy living, part culture enclave, the leisure and family-friendly Upper West Side has been a residential oasis for those who can afford it. More accessible compared to most of Lower Manhattan and Midtown, this neighborhood is seeped in cultural institutions and concert venues, as well as some of the best schools in the city. On top of that, the neighborhood has the added bonus of being more low-key, relaxed, and rich in greenery than many a famed spot south of the Flatiron Building, making it a great place to find a long-term home.


So let’s see what the local highlights are, be them giant or tiny, rich or old, but all of them looking spectacular. And finally, enjoy a quick scan of everything real estate that the UWS has to offer at the end of the article.

The real estate scoop

Century-old mansion is the largest home of them all

Large townhouses are not uncommon in this affluent neighborhood, and in terms of living space, chief among them is this 1910 mansion built by the Janes & Leo architect duo. The largest home on the Upper West Side, it spans 11,500 square feet over 5 stories, huddled between large apartment buildings close to Riverside Drive. The mansion was on the market for $50M back in 2013, but hasn’t been picked up so far.



Expensive mansions and condos give the neighborhood its rep

Since we’re talking superlatives, the latter’s price tag is nowhere near the largest transaction recorded in the neighborhood. A 6,750-square-foot penthouse atop the famed condo building, called simply The House, changed hands in 2012 for the staggering price of $88M.

It comes with building amenities fit for a king, from a private dining room and wine cellar, to a beautiful library covered in walnut paneling and a health club. And most of all, just imagine waking up to that view!

More recently, another unit in the building scored the highest transaction in the past 12 months in UWS. 5,600 square feet of luxurious finishes and state-of-the-art appliances spread over 2 stories went for $45M, which is actually $3M less than what its previous owner paid for it in 2014.



Historical UWS is rooted in 19th century brownstones

The Upper West Side boasts many a remnant of yesteryear architecture, and old, landmarked buildings abound in a neighborhood that is largely protected as a historic district. To name names, the 4 oldest buildings found here date back to 1880 and can be found on 75th, 82nd, 83rd and 87th Streets. They all feature beautiful brownstone row-house architecture with the added appeal of being a short walk away from Central Park and from The Natural History Museum.



Petite living spaces showcase elite design

Officially, the smallest home on the Upper West Side is a tiny 180-square-feet studio in the Spencer Arms building on 69th Street. The last buyer still paid close to $270K for it in 2014, but what it lacks in size, the co-op makes up in location – on Broadway, midway between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues, getting a walk in Central Park or a night at the Lincoln Center Plaza is a breeze.

However, our favorite tiny home might just be this plush co-op a little further north. With 230 square feet to spare, it’s tight, but lovely in its design, and the former owner cashed in $390,000 when they sold it in 2014.

Building stock numbers show a large percentage of homeowner households

A sizable residential neighborhood, it’s no surprise that the Upper West Side offers plenty of choices for home seekers. What makes it stand out is the high number of single- and two-family houses, 474 in total, far more than can be found in most Manhattan neighborhoods. It’s also a more family-oriented and stable place to live, as it has one of the highest percentages of permanent residences on the island – more than 45% of all homes are bought and sold, rather than rented out. However, rentals aren’t scarce either, with 60,252 units to go around.

The older make-up of local real estate means co-ops are the most common dwelling for residents, and there are a total of 33,378 co-op units spread between 59th and 110th Streets. For those wearier of co-op boards, there’s enough condos throughout the neighborhood, counting 19,559 units. Many of them are concentrated in newer developments around Lincoln Square, and in the Park West Village condo complex, across from Central Park.



Although it’s vastly residential, you can still find the occasional office building along Broadway and in west Lincoln Square, but most local businesses find quarters in mixed-use buildings, of which there are 233. On the other hand, retail options are 517 units strong, and that’s a big part of what makes the neighborhood such a delightful place to take a stroll, shop, grab a bite and enjoy the culture scene.

Hover over the chart below to see the total number of units available for each real estate category:

All in all

Amidst the constant change taking place south of Central Park, a breath of fresh air comes in the form of the slow-paced and homey UWS. Cultural appeal, tempered price trends and high quality of life make this real estate market a steady contender for the most popular neighborhoods in Manhattan.

Leave a Reply