Deflating Manhattan Housing Bubble Hits Amy Schumer

“You can’t lose money in real estate” – until you do.

The demise of the Manhattan house price bubble has a new and beloved for-instance.

Standup comedian and actress Amy Schumer is a total hoot on stage. And she’s a raging success. So it would have been nice if she could have made some money on her Manhattan co-op that was billed as a “penthouse.” But it looks like she ended up in the hole. Manhattanites, even funny ones, are now once again finding out, along with home sellers in certain other trophy cities, that “you can’t lose money in real estate” – until you do.

Her 850-square-foot 1-bedroom apartment occupying the entire top floor of a historic 20-foot wide townhouse – so this is not exactly a palace – at 129 West 80th Street near the Museum of Natural History went into contract on December 23, as reported today by Dow Jones unit Mansion Global:

The “Trainwreck” star has been trying to unload the home for over a year, first listing the one-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom unit with Compass for $2.075 million. She’s since cut the price multiple times. It was most recently selling for $1.625 million, according to a listing by the Modlin Group.

The asking price was last slashed in August to $1.625 million. So after more than a year of trying, and after the asking price has been cut by nearly 22%, she was able to unload it.

Yet, it’s a mini-jewel with wood-burning fireplaces in the bedroom and living room, “a claw-foot soaking tub” in the bathroom, and a staircase “to your private rooftop garden, a perfect place to unwind or entertain all while enjoying beautiful views of New York City,” as Modlin’s listing puts it.

Alas, she’d bought the unit in 2014 for $1.695 million. So if she actually sold it at the asking price, and not below it, and not counting real estate agent fees and other expenses, she is $70,000 in the hole. A 6% broker fee would add another $100,000 to the loss. Other costs would be sprinkled on top.

Schumer is reportedly moving up to a larger even nicer place more befitting for her success, also on the Upper West Side, which sold in October for over $12 million. Surely, she can laugh off a little dent like that to her finances.

But this has now become a common occurrence in the Manhattan market – as well as some of the other glory markets around the country.

As a result of a historic construction boom, new supply of high-end condos is flooding the market and will continue to flood the market for years.

This is coinciding with impeccable timing with all-around slack enthusiasm about these prices that have reached crazy levels after surging for years as part of the grander package of the magnificent Fed-engineered asset-price inflation.

And then there’s some growing disinterest from foreign buyers, after the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) expanded its program it had kicked off in January in Manhattan to identify and track secret homebuyers who hide behind shell companies. It’s making people from certain other jurisdictions nervous.

This – the construction boom, the crazy run-up in prices, and the Treasury Department’s crack-down on secret foreign buyers – has turned into the perfect trifecta to puncture the Manhattan house price bubble now happening in slow-motion before our very eyes.

At the glamorous Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan, which has become even more glamorous now that its most famous resident has become President Elect, not all is well. Read… Is it Just Trump Tower? Or is the Entire New York City Housing Bubble Unwinding?

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  57 comments for “Deflating Manhattan Housing Bubble Hits Amy Schumer

  1. RG says:

    She’s not funny.

    • jen says:


    • Sober Money says:

      You’re an ass

    • Frederick says:

      I dont like her either or her father for that matter

      • Millennial that cares says:

        Trump fears Schumer. Schumer is far more of a leader than the hair piece twitter freak will ever be. Do some research. Trump wont save anyone but himself in the end. Chuck Schumer actually cares more for the people of the US than Trump could ever imagine doing.

        Good luck Fred.

        • Petunia says:

          As a native New Yorker, I will take 10 Trumps over one Schumer. Even if you are right about Trump being only out for himself, at least he represents one American more than Schumer.

        • Frederick says:

          I didnt say that I liked nor trusted Trump but in my opinion Schumer is just another traitorous dual citizen and would sell us down the river in a NY minute Petunia is one sharp flower(cookie)

        • Tom Hend says:

          Nobody fears Schumer. Besides, sorry to break it to you, Schumer is more conservative than Trump.

      • Edward E says:

        Embarrassing, I don’t know anything about her or her kin. Rich people don’t stop by Dogpatch USA, especially now. But she can’t be all bad, she bought back her dad’s farm.

    • night-train says:

      Apparently, you are not her demographic. Somebody thinks she is funny, because she does pretty well with the young folks.

    • Lotz says:

      Glad to see she’s moving to Canada or Mexico and she isn’t funny unless you dumb down.

  2. i am not a fan of hers, but hate to see anyone lose money in real estate investing. I don’t understand how anyone actually owns property in NYC, it just seems priced beyond what any mortal could afford.

    • interesting says:

      “but hate to see anyone lose money in real estate investing”

      Damn, I guess I’m just really out of touch because i thought all she did was buy a home. Something tells me that the next 30 years of RE “investing” isn’t going to be like the last 30 years of home buying.

      Well, maybe the FED can work it’s magic some more and we can have $5,000,000 homes and $100K incomes…..I actually read on another blog where the poster claimed that in 20 years millennial’s who bought now will be glad they did because their “homes” are worth 5X’s what they paid for them…..the topic was a house “valued” at almost $1,000,000

      • MC says:

        It all depends on that inflation that officially doesn’t exists, partly because the costs of having a roof over one’s head are either excluded or woefully underreported in the indexes.

        It also depends where that $1 million dollar property is located: what is today an upscale district may be a DMZ in twenty years. Fashions change faster than demographics.

  3. unit472 says:

    I’d be reluctant to buy property in any jurisdiction with heavily underfunded public pension obligations. When the money comes due property owners, as captive taxpayers, will be made to pony up. Look no further than Chicago.

    • MC says:

      That has always been a two hedged sword.

      Real estate is the ultimate sitting duck: it’s so easy to tax because it cannot run away and people cannot simply abandon it and move to another place. It’s also easy to hit with “junk fees”, that catch all term which includes what you (over)pay for services, with the balance going not toward, say, building a new waste treatment plant but toward plugging completely unrelated budget holes or financing those Ozymandias projects mayors love so much.
      However… raise taxes too much and you kill real estate in your area, perhaps to the advantage of the neighboring municipality. People may even stop paying taxes, leading to legal costs which a broke muni can ill afford and which will chew even further into the budget.
      Also, to make voters stomach junk fee increases you need to have a captive voting block that will keep you into power and those things cost money. That money needs to come from somewhere and that somehwere, at local level, mostly means real estate.

      Anyone who spent some time in local politics will know what I am talking about, as will anybody whose once peaceful township was turned into a speculator’s haven by a mayor with a 24oz steak appetite but a Big Mac budget.

    • Millennial who cares says:

      Unit dont live in any major US city. They all have issues. Time for you to self insure and home school. The hardworking cops/teachers and firefighters dont work for free and most have to commute as they are priced out of anything close to work in most places.

      Try caring for the little people this year. Will do you and your Trumpesque fools some good. There are more of us former middle-class and lower than rich. We want to work and make it in the USA no matter what your fears of a pension problem might be. Or should we all just disappear so you can unlock the gates in your gated world.

      The one major glaring problem in the US is the lack of adequate taxation on the rich and Corporations to start with. Marginal rates used to be higher. Buffet said it best with Bush2 started the lower rates for the rich again after Sept 2001 – ‘I dont need tax break, my secretary does’ Eat that.

      • David in Texas says:

        The key rate is not the marginal rate but the rate people actually pay. These are two entirely different things, at least for the “rich.”

        The “rich” can afford armies of tax lawyers, accountants, lobbyists, etc., so they end up paying far less than the marginal rate. When marginal rates go up, the people who end up being clobbered are – once again – the prosperous middle class, who actually end up paying the higher rates.

        Raising marginal rates also creates enormous economic distortions and tax shelter schemes.

      • 3 phases says:

        “most have to commute as they are priced out of anything close to work in most places.”
        Same for the rest of us and you wonder why we don’t feel bad? Give me a break… In many areas there is no pension crisis, but don’t insult millennials by ignoring the disasters in others and claiming people who do care are ignoring the little people.

      • interesting says:

        Millennial who cares,

        you got a bit of a chip on your shoulder don’t you.

      • John M says:

        Millenial Who Cares

        You need an education. Go watch Mark Blyth on Youtube, He’ll explain the real problem. Corporations aren’t paying anything like the taxes they used to pay. In the 1970’s corps were picking up 20% of the federal budget now Apple and 700 other corporations now tax domicile in Dublin Ireland, that have most of the physical infrastructure in the USA. Now these new double Irlsh companies only now contribute 2% of the Federal taxes.

        Let us be clear in 1992 Ross Perot explains here the “Giant Sucking Sound” where in all probability your job has gone

        & here’s another billionaire James Goldsmith

        Where he explains where the disenfranchised “Deplorables” job’s have gone. He explains this from a vantage point of 22 years ago. Foretelling of the dilemma why millennials now live in their basements and ultimately backed Sanders and not Clinton. It was Bill Clinton who ushered in NAFTA via GATT and exported the middle class jobs to Mexico and China..

        • Edward E says:

          I haven’t voted for either of the (two sides of the same coin) since Henry Ross Perot. Trying every election since that a third party can make some kind of progress. Early voting is always a hassle for they seem to know me. As I recall NAFTA was pretty much a done deal well before Bubba Clinton as was the repeal of Glass-Steagall. Repeal of the Fairness Doctrine and nullifying the Smith-Mundt Act set up the real fake news propagandists gone wild. Here’s something I’ve had in cold storage for a while about good ol’ Chuck Schumer.

    • interesting says:

      “At law courts throughout Greece, people are lining up to file papers renouncing their inheritance. Not necessarily because some feckless uncle left them with a pile of debt at the end of his revels; they are turning their backs on what used to be a pillar of Greece’s economy and society: real estate.

      Growing personal debt, declining incomes and ever higher taxes as Greece’s depression grinds on have turned property and the dream of easy money into dread of a catastrophic burden.

      p.s. another must read blog IMHO

    • ” unit472
      Dec 28, 2016 at 2:36 am

      I’d be reluctant to buy property in any jurisdiction with heavily underfunded public pension obligations.”


      I agree 100% This will be a major consideration in our next move.
      Not Location Location Location, but
      Low town, county,state tax, No retirement SS tax, No School Tax, No Pension problems.

      Yah, I know ” I got a Coke Can in N. Dakota to show ya-”


  4. Julian says:

    Schubert is that God awful reality TV “star” is she not?

    And I agree with the other commenters. She ain’t funny.

    But she does have family in high places, like the Senior Senator for New York – in fairly certain she’ll never have any problems making a crust with connections like that.

  5. josh says:

    she overpaid when she bought. anyone who pays more than $1500 per sq. ft. for a manhattan townhouse in that neighborhood is looking for trouble. also, her commission was probably closer to 5%,

  6. NoRush says:

    Perhaps we have crossed that point where the liability risk of owning is now greater than not owning in many areas of the country. I know I shun all thoughts of real estate empire building in Illinois…..

    • walter map says:

      “Perhaps we have crossed that point where the liability risk of owning is now greater than not owning in many areas of the country.”

      Only because you’re not high enough up the food chain to profit from it and don’t have the system rigged in your favor. Real estate moguls who are positioned to capitalize gains and externalize costs are having themselves a field day. You can tell because prices in numerous markets have become exhorbitant.

  7. walter map says:

    A lot of people don’t think Amy Schumer is funny. Mostly because she’s making fun of them, and people don’t like getting the hypocrises they cling to, their petty hatreds, and their personal contradictions exposed for what they are.

    It’s a indicator of social regression, and America is loaded with material for that kind of humor. Incongruity is the dominant theory of humor in philosophy and psychology. Right-wingers aren’t actually expected to be at all philosophical, and they’re not, otherwise they wouldn’t be right-wingers.

    • Paid Minion says:

      Stereotypes aren’t just made up. Many exist for valid reasons.

      See a car in the fast lane of traffic, going 10mph under the limit, and weaving in and out of the lane?

      Cellphone talker or texter. If during the evening rush, usually female.

      Regional stereotype: 3/4 ton truck, camped out doing 55mph in the left lane on the interstate, refuses to yield the lane to overtaking vehicles. Nine times out of ten, that truck will have Texas plates.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        A TEXAN going 55 mph on the Interstate?!?! In a 3/4 ton truck?!?! You gotta be kidding. I’ve never even heard of that stereotype. What I know is this: in big cities like Dallas, if you don’t go at LEAST 75 mph, you feel like you’re going to get run off the highway.

        • Chicken says:

          “What I know is this: in big cities like Dallas, if you don’t go at LEAST 75 mph, you feel like you’re going to get run off the highway.”

          It’s primarily the progressive Bohemians in the cities you’re describing.

    • Terry says:

      Gosh Walt you should be hilarious then…but you’re not.

      • walter map says:

        I wasn’t trying to get you to laugh, Terry. I was trying to get you to think.

        My mistake. Sorry.

  8. michael engel says:

    -Trump should sell all (or most of) his RE assets and not just
    for political reasons.
    -NYC RE market is beyond peak, but his intangible assets are
    soaring, since election, and he can get a very good price for his holding before the bubble will be pricked again.
    – Trump got a very good excuse for selling them all.

    • walter map says:

      “Trump should sell all (or most of) his RE assets and not just
      for political reasons.”

      If they can sort out the leins maybe he could settle a couple of his lawsuits.

  9. Petunia says:

    She took a loss to get the hell out of that neighborhood. Did you guys see the bars on the windows, they are there for a very good reason. Fourteen hundred dollars a month maintenance for a one bedroom in a 5 unit building. They must wash the floors with diamond water (the new cool thing everybody must have on reality tv).

    • Frederick says:

      I know its totally insane but these people keep buying go figure Personally its just overrated in my opinion of course

      • walter map says:

        It’s a high price to pay to make people think you’re so rich you can afford Manhattan.

    • josh says:

      the maintenance includes the real estate taxes.

  10. Greatful again says:

    Prop 13 property tax law in CA has long been considered the third rail in politics there. Since it applies to corporate held real estate as well as personal residences, it has Kept property taxes for businesses very low. …Buy out a company’s shares and although there’s new ownership, there’s not a change of title. And thus no new price from which to tax. The average person does not enjoy this. There has been talk of changing this, but that’s all it been. At least this was the case last time I heard.

    • walter map says:

      “The average person does not enjoy this.”

      It amounts to yet another corporate subsidy. Of course they don’t enjoy it.

  11. Curious Cat says:

    Wolf – Some of this is a rare descent into comments that are unsubstantiated political assertions. I prize your blog for the clear headed comments on finance, economics and investing. If I want political bickering I can tune in to CNN, FOX or MSNBC or read Zero Hedge. I hope this is not the beginning of a trend.

    I wonder why so many presumably bright people insist on name calling rather than identifying what’s wrong with the world and how to make it better. Ego? Inability?

    To paraphrase Garfield the cat, name calling rots the intellect.

    • Frederick says:

      Better run to your “safe space” snowflake the cat

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I think Amy Schumer touches a nerve with some folks. I can see why. But I’m not sure why an article on real estate triggers that kind of reaction. Those are the mysteries of comment sections.

      • Paid Minion says:

        She makes her money from entertaining a certain demographic, usually by making fun of another demographic. Like about 95% of our current crop of comedians.

        And we can all probably agree that various careers tend tp attract people with generally conformist world-views.

        (Example: I can say with 100% certainty that the people working in the bizjet business (that voted), voted for Trump. I’m betting that Amy Shumer voted for Clinton)

        They don’t seem to like some people very much. In turn, the butts of her comedy aren’t going to have a huge amount of sympathy about her real estate loss.

        Nobody really cared what celebrities thought or did, until their opinions started being broadcast worldwide, by the 24/7/365 “infotainment” business

  12. Mary says:

    Wolf, please don’t do posts that feature a celebrity hook. You will start attracting all the trolls who happen to hate that celebrity, and your comments section will spiral down into vindictive insult fests.

    Look at how many of the above commenters just want to trash Amy Schumer. If you had done a post on Scott Baio losing money on real estate, I’d have been tempted to snort, “Ha, another Trump-loving D list celebrity proves he’s an idiot.” We’ve all got that meanness gene–please, don’t encourage it.

    • Frederick says:

      Hey Mary your not very bright are you? Just because someone is pro Trump and doesnt like a tasteless twit like Schumer makes that person a “troll” in your ignorant mind? Pathetic

    • Julie says:

      Chuck Schumer isn’t even Amy’s dad ☺

  13. Chicken says:

    No Joke! Maybe not a good example of the overall market though.

  14. TCG says:

    You can also consider that she got to live someplace in Manhattan for at least part of that time and probably would have paid 60-80k for a couple of years of rent. I’m not clear how much of the time she actually lived there, but it was likely a nicer place than many rentals.

    She still probably lost close to 100k, though, even at that, in real estate commissions.

    She is supposed to be a little crude and shocking, a bit like Joan Rivers was back in the day. I’m not surprised many, especially older folks, dislike her. Them getting shocked and getting their undies in a bundle is kind of the point because she observes things that are a bit taboo and it’s all for the better as far as kids often care if the oldsters wag the finger and yell “you kids, get off my lawn.”

    • polecat says:

      well … Schumer, as well as most of the celebrity crowd, voted for HER, while talking down to a large portion of the country …. so I for one don’t have much sympathy for her real estate kerfufle ….. her uncle … he’s a self-serving snake !

  15. JB says:

    gosh spent a couple of hours on trying to determine
    the exact law that allowed foreign purchases of property
    to be exempt from reporting . all i know is the
    national board of realtors lobbied to get special treatment
    for these transactions . much of the latest real estate
    bubble can be attributed to these purchases . WHAT will
    happen when these purchases are sold and money repatriated?

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