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Priciest homes in NYC last year

In a year of ever-climbing prices for Manhattan residential space, some buildings stood out from the pack in their ability to command eye-popping sales prices.

Here, we present New York City’s 10 most expensive residential buildings of 2012, based on data compiled by StreetEasy.com.

Central Park is still the place to be if you’re looking to sell a home for an eye-popping price, but the Hudson River is poised to give that tradition a run for its money in 2013, with the up-and-coming West Side sneaking in at tenth place.

1. 15 Central Park West Leading by a huge margin, 15 CPW saw 16 closings last year, with an average price per square foot of $13,048. Zeckendorf’s ultra-luxury towers occupy a full block between 61st and 62nd Streets. Residents include Denzel Washington, Sting and Nascar’s Jeff Gordon.

2. 50 Central Park South The Residences at the Ritz Carlton saw closings on three of its 12 luxury condominiums, with an average price psf of $6,433.

3. 80 Columbus Circle The Residences at the Mandarin Oriental saw three closings, with an average price psf of $5,842. The 66 residences sit atop the North Tower of Related’s Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle.

4. 988 Fifth Ave A neighbor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Central Park’s eastern edge, 988 Fifth Ave saw just one closing in 2012. It was a doozy, however — the ninth floor condo of this 1925 James E.R. Carpenter-designed building sold for $5,571 psf.

5. 1 Central Park West Just down the street from 15 CPW, the condos on the upper floors of the Trump International saw 31 closings, with an average price psf of $5,492.

6. 151 East 58th Street Vornado’s 105-unit One Beacon Court, aka Bloomberg Tower, saw eight closings with an average price psf of $4,871.

7. 101 West 67th Street The Millennium tower, on Broadway between West 67th to West 68th Streets, saw three closings with an average price psf of $4,622.

8. 1 Central Park South There were 20 closings in the Plaza’s 182 condos, with an average price psf of $4,523. Not bad for 105 years old.

9. 110 Central Park South This luxury co-op saw five closings, with an average price psf of $4,302.

10. 200 West 12th Street Related’s Superior Ink Condominiums and Townhouses saw six closings, with an average price psf of $4,288.

Good news for 2013: It looks like the luxury market has nowhere to go but up.

Home buyers in the highest echelons are taking spending to record levels in New York, according to the experts and a lack of choice apartments is squeezing prices further north as the uber wealthy vie for a slice of the very best of the Big Apple’s real estate.

“The inventory is so horrendously low,” said Michael Corbett, a celebrity real estate correspondent who said investors are pouring money back into luxury homes after several years on the sidelines.

Experts said the reasons are threefold.

For one, affluent Americas have shed the “luxury shameˮ that gripped them at the beginning of the recession, according to one report from Northeastern University. As the year’s recording breaking numbers show, the wealthy are once again flaunting their money, creating more demand and higher prices.

The rebound in the European economy has also helped bolster the luxury real estate market here. International economic conditions are driving investors from London to Shanghai to purchase residences in Manhattan, Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of Miller Samuel Inc, told the audience during a panel discussion late last year.

“Luxury real estate has almost become a sort of new global currency,” he said.

While foreign buyers typically represent between 15 and 20 percent of the demand for residential condos, Miller said, the percentage is currently somewhere between 30 and 40 percent.

The growth of emerging markets like China, Russia, Brazil, and the Middle East is expected to further impact the real estate market this year.

China, which is expected to become the world’s biggest luxury goods consumer within five years, was responsible for 11 percent of all international real estate sales in the US last year.

Canada, China, Mexico, India, and the United Kingdom accounted for 55 percent of all international transactions, according to the National Association of Realtors.

According to the NAR 2012 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, total residential international sales in the U.S. for the past year ending March 2012 equaled $82.5 billion, up from $66.4 billion in 2011.

“Today’s advantageous market conditions have drawn more and more foreign buyers to the U.S. in recent years, signaling how desirable and profitable owning property in this country can be,” said NAR president Moe Veissi.

“Low housing prices, a good inventory condition and increased buying power with today’s exchange rates help attract international clients.”

“Foreign buyers recognize that owning a home in the U.S. has many benefits, both financial and social,” added Veissi.

“Many purchase property as an investment, vacation home, or to diversify their portfolio. In addition, many recent immigrants view homeownership as an important accomplishment. They believe that being a homeowner is one of many ways they become established in the U.S. and attain stability, security, and a sense of community.”

Sixty-two percent of international purchases were all cash, which has increased since 2007.

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