Even though some buyers are taking their time in sorting through this oversupply, they are still willing to sign contracts. And prices are generally stable, though with some exceptions.
Apartments priced in the $1 million to $3 million range may prompt a bidding war, but most homes $5 million and under are selling well. Many offerings over $10 million have been discounted already, and some can be negotiated down as much as 30 percent more, brokers say.
The market was off to a good start this year. There were 330 contracts signed in the first quarter of 2017, a 33 percent increase from the same period last year, according to a report from Olshan Realty Inc., which tracks sales in this price range. This is evidence that buyers are pulling the trigger, even if they are taking their time about it.
Still, brokers have to find new ways to make their offerings stand out.
To introduce the sale of an $11.75 million, four-bedroom penthouse in Midtown, Tara King-Brown and Amy Williamson, two associate brokers from the Corcoran Group, ditched the evening cocktail party, the industry’s tried-and-tested event, and instead held a morning meditation class in the building’s common-area yoga room.
About a dozen people, mostly brokers, attended the class, which was run by MNDFL, a firm that runs several meditation studios throughout the city. After a 30-minute session of deep breathing and reflection as the sun rose over the East River, the group got a tour of the penthouse at 305 East 51st Street.
“What’s fantastic about this place is the view and morning light so we wanted the brokers to feel it for themselves,” Ms. King-Brown said. “Hosting a different type of networking event is necessary to stand out, especially since buyers have so much to choose from.”
To draw attention to a $6.995 million, four-bedroom condo at 6 Cortlandt Alley, Susan Wires, a Stribling saleswoman, held a continuing education class run by the firm TitleVest called “Condominium Essentials” for agents and brokers in the residence. She said it helped “get a lot of eyes on this building since we’re a small, new development, not a large tower that gets a lot of attention.”
Fredrik Eklund, an associate broker at Douglas Elliman and a cast member of the television show “Million Dollar Listing New York,” recently invited 55 so-called Instagram influencers, or those with the most followers in the city, to a four-bedroom, $20.75 million home at Madison Square Park Tower.
Ripping a page out of fashion marketing, where social media stars are invited to post photos and comment on designer wear and store openings, Mr. Eklund allowed the group to post photos from the apartment on the 56th floor. He admitted that the move was a little risky, since he didn’t check to see what everyone was posting.
“But if you’re an Instagram influencer, you’re creative, a good photographer,” so you’re guaranteed a good shot, he said. “They were happy to have access to an apartment with a gorgeous view, plus I reached a non-real-estate audience.”
The event generated more than 100 postings on the building, eliciting over 150,000 interactions (likes, comments, views) and reached over five million Instagram users who follow the invited social media influencers. The building’s own Instagram page immediately signed up about 1,000 new followers after the event, now totaling about 14,600.
Mr. Eklund said a Chinese fashion designer who was in town in February for fashion week made an appointment to see an apartment after the Instagram blitz. He said many younger buyers check information on a property through social media even before looking at the building’s website.
Many developers and brokers like to turn a model showroom or listing into a temporary art gallery and give parties, an easy guest list to compile because buyers of high-end art and real estate tend to overlap.
Vickey Barron, a broker at Douglas Elliman, said she prefers smaller get-togethers. To drive attention to a Chelsea condominium building, she organized a small breakfast with the developer and several brokers.
“I gave my friends access to someone they wouldn’t otherwise have,” she said. “The result is, though, you’re pulling people together that help you get a contract signed.”
To get a jump on selling new homes built by the Farrell Building Company in the Hamptons, Andrew Azoulay, also an Elliman broker, opened a pop-up showroom in TriBeCa, thought to be the first for Hamptons real estate. He is organizing weekly events, which include child-friendly gatherings like movie nights and a block party. The kicker: a free helicopter ride for potential buyers.
So far, he has used the helicopter only once, to show a couple a nearly $16 million home in Water Mill, N.Y. The couple didn’t take that particular home, Mr. Azoulay said, but are interested in a custom-built one from the developer.
Mr. Azoulay has sold 10 homes since the start of the year.
“And the season is just starting,” he said.