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Billionaire Ken Griffin's $238 million apartment helped boost the average Manhattan real estate price by 10%

Key Points
  • Ken Griffin's $238 million purchase of a condo in Manhattan single-handedly boosted the average sales price in the borough by more than $100,000 in the first quarter, according to an analysis.
  • The average sales price for an apartment in Manhattan rose nearly 10 percent to $2,118,780 in the first quarter from a year earlier.
Ken Griffin speaking at the 2018 Delivering Alpha Conference in New York on July 18th, 2018.
David A. Grogan | CNBC

It was the sale that shocked the world — and the housing data.

Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin's $238 million purchase of a condo in Manhattan single-handedly boosted the average sales price in the borough by more than $100,000 in the first quarter, according to an analysis.

A report from Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel showed that the average sales price for an apartment in Manhattan rose nearly 10 percent to $2,118,780 in the first quarter from a year earlier. That number surprised many since the Manhattan real estate market has been on a downward slide for over a year and a half.

It turns out, the sales price average was given a big lift by Griffin's purchase. Without the deal, the average sales price would have been $2,006,952, said Jonathan Miller, CEO of appraisal and research firm Miller Samuel. That means that Griffin's purchase increased the average sales price by $112,188.

So Manhattan real estate owners should thank Griffin for boosting their home values — at least for three months.

But they also have reason for anger. His purchase galvanized the left-leaning politicians in the state's Democratic Party, which now controls the New York Senate and Assembly. After headlines about the deal in January, legislators rallied around a proposal to tax pied-a-terres — second homes like Griffin's. It would have imposed an annual tax on homes valued at more than $5 million.

The annual tax was scrapped in favor of a new "mansion tax," which approved over the weekend. Sales of multimillion-dollar homes will face a sliding-scale tax starting at 1.25 percent and topping out at 4.15 percent for homes priced at $25 million or more. If the tax were in effect when Griffin made his purchase, he would have been subject to a tax of just under $10 million.

Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel, has been on a $700 million real estate spending spree. The New York deal was the largest of his recent purchases, which included a home in Chicago, Miami and London as well.