Why billionaire Rupert Murdoch can’t sell his Manhattan penthouse

Everyone seems to be having a tough time in today’s housing market. Even billionaire media mogul and proprietor Rupert Murdoch is struggling—but just in a very different way from young aspiring home buyers who can’t afford to break into a housing market riddled with high mortgage rates and home prices. 

Indeed, Murdoch’s Manhattan penthouse was listed at such a high price, that he and his agent have had to cut the price by nearly 40% from $62 million to $38.5 million.

“The revised price reflects current realities and is closer to where the market values the residence,” Kyle Blackmon, head of luxury sales at Compass, tells Fortune. Murdoch did not respond to requests for comment.  The triplex was first listed by the News Corp. chairman emeritus for $62 million in 2022, and has since had multiple price cuts. 

At the current list price, Murdoch will take a loss on the property, since he purchased it for $57.9 million in 2014, according to a Wall Street Journal report. For comparison, the average home price in Manhattan is about $1 million, according to Redfin’s most recent data. Murdoch (and his family) have an estimated net worth of nearly $21 billion, according to Forbes, having started a media empire that includes Fox News, The Times of London, and The Wall Street Journal. Murdoch stepped down as chairman in September 2023.

About Murdoch’s sky-high Manhattan mansion

The luxury triplex is roughly 7,000 square feet—more than twice the size of the average American home. It boasts 20-foot ceilings, “massive art walls,” and a 586-square foot terrace, which are features that “create true scarcity value,” Blackmon says. 

While the penthouse, which sits at the pinnacle of One Madison in Manhattan, is undoubtedly one of a kind, the price of the property attracts a very niche set of interested buyers. 

“Ultra-luxury property sales are challenging due to the limited buyer pool at these price points,” Noah Rosenblatt, co-founder of New York City-based real estate analytics company UrbanDigs, tells Fortune. “These unique trophy homes are more akin to the art market than the real estate market, with value determined mainly by a potential buyer’s perception.”

Even Blackmon agrees that the property is so unique that it’ll likely sell to a very specific buyer.

“We will sell this residence, and the buyer, who will likely be an art collector, will secure an exceptional value for this important and rare offering,” Blackmon says. “This is the equivalent of a [Jean-Michel] Basquiat oil painting, an asset that can’t be replicated in this location. Residences of this size and importance are selling for twice as much in several buildings in the city.”

While price cuts can sometimes signal that a property was overpriced to begin with, Rosenblatt says these changes are relatively normal in the luxury real estate market. 

“Contrary to popular thinking, ultra-luxury listings are rarely overpriced,” Rosenblatt says. “Astronomical listing prices serve to affirm the property’s luxury status and signal its availability, making the initial price a strategic tool rather than a straightforward market assessment—an invitation more than a statement.”

In other words, original list prices serve to mark properties as being ultra-luxury, and price cuts bring more buyers to the conversation of actually buying the property, Rosenblatt says.

“From the outside, it looks like the seller is chasing the market down, [but] these price reductions are more aptly described as trying to achieve market fit,” Rosenblatt says. “The challenges [with selling the property] highlight the ultra-luxury market’s volatility, driven by unique buyer preferences rather than traditional market forces, and underscore the ever-evolving definition of ‘trophy’ properties in NYC’s resilient ultra-luxury segment.”

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