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A ‘financial drain’: RHONY star Sonja Morgan finally auctioned off her Upper East Side luxury townhouse she originally bought for $9.1M — selling it for half its purchase price

Socialite Sonja Morgan, widely known for her long-running stint on Bravo’s Real Housewives of New York, has been struggling to sell her Gilded Age five-story, six-bathroom brownstone for years.

Morgan originally purchased the Upper East Side property with ex-husband John Adams Morgan in 1998 for $9.1 million, shelling out an additional $3 million for renovations.

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The 4,500-square-foot townhouse features a nautical star on the ground floor in the entryway, mosaic hardwood floors and silk wallpaper, a luxurious primary bathroom with a massive tub and Murano chandeliers — and even a koi pond in the garden.

Morgan finally sold the property in May for a reported $4.98 million after putting it up for auction with a starting bid of just $1.75 million.

“I’ll always be a New Yorker. I just don’t need all this,” Morgan proclaimed in an earlier interview with Curbed. “I just want to get laid, eat, and sleep.”

‘A last resort’

Morgan said now that her daughter is in college, she no longer has need of the townhouse — which she once called a “financial drain, an emotional drain” on Season 12 of Real Housewives.

She first listed the townhouse back in 2008 for $12 million, and then $10.75 million in 2020. It later became available for rent at $32,000 a month in 2021, reports

“Most of the recent renovations were to appeal to my renters,” Morgan said. “My rental market was and always has been strong. ”

She claims she received an $11.25 million all-cash offer from a wealthy buyer who ended up pulling out of the sale during COVID-19 lockdowns. Morgan finally tried selling the place one more time in 2022, for $8.75 million, but didn’t receive any offers — so, in April of this year, she announced she’d be putting it up for auction.

“It’s a last resort,” Jed Garfield, the Upper East Side broker who represented the seller when the Morgans first purchased the home, told Curbed. Garfield believes Morgan was holding out for a better deal, but the property could have done with some newer renovations to appeal to buyers.

“The market isn’t great right now anyway,” he added. An April Redfin report reveals that while luxury homes across the country have seen their prices climb by 9% (twice as fast as non-luxury home prices), New York City has seen the biggest slump — the median sale price falling nearly 10% since last year to $3,250,000.

Some wealthy homeowners are struggling to offload their homes

Bidding on Morgan’s townhouse opened with Concierge Auctions on May 16. The highest bid was for $4.45 million — less than half the amount she originally paid with her husband in 1998.

With the buyer’s premium of 12%, the final sale price came to $4.98 million, reported The New York Post.

Despite all the glitz and glamor a luxury home once owned by a celebrity might entail, it can still be hard to find takers, especially among buyers who can’t afford to put in all-cash offers.

Take Michael Jordan’s Chicago mansion, for example. Jordan has tried to slash the price of the Highland Park property by half, even throwing in a pair of Air Jordans to sweeten the deal, but it’s still been languishing on the market for more than a decade.

Stephen Shapiro, co-founder of the Westside Agency, a Los Angeles-based luxury brokerage, told The Real Deal in 2018 that “almost without exception” buyers aren’t going to pay more for a house just because it’s owned by a celebrity.

“But you know who tends to think a property is worth more because a celebrity lived there? The celebrity trying to sell it,” Shapiro said.

StreetEasy senior economist Kenny Lee also told Business Insider one of the biggest hurdles with selling luxury properties is the high costs of maintenance and upkeep.

StreetEasy estimated Morgan’s townhouse comes with monthly property taxes of $6,003 — which doesn’t account for other expenses, like homeowner’s insurance, repairs, upgrades and landscaping.

Still, Morgan said she was ready to be rid of the property, even if it meant selling at a loss.

“I wanna be free to garden and travel and not have to worry about the house — but I’m not taking nothing,” she told Curbed.