Developers splurging on 5-figure stoves to entice buyers

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If you can’t stand the heat — buy a new kitchen.

Thanks to the popularity of real estate and cooking reality television shows, and the newfound pandemic-era pastime of browsing luxury homes on Zillow, buyers and renovators have pricey new obsession: stoves.

“I always say kitchens sell apartments,” Cathy Taub, a NYC-based broker with Sotheby’s, citing new luxury developments like 555 West End Ave. on the Upper West Side, where each unit features a Christopher Peacock-designed kitchen with Wolf ranges valued at over $10,000.

But now, home hunters are “more brand-aware than ever,” she said.

Metin Ozkuzey who owns Designer Appliances in Montclair, NJ, said he’s been selling multiple $15,000 Wolf ranges each day since the start of the pandemic started.

And there is no sign of a slowdown — he reports a sustained 200% increase in appliance sales.

 Ozkuzey points to the Julia Child-era range, La Cornue, a show-stopping item with impeccable design features and functionality. People like the “bespoke pieces,” said  Ozkuzey because, “It gives you a distinct look in your kitchen,” and is a “way of expressing yourself.”

Another wildly expensive form of self-expression is produced by AGA, the legendary British range company originally designed in Sweden in the early 1920s. Like the La Cornue, the AGA stove costs around $50,000, and is purported to make food taste better because “it cooks better.”

“People optically make a value judgment about what brand of appliances the kitchen has,” Taub said.

That means, thanks to these scullery snobs, a remodeled kitchen that includes the best of the best from a brand like GE just isn’t going to cut it.

“It’s not going to help sell the property,” she said, noting that a brand like Miele, which makes a 48-inch range for $14,000, is a name wealthy buyers flip for.

Thermador and Viking are also considered top-notch, she said.

Ironically, most buyers are likely doing very little home cooking on one of these five-figure ranges.  Ozkuzey maintains that the aesthetics of a La Cornue or a Bertazzoni (which costs $12,000 for the 48-inch model) is the most significant factor for the buyer — not necessarily function.

“If you want a Ferrari, you’re not going to be happy with a BMW, regardless of the latter’s stellar performance,” he said. “When you have money, you have money, and $50,000 is no object.”

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