Buck up: just because you can't afford the $250,000/month "Champagne apartment" at the Palace Hotel, doesn't mean you aren't already living in the lap of New York "luxury." At least, luxury as it's shakily defined by optimistic brokers.
The term crops up in seemingly all corners of the market these days, writes the New York Observer, with no one willing (or able) to settle on one industry standard definition. Instead, we've got a few. Miller Samuel data guru Jonathan Miller defines luxury as the top 10 percent of the market in his reports, while Donna Olshan, whose firm puts out a weekly luxury market report, uses $4 million as the starting price. Elsewhere, Stribling's Kirk Henckels starts counting properties as luxury once they're priced at $5 million and above. (And then of course, there's "ultra-luxury," which Miller defines as $10 million or higher.)
It's a little more fluid in the rental world, where the idea of luxury seems to have more to do with amenities than high prices. Take, for example, the Shorecrest Towers at Trump Village in Coney Island, where prices range from $1,500 to $2,831 a month, but the building gets luxury billing because of extras like a fitness center and roof deck.
It can be a lot of broker babble to wade through, but, as the Observer points out, the technical definition of luxury is something that is "not usually or always available." Meaning, then, that even if your building doesn't have a rooftop barbecue or a pet spa on-site, if your idea of "luxury" is a night where none of your roommates are home, that definitely counts.