Apr 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day | Go Green


Our Planet Earth 
photos courtesy of Astronaut Sunita Williams

Go Green for Earth Day!

 Green Big Apple | Green NYC


PLANYC is a NYC sustainability program, PlaNYC,  encourages businesses, universities and other private organizations to cut greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and reduce the impact of climate change.

Ten companies will participate in the Carbon Challenge and commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their offices by up to 40 percent in the next 10 years. 

They include: American International Group, BlackRock, Bloomberg LP, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Google, JetBlue Airways, JPMorgan Chase, and PVH. 

The companies join 17 universities with more than 35 campuses that accepted the Carbon Challenge when it began in 2007, and the 11 largest hospital organizations that joined in 2009. 

The Carbon Challenge builds on the City’s own goal to cut emissions in municipal buildings by 30 percent by 2017 and will help meet the PlaNYC target to reduce emissions citywide by 30 percent in 2030.

The City of New York is more than halfway to meeting its goal, having achieved 16 percent of its emissions in the last six years.

 What are you doing to make our planet greener?

Apr 18, 2014

Hudson Yards the Nation's First Smart Neighborhood

The Hudson Yards, Manhattan's newest neighborhood will be the most connected, measured and technologically advanced digital district in the nation.

Hudson Yards being built over a Long Island Rail Road yard, a once underutilized tract of land on the far West Side of Manhattan will be the first "quantified community" in the entire country.

According to an article in Crain's New York, NYU, in conjunction with Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group, will collect information on pedestrian traffic, air quality, energy production and consumption, and even the health and activity levels of workers and residents

The data will be analyzed by a team of number crunchers, although details for the partnership have not been finalized.

The partnership hopes to install thousands of sensors throughout the complex that will send information to secure servers. The data will be analyzed by a team of number crunchers, although details for the partnership have not been finalized.

Their goal and mission, is to use big data to make cities better places to live, though they emphasized the collection of any personal data would be voluntary.

Apr 16, 2014

Manhattan Market Monthly Report | March 2014


Manhattan Market Monthly Report | March 2014  

Market Wide Summary

Low inventory continues to drive strong competition for available units across the market, with year-over-year declines in listed units in both the co-op and condominium markets.
Also occurring in both markets and likely affected by inventory, days on market is down year-over-year and buyer negotiability has dropped. 

This month 31% of sales were above their asking price and just 49% were below their asking price. Contracts signed decreased year-over-year but relative to last month the number of contracts signed increased significantly, up 35% in condominiums and 24% in co-ops. 

The year-over-year decline in contracts signed could be due to several factors; the unusually inclement weather and the decline in available inventory are both likely to have impacted sales. 

Price growth was less robust this month than recent months, however average price and price per square foot had modest year-over-year increases in both the condominium and the co-op market. Compared to last month, prices declined in both of these metrics as well as in median price. 

This is at least in part due to market share by unit type: three+ bedrooms were responsible for only 15% of sales this month compared to 19% in March 2013 and 28% in February 2014.

 The Corcoran Report March 2014

Apr 15, 2014

New Developments | Upper West Side Conversions

340 West 72nd Street - The Chatsworth
Upper West Side Rental Conversions 
Opening in 2014 

340 West 72nd Street 
The Chatsworth 
81 units Rental conversion + new construction - Beaux-Arts landmark plus addition.

175 West 95th Street
80 units Rental conversion  - 18 story rental conversion

360 Central Park West

360 Central Park West 
50 units Rental conversion - Luxury pre-war rental conversion

498 West End Avenue

498 West End Avenue
45 units Rental conversion - Century old pre-war conversion

100 W 80th St. -The Orleans

100 West 80th Street - The Orleans
26 units Rental conversion - Luxury pre-war conversion
101 West 78th Street - Evelyn

101 West 78th Street - Evelyn
15 units Rental conversion - Pre-war conversion plus addition

Manhattan New Development/Conversion Listings

Apr 14, 2014

East Harlem | Manhattan Neighborhood

Metro North Railroad Station at 125th Street & Park Avenue

'There is a rose in Spanish Harlem
A red rose up in Spanish Harlem
It is a special one, it's never seen the sun
It only comes out when the moon is on the run
And all the stars are gleaming
It's growing in the street right up through the concrete
But soft and sweet and dreamin'

Ben E King 
"Spanish Harlem" 

Manhattan Neighborhood | East Harlem

El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) SpaHa (East/Spanish Harlem) community stretches from First Avenue to Fifth Avenue and from East 96th Street to East 125th Street.

Rich in history and residential charm, the diverse East Harlem neighborhood offers those in search of a new apartment or townhouse plenty to peruse. Housing stock runs the gamut from row houses to studios, from one-and two-bedroom co-ops to renovated tenements.

A big draw in East Harlem is space — apartments often come with a dining room, an outdoor garden, or even parking. Large rental complexes like Hampton Court (complete with gyms, garden decks and retail shopping) are now being joined in East Harlem by luxury condos offering views of the East River, the George Washington and RFK (Triborough) Bridges.

Lexington Hill Condominium (103/104th Streets)
East Harlem’s cornucopia of food, culture and lively street life reflects its history. From the exclusive Rao’s Restaurant, founded in 1896, and Patsy’s Pizzeria, established in 1933 in part of Old Little Italy, to modern-day bodegas and botanicas, shopping and dining in this neighborhood continue to evolve even as the Uptown apartments do.

On the artsy side of East Harlem, provocative murals by celebrated artist James De La Vega — some commissioned, some not — dot the neighborhood and the living legacy of Salsa greats continues at venues such as Creole, a jazz/supper club, and Orbit, a bar/restaurant that hosts open mic nights in its jazz and cabaret schedule.

East Harlem residents enjoy the East River Plaza on 116th Street off the FDR Drive that opened in ’09. If you want to stock your home with everything, big companies that will be offering their wares for sale in East Harlem include Target, Marshall’s, Best Buy and Manhattan’s first Costco. Other neighborhood attractions include the Museum of the City of New York, El Barrio Museum, Central Park East and North Meadows.

Easy access to get out-of-town. There's a Metro-North Railroad Station at 125th Street with a 4-5-6 Lexington Avenue subway stop and easy access to the FDR Drive and the west side via cross town bus on 125th Street. Easy access to La Guardia airport from 125th Street airport bus.

There currently are approximately 40 active apartments for sale in East Harlem. Ranging from $139,000 for a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 5th floor walk-up to $2,980,000 for a 3 bedroom. 3.5 bath, 2849 square foot penthouse at the Crown Condominium.

Currently there are approximately 10 residential buildings (single family, multi family, mixed use and income properties) for sale in East Harlem ranging from $1,150,000 for a two family house to an 8-story income property delivered vacant under construction condo for $15,550,000.

                                                                                             There is a rose in Spanish Harlem...

Apr 11, 2014

HDFC Coops | Facts vs Myths

45 Central Park North
There are about 1500 HDFC coops in NYC about half are in Manhattan. Most have come through various programs run by HPD (Housing Preservation Department) in order to privatize the City's in REM (foreclosed) stock.

Buildings in the Tenants Interim Lease Program  are gut rehabilitated by HPD then they will be converted to HDFC Cooperatives and sold to the tenants for $250 per apartment. HDFCs can obtain full or partial exemption from real estate taxes for up to 40 years.

HDFC cooperatives originating from HPD Division of Alternative Management Programs (DAMP) have certain restrictions and depending of when the conversion took place they are slightly different.

The most common restriction is income: Conversions prior to 1995 require income of new shareholders not to exceed 6 or 7 times the annual maintenance plus utilities. If the incoming household has less than 3 dependents you multiply the annual maintenance plus utilities times 6. If the family has 3 or more dependents then by 7.

There are a number of HDFC cooperatives converted from 1986 to 1995 that have a further restriction requiring the payment to the City of 40% of any profit on the resale of the shares. These are called 60/40 buildings.

HDFC co-ops are intended to be the primary, permanent homes for the self-supporting working low- to moderate-income households. They are not intended to be investment property, for market speculation or for non occupant parents purchasing them for their adult children.

Low income is considered below 100% of the NY area median income and moderate income is above the median. Moderate incomes range from 120 percent to 165 percent of the area’s median income.

A project in the South Bronx, for example, might be restricted to people with incomes up to 80 percent of the median, which means $68,000 for a family of four. But in Harlem, Morningside Heights, Clinton/Hell's Kitchen or the East Village the limit might be as high as 165 percent of the NY median, or $141,735 because incomes are higher in those neighborhoods.

Generally all HDFCs usually require a "Transfer Fee" commonly called a "Flip Tax" often up to 30% of seller's profit but can vary. It is necessary to review the Proprietary Leases and Offering Plans to ascertain exactly what the restrictions for any one particular HDFC cooperative as there are many variations.

HDFC coop boards are not that different from any other coop board. All coops including HDFC are set up as private housing corporations. The coop board is entitled to approve or deny any purchase for any reason other than discrimination. The only difference is HDFC coops have maximum income restrictions. The must remain "affordable" based on New York metropolitan area statistical median income standards released annually through HPD as determined by each HDFC.

Cash is not always King: Cash only required is a red flag. There are many reasons why a lender will not lend in an HDFC coop but there are lenders (citibank, Chase, Bank of America) that will loan in HDFC coops that have good financials and are managed well. Many established HDFC coops are on the lender's approved list.

Some coops will need to be approved by a lender because they haven't had a recent sale. There is an approval process. If the coop cooperates with the lender and answers the lender's questionnaire and meets lender's and Fannie Mae guidelines they will most likely be approved.

There are a lot of myths about HDFC coops, many are perpetuated by brokers that lack experience and knowledge of HDFC coops. They don't understand the spirit and intent of "affordable housing" despite taking a listing. There are a lot of brokers in Manhattan but few with successful experience selling HDFC coops.

There are many good HDFC coops. For qualified low- moderate income buyers they can offer an opportunity for affordable home ownership but like everything else in NYC there are always some bad apples.

Caveat Emptor. Let the buyer beware. Buyers and or their (HDFC experienced) attorney should do their "due diligence" They should request financial reports as well as copies of the minutes of the Annual Shareholders Meeting, proof of insurance and Fidelity Bond, as well as payments of Property Taxes and Water & Sewer charges.

Related article:
HDFC Coops

Apr 7, 2014

Determining Price Differentials for Floors & Views

A seller recently asked what is the price differential for each floor in a Manhattan apartment building?

In Manhattan there are many variables in determining the price differential for each floor. A beautifully renovated apartment on a lower floor can sell for a higher price than an "original condition" apartment on a high floor.

The parlor floor in a townhouse may be worth more than the 4th floor if it's a walk-up. A 10th floor apartment facing the back will sell for less than the same apartment on the 5th floor directly facing Central Park.

Unless the building owns the air rights over neighboring buildings, views can and will change in Manhattan. A high floor facing an interior courtyard doesn't have as nice a view as the corner apartment on a low floor overlooking the park. Higher floors usually have a premium as do views. Both premiums can be separate. A view can be subjective. However, kitchens and bathrooms can be replaced but there is only one Central Park and Hudson river in Manhattan.

When pricing or determining value of a Manhattan condo or coop it is crucial to compare apples to apples. All coops and condos in Manhattan have an offering plan.

In the original offering plan whether new construction or conversion, the developer/sponsor put a price differential for each floor and unit in the building.

The sponsor determined premiums for each unit. Since all offering plans are from different years and during different market conditions there is a premium percentage for every attribute. In a coop, premiums for attributes are also allocated with more shares in the corporation.

Think in terms of percentages rather than arbitrary dollar amounts.

For example, if you're considering purchasing or selling in a building that was built or converted in the 80's, you can figure out the approximate percent of the premium.

If the same apartment, line, and square footage was selling in the $200,000 range originally and today the same apartments are selling in the $800,000 range, the apartment today is worth 4x more. If they're selling in the million dollar range 5x.

The premium for floor differential is 4x more whatever it was in the offering plan. If it was $2000 per floor in the offering plan, than it would be around $8000 per floor today providing the comparable apartments are otherwise the same. Price per share (in a coop) and price per square foot can also be used as evaluation tools. However, all square footage is not equal.

In today's transparent information age there are many online tools or "gimmicks" designed for automated instant home values. Take them all with a grain of salt. An algorithm looks at data logically. Real estate data isn't always logical. Selling and buying real estate is emotional not logical.

In Manhattan pricing a home is as much an art as a science.

Pricing a home is a marketing function, the price you get is a function of the marketing you choose.

Apr 3, 2014

Manhattan Market Report | First Quarter 2014

Following an extremely strong 2013, closed sales in the Manhattan market remained numerous duringFirst Quarter 2014, up 25% year-over-year to over 3,200 sales. With a proportional increase
in sales at  the high end, the price per square foot and the average price both topped the Second Quarter 2008 peak.

Ultra-low inventory levels strongly contributed to this quarter’s substantial price appreciation.
Across the market, both the average price per square foot and median price increased by double digits
when compared to First Quarter 2013. 

Market-wide price per square foot averaged $1,276, exceeding the Second Quarter 2008 peak of $1,261 by 1%. Condominium values played a large role in that change; the average price per foot for resale condos reached $1,420, a 13% increase from First Quarter 2013. 

Year-over-year, the median price increased 12% for resale condos and 15% for resale co-ops. Larger units in particular continue to post significant price gains; three+ bedroom units gained 25% in median price market-wide this quarter, compared to an 8% gain in studio units.

Thanks to closings in major luxury properties, new development pricing also rose to new heights. Average price increased 69% to $3.285 million, median price 35% to $1.880 million, and price per square foot 40% to $1,776. With their outstanding popularity and intense demand from luxury buyers, new development products skew bigger than the rest of the market; 31% of new development closings this quarter were in three+ bedroom units. While new developments represented only 11% of market-wide closings, they drove some of the biggest price gains.

Despite the large increase in closings this quarter, signed contracts were down versus this time last year. This can be attributed in large part to limited inventory which in the First Quarter 2014 
was 17% lower than the First Quarter 2013 and the unusually harsh winter and lack of large new development projects opening this quarter also played a role. 

This report uses market-wide data based on transactions that closed in the First Quarter 2014 (January 1 through March 31) and compares it to closings that took place last quarter and during the same quarter last year. Closings typically occur eight to twelve weeks after a contract is signed in the resale market but can occur several years later for new developments. For that reason, the sales activity discussed trails actual market conditions.
For Manhattan property owners thinking of selling, there has never been a better or more advantageous time. For buyers looking to act in this market, swift and aggressive action is called for. 

Whichever you may be, I invite you to contact me with your questions about the First Quarter 2014 Corcoran Report and on the market in general.


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