City nets $3.377 million in Queens property auction

31-68 38th Street, Astoria

Although five properties found no bidders, the office of Queens Public Administrator Lois M. Rosenblatt, collected $3.777 million at its auction Tuesday of eight apartments and seven houses “inherited” by the city.

The former Astoria home of the late Eva Zacharaczuk topped the bids by far, going down for $1.41 million.

Following are the results, Continue reading

September may be cruelest month since August

This graph by UrbanDigs shows quarterly average sale price trends.

When I visited 14 open houses from Central Park to the Hudson River and 62nd to 93rd streets on Sunday, I came away with the impression that our housing market was beginning to develop some strength

Buyers were out there, and a couple of brokers said they already had offers in hand.

Given that there were 461 open houses scheduled on the entire Upper West Side that day and my observations had to be skewed, I decided to see what I could learn from OLR, a prime broker database that fails to be comprehensive or otherwise completely accurate as broker, numbers cruncher and blogger Noah Rosenblatt convincingly argues.

A chief reason: Many brokers fail to update their listings in a timely manner (as anyone who searches Streeteasy.com, OLR.com and other databases knows).

It turns out that I was in for a surprise. Continue reading

Names have been changed to protect the guilty

Let’s call them Bonnie and Clyde, a couple described to me by another broker who specializes in residential sales .  (I am altering other relevant details to preserve the listing broker’s requirement of confidentiality.)

It seems they made a successful offer to purchase a two-bedroom Brooklyn co-op in the $600,000-$700,000 range, having furnished an outline of their finances, when June already was busting out all over. (The operative word here is “bust.”)

The funding was said to be coming from “Clyde,” who had obtained a mortgage commitment, and this couple maintained that they were looking forward to making the apartment their home after their wedding. Thus, they were applying to the board of directors to live in the apartment together.

So far, so good. Continue reading

If it’s listed at $999,999, you may never know it

This two-bedroom co-op has an asking price of exactly $1 million.

There’s nothing like a 99-cent store or a $1.99 bargain meal to make consumers sense value.

Virtually all listing brokers adhere to the same sales ploy–and I’ve been fond of it as well.  How often do we see properties offered for $999,000 or $4.9 million and so on? Continue reading

Out and About: If it smells like a rose, keep sniffing

(Flickr photo by shutupyourface)

If smoking’s your thing, did I see a co-op for you!

It was the last of three apartments that I visited yesterday, and I felt as though I was striking a wall when I entered the place, which is on Central Park West in the high ’60s.

It seems an active 95-year-old man–he had gone shopping–has lived in the unit for decades and decades.  Every day of every one of those years of his residence, Continue reading

Weekly roundup of news you don’t want to miss

Here’s your chance to catch up with news and information to enlighten and perhaps even entertain you. To read about The Big Apple, check out another of today’s posts.

THE APARTMENT OF A LATE CLENCHED-JAW CONSERVATIVE ENDURES ANOTHER PRICE REDUCTION

HE AIMS HIGH AND . . . SCORES!

AND SO DOES HE!

WHEN HER APARTMENT ATTRACTS NO SUITORS, A ROMANCE NOVELIST CUTS THE PRICE

SHE’S SLEEPING IN SOHO

AFTER THREE YEARS, HE HAD HAS HOUSE MARKED TO MARKET

Continue reading

The Big Apple: Snakes, bedbugs and more, oh my

YOU CAN HAVE YOUR APARTMENT AND EAT WELL TOO

It’s not quite a trend, but community-supported agriculture plans, or C.S.A.s, farmers a fee to become members and in turn have vegetables, fruits and meats delivered to them at the building by a farm truck weekly.

For example, Holton Farms, an eighth-generation farm in Westminster, Vt., approached the Solaire in Battery Park City about its C.S.A. plan.  Immediately, Solaire’s management agreed to help promote the farm through the building’s e-mail system and smoothed the way for the farm to park its truck and makeshift farm stand in front of the building on River Terrace every weekend.

“It made sense for us,” said Michael Gubbins, director of residential management for the developer, the Albanese Organization, “and it’s become a very popular community service.” Continue reading

When is a bedroom not a bedroom?

Imagine solid walls on the left and right of the floorplan--they do exist.

 

How often have you walked into an apartment in New York City that is being marketed with more bedrooms than truly exist?

The fact is that the definition of a bedroom is not open to question, though you may well be excused for thinking otherwise. Continue reading

With thinking come murmurs of my mind

Housing recovery will depend on bitter medicine. (Flickr photo by aussiegall)

Experts cannot agree on how long housing’s crisis will continue or how to fix the problem.

You may have noticed  my characterization of the situation as a “crisis,” and certainly everything that has happened in housing in the last three years has been tragically dislocating to millions of families and profoundly harmful to the economy. No one knows when it all will end or even how bad things will be when it’s finally over.

The effects of the bursting bubble have thrown lives into chaos and helped make a shamble of the economy, and that’s where the word “crisis” comes in. Whether ameliorating the crisis means that the nation will–or should–return to 68-69 percent home ownership is another matter on which I have written and will consider again below

Meantime, allow me to quote some of the sources in the Bloomberg piece that I mentioned in my post yesterday. For example:

Morgan Stanley housing strategist Oliver Chang:

Whether it’s the sidelined, shadow or current inventory, the issue is  Continue reading

I’ve been thinking. . .

(Flickr photo by SouthernAnts)

Although the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, there is a loose consensus that housing is about to recover or, indeed, is already recovering.

It’s hard to know where we are. None of the statistical information from a variety of sources is particularly helpful. Anecdotal information is even worse.

When it comes to Manhattan’s housing situation, nothing could be easier than to find rosy predictions–most recently in the New York Times, where various executives were quoted as celebrating a boost in business.

Yet, when I speak to brokers at their open houses,  Continue reading