Appraiser values below-grade space as amenity

Apartment at grade on Upper West Side is typical of units in other buildings.

Apartment at grade on Upper West Side is typical of units in other buildings.

One of the hardest components when trying to price an apartment going on the market is space at ground level or below it.

Jonathan Miller, the inimitable CEO of the Miller Samuel appraisal firm, has published a blog post that makes the challenging task understandable.

Inside of the same co-op shown at right.

Inside view of the same co-op at front of the building in photo at left.

He writes convincingly about the definition of spaces ranging from “at grade” (ground level) to “sub-cellar” (below the cellar, which itself is below the basement) and approaches for considering square footage as well as value.  Continue reading

In the world of real estate, ‘stale’ is a dirty word

Nobody likes stale peanuts, pastry or bread (except perhaps cooks preparing croutons or turkey stuffing).

Nobody is a fan of stale listings either.  (You knew I was headed there, I’m sure.)

Unfortunately, those buyers seeking a tempting apartment that has been newly offered on the Upper West Side will encounter, instead, a collection of co-ops and condos turning grey and grubby with age.

Employing statistics from the OLR (Online Residential) database — which many brokers use, including me — I arbitrarily checked time on the market of listings offered at prices between $450,000 and $1 million.  Continue reading

The Big Apple: Citywide stats improve. . . a bit

VOWs prove useful to buyers searching for new homes

Brokerage firms are getting into the digital game themselves, creating a “virtual office Web site” or VOW.

These are sites operated by brokers that enable clients to search for most of the available properties in a particular market, not just the firm’s exclusive listings, according to the New York Times.

While brokers have mixed feelings about whether these sites are worth the investment, the emergence of the VOW is yet another sign that once tightly guarded listing information has finally been set free in New York.

Dollar value of citywide sales climbs from Q1 to Q2 as seasons change, but sales activity slips 4 percent below one year earlier

The total dollar value of New York City’s residential sales transactions jumped 13 percent in the second quarter of 2011 to Continue reading

The Big Apple: Years of inventory? Much more!

Eight to 17 years is an S&P projection for clearing shadow inventory in the five boroughs

It will take more than a decade to clear up all the shadow inventory in the residential real estate market in New York state, according to new report released by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.

That is more than three times longer than it will take the rest of the nation, a difference that the report largely attributes to the greater time it takes to foreclose on a property in New York.

According to the report, shadow inventory in Brooklyn will take the longest to unwind at more than 17 years. Bronx was close behind at 16.5 years, and Staten Island recorded 12 years. Manhattan fared the best, coming in at a little more than eight years.

Unlisted Upper East Side home finds buyer for. . . $47 million

A grand East Side townhouse that has been quietly shopped by its owners for three years is under contract for more than $47 million, further evidence that the top-end of the Manhattan market is soaring.

The 33-foot-wide townhouse on East 69th Street once belonged to Continue reading

The Big Apple: Condo prices, rents rise and more!

Condo prices rise 12 percent over May 2009, but pace seems to flag

The Radar Logic data firm reports that Manhattan condo prices went up 4.7 in January over a year earlier but that the rate of growth seems to be slowing.

Although prices have climbed 12 percent above the post-bust low in May 2009, the price recovery is “losing steam” or may simply reflect seasonal weakness in demand, according to the firm’s RPX Monthly report on Manhattan neighborhoods. The report said it was too early to know with any certainty what contributed to the increase.

Uptown neighborhoods fared better than downtown neighborhoods, with year-over-year increases caused by higher prices per unit as a result of a shortage in supply.

Apartments with a washer/dryer clean up when sold

One new value-enhancing amenity that’s catching on is allowing shareholders and unit-owners to install clothes washers and dryers in their apartments. Plumbing issues have been the usual reason for forbidding washing machines.

But one veteran real estate appraiser has estimated that a washer and dryer add approximately 5 percent to the value of any apartment, leading to the increasingly permissive attitude these days.

The rich are Continue reading

The Big Apple: Will there really be a condo shortage?

IF YOU CAN’T STAND THE HEAT IN YOUR APARTMENT, YOU CAN DO MORE THAN WHINE ABOUT IT

Even when you turn off your radiators, your apartment is a miserable sweatbox.

Meantime, some of your neighbors are complaining that they’re not getting enough heat, so cranking down the basement boiler fueling your inferno isn’t the answer. But BrickUnderground.com helpfully supplies answers to the seasonal curse of overheated co-ops and condos.

HUGE DEVELOPMENT ON COLUMBUS AVENUE ENJOYS RESOUNDING SUCCESS

Columbus Square boasts 500,000 square feet of retail space, including a Whole Foods, Modell’s and a TJ Maxx, 710 rental apartments with elevated landscaped gardens, two private schools and a $650 million price tag.

That’s a lot of units to fill at premium prices, but demand has been strong so far. The first two buildings, where one-bedrooms start Continue reading

The Big Apple: Luxury sales skew market. More!

LUXURY SALES COLOR THE HOUSING MARKET, WHICH IS MOVING ‘SIDEWAYS’ AND PROMPTING CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC FORECASTS

Sales activity in the second half–as measured by number of sales, median sale prices, average number of days on market and the number of Manhattan apartments on the market–settled comfortably into historic 10-year ranges, according to two separate market reports in Crain’s New York.

(via Prudential Douglas Elliman)

Despite a busy market for trophy properties, the pace of sales and median prices of Manhattan apartments slipped during the fourth quarter, the Wall Street Journal observed.

The number of sales fell by Continue reading

The Big Apple: Sales, prices were up at one point

WITH FEW AFFORDABLE NEIGHBORHOODS, MANY ARTISTS ARE FLEEING NEW YORK CITY

Artists have long struggled in New York, moving into rough areas, gentrifying them and then getting forced out, Crain’s observes.

But as the city has gotten increasingly expensive, there are few such neighborhoods left to move to, forcing a growing number of artists to abandon the city.

Although there are no official numbers, a survey of 1,000 artists conducted in 2009 by the New York Foundation for the Arts found that more than 43 percent expected their annual income to drop by 26-50 percent over the next six months, and 11 percent believed they would have to leave New York within six months.

Even more troubling, cultural boosters say, is that for the first time, artists fresh out of art schools around the country are choosing to live in nascent artist communities in regional cities such as Detroit and Cleveland–which are dangling incentives to attract this group–and bypassing New York altogether.

PURCHASE MORTGAGES POSTED Continue reading

Experts weigh in on ‘why’ of numbers, but how?

Jonathan Miller of the Miller-Samuel appraisal firm released the latest statistics in his report for Prudential Douglas Elliman on Friday.

So did Greg Heym from Halstead.  And Pamela Liebman from Corcoran.

Housing price and sales statistics are regularly released by a number of others, including Case-Shiller, Radar Logic, the National Association of Realtors, PropertyShark.com and CoreLogic.

Invariably, the experts also explain the numbers.  My advice is not to put an excessive amount of stock in what they say, 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