Weekly Roundup: New development sales, eccentric buyers, agents’ frothy remarks, free mortgage tutorial, economics of price changes

With inventory tight and prices climbing, sales of new condos plunge

Yet developers, marketers designing ever more spectacular penthouses, townhouses in buildings old and new

Recent law change could make maintenance-free apartments less rare

Buyers do the darndest things

New Yorker magazine lets you click on subway stops to gauge wealth

Beachfront homeowners in Southampton building ramparts against storms

No, says New York magazine, it’s not a bubble again

Disgraced athlete latches onto quarter-acre Texas compound in gated community after dumping old Austin home

Artist makes mark in SoHo with purchase of Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Renters, new market stats, dropping loan rates, foreclosure purchase risks, credit misconceptions, kitchen trends, and more

Renters don’t stay put for long in the financial district

New York magazine explores world of platonic urban cohabitation i.e. roommates

Housing signals mixed in metro region

Four things to bear in mind when buying an apartment for your kids

19 percent more building permits issued in 2012 than in prior year

Committee ranks Upper East Side tops for kids, Bay Ridge beats all other Brooklyn neighborhoods

Request for proposals to redevelop Lower East Side sites signals end of bitter renewal squabbling

Foreclosures in region higher in December than a year earlier

Estate in the Hollywood Hills finds friendly buyer but at greatly reduced price

Legendary rocker Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Latest rent stats, celebrities’ real estate, state of U.S. market, mortgage fraud, house swapping, growing consumer optimism

Manhattan rents shoot up 8.2 percent in a year, reaching $3,195 monthly

And Tribeca has biggest change in rents from prior month

Beating out other applicants means renting only what you can afford — and much more advice

Before signing lease, understand landlord’s perspective

Brooklyn, Queens attain highest average sales price in Q3 since 2007

Co-ops and condos Continue reading

Co-op boards screw sellers, selves over price

(Flickr photo by striatic)

It is not a new phenomenon, but Jhonna Robledo of New York magazine has uncovered some troubling information about co-op boards.

The boards seem — there is no way of knowing for sure — to be turning down buyers at a growing rate if they think an apartment’s price is too low.  Says Robledo 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: Prices, sales slip in 1st quarter

Weakness emerges in Manhattan market during first quarter

Reports issued today showed price declines as much as 23 percent from the same time last year, according to the New York Times.

One of the reports, prepared by the Miller Samuel appraisal firm, had the median sale price down by 9.9 percent to $782,071. According to that document, a new index of sales that have yet to close recorded a 7.1 percent increase over the same time last year, suggesting an upswing in the current quarter.

Explanations for the dip included the artificial bump caused last year by the federal homebuyer tax credit and a boost this year in the sales of co-ops, which are generally less expensive than condos, as the result of a crimp in condo inventory.

As Noah Rosenblatt, a blogger, broker and data provider, points out on UrbanDigs.com, the figures on which the reports are based are flawed because of the way they are gathered.

Says he: “. . . you MUST understand that you are seeing an incomplete report with a ton of Q1 sales not yet publicly released! Especially March, whose sales will continue roll in over the course of the next 4-8 weeks. . .”

Price of studios suggests it’s a good time to buy one

The studio market has gone soft again–just as it did in the last recession, says the New York Times.

Prices have dipped to 2005 levels, making it possible to find studios in Manhattan in the $200,000s–lots of them. And they don’t all face a brick wall or involve a lengthy hike to the subway.

The average price for studios dropped to $404,326 in 2010 from a high of $500,479 in 2008.

A recent search of Manhattan listings on the Times real estate site and on Streeteasy.com found close to 200 studios available for $300,000 or less. An article about studios in The Times in 2009, before the market had bottomed out, found only a handful of studios in that price range.

The Times provides Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Some buyers want it all. More!

Here’s your chance to catch up with news included to inform, enlighten and perhaps even entertain you. To read about The Big Apple, check out the other of today’s posts and look for Out and About early next week.

Author didn’t sleep there, but Long Island mansion slated for destruction evokes his memory

Investors, not first-time buyers, have propelled the housing market since July

Sales of million-dollar homes Continue reading

The Big Apple: Bags of $100 bills, monthly stats, more

GROWING DEMAND FOR TWO-BEDROOM APARTMENTS HAS THEIR PRICES RISING

After a lull that has lasted for more than a year, two-bedrooms are back.

The market share for two-bedrooms first dipped under 30 percent in early 2009, with smaller and larger apartments gobbling up more of the sales, according to data compiled by Jonathan J. Miller, the president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel and a market analyst for Prudential Douglas Elliman. But in recent months, that percentage has climbed back up to 39 percent.

The median in Manhattan dropped 20 percent, from a high of $1.6 million, in 2008, to $1.272 million in 2009, according to the data. It has since inched back to $1.3 million.

SELLERS AND BROKERS ARE KNOWN TO MISREPRESENT BEDROOMS, SQUARE FOOTAGE, BUILDING POLICIES AND NOISE

Sometimes sellers and their brokers get things wrong or even flat-out lie to the other side, and New York, says real-estate attorney Jerry Feeney, is “a buyer-beware state.” (Brokers’ websites include fine print disclaiming responsibility for errors.)

If you have even a slight suspicion, Continue reading

Kith and kin can be kiss of death in a purchase

Flickr photo by Wisconsin Historical Images

I love it when buyers fall in love with a property.

I hate it when they ask for a second or third viewing accompanied by parents, friends or individuals who supposedly have a great deal of experience purchasing real estate.

Seven, eight or nine times out of 10, the extra visitors will kill the deal.

While the buyer himself or herself sees everything that’s right about the apartment, Continue reading

I may have vowed that I would never, ever tweet

Don’t get me wrong: I still hate the idea.  But. . .

It occurred to me a few weeks ago that many of us local real estate bloggers read each other’s posts all the time and link to each other regularly even though many of us have never met or even spoken to each other.

So, I asked several bloggers who mostly concentrate on Manhattan and a couple of writers from the traditional news media whether they’d like to get together at long last.  Sure enough, they would.

A lunch dish from Kouzan on the Upper West Side.

The other night almost nine of us met for drinks (and, it turned out, dinner) at the commendable Kouzan restaurant near my apartment on the Upper West Side.  (Hey, I got to choose.)

Attending were folks from Curbed, Urban Diggs, Westside Independent, New York magazine, Habitat, the Wall Street Journal and Brick Underground.  Three others – the Real Deal TrueGotham and Matrix – couldn’t make it. Continue reading