Weekly Roundup: Most important news since before the holidays, including strong NYC quarterly and U.S. monthly housing reports

Sales surge in fourth quarter as inventory shrinks to a 12-year low

Rental market appears to be shifting into slower gear

What makes one apartment worth more than another?

Surprise! Times says co-op approval process is ‘formidable’

Prices shoot up in gentrified Brooklyn

Permits to build new developments growing again, but apartment supply won’t meet demand

Her boots were made for speeding

And his, made for dancing, waltz into L.A. condo

Broadcaster trades UWS strollers for trends by purchasing $1.84 million penthouse off the island

Shadow inventory of existing homes drops 12 percent during last year

Number of signed contracts attains Continue reading

Two suburban houses attract winning bids, barely

Rear view of house on Long Island that received highest bid of just over $1 million at an auction on Sunday.   (Source: Sheldon Good & Co.)

Despite strong early interest, two distinctive suburban properties in separate auctions suffered little competition among bidders on Sunday.

Only two of four registered bidders raised their hands in the auction of a 3,988-sf residence designed by architect Norman Jaffe in the Laurel Hollow village of Oyster Bay on Long Island’s North Shore

At the Mark Hotel on the Upper East Side, the house was gaveled down after receiving a mere three bids — a $1 million minimum opener, then $1.010 million and finally Continue reading

State to tighten advertising rules for real estate

Few buyers and sellers of residential real estate believe everything in advertisements placed by brokers and agents.

Neither does New York’s Department of State (DOS), which is proposing to implement new rules as a consumer protection to replace its informal advertising guidelines.  In a notice about the change published on Oct. 24, it said:

After consulting with the New York State Board of Real Estate, however, it was determined that enforceable regulations were required in order to adequate protect the public from dishonest and misleading advertising practices.

Covered by the rule is Continue reading

Thanks for sending that gift card, but. . .

How should I handle the gratitude another broker expressed to me not long ago.

I had referred to him a man who wanted to rent an apartment in Manhattan in the range of $4,000 a month.  It wasn’t the first such referral I had made to “Bruce,” but it was the first successful one.

There arrived in my mail a nice thank-you greeting card along with a $200 gift card for use in several restaurants.

The problem is Continue reading

Three choice suburban houses head to auction

1880 restored Victorian on 2.84 acres north of Manhattan in Armonk.  It has heated pool and carriage house.  (Source: Sheldon Good & Co.)

Update: The Armonk and Laurel Hollow auction date has been changed to Nov. 18, apparently because of Sandy.  Ditto for the Pierson Lakes sale, to be conducted in early December at a date to be determined.

Impressive-looking houses in the New York State communities of Armonk, Laurel Hollow and Sterlington are scheduled to go on the auction block next month.

Besides the 3,884-sf Armonk property shown above, also to be sold are a 3,988-sf residence designed by architect Norman Jaffe in the Laurel Hollow village of Oyster Bay on Long Island’s North Shore and a 10,000-sf model home in the Pierson Lakes community of Rockland County’s Sterlington.

Model home to be auctioned in Sterlington, said to be “inspired” by 17th century New England architecture.  (Source: Madison Hawk)

In addition, Continue reading

NY1 segment aims at red flags in real estate sales

This image from Jill Urban’s NY1 segment shows neither her nor me.

Real estate reporter Jill Urban of NY1 interviewed me last week about the ways buyers or sellers can cause trouble before a contract is signed.

We also discuss what either party can do when sensing a problem.  I hope you enjoy viewing her short piece on red flags in real estate.

I know I enjoyed participating and finally meeting Jill, with whom I have several mutual friends in the business.

The clip is only two minutes long and includes one of those friends, lawyer Ron Gitter. I’ll have much more detail about the issues in a future post.

Tomorrow: Thanks, Rodney

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REBNY requires brokers to disclose family ties

Garfinkel

Ethical real estate brokers who are members of the Real Estate board of New York (REBNY) have a requirement that is not in New York State law, notes Neil B. Garfinkel, the organization’s residential counsel.

If representing a member of her/his immediate family, according to REBNY’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practices, a broker must disclose that relationship in writing to other parties to a transaction.

Although the state doesn’t require that disclosure, Continue reading

Do apartment buildings abuse First Amendment?

Numerous condo and co-op buildings restrict the amount, place or even the contents of notices and other paper that residents want their neighbors to see.

The arguments in favor of the restriction range from preserving dignity and removing clutter to avoiding political disputes.

For years, community association leaders and lawyers were in agreement that since condos are not governments, the First Amendment did not protect condo owners from speaking freely, lawyer and columnist Benny Kass observes in the Washington Post.  But a recent court ruling suggests the possibility that courts in some states may rule on the side of building residents, rather than their boards.

He reports that an opinion handed down by Continue reading

Draft tax abatement bill reduces past decreases

Although legislation has been drafted to extended tax abatements for apartment owners, there are changes that residents may not have been expecting.

It has been widely reported that the legislature is expected to go into special session later this year to vote on the co-op/condo abatement, the J-51 program and a technical amendment for 421a tax benefits, which are aimed at encouraging new residential development in high-density districts in Midtown as well as in downtown Manhattan.

But only when I received an e-mail from the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) did I notice details that affect many residents of the Big Apple.  Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Sales strong, rents spike, celebs move, U.S. prices rebound, rates drop again, consumers hopeful, analysts see recovery

Strong sales mark first half of year as inventory dwindles

$7.67 billion worth of homes change hands citywide in Q2

Rents jump to highest level in two years in fifth consecutive quarterly rise

Woman accuses landlord of refusing to list her wife Continue reading