William Cornwell, a retired advertising art director, hired a brokerage firm to a rent out a studio in his West Village townhouse. Then a broker at the firm made him a proposition he found he couldn’t refuse: Why not rent it to me instead?
The result was that Cornwell, 74, signed two handwritten leases on two studios in his Greek revival townhouse, with the agent and the agent’s father, for below market rate and for terms of up to 20 years.
Now Cornwell is in court battling the broker and his firm, charging the leases violated the obligation under state law that a broker represent a client’s interests honestly, fairly and in good faith. In addition, the state is now investigating the transactions.
IF YOU USE A COMMON CLOTHES DRYER AND ARE PARANOID ABOUT BEDBUGS, THERE’S A WAY TO KILL THE CRITTERS AND THEIR EGGS
One of the first things people with bedbugs are instructed to do is launder everything they possibly can at the hottest possible temperature. And that has brought the city’s war on bedbugs from the bedroom down to the laundry room–and laundromat.
Some simple precautions can prevent cross-contamination, but only if your machines get hot enough to destroy live bugs and their even tougher eggs. Dryers need to be able to bring the core of your belongings to 140 degrees for at least 30 minutes, according to BrickUnderground’s pest management guru, Gil Bloom, who tells you how to be sure they’re hot enough.
SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES IN NEW YORK CITY AND ITS SUBURBS POST SMALL PRICE RISE FOR FOURTH MONTH IN A ROW
Home prices in the New York City metro area rose marginally in August, up by a tenth of a percentage point year-over-year and two-tenths month-over-month. It was the fourth consecutive month of price increases in the region, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index report.
The region was one of just five nationwide to register a month-over-month improvement in home prices in August.
DROP RECORDED IN CO-OP AND CONDO SALES
The sales volume of Manhattan co-ops and condos fell sharply in October, and analysts said it was likely to remain subdued through the end of the year, says the Wall Street Journal.
The pace of closed October sales reported to City Hall as of Wednesday was down 16.5 percent versus September and about half the pace of sales during a comparable period in June, when sales were booming.
October sales are running at the lowest level in 15 months, with the biggest decline coming in lower-priced apartments.
MANHATTAN SALES GENERALLY HAVE SAGGED SINCE APRIL-MAY
The Manhattan market saw a solid surge in newly signed contracts that sustained itself a bit until the end of June, with the peak of activity around early May, reports Noah Rosenblatt on his blog, UrbanDigs.com. Since these are captured when the broker changes a listing from active to signed contract and it takes one-three weeks to go from accepted offer to contract signed, he writes, “I will put the peak of action in April.” Says he:
“Once we hit July, this market just took a break and buyers took a step back from signing new deals, at least relative to the action leading up to April.”
Rosenblatt adds that his data presages an uptick in October by the time the month ends.
WHAT’S IN A NAME? MONEY AND THE PERCEPTION OF PRESTIGE
There’s a reason that virtually all new residential developments in New York City have names: Developers aren’t dummies.
For existing co-ops and condos, says Steve Greenbaum, director of property management at Mark Greenberg Real Estate, “anything we can do to improve marketability and give the building a little edge is helpful.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING?
Most buyers expect central air conditioning in high-end renovationS unless it’s technically impossible to install, according to experts queried by BrickUnderground.com.
But it may be impossible to install. Architect Marc Spector says the basic requirements include access to a window for fresh air intake and a closet to stow the air handler.
As for buyers considering purchasing an apartment that has central air, they need to know that not all systems are created equal and it would behoove them to have theirs inspected in advance.
ENTER LOTTERY TO LIVE FREE IN AN EXTRA-VIRGIN APARTMENT FOR A YEAR IN JERSEY CITY AS PART OF A $45,000 PACKAGE
Here’s your chance to live rent-free for one year in a one-bedroom designer-decorated apartment in the metropolitan area. The winner can choose one of three apartments featured on the Rachael Ray show, keep the furnishings and receive $10,000.
The units are in the Southampton at Newport, 20 River Court, Jersey City, and the prize package is said to be worth approximately $45,000. You have until Nov. 8 to enter in this transparent attempt to unload more units in the development.
JONATHAN MILLER WHIPS UP SOME DANDY CHARTS FROM FED INFO TO PROFILE OUR HOUSING MARKET
Rentals make up 75 percent of Manhattan’s housing stock, and co-ops outnumber condos three to one in easily interpreted charts that appraiser Jonathan Miller has contrived. Single-family homes amount to only a single percent.
The chart also shows differences among the five boroughs and comparisons with the rest of the country.
In another of Miller’s posts, you can see how the city stacks up against others in terms of price change and job growth by sector.
FORECLOSURE ACTIVITY GOES UP 46 PERCENT IN THIRD QUARTER
Foreclosure filings–including notices of default, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions–were received on a total of 20,504 New York-area properties, reports RealtyTrac. That represents a 46 percent increase from the third quarter of 2009 and an 8 percent increase from the second quarter of this year.
The region placed 160th among the 206 metro areas surveyed.
Despite the uptick in foreclosure activity from last year, New York has “avoided the worst of the foreclosure problems and continues to do so,” RealtyTrac spokesperson Daren Blomquist told the Real Deal.
WITH PRICES EDGING UP, THE RENTAL MARKET HAS STABILIZED
Prices have stabilized and are continuing to show small increases while inventories continue to hold tight this month.
Rents around the city are up .70% since last month and 5.52% vs. 2009 numbers. Though not large increases, these numbers support that the modest upward trend we are seeing in the market over the past few months goes beyond seasonality.
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022