The Big Apple: Apartments are not moving swiftly

ALTHOUGH COMPLAINTS ARE UP 7 PERCENT, THEY’RE NOT MAKING A DENT IN BEDBUG INFESTATIONS

Statistics from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development show that residential bedbug complaints in New York City climbed 7 percent during 2010, the Wall Street Journal is quoted as reporting in the Real Deal.

In 2010, there were 4,846 violations and 13,472 complaints, up from 4,811 and 12,594 in 2009. According to Louis Sorkin, an entomologist with the American Museum of Natural History, there are many more infestations than complaints.

“Tons of people that have infestations don’t say anything and, if they are in apartments, the people next door are the ones with a complaint finally,” he told the Journal. “They may not file a complaint, but they may go through the proper channels and tell the landlord or co-op board or condo owner.”

EXPERIENCE IS HARSH TEACHER FOR BUYERS IN A NEW DEVELOPMENT

“I would advise other people shopping for new condos to watch out for really low prices,” an anonymous purchaser of a one-bedroom condo tells BrickUnderground.com.

“Ours is a great apartment on the inside–if it felt dry and we didn’t feel like we were going to have issues with water we would be much happier. The quality of the building is the issue. We do have some concern about selling the apartment, which we will probably try to do in a couple of more years.

“Would I buy new construction again? Oh God no. I’d probably buy in the 4-5 year old range with a full inspection of the building. I would also get a better lawyer.”

IT IS TAKING LONGER FOR THE MARKET TO ABSORB CONDOS AND CO-OPS

Charting a comparison of condo and co-op activity in December of 2009 and 2010, appraiser Jonathan Miller finds that the absorption rate for apartments selling below $5 million was generally lower than the 10-year average. In other words, it would take more months than the average to sell all the listing inventory at December’s rate of sales activity.

However, if you were selling trophy apartments, luck you!

MANHATTAN’S RENTAL MARKET REBOUNDS IN 2010, WITH RENTS BOUNCING UP 7.2 PERCENT FOR ONE-BEDROOM UNITS AND VACANCIES FALLING

The Manhattan residential rental market rebounded last year, and at a faster clip than many had anticipated, according to a new report.

The year started out in neutral with both rents and vacancy rates holding flat in the first six months, but things picked up in the last half, according to Citi Habitats. Landlords also started to pull back on incentives such as months of free rent.

Average rents, not including landlord incentives, for all apartment sizes in the fourth quarter of 2010 rose from the same period of 2009. Rents for one-bedrooms and studios led the charge, increasing 7.2 percent to $2,512 and 6.2 percent to $1,840, respectively. The smaller apartments represent 75 percent of the Manhattan rental inventory, which shrank 25 percent, according to a second report.

ONE CO-OP BOARD HAD A TERRIBLE TWO WEEKS

First, someone intruded into a shareholder’s co-op apartment. A couple of days later, the treasurer of the co-op noticed a strange man polishing the glass in the lobby. And then, someone detected the smell of waste; the board learned it was flowing toward the building from one next door.

But the co-op board had to take matters into its own hands as remediation failed to take place. It was not fun, as Habitat magazine recounts the board’s two weeks of mystery, fear and vituperation.

IT’S THEORETICALLY POSSIBLE TO FIND OUT HOW A CO-OP BOARD LOOKS UPON REQUESTS FOR RENOVATIONS

Even if you have the money time and willpower to gut-renovate the co-op apartment you’re thinking of buying, you may be thwarted by a renovation-hostile co-op board. But how can you tell before you buy?

BrickUnderground.com rounds up some possibilities–underscore “possibilities.”

FORECLOSURE ACTIVITY CRESTS IN 2009

In New York City, foreclosure activity appears to have peaked in 2009, when lenders took action against 20,228 homes. In 2010, just 17,874 residences were hit with foreclosure filings across the five boroughs–near the levels seen in 2007, when the housing bubble was just beginning to burst.

While some pockets continued to struggle–in Staten Island’s Willowbrook, 2.63 percent of homes were the subject of some kind of foreclosure action last year, topping the national average–many of the hardest-hit neighborhoods recorded reduced activity.

REBNY’S Q4 REPORT DOCUMENTS CITYWIDE PRICE RISE, BUT REDUCED NUMBER OF SALES

The average price of a home in New York City increased 10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with the same time last year and rose 2 percent compared with the previous quarter, according to a new report by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). The number of transactions and the total dollar value of all property sales declined.

Average Manhattan home sales prices (for cooperatives, condominiums and one-to three-family dwellings) showed the biggest increase; they were up 13 percent, to $1,450,000, from the same time last year.

The citywide increases in average sales prices have been driven by record low mortgage rates and modest job growth in New York, according to the report.

Despite rising New York City home sales prices, the number of transactions declined by 24 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 8,800 from 11,600 in the fourth quarter of 2009. As a result of fewer transactions, the total consideration for residential property dropped 23 percent to $6.5 billion from $7.7 billion in the same quarter last year.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

Malcolm@ServiceYouCanTrust.com
Web site

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