The Big Apple: Will there be too FEW condos? More!

WITH NEW CONSTRUCTION AT ITS NADIR, LOOK FOR HIGHER CONDO PRICES BY 2012

As the market plods along in a slow but steady recovery, brokers and developers are saying the city will soon face a shortage of new development projects.

Last year, through November, the city issued permits for only 10 new residential buildings, for a total of 505 new units. That’s 95 percent fewer apartments, either condo or rental, than for the same period in 2008, when permits were filed for 9,448 units in 147 buildings, according to census data. (The number of units had dropped to 1,203 in 31 buildings in 2009.)

Starting in 2012, after most or all the new projects that were stalled or delayed have finally sold out, the supply of new apartments will take a decided dip, and prices for all apartments could start to rise significantly again.

“Once we work through the existing inventory and there’s nothing new coming on line,” President Kelly Mack of the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group told the New York Times, “there’s going to be a major shift in the market. Prices may start going up significantly in 2012 in anticipation of the shift in inventory.”

THAT OTHER INEVITABLE FACT OF LIFE IS GOING UP

Co-op and condo owners will pay sharply higher property taxes next year, under a preliminary assessment roll released by the Bloomberg administration. The city attributed the rises, due to take effect in July, to higher market values placed on apartment buildings by tax assessors.

Taxes collections are expected to rise by 7.5 percent for co-op owners and 9.6 percent for condo owners across the city, according to a summary report released by the Department of Finance.

Owners of single-family homes would pay 2.8 percent more, and taxes on rental buildings, often passed along to tenants,also will increase significantly, the report said–by 9 percent.

Predictably, some groups are questioning whether the numbers reflect actual market conditions. “It’s a little confusing to us,” said Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York.

Because the rates are based on 2009 data, Spinola said that they don’t accurately reflect current housing numbers. And while the market was stabilizing now, he had expected property values to be weaker based on data from the recession.

However, the city said it welcomed  feedback and stressed that the numbers were not final.

NEIGHBOR’S SMOKING RILES WALLSTREETER, WHO SUES FOR $500,000 IN DAMAGES FOR EACH MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY

A Wall Street equities trader and his wife, who runs her own gift-basket business, are asking for $500,000 in damages for each member of the family because of second-hand smoke.

Their neighbor, an Upper East Side cigar smoker, said he’s done everything to appease the family next door. But the family insists he’s generating so much second-hand smoke that it’s seeping into their apartment and making life a living hell.

Harry Dale takes most of his smoke breaks outside, uses three air cleaners in his third-floor co-op and even hired a specialist to try to seal off his apartment from that of Russell and Amanda Poses, he told the New York Post.

THE COMPETITION HEATS UP AGAIN–AMONG BROKERS

In 2009, the number of newly licensed brokers and salespeople dropped to 11,432 from 21,134 the year before, according to the New York Department of State.

But, the New York Times reports, memories are short: In 2010, 12,634 New Yorkers became licensed brokers and agents.

TO RID YOUR PLACE OF CLUTTER, POSITIVE THINKING IS THE ANSWER

The first step in decluttering is mental, says Barbara Reich, in a followup to her earlier comments in the New York Times.

“You need to make up your mind that you’re ready to do it. It’s like someone going on a diet; telling a person not to eat doesn’t help. A person will only lose weight when they make a decision to change the way they eat,” she counsels.

“Decluttering is the same. The physical effort is less of a leap than the emotional/mental component.”

PROPERTY RECORDS REVEAL RESURGENCE OF TOWNHOUSE SALES

Sales and prices of Manhattan townhouses picked up last year from a dismal performance the year before, with the strong bounce in the prime townhouse markets on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, property records show.

Brokers say that there are many more buyers looking at a dwindling supply of townhouses on the market, leading occasionally to multiple bidders on a house.  At the same time most prices on individual properties are still lower than the peak prices seen in years past.

THIS IS ONE BEDBUG STORY YOU SHOULD READ BUT WILL REGRET THAT YOU DID

Besides finding bed bugs in the usual places (mattresses, beneath seat cushions etc), entomologist Lou Sorkin of the American Museum of Natural History told an audience at the Museum of the City of New York that bedbug abodes extend way beyond mattresses.

Among their resting places–alas, not final ones–are fiberoptic cable lines, electrical wiring, a chandelier base, inside the smoke alarm, behind peeling baseboard molding and at the top of picture-rail molding.

Sorkin went on to provide chilling information about the critters’ lifecyle, feeding habits and history.

DEVELOPER GETS ONLY 33 MONTHS FOR MASSIVE MORTGAGE FRAUD

Eliyahu Ezagui has been sentenced in federal district court to 33 months in prison for a multi-million-dollar mortgage scheme.

Prosecutors asked Judge Frederic Block to give Ezagui 20 years for the fraud against mortgage lenders and apartment buyers. “Twenty years is a sentence for rapists and murderers, not fraud like in this case,” Judge Frederid Block said.

OH NO, TRENDSETTERS, NOW YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO WANT OR USE A WOOD-BURNING FIREPLACE

Hard as it may be to believe, the fireplace–long considered a trophy, particularly in a city like New York–is acquiring a social stigma.

Among those who aspire to be environmentally responsible, says the New York Times, it is joining the ranks of bottled water and big houses.

JANUARY RENTAL MARKET TIGHTENS UP, DEFYING SEASONALITY

Manhattan’s rental market bucks some of the winter seasonal trends again this month with both year-over-year and month-to-month rents increasing.

Across the city, rents were up 0.62 percent from December and 7.80 percent from last year’s average. The biggest change since December occurred in non-doorman studio units, which were up 1.50 percent, while doorman studio units, up 11.67 percent, registered the strongest increase over last year.

$50,000 PAYMENT AND THREE YEARS OF FREE RENT LEAVE TENANTS UNMOVED ON W. 94TH STREET

A plan to open a homeless shelter on the Upper West Side is moving forward despite a snag between the city and the building owner in the efforts to prepare the facility as a shelter.

The single-room occupancy building at 306 W. 94 St., which formerly operated as the Hotel Alexander, is set to become a transitional shelter for 200 homeless men. Samaritan Village is to operate the shelter for nine years at an annual cost of $7.9 million to the city.

But the deal has hit a snag: There are eight tenants in the building who won’t leave and the city won’t move forward with the shelter until there’s an amicable solution.

In an effort to get them out to make way for the shelter, some tenants received letters with an offer for $50,000 and three years of free rent in an equal-size apartment in an adjacent building, which functions as a traditional SRO residence and also is owned by Alexander Scharf.

ONE PLUS ONE EQUALS ONE, BUT NOT ALWAYS SMOOTHLY

Just because two apartments share a wall, it doesn’t mean they always form a perfect union. Combinations can get complicated.

Before slipping that non-refundable check under your neighbor’s door to create a combined co-op or condo, architect David Katz advises readers of BrickUnderground.com to make sure they consider what is in the party walls, how much kitchen work needs to be done, whether you can install wet over dry, light and air requirements, climate control and other factors.

LIBRARY OF FREE DIGITIZED OFFERING PLANS GROWS RAPIDLY

A title insurance company is now starting to make offering plans more accessible–if not shorter–by digitizing them and making them available free online.

The simplest option for owners or prospective buyers wishing to see plans has been to request them through the building’s sponsor or managing agent. It can take several days to make a copy, and cost hundreds of dollars.

The company, TitleVest Agency Inc., began the service in October and has more than 2,000 offering plans and amendments for condos and co-ops, most of them in New York City.

The online library continues to grow daily, said Brian D. Tormey, an executive vice president of TitleVest. Tormey said he expected another 2,000 to be added soon.

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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 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              347-886-0248      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
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Malcolm@ServiceYouCanTrust.com
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