The Big Apple: Nascent signs of recovery emerge

MANHATTAN BUCKS WORSENING STATEWIDE TREND OF RISING MORTGAGE DELINQUENCIES

The mortgage loan delinquency rate in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens in the final quarter of 2010 was up from year-earlier levels, according to a recent quarterly analysis. The uptick could well lead to a rise in foreclosure activity in coming months.

Manhattan was the only borough to see a decline in delinquencies, with a slight drop of 0.04 percentage points in the period.

APARTMENT MARKET SHOWS POSSIBLE SIGNS OF STRENGTH

Sales in the Manhattan co-op and condo market show signs of bouncing back after dropping sharply last month, reports the Wall Street Journal.

January sales were hurt because affluent property owners rushed to make deals late last year in fear of rising federal taxes. Taxes on capital gains ended up not going up.

The number of contract signings on more expensive apartments has spiked in the last three or four few weeks, though brokers said it was too soon to tell whether it was the beginning of a major turnaround.

Residential sales that closed in January fell by nearly a third from the pace in December and are off by 30 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to a Journal analysis of closing documents filed with the Department of Finance.

The pace of sales was the lowest since May 2009, when the market was still recovering from the financial crisis.

FEBRUARY SALES ACTIVITY MAY OUTPACE A YEAR AGO

“Today alone, our Manhattan residential sales tracking system has booked over 70 fully executed contracts; pushing the 30-Day pace to over 930 newly signed deals,” writes data analyst/broker Noah Rosenblatt in his blog, UrbanDigs.com.

“This is up from the mid 600s at the start of the month and on pace to beat out the same period of last year.”

NEW YORK DESIGN CENTER TO OPEN DOORS TO PUBLIC FOR FIRST TIME IN 85 YEARS

Since 1926, the New York Design Center has been open to-the-trade only, but the 10th floor of the building will open to the public every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. At 200 Lexington Ave., the Center will continue to have its other 15 floors closed.

Fifty-three dealers will have items on display, including furniture, paintings, sculpture, chandeliers and raw industrial metal objects.

IN A LENGTHY ‘CONFESSION,’ REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY REMINDS DISAPPOINTED CLIENTS THAT THERE ARE OTHER PROPERTIES IN A SEA OF APARTMENTS

Approximately one in five transactions falls apart, the anonymous lawyer tells Teri Rogers in BrickUnderground.com. Says he or she:

“It’s almost always because there is something wrong with the building or because of financing issues. It’s hard sometimes because clients are so desperately in love with the property–maybe it’s the chase, or other pressures like having to enroll kids in school. They just can’t step back and see the forest from the trees. The biggest piece of advice I would like to give people is to remember that this is not like finding a spouse or having a child. There will be another property if something happens.”

HUGE ACREAGE NEAR THE HAMPTONS IS PURCHASED BY TRAILER-PARK OPERATOR–YES, THE HAMPTONS!

One of the nation’s largest owners of trailer parks has quietly entered Long Island with the purchase of a 328-lot property near the Hamptons and the Long Island Sound.

Hometown America Corp., of Chicago, paid nearly $22 million for the 101-acre Thurm’s Estates community in Calverton, about $66,000 per lot. That’s more than double the national average, says Buddy Martin, one of the deal’s brokers.

The high price reflects the limited number of trailer parks in Suffolk County. The county has an estimated 5,000 manufactured residences and new communities are unlikely, reflecting the large number of residents and government officials who consider them an eyesore.

ONE IN FOUR OF THE REGION’S RESIDENTS GIVES TOP RATING TO HOME, BUT SAME PROPORTION CITES TRAFFIC NOISE AS A PROBLEM

Homeowners in the metro area paid a median of $1,517 in monthly housing costs in 2009 compared with $1,019 for renters, according to new Census Bureau data. However, renters typically paid a higher percentage of their household income on housing costs than did owners (29 percent versus 25 percent).

Thirty-five percent of homeowners did not have a mortgage, and 66 rated their homes 8, 9 or 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 24 percent giving them a “best” rating of 10.

Approximately one-quarter of households (27 percent) reported noise from traffic as a problem and 15 percent cited crime as a concern. Ninety-one percent were satisfied with police protection in their communities.

BONUSES ON WALL STREET IN HIGHLY PROFITABLE 2010 DELIVERED LESS CASH THAN IN THE PAST

Though Wall Street had its second most profitable year ever in 2010, the amount the big banks paid out in cash bonuses in early 2011 dropped by 8 percent, reducing state and city tax collections for this fiscal year, according to Thomas P. DiNapoli, the New York state comptroller.

THE TIMES PUTS FLESH AND BLOOD (NOT FROM A STONE) ON TAX SCRUTINY OF PIED-À-TERRE ‘RESIDENTS’

The well-to-do with more than one home should be warned: It is the equivalent of sending a come-hither look to the tax man. And, as each of these unfortunates learned, pledging allegiance to the East End or the Constitution State will not save you from a very large bill.

Under longstanding rules, a person who spends more than half the year and maintains a home in New York City is taxed as a city resident. But this year, the state tax department, which collects both state and city income taxes, is adding a new line to 2010 tax forms, asking state residents who own second, or perhaps third and fourth, homes to specify how many days they spent in New York City.

A number nearing 183 will be a red flag.

ARE TAXES DRIVING AWAY THE STATE’S MILLIONAIRES?

The Partnership for New York City, composed of business leaders, says the state’s “Millionaire’s Tax” has forced some of the state’s most valuable earners and tax-payers to other states. The tax, which applied to those earning $200,000 or more, expires at the end of 2011. But some Democrats want to keep it from expiring.

The Partnership says New York lost a net 1.7 million residents from 1999 through 2008, before the “Millionaire’s Tax” was imposed, and the average net worth of people who left was $338,000.

WEALTHY SUBURBS SHOW SIGNS OF RECOVERY

New York area home prices have held up better than most other major metropolitan areas, with wealthy commuting suburbs providing the bulk of recovery while towns farther from the city have lagged, brokers and analysts say.

For the more affluent towns in the tri-state area, last year’s slowdown may already be passing. Brokers say confidence is returning after the stock market touched a post-financial crisis high and Wall Street bonuses poured in.

IT DEPENDS ON WHAT YOUR DEFINITION OF ‘HOME BUSINESS’ IS

A home business, also called a home office, can run the gamut from a freelance writer at a desk, to a psychologist using a spare room to see patients, to a day-care center with parents and nannies dropping off and picking up kids every day, notes Habitat magazine.

There is no single definition of what constitutes a “home business” as far as co-ops and condos are concerned.

Generally, you have to live in the apartment to call it a home business, but sometimes residents will live in one apartment and own a second, smaller apartment in the building for their home business.There is no real “one-size-fits-all.”

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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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