The Big Apple: Condo prices show resilience

Manhattan isn’t the only borough with prestige buildings

Every borough has its buildings that tower, literally or figuratively, over the rest of the housing stock, notes the New York Times. (Well, almost every borough: Staten Island’s upper crust tends to live in single-family houses.)

The residents of these august structures say their homes in Queens, Brooklyn and the are every bit as stylish, as well built, and as packed with accomplished and interesting neighbors as anything on the Upper West Side or Upper East Side. That all this comes at a much lower cost than in Manhattan is, if anything, more evidence in their favor, they say.

Based on interviews with historians, real estate agents and residents, the Times identifies the “it” buildings in the boroughs outside Manhattan.

You, too, can collect art–for a month at a time

Original art is beyond the reach of many New Yorkers, who lack the cash and connections to find that affordable something they like, says, launched last week, expresses the goal of changing that by letting wannabe collectors rent the works of emerging artists for $50 a month. There’s no limit to the rental period, you can buy the art if you like and you can exchange works.

Lawsuits based on housing discrimination are not uncommon and not easy to win

Susan Kurien, executive director of the Fair Housing Justice Center, which investigates complaints and sometimes sends equally qualified white and black “testers” to see whether landlords treat them differently, said her nonprofit organization received more than 250 discrimination complaints in 2010.

But Housing discrimination cases are difficult to prove, because neither co-op and condo boards nor landlords of rental buildings must give a reason for rejecting someone.

Apartment hunters are often loath to file suit, because doing so might make them look litigious to future landlords or boards. When they do sue, it is up to them to establish that the reason they were turned down was race, disability or family status, three common causes of complaints.

The Trafalgar House in Carnegie Hill is one building, in addition to the Dakota, that has been hit with a discrimination complaint. Residents Francesco and Evelyn Bruni enjoy living in their one-bedroom there, so much that they would like to trade up to a larger apartment in the building to make room for their growing family.

But they are also embroiled in a messy discrimination lawsuit against their condo board, which Ms. Bruni once served on.  It is not pretty.

This is a list you don’t want to be on

Having developed the franchise of the worst landlords, the Village Voice also is focusing now the 10 worst tenants in New York City.

The weekly trains its eyes on tenants who have caused serious misery for other tenants, housemates, building supers or the landlords who aren’t slumlords.

“These bad tenants have stolen peace and quiet, sanity, and money from other tenants and often the general public. In some cases, they’ve done more than hassle or rip off others–they’re accused of killing them,” the Voice says.

Below their peak, Manhattan condo prices regained nearly a third of their value last year

From an all-time of $1,212 per square foot in December 2008 and a bottom of $923 per square foot the following May, the RPX Manhattan Condo Price measure closed out 2010 at $1,032 per square foot, according to the Radar Logic data firm.

The number of condo transactions declined 5.8 percent during the year after peaking in July.

The Soho/Tribeca area had the biggest price increase during the year, rising 20.7 percent to $1,327 per square foot, and sales jumped 27.3 percent.  Those figures were in contrast to the Upper West Side, for example, which went up 10.3 percent over the year, the second highest increase.

Recession damaged New York City less severely than economists said.

The recession that ended in 2009 caused less damage in New York City than economists previously thought, according to revised jobs data released by the State Labor Department.

The city lost fewer jobs during the downturn and started regaining them sooner and faster than previous tallies indicated, said James Brown, principal economist for the department.

The annual revisions of the state and city employment statistics for the previous 18 months bolstered the view that the city’s economy bucked recent trends by escaping the recession in better shape than the rest of the nation, he said.

“We definitely recovered faster than the national economy did after going in later, which is really not a normal performance for New York City,” Brown said.

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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
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