The Big Apple: Years of inventory? Much more!

Eight to 17 years is an S&P projection for clearing shadow inventory in the five boroughs

It will take more than a decade to clear up all the shadow inventory in the residential real estate market in New York state, according to new report released by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.

That is more than three times longer than it will take the rest of the nation, a difference that the report largely attributes to the greater time it takes to foreclose on a property in New York.

According to the report, shadow inventory in Brooklyn will take the longest to unwind at more than 17 years. Bronx was close behind at 16.5 years, and Staten Island recorded 12 years. Manhattan fared the best, coming in at a little more than eight years.

Unlisted Upper East Side home finds buyer for. . . $47 million

A grand East Side townhouse that has been quietly shopped by its owners for three years is under contract for more than $47 million, further evidence that the top-end of the Manhattan market is soaring.

The 33-foot-wide townhouse on East 69th Street once belonged to a member of the Vanderbilt family and is currently owned by a modern-day equivalent: Sloan Lindemann Barnett, an author and the daughter of a cellphone magnate, and her husband Roger Barnett, an entrepreneur who sold a company he founded,, in 2000 for $42 million.

The Barnetts recently signed a sales contract, persons familiar with the matter said. The name of the buyer couldn’t be determined.

Gee, the Journal notices that developers spot trend for buildings evocative of pre-war era

The recent property boom saw a surge in the popularity of luxury condos built as modern glass towers. What began with sleek downtown projects from architects like Richard Meier and Jean Nouvel was followed by boxier glass residential buildings that sprouted like weeds along midtown’s West Side.

Now, there is a budding trend of turning back the clock to the 1920s and ’30s through pricey restorations or new construction meant to emulate the period.

“The upper-market buyer is getting a bit weary of a glass building,” says Vishaan Chakrabarti, director of the real estate program at Columbia University.

An amenity bigger than all indoors attracts a particular sort of buyer

A recent search that the New York Times conducted for perhaps the most unusual kind of outdoor space—a terrace or garden larger than the apartment proper—produced only about two dozen examples. (But it didn’t prevent the publication of a long piece.)

They ranged from a $12.5 million penthouse with 3,000 square feet of terraces to a $289,000 studio with a 400-sf garden.

Brokers say that outsize terraces call out to a special breed of buyer. Outdoor space can drive up the apartment’s price and make it harder to sell in a down market, but it adds a distinctiveness that can help the property maintain its worth.

“Outdoor space increases the value of an apartment,” said Jonathan J. Miller, the president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel. “It’s an amenity like a fireplace or an extra bathroom that you add to the basic apartment. And it can redefine it.”

The journey to having a board application approved is bound to be tortuous

Buying an apartment in New York can be a smooth process or as smooth as smooth can be when the number of attorneys present at the closing are enough to field a N.Y. Urban Professionals Basketball League team. Or it can be a harrowing roller-coaster of anticipation, stress, and what often feels like needless bureaucracy, says the Cooperator.

Co-ops in the city can be tricky beasts: Co-op boards have the final say over whether a prospective buyer may actually purchase an apartment in a given building, and the information boards ask for from buyers can sometimes be exhaustive.

On the other hand, boards are charged with preserving and protecting the interests and investment of current resident shareholders, and most take that responsibility very seriously.

Condo boards don’t have nearly the same amount of authority over building business that co-op boards do, but many condo boards are pushing to run their buildings’ affairs more closely to the co-op model.

A guide for buyers makes short order of the walk-through just before closing

The wise folks at the Apple, Peeled blog have compiled what they believe to be not only a complete check-list of items, but a chronological tour of the walk-through so that it proceeds smoothly.

No step is said to have been forgotten, and the author even breaks the tour into minutes per room to total no greater than 45.

Apartments in buildings without doormen help cause dip in Manhattan rents

Rents in Manhattan edged down by 0.6 percent in April, according to the Real Estate Group of New York.

Non-doorman units were the driving force behind the slowdown as their rents slid nearly 2 percent since March.

While inventory fell in March, it turned around in April, increasing by 3.84 percent. Parallel with rental prices, non-doorman supply went up 6.02 percent and doorman units increased by 2.66 percent.

City Council’s saber rattling would cut into co-op board’s secrecy and casual timing if two bills actually pass

Two bills are in the works at the City Council that would greatly curtail the authority of co-op boards.

Intro 188, the “Fair Cooperative Procedure Law,” which seeks to regulate the application process and require a yay-or-nay decision within 45 days, has members and representatives of an all-volunteer army up in arms.

Legislation that is far more controversial, and has only mixed support in the real estate community, is the “Fair and Prompt Co-op Disclosure Law,” Intro 326. It requires co-ops to do the unthinkable: Provide a written response outlining a board rejection.

Residential construction spending dives in 2010, with number of new units falling behind 2009.

Construction spending in New York City fell 12 percent in 2010 to $23.7 billion, with residential construction taking the biggest hit, according to a New York Building Congress analysis of year-end results.

Compared with the peaks in 2007 and 2008, spending plunged by 23 percent.

Spending on residential construction continued its slide in 2010, tumbling 14.4 percent, to $2.2 billion, accounting for 9 percent of all construction spending in the year. The number of new units created fell to 5,400 last year from the depressed level of 6,100 in 2009.

Those high-priced condos and co-ops continue to float off the shelves

The absorption rate is generally declining above the $2M threshold, according to appraisal executive Jonathan Miller.

The president of Miller Samuel says that “this bottom-up trend has been the pattern since mid-2009.”

Analyzing whether renting beats buying, Trulia gives us a big black (er, red) eye

A graphically illustrated index provides consumers with guidance to help them make a smart decision on whether it is better to rent or buy in each of America’s 50 largest cities by population.

New York City is a standout — but not in a good way for sellers.

Kips Bay Decorator Play– Show House struts its stuff and highlights contemporary artists

A double-wide townhouse on East 63rd Street in Manhattan is the site of the Kips Bay Decorator Show House, now in its 39th year.

The show house, which has traditionally been better known for its designers’ pelmet art or their collections of 19th-century botanical prints, is an acknowledgement that designers are increasingly flexing their curatorial muscles to animate clients’ spaces with contemporary art. It also suggests that Kips Bay organizers are reaching for a younger audience.

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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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