It is not a new phenomenon, but Jhonna Robledo of New York magazine has uncovered some troubling information about co-op boards.
The boards seem — there is no way of knowing for sure — to be turning down buyers at a growing rate if they think an apartment’s price is too low. Says Robledo (who is a member of my REwrite group for real estate bloggers in the Big Apple):
Nobody keeps a count of board rejections, but data do show a remarkable year-over-year uptick in the number of broken contracts for co-op deals, many of which are likely to be board turndowns.
In Manhattan, she reports in the magazine, 53 contracts fell apart in September, up 70 percent from August — the highest monthly total this year and the third-highest in two years, according to Streeteasy. Among other sources Robledo plumbed were lawyers and brokers.
Brian Tracz says one the lawyer’s Queens clients was candidly told that a price “floor” hadn’t been met. Another applicant wasn’t interviewed until he offered to pay more than his initial offer — and then was approved to purchase the unit.
“The implication,” Tracz is quoted as saying, “was clear.”
Co-op boards that act so cavalierly with the assets of their neighbors also demonstrate how short-sighted they are.
Can they know that prices won’t continue to slope downward as the ranks of disgruntled owners inevitably swells in units that are languishing on the market?
Tomorrow: If it quacks like a kitchen. . .
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Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022