Winning bid of $5.63 million snags Starr condo

Bidding was casual at the auction of the luxury Upper East Side condo that Ponzi schemer Kenneth Starr had purchased in 2010.

A bidder who declined to give me his name won imprisoned fraudster Kenneth Starr’s condo at auction today for a $5.63 million bargain price.

He was among 17 registered bidders for the apartment in the doorman building called the Lux, at 433 E. 74th St.

The current owner is the Internal Revenue Service, to which Starr relinquished the property prior to his sentencing.

Continue reading

Out and About: How the other half (1%?) lives

One kitchen among several like it in Tribeca on a tour of "luxe" properties.

In a word, the other half lives very well.  Very, very well.

Invited with others to take a brokers’ tour of “luxe” properties in Tribeca and SoHo, I couldn’t resist having a look at them and posting photographs of some of them.

Master bedroom plus terrace in one loft.

They were priced for as little as $12.95 million to — get this — $45 million, and I have to say that they pretty much measured up to my expectations for lavish, stylish and spacious places to live.  They should!

I confess with more than a touch of envy that perhaps such lofts also enable their owners to lord it over those whose abodes cost them a mere few millions — “envy” being key.  Continue reading

Consensus erupts over trend toward renting

(Flickr photo by abrin523)

Beware the stampede of opinions about potential homebuyers.  Those views are trampling conventional wisdom by asserting that the American Dream is dead or dying.

Last week, momentum swelled around the idea that many folks are choosing to rent a home rather than buy one.  Such consumers fall into two groups: Those for whom it is their only option because of finances and those who lack enough confidence in real estate to risk a decline in the value of their property.

I don’t know that the herd of economists and analysts wiser than me is wrong, but the volume and consistency of reports about the decline of American Dream was remarkable.

(Most of the links below have appeared or will do so in my Weekly Roundup on Fridays, on the Service You Can Trust Facebook page, on Twitter or some combination.)

Just look at the drumbeat of evidence over the last couple of weeks — for example, what James Bullard, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis observed on Friday: Continue reading

15 Queens properties head to city auction

Single-family home in Middle Village with minimum bid of $412,000

Three co-ops and 12 single family homes are to be offered at an estate auction conducted on March 14 by Queens Public Administrator Lois Rosenblatt.

Minimum (upset) prices, which are set by Rosenblatt at 25 percent below the appraised value, range from $79,000 for an apartment in Corona to $675,000 for a house in Long Island City.

The house was one of two properties withdrawn prior to the city’s previous auction, in December.  Also returning to the auction block is a house on 63rd Avenue in Middle Village.

Below are the properties to be offered next month: Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: ‘Royalty,’ rates, prices, more

Luxury market in Brooklyn attains four-year high

When having your child sleep in a room, it really should have windows

Even homeowners facing foreclosure take to home repairs

For celebrity stalkers, there’s nothing like a cool map

New program aims to enable state courts to speed up foreclosures

Rents bordering Second Avenue subway drop but rise one avenue away

Mom, 92, battles son, 58, to get back into condo she owns

Slice of the Upper West Side overlooking Hudson River lacks name

Long Island City undergoes third wave of gentrification

Ambivalent about selling, a legendary interior designer lists his Manhattan pied-à-terre for $22.5 million. . . unfurnished

Some basketball player indulges Continue reading

Some say brokers shouldn’t recommend lawyers

Should you listen to your broker? (flickr photo by Rodrigo Muniz)

Frankly, it never occurred to me that buyers may be well advised to ignore their broker representative’s recommendations for a real estate attorney.

The issue arose recently at a dinner following an estraordinarily stimulating social media event called RE BarCamp, sponsored by Lucky Strikers Social Media Club (LSSMC) for real estate and allied professionals.

Matt and Susan Daimler, the brains behind Buyfolio and the founders of, told those of us nearby an anecdote in which it appeared a buyer’s attorney was not up to snuff.

Did the broker Continue reading

10 signs that an owner must be dying to sell

A friend of mine thinks I’m funny — not just in that way.

She is Teri Karush Rogers, the inspired editorial director and CEO of BrickUnderground.comHer site provides a wealth of information for apartment dwellers, and I read it every day.

A few weeks ago, she e-mailed me with the idea that I come up with ways that buyers can perceive that sellers are desperate to unload their homes.  Following is my list (published by Teri earlier this month) of 10 giveaways that owners are just dying to sell: Continue reading