Weekly Roundup: Tax abatements, NYC’s worrisome Q2, U.S. recovery, gay neighborhoods, outdated decor, 30 richest cities and much more

Cuomo says he expects legislature to act in fall, so city retaining abated property tax levels

And appeals of property tax assessments near record number

Manhattan market verges on worried in second quarter

When seeking roommate on Craigslist, the details really matter

Landmark body approves one of three Riverside-West End Avenue historic districts, but others yet to face votes

Region’s foreclosure rate continues to grow

Neighbors rally to save historic Dutch Kills farmhouse

Condo boards Continue reading

Tribeca loft goes for $3.15 million in city auction

The Ice House, 27 N. Moore St. in Tribeca.

With only a single competitor, a Long Island man won a two-bedroom, two-bath condo at 27 N. Moore St. for the favorable price of $3.15 million at the city’s auction of nine apartments in Manhattan today.

Public Administrator Ethel J. Griffin had set the minimum price at $3 million for the more than 2,000-sf loft, which had been owned by one Veronica Lee in a building called the Ice House.  According to Curbed.com, Lee paid $774,000 for the unit in 1999 and died owing JP Morgan Chase $1.9 million left on her mortgage.

“I feel good,” successful bidder Mario Montoya told me after the auction, adding that he had been prepared to offer “a little more.” Continue reading

Blogger contends real estate is ‘The Great Lie’

(Source: The Buttonwood Tree)

Is real estate “The Great Lie?”

Writing as author of “Diary of a Financier,” a blogger on The Buttonwood Tree provocatively argues that costs beyond mortgage payments suggest that real estate and housing are “not terrific investments.”  Says the post:

Most suggestions otherwise are a huge lie, perhaps The Great Lie.  The Lie is perpetrated most in the commercialization of the “American Dream”: a white, picket fence for every man, woman, and family.  Non-income-producing, residential real estate is broadly a money pit.  For long-term holding periods (5-20 years), the value of this real estate is severely eroded by its cost of carry, including  Taxes + Insurance + Maintenance.

Although I have often expressed my own concerns about The American Dream, I have to wonder about Continue reading

Purchase a 1BR Manhattan apartment for $1,995!

An advertisement by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) announces a new lottery for one-bedroom co-ops in lower Manhattan for $1,995.

You read that right, under $2,000, and a department spokesperson confirmed the amount in an e-mail.

Income limits range between $46,500 and $59,800 for one to three occupants.  Carrying charges are $388 a month or 30 percent of gross income, whichever is higher.

The 500 winners of the lottery will be placed on a waiting list provided they pay a $100 application fee. Continue reading

Out and About: Rare foreclosure not an easy sale

There’s nothing like pink in a living room, the highlight of a foreclosed co-op on the Upper West Side.

So few are sales of foreclosed apartments in Manhattan that they rarely appear on the open market, as opposed to foreclosure auctions on the courthouse steps.

One such apartment surfaced recently between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue in the mid 90s.

This one-bedroom co-op in a pet-friendly 1948 low-rise that has a part-time doorman along with bike, storage and laundry rooms needs a total renovation.  That means Continue reading

The High Road: Today Show stoops to new low

Many years have passed since I started viewing the Today Show for a sample of the latest news.

Old habits, as they say, die hard, and I’m probably doomed to hang onto that one.  Enough of the pandering celebrity interviews, the glimpses into the on-camera personalities’ lives and Matt’s trips around the world.

I thought things were bad enough until Friday’s broadcast, which I had planned to ignore on this blog.  But two full days after watching a Barbara Corcoran segment, I cannot restrain myself from ranting about the shameless new low to which Today’s producers permitted themselves to stoop. Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Killing rents, Rat Island langor, celebrity doings, strong resales, shrinking inventory, negotiation advice, Home Depot vs. Ikea, shared households, lots of guessing. More!

Townhouse sales on upswing

Divided board okays 2 percent increase for rent-stabilized units, 4 percent if for 2-year lease

There’s a right way to approach board members with complaints

It’s still mainly doormen, not doorwomen

Apartments selling faster than a year ago

State to spend $60 million on legal services, counseling for homeowners

For delinquent condo residents, the white gloves are off

29 percent of residents spend more than half of their income on rent

Winner of Rat Island auction off City Island in the Bronx settles in

Court rules that rent-controlled apartment can’t be distributed in divorce

Singer is gambling on absolute auction for sale of estate previously listed for $3.5 million

Performance artist Continue reading

The High Road: Condo applications make no sense

Master bedroom of Tribeca condo with adjoining terrace.

One reason that buyers searching for an apartment in New York prefer condos to co-ops is that condos cannot reject applications.

While most co-ops put prospective buyers through hell to merit approval as financially sound and otherwise desirable enough to become shareholders, condo boards just don’t have that option.

All that condo boards of managers can, and hardly ever, do is exercise the right of first refusal.  They’d have to purchase the apartment themselves.

How then to explain the practice of Continue reading

Is the home you hope to buy against the law?

Don’t go there. (flickr photo by poweron)

You won’t go to jail if the home you covet violates local laws, restrictions, zoning codes or building standards.

But such a property could impede your acquisition of clear title, home insurance or a mortgage.  It also could cost the seller before the transaction closes (or you afterward) a bundle to rectify.  It could derail the sale altogether as well.

A bankrate.com column reminded me of the risks and of a co-op I sold that almost was blocked for lack of a required building permit and certificate of occupancy (CofO).

In the sale of two combined units on which my buyers had gone to contract, they didn’t Continue reading

The High Road: Multiple listings by same broker

Studio apartment listed by a broker.

Scanning open house listings a couple of Sundays ago, I noticed that one broker had exclusively listed several co-ops in the same Upper West Side building simultaneously.

There were a 400-sf studio listed for $279,000 in December, a 250-sf studio listed for $299,000 in April, a 310-sf studio listed for $315,000 in March, another studio listed for $325,000 in May of 2011, a 385-sf studio listed in August at a price now reduced to $340,000, and a one-bedroom unit listed at $850,000 in April.

Another studio, same broker.

Each of two other brokers Continue reading