Out and About: ‘Affordable’ co-op needs fix-up

Kitchen of 775-sf apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Some Manhattan apartments in popular neighborhoods actually are affordable for buyers whose incomes put them in the middle class.

However, many of those units have less realized than actually fulfilled potential such as one in the low 90s close to Central Park.

The co-op is in one of the formerly city-owned buildings transferred to a Housing Development Fund Corp. and thus is known as an HDFC apartment.

HDFC apartments come with income restrictions, but they are reasonably liberal.  The latest median income standards on the Web site of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) appear to be both somewhat dated and attainable for many individuals or families:

HDFC Cooperative Median Income Standards: 2010

Household Size Maximum Income 120%  Maximum Income 165%
 1 $66,600 $91,600
 2 $76,100 $104,600
 3 $85,550 $117,650
 4 $95,050 $130,700
 5 $102,700 $141,250
 6 $110,300 $151,650
 7 $117,950 $162,200
 8 $125,500 $172,600

Each HDFC building has limits that are calculated as a multiple of annual maintenance and a factor for utilities.  The common standards, according to the site, are that incoming families can earn no more than 120 percent or 165 percent of the median income of the metropolitan area.

One of three bedrooms in the co-op.

In dire need of a gut renovation, the Upper West Side co-op near Central Park has a cap of $95,865 for one person, $109,560 for two persons, $123,255 for three and $136,950 for four.

The place is a mess, a hodgepodge of cluttered rooms with three bedrooms, a single shabby bath and an appalling kitchen jammed into its 775 square feet.  But the maintenance is a mere $696 a month, and a rare 90 percent financing is permitted.

As for the pet-friendly 1900 low-rise, which has a laundry room as its sole amenity, the exterior betrays its age and the interior reveals inattention to daily maintenance as well as an absence of taste in the color of its hallways.

For a family with cash to undertake as much as, say, $200,000 in renovations, the apartment is, however, undeniably a bargain at its asking price of $535,000.

Below are some of the properties that I have visited and that various brokers have listed:

  • On West End Avenue in the mid 90s, an airy one-bedroom co-op that has views of the Hudson River from its western and northern exposures.  Other highlights of the 850-sf apartment include the 77-sf dining space currently part of the kitchen, a pleasing layout and the amount of light.  On the minus side are the quality of the kitchen, which demands updating, and of the floors, which need to be refinished.  At $739,000 with monthly maintenance of $1,322, the unit in a 1920 doorman building that allows everything but washer/dryers was offered at an appropriate price until it went off the market temporarily at the end of November.
  • A grim two-bedroom, one-bath floor-through in the very low 70s between Columbus Avenue and Broadway.  With a terrace overlooking gardens in the interior of the block, this 1,000-sf co-op up two flights of stairs in a pet-friendly 1900 brownstone lacking amenities offers central air-conditioning, washer/dryer, walls of exposed brick, little sunlight, wood-burning fireplace, small older kitchen, unattractive hardwood floors and questionable condition.  Its unreasonable asking price is $995,000, reduced in August from an even less reasonable $1.099 million, with maintenance per month of $1,110.  Yet the place is under contract.
  • In the low 100s of West End Avenue, a modest 750-sf co-op in a pet-friendly 1923 building that has a live-in super and welcomes pieds-à-terre.  Mainly facing the thoroughfare, the one-bedroom corner unit has an adequate bath, nice hardwood floors, built-ins and a good-size galley kitchen with dirty old stove and laminate countertops among its most arresting liabilities.  Listed at $575,000 with monthly maintenance of $1,003, this place is likely to sell for no less than $525,000.
  • A possible combination of two one-bedroom condos in a Lincoln Center 1996 full-service high-rise.  Facing south with skyline views, the two apartments in mostly originally condition can become a 1,453 unit that already has washer/dryers, cherry floors, marble-tiled baths and stone kitchen countertops in their pass-through kitchens.  The asking price of $1,999,500, cut from $2.195 million, is a reach, given the cost of renovations to be achieved and the combined cost of real taxes and common charges of $2,589 a month.
  • In the mid 80s of West End Avenue, a delightful one-bedroom that actually can be described as sprawling.  There are a nearly 24-foot-long living room, almost 20-foot-long master bedroom, decent bath, older nearly 8′ x 12′ kitchen, an expansive dining gallery beyond the foyer and views only over the lovely interior of the 1937 building’s block.  The pet-friendly doorman building has a garage, fitness room and storage room.  The asking price of $899,000 with maintenance of $1,360 is steep but not insanely so, and the unit consequently has found a buyer.

Tomorrow afternoon: Queens auction results

To take your own bite out of the Big Apple, you have the option here to search all available properties privately.

Subscribe by Email


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

Web site

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s