Out and About: Can you tell book by cover?

Three-bedroom Upper West Side duplex is but one highlight of the co-op

Three-bedroom duplex has kitchen that is but one highlight of the co-op.

There’s nothing like an ugly duckling wearing pearls.

Woe to the seller of a gorgeous apartment in a building that offends its neighbors and hurts the eyes.

Such it is with a sparkling and stylish top-floor duplex on a Central Park block in the very low 90s.

Virtually nothing about the co-op could be better.  For one thing, there is a 400-sf roof deck overlooking the block’s lovely interior and not hemmed in by taller buildings.

Other qualities include lavish floors of Brazilian teak, numerous harmonious built-ins, a wonderful open kitchen with two sinks and top-end appliances, baths of uncommon beauty, terrific use of space, washer/dryer, through-wall air conditioning, excellent closet space, master suite on its own floor and an invitingly warm ambiance.

Can you guess which building contains the duplex?

Can you guess which building contains the duplex?

But. . . Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: ‘Insane’ market, rising prices, pronounced seasonality, surging sales, wasted electricity, 65,000-acre Quebec spread. . . more!

Next Weekly Roundup April 5

Bidding environment now ‘absolutely insane’

Contract activity soars above prior years, thereby confirming both item above and my Wednesday post

Prices soar 11 percent from January 2012

Prior to usual seasonal increase, February rents in Manhattan Continue reading

Buying sight unseen is not for faint of heart

(Flickr photo by MadEmoiselle Sugar)

Anyone who purchases an apartment from floorplans probably knows that opportunities abound for making a mistake.

An article in the New York Times last year provided a good rundown of issues that buyers should explore before signing on the dotted line for apartments in buildings yet to be completed or, on occasion, even started.

Some of the concerns that the wise buyer of such apartments ought to bear in mind center on the following: Continue reading

Whew! It’s a virtual stampede of buyers out there

(Flickr photo by abrin523)

Competition for apartments started to heat up about a month ago, and now the flames burn more intensely than ever as a result of withering inventory.

I went on Sunday to eight or nine open houses that had been listed on the Upper West Side in just the prior week, and they were mobbed.  The only one that wasn’t packed in the first five minutes was a $279,000 studio remarkable only for how oppressive it was.

Worse for buyers, at least two of them had offers, including that studio.  In some cases, there were multiple offers — even before those initial open houses.

Listing agents were running out of show sheets, prospective buyers were literally bumping into each other, there was a palpable sense of panic.

“Irrational exuberance,” one of the agents muttered none too originally but emphatically accurate.

We are not alone in that observation.  Indeed, confirming that the housing market is galloping once again, the new Real Deal proclaims in a headline that bidding is “absolutely insane.”

Lord Keynes had a point.

A sellers’ market that is so robust is not a good thing, occasionally even for sellers. Continue reading

Out and About: There’s a patch of blue (& white)

patch of blue

When it comes to obstructed exposures, it takes all kinds.

There are those where all you can see out the windows is forbidding blank brick walls mere feet away, often in courtyards.

Other more distant exposures may tower so high that the only way to glimpse the sky is to stick your head out the window.

Others may consist of buildings some distance away, perhaps half a block, where it is impossible to see anything worth seeing — not a skyline, not a river, nothing of interest and nothing particularly offensive.

Then there are those exposures like the one in the photo that are partly blocked by buildings across the way, letting in a modicum of light but permitting nothing like a view.  What they offer is a patch of blue.

The apartment from which I took this photo is Continue reading

Condo in luxe high-rise heads to city’s auction, other properties have much lower minimums

This condo at 401 E. 60th St. is one floor below unit to be auctioned and may be slightly smaller.

This unit at 401 E. 60th St. is a floor below one to be auctioned and may be slightly smaller.

A condo in the Lenox Hill neighborhood will be offered with a minimum bid of $1.2 million at the first city auction of Manhattan properties since June.

Public Administrator Ethel J. Griffin scheduled the sale of 13 properties from the Lower East Side to Inwood for March 21.  Minimum bids range from $45,000 for an income-limited studio in Harlem to the East Side condo’s $1.2 million.

The estate of one Ronald Cohen, the four-room unit 24C in Bridge Tower Place, a full-service 1999 building at 401 E. 60th St., is advertised as having 1,130 square feet with common charges of $1,400 monthly and annual taxes of $21,000.  Active listings in the building average Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Renters, new market stats, dropping loan rates, foreclosure purchase risks, credit misconceptions, kitchen trends, and more

Renters don’t stay put for long in the financial district

New York magazine explores world of platonic urban cohabitation i.e. roommates

Housing signals mixed in metro region

Four things to bear in mind when buying an apartment for your kids

19 percent more building permits issued in 2012 than in prior year

Committee ranks Upper East Side tops for kids, Bay Ridge beats all other Brooklyn neighborhoods

Request for proposals to redevelop Lower East Side sites signals end of bitter renewal squabbling

Foreclosures in region higher in December than a year earlier

Estate in the Hollywood Hills finds friendly buyer but at greatly reduced price

Legendary rocker Continue reading