Weekly Roundup: City’s sales sag, U.S. resales up

It’s oh so hard to snag a reasonably priced rental

Pending sales, inventory sag over last three months

Owners subletting illegally may want to note shoes of prospective tenant

Lawsuits mount against accused rabbi

If you’re searching for a bargain, look no more

When negotiating with a developer, be smart about asking for concessions

Now tenants can rent off floorplans in unfinished buildings

If you’re bedbugged, check a 11 ways to judge an exterminator

Obsessive Dorothy Parker enthusiast fights to save her childhood home from demolition

Interactive database lets renters and buyers track nearly all privately held subsidized housing

Developers do their thing on a stretch of Fifth Avenue dubbed ‘Upper Carnegie Hill’

His matches are long past, but Continue reading

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Bedbug beagle is among 270 exhibitors at an expo

A rare moment of breathing room among the exhibitors.

If you wanted to check out eight companies that exterminate bedbugs, 10 that manage properties or 11 that offer building security, well, you’re too late.

They were among the 270 exhibitors Tuesday at the Co-op and Condo Expo held at the New York Hilton, where some salespeople literally would have caught your eye, grabbed your arm or thrust material into your hands in the hope of generating income.

Seminars on everything from “the future of wired/wireless communications” — the future? — to “everything you need to know about underlying co-op financing” might have tempted you.  Why, I’m not sure.

Whether you were shopping for fire alarms or attorneys, you could have found such resources at the event, which filled three floors of the hotel’s “halls.”

Like me, you also might have stumbled upon a couple of exhibitors with products worth more than a glance.

Among them was something called “Climbup,” an “ecologically friendly,” if ugly, objét that calls attention to itself around the feet of furniture to trap bedbugs.  Intrusive as it is, maybe it works.

Too, you could have met a sweet bedbug beagle, who needed neither dishes of candy nor raffles to draw attention to the Dial A Bug booth. The floor was, incidentally, littered with an appealing throng of big black plastic cockroaches.

Another standout for me — perhaps I should get a life — was a family owned outfit that provides various janitorial and maintenance services to buildings that don’t have or want full-time staff. N.Y.C. Super Services targets both low-rise and larger buildings for maintenance, repairs and building system upgrades. (I didn’t find a Web site.)

Among other exhibitors was the Hutton Group, which aims to help co-ops (mostly in the outer boroughs and elsewhere) convert into condos. Linda Hutton explained to me that such a conversion helps shareholders increase their equity almost overnight.

“Manhattan is a tough market,” she conceded, “a very tough market.”

Had you attended the expo, you would have had your pick of architects, air duct cleaners, door and windows vendors, elevator servicers, engineers, insurers, interior designers, laundry servicers, and storage-room installers (including one, Bargold Storage Systems, which charges nothing but a percentage of the monthly fee).

You know, I really should get a life. (And if you’ve read this far, maybe you’ll want to consider getting one as well.)

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

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Malcolm@ServiceYouCanTrust.com
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The Big Apple: Prices, sales slip in 1st quarter

Weakness emerges in Manhattan market during first quarter

Reports issued today showed price declines as much as 23 percent from the same time last year, according to the New York Times.

One of the reports, prepared by the Miller Samuel appraisal firm, had the median sale price down by 9.9 percent to $782,071. According to that document, a new index of sales that have yet to close recorded a 7.1 percent increase over the same time last year, suggesting an upswing in the current quarter.

Explanations for the dip included the artificial bump caused last year by the federal homebuyer tax credit and a boost this year in the sales of co-ops, which are generally less expensive than condos, as the result of a crimp in condo inventory.

As Noah Rosenblatt, a blogger, broker and data provider, points out on UrbanDigs.com, the figures on which the reports are based are flawed because of the way they are gathered.

Says he: “. . . you MUST understand that you are seeing an incomplete report with a ton of Q1 sales not yet publicly released! Especially March, whose sales will continue roll in over the course of the next 4-8 weeks. . .”

Price of studios suggests it’s a good time to buy one

The studio market has gone soft again–just as it did in the last recession, says the New York Times.

Prices have dipped to 2005 levels, making it possible to find studios in Manhattan in the $200,000s–lots of them. And they don’t all face a brick wall or involve a lengthy hike to the subway.

The average price for studios dropped to $404,326 in 2010 from a high of $500,479 in 2008.

A recent search of Manhattan listings on the Times real estate site and on Streeteasy.com found close to 200 studios available for $300,000 or less. An article about studios in The Times in 2009, before the market had bottomed out, found only a handful of studios in that price range.

The Times provides Continue reading

The Big Apple: Schools, smoke, slides and more

If you can’t beat them, you don’t have to let bedbugs join you

Adam Greenberg, president of USBedBugs.com, one of the country’s largest online retailers of anti-bedbug gear, tells BrickUnderground.com that, in comparison with the rest of the nation, New Yorkers are “ahead of the curve” on knowing what to do about bedbugs.  Says he:

“Therefore, New Yorkers are both more hands-on in the products they buy for monitoring and treatment of bedbugs and also more proactive at purchasing prevention items like mattress encasements and travel protectors.”

Because almost everyone knows someone who has experienced bedbugs by now, they know the value of the prevention items, Greenberg explains.

Topping his list of 10 preventative items purchased are luggage and clothing encasements–that is, containers for containers.  For the other nine, visit BrickUnderground.

New Web site points to best public schools using your maximum price to purchase or rent

SchoolFisher.com is for New Yorkers “who want Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Rates rather stable. Much more!

Here’s your chance to catch up with news included to inform, enlighten and perhaps even entertain you. To read about The Big Apple, check out the other of today’s posts and look for Out and About early next week.

RUTH FORD’S BUTLER BENEFICIARY CLEANS UP

PINK TOWNHOUSE WHERE NINA LIVED WITH MOM AND ARTISTIC DAD IS ON THE MARKET

LATE MAGAZINE MAGNATE’S TOWNHOUSE IS LISTED FOR $15.3 MILLION

HOME VALUES FALLING IN MANY REGIONS AT ACCELERATED RATES, ACCORDING TO JOURNAL ANALYSIS

SHADOW INVENTORY CONTINUES TO FALL, BUT AT A PROGRESSIVELY SLOWER RATE

CLEAR CAPITAL REPORTS THAT PRICES IN Q4 WERE DOWN BUT UP

CONSUMERS’ INTEREST IN Continue reading

The Big Apple: Will there really be a condo shortage?

IF YOU CAN’T STAND THE HEAT IN YOUR APARTMENT, YOU CAN DO MORE THAN WHINE ABOUT IT

Even when you turn off your radiators, your apartment is a miserable sweatbox.

Meantime, some of your neighbors are complaining that they’re not getting enough heat, so cranking down the basement boiler fueling your inferno isn’t the answer. But BrickUnderground.com helpfully supplies answers to the seasonal curse of overheated co-ops and condos.

HUGE DEVELOPMENT ON COLUMBUS AVENUE ENJOYS RESOUNDING SUCCESS

Columbus Square boasts 500,000 square feet of retail space, including a Whole Foods, Modell’s and a TJ Maxx, 710 rental apartments with elevated landscaped gardens, two private schools and a $650 million price tag.

That’s a lot of units to fill at premium prices, but demand has been strong so far. The first two buildings, where one-bedrooms start Continue reading

The Big Apple: Will there be too FEW condos? More!

WITH NEW CONSTRUCTION AT ITS NADIR, LOOK FOR HIGHER CONDO PRICES BY 2012

As the market plods along in a slow but steady recovery, brokers and developers are saying the city will soon face a shortage of new development projects.

Last year, through November, the city issued permits for only 10 new residential buildings, for a total of 505 new units. That’s 95 percent fewer apartments, either condo or rental, than for the same period in 2008, when permits were filed for 9,448 units in 147 buildings, according to census data. (The number of units had dropped to 1,203 in 31 buildings in 2009.)

Starting in 2012, after most or all the new projects that were stalled or delayed have finally sold out, the supply of new apartments will take a decided dip, and prices for all apartments could start to rise significantly again.

“Once we work through the existing inventory and there’s nothing new coming on line,” President Kelly Mack of the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group told the New York Times, “there’s going to be a major shift in the market. Prices may start going up significantly in 2012 in anticipation of the shift in inventory.”

THAT OTHER INEVITABLE FACT OF LIFE IS GOING UP

Co-op and condo owners Continue reading