The Big Apple: Flip tax, prices, big sales, more

Look for more or expanded flip taxes in co-ops

A growing number of co-ops are considering creating or expanding flip taxes as they struggle to replenish reserve accounts depleted by rising costs.

A survey commissioned by Habitat magazine found that close to two-thirds of responding co-op boards already have in place what’s colloquially called a flip tax — formally, a “transfer fee.”

Of the 186 co-op boards responding to the survey, more than 129 charge some kind of transfer fee or administrative fee paid by the seller of an apartment when the unit is sold.

“A couple dozen of our buildings may be looking at the issue,” says Dan Wurtzel, president of Cooper Square Realty, which manages 400 properties.

Once a co-op board decides to consider a flip tax, there seems to be broad agreement about what type to institute. “Two percent of the total sales price of an apartment seems to be the number that everybody likes,” according to property manager Gerard J. Picaso.

An Upper East Side mansion that went begging for 7 years finds a buyer at last

A 13-room townhouse at 870 Park Ave. originally listed for $23 million in 2004 finally has found a new owner. Continue reading

Out and About: Rooms without any views

View from the living room of an otherwise appealing apartment.

As everyone knows, apartments with some combination of open views, sunny exposures and skyline vistas can command premium prices.

But many buyers who begin their search demanding lots of light–as most buyers will maintain–don’t often appreciate how much less they can spend for a place that has minimal light and bleak or offputting exposures. Light and soothing aesthetics  are the inevitable trade-off for value, though a grim exterior can be a heavy price to pay.

A great example of this phenomenon is the possibly 650-700-sf co-op with the view from the living room shown above.

The unit in a 1951 building with garage on Riverside Drive in the low 100s has been beautifully renovated–new pass-through kitchen, lovely hardwood flooring, good closet space and higher-than-average ceilings. But don’t even think Continue reading

The Big Apple Sept. 10


After disturbing Q2 reports were released last month on the U.S. housing market (in “Weekly Roundup” below), the Wall Street Journal’s Josh Barbanel armed himself with statistics to show that the situation in Manhattan wasn’t so bad. Sales of apartments in Manhattan appear to have strengthened this summer, with median prices up, inventory down and an increase in the number of apartment closings, he reported.

“The figures suggest that the Manhattan market, buoyed by a resumption of hiring and a healthy Wall Street bonus season ahead, has so far escaped much of the distress across the country,” Barbanel wrote.  He noted that July’s median home sale price in Manhattan was $900,000 in comparison with $182,600 nationwide.

In a subsequent piece, Continue reading

Condos slated for auction in Manhattan, Brooklyn

On Wednesday, a two-bedroom unit in this Canarsie condominium goes on the block. As for the Manhattan units, June 27.

A foreclosed 1,063-sf apartment that has two bedrooms and one bath in the 1989 Brook Club Condo, which has a pool, is to be auctioned on Wednesday.  At 1229 E. 80th St., unit 180 will go on the block with an opening bid of $50,000.

Monthly fees of $185 include  common area maintenance and insurance, exterior maintenance and insurance, lawn care, snow removal, trash and water.

An outfit called Williams & Williams is conducting the auction at 4:30 p.m. on May 26 at 127 Craig Ave., Freeport, which is a four-bedroom house that also will be for sale that day.  You can bid online, too.

Inspection of the Canarsie property is by appointment only.  Just call 718-998-1700 x200.

You won’t have to travel as far as Long Island to bid in person for the auction of five two-bedroom, two-bath units plus a three-bedroom penthouse that have remained unsold since 127 Madison Avenue was completed in 2007. Continue reading