Unit owners can breathe a sigh of (tax) relief

New York State Capitol in Albany (Flickr photo by Jimmy Emerson)

Although there was little doubt that lawmakers would act, it is nice to know that the New York State Assembly finally passed an Omnibus Housing Bill on Monday following Senate action last week.

The legislation restores for three years the expired tax abatement that was created to equalize the tax burdens between single-family homeowners and owners of co-ops and condos.

It also extends for the same period the J-51 program, which provides a tax benefit for the renovation of existing housing.

However, the legislation eliminates benefits for the conversion of commercial space to residential use and limits the eligibility for condominium and cooperative buildings with units that have an average assessed value per unit is  greater than $30,000.  Excepted are projects that receive “substantial” government assistance.

Certain provisions of the 421a program were amended as well so as to encourage new residential development in  some high-density areas of Midtown and Downtown Manhattan. Continue reading

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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

I may have vowed that I would never, ever tweet

Don’t get me wrong: I still hate the idea.  But. . .

It occurred to me a few weeks ago that many of us local real estate bloggers read each other’s posts all the time and link to each other regularly even though many of us have never met or even spoken to each other.

So, I asked several bloggers who mostly concentrate on Manhattan and a couple of writers from the traditional news media whether they’d like to get together at long last.  Sure enough, they would.

A lunch dish from Kouzan on the Upper West Side.

The other night almost nine of us met for drinks (and, it turned out, dinner) at the commendable Kouzan restaurant near my apartment on the Upper West Side.  (Hey, I got to choose.)

Attending were folks from Curbed, Urban Diggs, Westside Independent, New York magazine, Habitat, the Wall Street Journal and Brick Underground.  Three others – the Real Deal TrueGotham and Matrix – couldn’t make it. Continue reading