Out and About: Sale history could set record

Hours add up. . . to years. (Flickr photo by Ömer Ünlü)

It is pretty likely that some apartments and townhouses have been on the market for even a longer time, but a 2,030-sf apartment that has vainly sought a buyer at least since 2005 certainly deserves notice.

Vacant and desperate for renovation, the classic six-room condo is on a low floor of a desirable full-service building on Central Park West in the low 60s.  There are direct park views from living room and logical master bedroom (where the sound of screeching bus brakes does not make for easy listening), formal dining room,  maid’s room, galley kitchen, two bedrooms and two and a half baths.  A structural column in the middle of a vast foyer makes that space pretty much unusable.

Here is the strange price history to date Continue reading

Co-ops in Manhattan auction draw limp bidding

The impossibly ornate Surrogate's Courthouse, where the auction was held.

Public Administrator Ethel J. Griffin’s poorly attended estate auction of nine apartments Tuesday produced sales totaling only $2.374 million.

Five of the properties ranging in location from Chinatown to Washington Heights failed to attract even one bidder.  A co-op on West End Avenue in Lincoln Towers sold to a sole bidder for its minimum of $300,000.

There were just two bidders for Continue reading

10 Manhattan co-ops to be auctioned Sept. 27

45 Sutton Place South

Update: The Eldridge Street property has been withdrawn from the auction.

In its first estate auction of Manhattan properties since March, the city is putting on the block 10 co-operative apartments to be sold Sept. 27.

New York Public Administrator Ethel J. Griffin is offering units ranging from Chinatown to Washington Heights.  Among them are apartments on Sutton Place South, in the Lincoln Towers complex and on Carnegie Hill.

Minimum bids range from $45,000 for one of three limited-income co-ops to $950,000 for the ones on Sutton Place South and Carnegie Hill. Continue reading

The Big Apple: Citywide stats improve. . . a bit

VOWs prove useful to buyers searching for new homes

Brokerage firms are getting into the digital game themselves, creating a “virtual office Web site” or VOW.

These are sites operated by brokers that enable clients to search for most of the available properties in a particular market, not just the firm’s exclusive listings, according to the New York Times.

While brokers have mixed feelings about whether these sites are worth the investment, the emergence of the VOW is yet another sign that once tightly guarded listing information has finally been set free in New York.

Dollar value of citywide sales climbs from Q1 to Q2 as seasons change, but sales activity slips 4 percent below one year earlier

The total dollar value of New York City’s residential sales transactions jumped 13 percent in the second quarter of 2011 to Continue reading

Four more reasons to worry about our market

Aside from my continuing concerns about the global economy, unemployment rate, Washington’s paralysis and other usual reasons for wondering when the Manhattan housing market will be safely in recovery, four new sets of data have fed my uncertainty.

What first graphically contributed to my doubts was a shopping expedition on Sunday, a sensationally gorgeous day when saner folks might have headed to the beach.

Despite the lure of the outdoors, Reason 1 for my current thinking centers on Continue reading

The Big Apple: Manhattan condo prices are stable

Finance chief masticates crow, agreeing to provide tax relief to co-ops

The city Finance commissioner bowed to heavy pressure from elected officials and agreed to limit property tax increases on co-op apartments.

Grilled by City Council members probing skyrocketing tax assessments for co-op owners, Commissioner David Frankel also vowed to do a better job of handing out assessments next year.

Manhattan condo prices in February haven’t changed in six months, sales off from a year earlier

The recovery in Manhattan condominium prices stalled for six months through the end of February, according to the Radar Logic data analysis firm.

Its RPX Manhattan condominium price was Continue reading

Maybe art world provides ray of light for housing

Derain’s “Barque au Port de Collioure,” which sold for $14 million at a Sotheby’s auction this month. (Sotheby’s)

Is the art market trying to tell us something?  Is it good news not only for the art market but for the housing market as well, never mind the economy in general?  Consider these results from this year’s auctions:

  • In February, Sotheby’s “made history,” in the words of the New York Times, for the second week in a row with a London auction that brought in $84.5 million and the earlier one that had a journalist marveling at the market’s “dizzying heights;”
  • In May, a Sotheby’s auction realizes $190 million, with only three lots failing to find takers, while Continue reading

Weekly roundup of news you don’t want to miss

Here’s your chance to catch up with news and information to enlighten and perhaps even entertain you. To read about The Big Apple, check out another of today’s posts.







Continue reading

It’s either a perfect storm or a Bermuda high

If you think the weather's fine, just dive in. (Flickr photo by SuperFantastic)

There is a pretty strong likelihood that soon-to-be released second-quarter reports will show strong sales in Manhattan along with prices that have more than held their own.

Indeed, the Wall Street Journal said yesterday that sales of Manhattan apartments were 80 percent higher than one year earlier during the second quarter. The pace was the fastest since the summer of 2008, an illustration that the market has been recovering during the spring selling season, according to writer Josh Barbanel.

He also quoted unnamed “analysts” as saying they expected to see that prices had risen a bit, too, when brokerage reports are released.  In fact, they proved to be generally flat.

From what I have observed, however, the second-quarter surge occurred most during the first month and has faded as of now.

No one can say whether prices will slide again in the near or more distant future, though it is anecdotally evident that sales right now are sluggish over all.  For example, although the New York Times chronicled growing interest in large so-called “family” apartments, a glut of studios and one-bedroom units persists.

For buyers, the current situation looks to me like good news for a number of reasons. Continue reading

A land lease building should be your last resort

This bargain-priced apartment has been on the market for 67 weeks. Why?

The phrase “land lease” often strikes terror in the hearts of co-op and condo buyers and brokers alike.

It should.

That’s because a land lease means that the building sits on land it doesn’t own.  Someone else holds title to the property and rents it to the building. Continue reading