Weekly Roundup: New development sales, eccentric buyers, agents’ frothy remarks, free mortgage tutorial, economics of price changes

With inventory tight and prices climbing, sales of new condos plunge

Yet developers, marketers designing ever more spectacular penthouses, townhouses in buildings old and new

Recent law change could make maintenance-free apartments less rare

Buyers do the darndest things

New Yorker magazine lets you click on subway stops to gauge wealth

Beachfront homeowners in Southampton building ramparts against storms

No, says New York magazine, it’s not a bubble again

Disgraced athlete latches onto quarter-acre Texas compound in gated community after dumping old Austin home

Artist makes mark in SoHo with purchase of Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Sales volume, borrowing sag

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.

Actor is lookin’ at selling his townhouse in Greenwich Village

His Honor adds to collection, picking up a notable Southampton estate for a rumored $20 million

Magically, three young actors invest £24.5 collectively on luxury properties

It’s loss actually for actor-singer

All-cash buyers propel resales, but volume remains slack

Number declines of homes listed for sale in June

Growth recorded in Continue reading

The Big Apple: Sales spiked last spring, then sagged


William Cornwell, a retired advertising art director, hired a brokerage firm to a rent out a studio in his West Village townhouse. Then a broker at the firm made him a proposition he found he couldn’t refuse: Why not rent it to me instead?

The result was that Cornwell, 74, signed two handwritten leases on two studios in his Greek revival townhouse, with the agent and the agent’s father, for below market rate and for terms of up to 20 years.

Now Cornwell is in court battling the broker and his firm, charging the leases violated the obligation under state law that a broker represent a client’s interests honestly, fairly and in good faith.  In addition, the state is now investigating the transactions.


Advertisement’s author abruptly hangs up on me

I did reach the author of the advertisement in the New York Times (published again on Sunday) that provoked my interest.  That’s the one in which was promised a doubling of investors’ money within three years.

In my post last week, I wondered aloud whether the guy was legit.

Apparently there is more than one way to sell a house. (Flickr photo by sean dreilinger.)

I’m still not sure what he’s about after talking on the telephone to Southampton-based Peter Clarke, 50, for about 10 minutes before he abruptly hung up on me, saying, “We’re done, thanks.” Continue reading

Even Bernie Madoff wouldn’t go this far

Scanning the newspaper the other day, I became intrigued with the advertisement reproduced above at its actual size.  It  managed to attract my attention even though I fall depressingly short of the amount requested.

Not only did the author’s rudimentary grasp of grammar and spelling – which is more evident on his various Web sites – interest me, but I was astonished to read that someone actually was promising, promising,to double some dupe’s money in three years.

Now, I don’t know what, if any, laws the company might be breaking or whether, if so, it is breaking the law wittingly.

However, I learned at my late father’s knee that – everybody chime in – if something seems to good to be true, then it must not be true.

So I went to the Web site in the ad, which in itself was not in the least illuminating.  It provided a Park Avenue address, though no suite number, plus the telephone number that is printed above.  Looks like a cell phone number, right?  I’m at this point thinking “fly by night.” Continue reading

Madoff belongings and real estate head to auctions

That postponed auction of apartment 11E at 1056 Fifth Avenue, along with four other Manhattan properties, now is scheduled for Nov. 19.

The 1250-sf co-op has two bedrooms and two baths, with maintenance of $2,176 month.  It is the estate of one Anne Mogol, and the minimum bid is $900,000.

That’s up from $710,000 when the auction was first announced and then postponed from the original Oct. 22 date–a clear response to the amount of interest it engendered.  (I, for one, can speak to the degree of interest from the skyrocketing number of visits to posts about the auction on this blog.)

The New York City public administrator also is putting on the block that date co-ops at 572 Grand St., 202 W. 118th St. and 1725 York Ave., plus a condo at 392 Central Park West.

Purchase of the co-ops requires board approval. Continue reading