The Big Apple: Rentals hot, Hamptons too. More!

Employment posts gain in June, but jobless rate continues to stall

The city’s unemployment rate in June went to 8.7 percent from May’s 8.6 percent, the state Department of Labor reported.

The one-month rise was not itself a significant increase, but after falling consistently each month for nearly a year starting last spring, there have now been four consecutive months without a noticeable decline in the city’s jobless rate.

Most of the drop in the rate from its 10 percent peak has come not from significant job gains but as a result of discouraged job seekers leaving the work force.

The city added 51,400 private sector jobs in the 12 months ending in June. The 1.6 percent growth rate, “is pretty good by historical standards,” according to James Brown, principal economist at the labor department.

Rental rigmarole challenges prospective tenants

With a vacancy rate in Manhattan of under 1 percent, apartments sometimes rent in hours, not days or weeks. Good tenants are not that hard to find. On top of that, evicting problem tenants can be expensive and time-consuming.

So, as the New York Times observes, most landlords here require a lot of information.

They want to see a prospective tenant’s tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, proof of employment, photo identification and, sometimes, reference letters from previous landlords.

Everyone will run a credit check (many Manhattan landlords look for a score above 700) and just about all, from big management firms to small-time landlords, want to know that your gross income is somewhere between 40 and 50 times the monthly rent.

Luxury sales in the East End Continue reading

The Big Apple: Rent market hot, otherwise warm

Manhattan condo prices have yet to recover fully

From its peak in December 2008 to its trough in May 2009, the RPX Manhattan Condominium price declined 24 percent, according to Radar Logic.

Since then, it has regained only about half of the value it lost during the crash.

As of March 31, the RPX Manhattan condominium price was $1,017.10 per square foot, which is 16 percent above its cyclical trough of $923.24, but still 12 percent below its all-time peak of $1,212.83.

Sales activity also remains well below pre-crisis levels.  Activity during March 2011 was 18 percent lower than it was during March 2008, before the national housing crisis took hold of the Manhattan market.

Although the rate of sales increased robustly during 2009, its recovery has faltered since, with the transaction count declining 3 percent over the last year.  There has been a clear shift in the concentration of sales from smaller to larger units over the last year.

Buyers are still out there and having offers accepted

Buyers continue to step up and sign deals for Manhattan property at a very strong pace, according to a new post by Noah Rosenblatt of UrbanDigs.

Finding in his excellent data Continue reading

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