Jul 25, 2014

New Construction Update | Upper West Side

219-223 West 77th Street
 New Construction Update | Upper West Side

Plans to demolish a five-story parking garage on the Upper West Side were filed with the Department of Buildings. The Naftali Group, a developer is expected to build residential condominiums on the site according to The Real Deal.

The developer is in contract for the site at 219-223 West 77th Street for $61 million, or about $792 per square foot. The garage also includes Alamo and National car rental services.

The 7,700-square-foot lot, between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway, features 75,000 square feet of build-able space. The deal is expected to close by September. No brokers represented Naftali.

The Naftali Group is working on several condominium projects in Manhattan, including the nearby 25-unit property at 206 West 77th Street.

Jul 20, 2014

Q & A | What are Lot Line Windows?

732 West End Avenue
Adjacent 736 West End Avenue lot line windows sealed off
Q: What are lot line windows? 
732 West End Avenue
Adjacent 736 West End Avenue lot line windows
A:  "A lot line window” is a window that is built on a side of a building that shares a boundary line with a neighboring property.  If the adjacent building is built up to or higher than this window, then the lot line window will likely need to be sealed off.  For this reason, lot line windows are not counted towards light and ventilation requirements. 

In condominiums and cooperatives, the offering plan will generally indicate whether there are any lot line windows in the building, and if so, which apartments may be adversely affected by the lot line windows.

Review Offering Plan, "Special Risks" section to determine if Lot Line windows are present.

If a building has lot line windows, it can be very difficult to determine the probability of whether the lot line windows will actually be sealed off.  Signs indicating that an adjacent property may be developed (i.e. vacant, adjoining lots or a rental building) could increase the probability that a lot line window may be sealed off.  An architect or attorney who specializes in zoning and land use should be consulted.

Jul 17, 2014

HDC Affordable Condos and Coops.

Q: What is an HDC condo, coop, condop or rental building.

A. New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) provides financing for affordable housing.  

Strivers Gardens Condominium
HDC provides financing for large-scale developments, issues bonds and provides subsidy and low-cost loans to develop and preserve a variety of housing, ranging from large to small rental and condo, condop and coop home ownership. 

HDC-financed apartments are sold to low and middle-income households. They may have different income tiers within the building. Some apartments may have higher maximum income restriction than others. Often some of the original owners purchased their units through a city lottery.

HDC finances the construction of residential buildings. A portion of the unit is subsidized. In some HDC financed buildings if an owner sells a unit prior to the HDC mortgage expiration date a percentage of the unit's profits are paid to HDC. 

HDC approves the buyer's eligibility based on their current gross income. Income is calculated using annual gross (pre-tax) income, and also includes interest income earned from assets. 

Currently I have a  top floor 1 bedroom coop at  255 West 148th St. Apt 6C, The Washington a post-modern (built in 2004) six story 15 unit elevator coop through HDC. Maximum income allowed 255% of area median income (AMI) $214,750 =$214,750. There is no flip tax.

255 West 148th Street Apt 6C
I also recently listed a 2 bedroom 2 bath at Strivers Gardens Condominium at  300 West 135th Street A full service condo building with a garden atrium, state of the art gym, Zen Garden, resident lounge and On-Site Garage with valet parking. 75% of units at Strivers Gardens have an income max at 175% of Area median Income $150,325 (AMI) and 25% at 250% AMI - $214,750.

300 West 135th Street Strivers Gardens Condominium
HDC uses the proceeds from the sale of tax-exempt bonds to make first position mortgages and also uses its corporate reserves to make 1% second mortgage loans. HDC projects are aligned with the city's plaNYC green building policy. 

Jul 8, 2014

Income & Assets


I'm often asked what a coop or an HDFC coop will consider or count as income and assets.
While assets are important most coops are only interested in liquid assets. 

Below is a list of types of income and assets. This is a typical example of income and assets.
Some forms of income such as child support may or may not count as income in certain coops.



Self-employment earnings
Unemployment, Disability,
Worker’s Compensation
Social Security
SSI Interest
Welfare Assistance
Armed Forces Reserves
Child Support
Interest Income
Income from Rental Property
Scholarships and/or grants

Savings Account
Checking Account
Cash Value of Revocable Trusts
Equity in real property or
other capital investments
Stocks, Bonds, Treasury Bills, Certificates of
Deposit, Money Market Funds
Retirement Plans
Surrender value of life insurance policies
Inheritances, lottery winnings, capital gains,
Insurance settlements


Jul 1, 2014

Manhattan Market Report | Second Quarter 2014

 Manhattan Market Report | Second Quarter 2014
      Overall, the market-wide cost for Manhattan’s homes increased 20% in average sale price, 6% in median sale price, and 15% in average price per square foot versus Second Quarter 2013. The average price per square foot reached $1,286 this quarter, a new peak. 

Highlights of Manhattan Second Quarter 2014 Market Report:

·         Inventory Starting to Turn Around.  Although the number of properties listed for sale remains low (52% below the peak in Q1 2009), inventory rose for the second quarter in a row.

·         Limited Supply Buoys Prices.  inventory was up, but its overall continued depressed level maintained competitive conditions among those in the market to purchase.

·         Slower Activity in Bread-and-Butter Sales.  In Manhattan, one- and two-bedroom units are the primary drivers of residential sales activity, but they are occurring with decreasing frequency.  (see Sales by Price Category, p. 6.)  

·         Luxury Sales Grow Disproportionate.  Activity at the high end continued to be robust, and grew as an overall percentage of the market.  Properties above $3M now account for 12% of sales (up 3% from a year ago), and 26% of available inventory (up 4%).

·         Price Per Square Foot Sets New Record.  The focus on high-end sales drove the average price per square foot for Manhattan real estate up to $1,286.

The Second Quarter described signs of buyer fatigue and caution, particularly amongst prospective buyers of small units.  With prices at their peak, there is less incentive to become a first-time buyer, or to trade up from a starter home. 

Sellers act now and price it right. 

Each market segment and neighborhood has it's own nuances. If you're thinking about buying or selling a home, or would like to discuss the market or this report please contact me.

For the complete Corcoran Manhattan Second Quarter Report including neighborhood reports.

Jun 29, 2014

HDFC Coops Affordable Apartments No "But No Catch"

Contrary to a recent article in the NY Times, most H.D.F.C. coops still provide affordable home ownership for low to moderate income households. Currently there is pent-up demand from qualified buyers for affordable apartments. Large affordable apartments are in extreme demand and sell quickly when priced right.

In my opinion the article in the Times is an urban myth perpetuated by it's reporter based on anecdotal evidence that may cause some consumers to make wrong real estate decisions.

I've been writing and publishing this blog about Manhattan real estate since 2006 as a transparent consumer service to help Manhattan buyers and sellers make informed real estate decisions. Having represented numerous sellers and buyers of H.D.F.C. coops in successful transactions, I would be remiss if I did not write this post.

I was surprised that HPD (New York City Housing Preservation Department), the city agency that administers H.D.F.C. coops was not included, quoted or represented in the article particularly since the new Mayor Bill de Blasio has made the goal of affordable housing a top priority of his administration.  

In my opinion, there is no "catch" or "bargains with a but" as the headline alludes and the article insinuates. Most of the HDFC listings the article included are anomalies.

The only 'But" and "catch" is when an H.D.F.C. unit is not priced right, not below market and not affordable for the intended low to moderate income buyer that can qualify for and needs a coop loan.

They are not "bargains" for low and moderate income home buyers that meet the maximum income allowed that will need to make monthly mortgage and maintenance payments but they are affordable. 

They are only bargains for fortunate cash buyers mentioned in the article that can also afford to purchase market priced apartments.

Like most coops, many H.D.F.C. coop boards use debt to income ratio to determine affordability. Typically, no more than approximately 30% of gross income should go toward housing expenses to be considered affordable. Most lenders will allow a significantly higher percentage than most coops.

NYC landlords use an income formula when renting an apartment: Income must be 40x rent. For example to qualify for a $3500/month rental apartment the tenant must have an income of $140,000.

30% of a household of 4 with a $140,000 income (165% of area median income) can qualify for a coop loan, with principle and interest payments plus monthly maintenance totaling $3500/month.

Do the math. If it doesn't work something is not Kosher.

With a 20% down conventional loan, a household of 4 earning the maximum $141,000 at a 4.5% interest rate $3500/month can afford a maximum price of approx $600,000 +/- with maintenance around $1000 +/- Households of 5 -8 people with a higher maximum income allowed can afford more. A 1 person household can afford less.

There is a correlation between household size, household income, apartment size, apartment price and affordability.

My advice to buyers looking to purchase an H.D.F.C coop: If you can find the same size non HDFC apartment in the same neighborhood in a similar building comparably priced then the HDFC is certainly NO BARGAIN. The HDFC coop should sell below market. Hence 'affordable'.

If a lender won't finance in the building or the coop won't disclose their financials that is a red flag. Why? The three largest banks in America (Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America) are all eager to loan in H.D.F.C coops as long as the coop cooperates with lender and can meet FHA (Federal Housing Authority) guidelines. My preferred H.D.F.C. coop lender is Michael Most at Citibank

Comps (Comparative Market Analysis): Always compare apples to apples. Never compare apples to oranges when purchasing an HDFC coop or for that matter any apartment in Manhattan.

Apt 2E 3BR 2 Bath The Monerey Morningside Heights
There is no restricting an HDFC seller from trying to sell for what ever they want, other than possibly a resale cap in the coop's bylaws. Responsible HDFC coops want to remain affordable. During the board application process and interview the board can use their discretion to ascertain the purchaser's total financial picture and decide if the purchaser "fits in" just like any other coop.

My advice to HDFC sellers: Congratulations prices have risen in HDFC coops over the years. Priced right and marketed properly, listed with an experienced HDFC coop broker it will sell quickly to a qualified buyer providing the HDFC is well managed with good financials.

Like most real estate, the longer you've lived there, the more equity you will have accumulated. Since most HDFC coops are a form of limited equity home ownership a portion of your profits are shared with the coop in the flip-tax. Pricing an HDFC coop is as much of an art as a science, a skill that only comes with experience, knowledge and insight.

The flip tax in HDFC coops, unlike regular coops that converted in the 1980's wasn't to deter anyone looking to make a quick profit as the article states. You couldn't make a quick profit 30 years ago with an HDFC coop. You couldn't give them away. NYC HPD through an affordable housing program helped to rehabilitate the buildings, trained the tenants on home ownership and set the Coop up financially to be self-sustaining.

In my opinion, the reporter totally missed the point. NYC subsidized these apartments by selling them significantly below market prices, keeping the maintenance low with reduced property taxes. Instead she referred to them as "a small and quirky breed of co-op."

I've represented sellers and buyers in The Monterey, a Morningside Heights architecturally significant and sought-after HDFC coop, 45 Central Park North, Harlem's most distinguished and sought after HDFC coop on Central Park as well as HDFC's in Hamilton Heights, Sugar Hill, Manhattan Valley, Hell's Kitchen and the East Village

I've sold HDFC coops at record breaking prices while still maintaining the intent and spirit of affordable home ownership in NYC.
Central Park view from apt 3F 6.5 rooms at 45 Central Park North
I currently have qualified buyers with pent-up demand waiting for my next exclusive HDFC coop listing.

Full Disclosure: The Times reporter interviewed me for the article. It's the second time she interviewed me for an article and didn't quote me. The last time was about buyer's that ride their bikes to work. I can only assume that since my experiences with affordable HDFC coop's have been positive and rewarding for my sellers, buyers, coop boards and lenders, my quotes were not needed since the article's angle was about a a "But and a Catch"

More reading about HDFC Coops:

HDFC Coops | Affordable Home Ownership

HDFC Coops | Facts vs Myths
HDFC Coop Income Standards 
HDC Affordable Condos & Coops
The Flip Tax
Restrictive Covenants 

List your HDFC coop

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policy of The Corcoran Group.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or accountant. This blog and my answers to questions are my opinions for information purposes only based on my experience as a NY licensed real estate associate broker and not intended as legal or financial advice and should not be used as a substitute for advice of legal counsel.

Jun 28, 2014

2015 NYC Property Tax rates

The City Council adopted real property tax rates for fiscal year 2015, which begins July 1, 2014.  Here are the 2015 tax rates by class.

Tax Rates by Class

Definition FY 2015 FY 2014 Difference
Class 1 All One-, Two-, and Three-Family Residential Real Property 19.157 19.191 -0.034
Class 2 All other Residential Real Property 12.855 13.145 -0.29
Class 3 Utility Real Property 11.125 11.902 -0.777
Class 4 All Other Real Property 10.684 10.323 0.361

Please note that the tax bills issued for the first half of fiscal year 2015 (July 2014 through December 2014) were based on the fiscal year 2014 tax rates.

As a result, your second half tax bill will be based on the recently adopted fiscal year 2015 tax rates and will include an adjustment for any overpayment or underpayment in the first half of the year.

source courtesy: REBNY

Jun 26, 2014

Summer in the City | UWS Buildings with Pools

Manhattan Condos with Pools

Upper West Side Apartment Buildings with Pools

It's Summer in the CityAccording to a recent Corcoran Consumer report 37%, the largest margin said a building with a pool is a top priority amenity for them.

If a pool is a priority for you, and you want to live on the Upper West Side, whether buying or renting, the following buildings have swimming pools.

Built 2011

The Aldyn Residences, Athletic Club and Spa includes 40,000 square feet of amenities overlooking the Hudson River including a 75' Swimming Pool and Hot Tub.

Built 2010

the Rushmore Pool

The Rushmore
LaPalestra Well Center

75' swimming pool

The four Trump Place condominium buildings have health clubs with pools.
120, 200, 220, 240 Riverside Boulebard
Built 200 -2004
Trump Place

The Alexandria - 200 West 72nd Street at Broadway -
Full Service Condo - Health Club, Pool, Hot Tub
Built 1991
The Alexandria -201 West 72nd POOL

The Alexandria -201 West 72nd POOL

The Bromley
225 West 83rd Full service condo built 1988
health club with pool
The Bromley _ Upper West Side
The Bromley Pool

The Boulevard 2373 Broaway
at 2373 Broadway, - Built 1989
The Boulevard is a full service luxury Condop.

Two level Health club with 75' Boulevard Pool

The New West
250 West 90th Street at Broadway - Built 1986
Full Service condo with rooftop pool
Full service condo, 21 floors, 185 apartments, rooftop pool and health club
The New west 250 W 90th at Broadway

New West

535 West End Avenue
at 86th Street
Full Service Luxury Condo Built in 2010
535 West End Avenue

535 West End Avenue POOL

The Columbia
275 West 96th Street at Broadway - Built 1983
Full service condo, 35 floors, 302 apartments, garage, health club pool.
The Columbia - 275 west 96th Street at Broadway POOL
The Columbia - 275 West 96th Street at Broadway

The Ariel (East and West)
Broadway at West 99th Street - Built 2006
The Ariel East and West, Broadway at 99th St.
Ariel Condos East & West POOL

The Ariel West and the Ariel East. Ariel East - Fitness center, pool

updated original post October 2011

courtesy of:
Mitchell Hall, Associate Broker
The Corcoran Group
P (347 921-4255

Jun 24, 2014

NYC Rent Guidelines Board | Landlord Tenant


The Rent Guidelines Board approved the following rent increases for rent stabilized apartments effective October 1, 2014: 
  • 1 year lease: 1%, with no minimum dollar increase
  • 2 year lease: 2.75%, with no minimum dollar increase
  • No vacancy allowance: the statutory vacancy increases remain in effect
  • Sublet allowance: 10%
The NYC Rent Guidelines Board adopts renewal lease guidelines for rent stabilized apartments, lofts and hotels each year.

Rent Stabilization was established in New York City in the late 1960's to set limits on the amount building owners could raise rents and to set performance guidelines for both the landlord and tenant.
  • Rent increases for one and two year leases are determined annually by the New York City Real Estate Advisory Board.
  • Over the past five years, annual rent increases have been in the 3-7% range.
  • Tenants are guaranteed renewal rights to stabilized leases provided they have fulfilled the terms of the lease.
 Non-Stabilized Building
  • Landlords set a market-value rent based upon current supply and demand.
  • A landlord may, but is not required to, follow rent stabilized guidelines.
  • Renewals are not guaranteed unless so stated in the lease.
  • Rental buildings with fewer than six units are non-stabilized.

New York City Rent Guidelines Board

Renting an Apartment in Manhattan

Jun 18, 2014

New Construction | Lincoln Square | Upper West Side

First came the Lincoln Towers complex built in the 1960's along with the development of Lincoln Center. The eight Lincoln Towers buildings are situated on a 20 acre campus in the middle of Manhattan's Upper West Side between West 66th and West 70th Streets conveniently located near Lincoln Center, Central Park and Riverside Park. The apartments facing west had spectacular Hudson river views.

Then came Riverside Boulevard the new west side neighborhood that extends along the Hudson River from West 59th Street to West 72nd Street on 92 waterfront acres, formerly occupied by the Pennsylvania Rail Road yards. Donald Trump bought the property back in the 1970's. The buildings range from 30 to 40 stories, and the waterfront park covers 23 acres. The first building was completed in 1998. Now the buildings along Riverside Boulevard feature spectacular Hudson River views.

The latest building 50 Riverside Boulevard is currently selling and 40 Riverside Boulevard, under construction  is to have 33 stories. There has been some controversy over the separate entrance slated for the 59 units designated "affordable" for low income households from the projects 219 apartments. The last building will be the five-tower complex designed by Christian de Portzamparc for the super block between 59th and 61st Streets. 

Now coming to the East of Lincoln Towers rising on Amsterdam Avenue at 170 Amsterdam Avenue between West 67th and West 68th Streets is an unusual looking building. It will have 20 floors with 239 units. Currently it has not been announced if the apartments will be rental or condo units.

Rendering 170 Amsterdam Avenue

The unusual architecture, a cross-hatched tower from Handel Architects is because the building's massing and design are driven by the site’s long, narrow shape. The solution moved the building’s structure to the exterior in the form of an exoskeleton, freeing up space on the interior previously occupied by columns.

Rendering 170 Amsterdam Avenue


This blog site is designed and published as a consumer service by local real estate broker to help Manhattan, New York City buyers, sellers and renters make informed real estate decisions. This site and its feeds are owned and operated by Mitchell J Hall, a NY State licensed real estate associate broker associated with The Corcoran Group and member of the Real Estate Board of New York.

Legal Disclaimer - The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not neccessarily reflect the opinions or policy of The Corcoran Group. This site is not the official website of The Corcoran Group or its affiliated companies, and neither The Corcoran Group nor its affiliated companies in any way warrant the accuracy of any information contained herein. Any product and/or services offered for sale on this website shall not be considered an offer to sell such goods and/or services in any state other than New York.

Legal Disclaimer - Information on this site is not intended as legal or financial advice. - All material herein is intended for information purposes only and has been complied from sources deemed reliable. Though information is believed to be correct, it is presented subject to errors, omissions, changes or withdrawal without notice. I operate a business that supports Fair Housing.“We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program which there are no barriers to obtain housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familiar status or national origin.”

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