Dec 7, 2016

Morningside Heights Proposed Historic District

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West 116th Street 
A proposed Morningside Heights Historic District is being considered. The Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing Tuesday receiving public support for the designation. The Morningside Heights Historic District Committee has been fighting for the past 20 years to create this district.
The proposed historic district consists of approximately 115 buildings in an area stretching from West 109th Street to West 119th Street, Riverside Drive to Amsterdam Avenue. 
From the top of a 135-foot bluff, Morningside Heights overlooks the Hudson River on one side and Harlem on the other. It is about 15 minutes from midtown Manhattan by subway.
The area that is now Morningside park was described as "inconvenient for use" by a city surveyor in 1867, meaning difficult to build property on, so it was made into a park, which was called "Morning-side park" because its east facing slope catches the morning sun.
Throughout most of the 19th century, Morningside Heights remained largely undeveloped except for scattered estates and clusters of mid-century frame houses clustered around West 110th Street (later renamed Cathedral Parkway) and modern-day Broadway.
That development history resulted in a cohesive residential district that is comprised primarily of apartment and flats buildings, along with a smaller number of rowhouses that represent the district’s earliest development.

Riverside Drive - Morningside Heights

Like much of the Upper West Side, the earliest residential development in the proposed district includes private town houses such as 625-627 West 113th Street (1897-98, C. P. H. Gilbert) and speculative rows such as 604-616 West 114th Street (1896, Frank A. Lang) that were built in the 1890s.
A cross between the Upper West Side and Harlem, Morningside Heights boasts some of the city’s most impressive architecture: Turn-of-the-century apartment buildings (many with marble lobbies grand enough to house a presidential reception) and row houses dominate. 
The Landmarks Preservation Commission is also considering designating The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine a landmark.
Cathedral of Saint John the Divine
Within the boundaries of the district, 64% of the buildings were built between 1900 and 1910. Wide streets such as Riverside Drive, Cathedral Parkway, West 116th Street and Claremont Avenue are lined with impressive apartment buildings while the narrower streets have smaller apartment and flats buildings, row houses and club buildings. Many of the district’s apartment buildings were designed by some of New York City’s prominent apartment house architects.



Morningside Heights 



Dec 3, 2016

Current Upper West Side 2 Bedroom Apartment Stats

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Upper West Side 2 Bedroom Apartments Currently Available for sale.

All Apartments:

There are currently 203 two bedroom apartments available on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The average price is $2,447,383. The median price is $1,850,000. The average price per square foot is $2,077.


Condos:

There are currently 100 two bedroom condos available on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The average sale price is $3,025,079. The median price is $2,187,000. The average price per square foot is $2,345.


Coops and Condops:

There are currently 103 two bedroom Co-ops and condops available on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The average price is $1,886,513. The median price is $1,625,000. The average price per square foot is $1,575.


Keep in mind these stats are averages and may be skewed by few very high ultra luxury sale prices. Each market segment and building on the Upper West Side has it's own nuances. If you're thinking about buying or selling a home, or would like to discuss the market please contact me.


Dec 1, 2016

Tips for Holiday Tipping

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Year in and year out, we are asked about New York City holiday tipping etiquette, especially for apartment building staff. Updated annual post.

Here is my take on the situation:

So many ask, “why tip at all for someone who is merely doing his job?” We feel that an additional reward for work well done is a welcome gift. It is good manners, and customary to show one’s appreciation by giving a little something extra during the holiday as a way to say “thank you”.

Keep in mind the following factors in determining what to give:
  • How pleased are you with the service
  • The frequency of the service
  • How long you’ve known the person
  • Your budget
  • The local custom
  • The type of establishment (deluxe vs. moderate building)The following are ranges of suggested gratuities:
  • Apartment Building Superintendents: $75 - $175 There is a wide range here ($50-$500) depending on the services offered by your building and how much the staff are at your beck-and-call during the year.
  • Doormen: $25 and up Take into consideration how nice they are to you, if you get lots of visitors and deliveries, and if they actually open the door for you. To maintain a level of quality service, you need to pay for it.
  • Porters: $15- $30 These people have a difficult and sometimes unpleasant job. If you’ve spilled Styrofoam packaging stuffers in your hallway or incinerator room, you owe it to your custodian to remember.
  • Handyman: $15 - $30 This is an instance where your tip can be proportionate to the amount of the work you’ve requested during the year. If you merely greet the handyman in the hall, the lower end of the range should suffice. If you’ve gotten him out of bed in the middle of the night to repair a gushing water leak, ask yourself how much such a task is worth to you and show your appreciation accordingly.
  • Mail Carriers: $10 - $20
  • There is a long list of other people to remember during the holidays-garage attendants, personal trainers, housekeepers, babysitters, stylists, etc., and the range of what is considered appropriate is wide and left mostly to personal judgement.
Regardless of the cash value of any gift, however, it is important that a gratuity be given as a present. Include a nice card with a handwritten note and deliver it personally.

Cash is appreciated, rather than checks.In what can seem like an uncivilized city, it is important to remember to make a gesture of appreciation to those who make your life easier. The holiday season is the perfect time to do so.


Nov 30, 2016

Co-op and Condominium Due Diligence Documents

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Cost of Due Diligence Documents in Co-op and Condominium Transactions


It is customarily, the responsibility of the seller or seller's broker to obtain the offering plan, amendments and financial statements from the seller and deliver them to the buyer or buyer's attorney. If any of those due diligence items are missing, the seller is usually expected to obtain a copy, at his or her own expense, from the managing agent.

It is customarily expected that the buyer or buyer's lender or attorney pay for any "building questionnaires" that the buyer’s attorney or the buyer’s lender requests from the managing agent. The managing agent or coop may charge a fee for  completing questionnaire.

In "sponsor" transaction, the sponsor is required to provide the due diligence materials to the purchaser. However, some sponsors may charge a refundable deposit fee to ensure that the due diligence materials are returned to the sponsor in the event that the purchaser does not proceed with the transaction.

These procedures are customary practices. Depending on market conditions the cost of due diligence materials may be negotiated between parties. 



Nov 28, 2016

Lincoln Towers 140 - 205 West End Avenue

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Lincoln Towers | Residential Coops | Upper West Side
Updated originally posted May 21, 2010 

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 28 and 29 storied buildings have many different floorplans ranging from small and large studios to 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units many with dining alcoves and terraces and abundant closet space.

The building's amenities including storage, bike, playrooms, fitness clubs, central laundry and parking on the premises, garages, valet parking and 24 hour doorman/concierge and private security force. 

The Lincoln Towers buildings are situated opposite open space, trees, playgrounds and parks, including a private, gated, five acre park complete with children's playground, basketball courts and hockey rink. 

Built in 1961, it was part of a vast urban renewal program centered around the new Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Each building is an independent cooperative with it's own rules and purchasing requirements but residents retain access to and shared ownership of the beautiful gardens and playgrounds that surround the complex that can be accessed directly from the buildings.

205 WEST END AVENUE

New York, NY, 10023
Upper West Side 

Building is located on West 70th Street and faces away from the complex. This gives the building a kind of separate feel to it.

Co-op
High-rise
Full Time Doorman
28 Floors. 543 Apartments.
Post-war. Built 1959. Converted to Co-operative in 1987. Financing Allowed: 70%  Elevator (6) Bike Room; Driveway; Garage; Courtyard; Garden; Health Club For A Fee; Basketball Court; Laundry Room; Valet; Nursery; Playground; Common Storage Room; Wifi. Pied-A-Terre Allowed. W/D Not Allowed.
Pets Allowed With Board Approval. One Dog with Board Approval.

Co-operative does not allow parents to purchase for children; must purchase with them. 
  

185 WEST END AVENUE 

New York, NY, 10023
Upper West Side
West 66th Street and West 70th Street
Co-op
High-rise
Full Time Doorman
29 Floors. 423 Apartments.
Post-war. Built 1959. Converted to Co-operative in 1987.
Elevator (4)
Bike Room; Driveway; Garage; Garden; Health Club For A Fee; Basketball Court; Laundry Room; Nursery; Playground; Lounge; Common Storage Room; Private Storage.
Pied-A-Terre Allowed. W/D Not Allowed.
Pets Allowed.
Financing Allowed: 70%.


180 WEST END AVENUE

New York, NY, 10023
Upper West Side
West 66th Street and West 70th Street
Co-op
High-rise
Full Service
29 Floors. 450 Apartments.
Post-war. Built 1961. Converted to Co-operative in 1987.
Elevator (4)
Bike Room; Driveway; Garage; Garden; Health Club; Fitness Room; Basketball Court; Laundry Room; Nursery; Playground; Lounge; Common Storage Room.
Pied-A-Terre Allowed. W/D Allowed.
Pets Allowed.
Financing Allowed: 70%. Corporate Ownership: Allowed. No Transfer Fee.



170 WEST END AVENUE

New York, NY, 10023
Upper West Side
West 66th Street and West 70th Street
Co-op
High-rise
Full Time Doorman
29 Floors. 484 Apartments.
Post-war. Built 1961. Converted to Co-operative in 1987.
Elevator (4)
Bike Room; Driveway; Garden; Fitness Room; Basketball Court; Laundry Room; Common Storage Room.
Pied-A-Terre Allowed.
Pets Allowed. One Pet Only. Weight Limit 50 lbs.
Financing Allowed: 75%. Tax Deductibility: 50%. Co-Purchasing Allowed. No Transfer Fee.

  
165 WEST END AVENUE
  
New York, NY, 10023
Upper West Side
West 66th Street and West 70th Street
Co-op
High-rise
Full Time Doorman
28 Floors. 668 Apartments.
Post-war. Built 1959. Converted to Co-operative in 1987.
Elevator (3)Bike Room; Garage; Courtyard; Garden; Fitness Room; Basketball Court; Laundry Room; Valet; Playground; Rooftop Deck; Common Storage Room.
Pied-A-Terre Allowed.
Pets Allowed. Weight Limit 20 lbs.
Financing Allowed: 75%. Tax Deductibility: 50%. Co-Purchasing Allowed. Parental Purchasing Allowed. Guarantors Allowed. 

160 WEST END AVENUE

New York, NY, 10023
Upper West Side
West 66th Street and West 70th Street
Co-op
High-rise
Full Time Doorman
29 Floors. 543 Apartments.
Post-war. Built 1961. Converted to Co-operative in 1987.
Elevator (4)
Bike Room; Garage; Garden; Health Club; Basketball Court; Laundry Room; Playground; Common Storage Room.
Pied-A-Terre Allowed.
No Dogs. No Pets for Sub-tenants.
Financing Allowed: 75%. Tax Deductibility: 45%. Co-Purchasing Allowed. Parental Purchasing Allowed. Guarantors Allowed. No Transfer Fee.

150 WEST END AVENUE

New York, NY, 10023
Upper West Side
West 66th Street and West 70th Street
Co-op
High-rise
Full Time Doorman
29 Floors. 450 Apartments.
Post-war. Built 1961. Converted to Co-operative in 1987.
Residential Street, Block: 1158, Lot: 7503, Community Board: 7, School District: 3.
Elevator (4)
Bike Room; Driveway; Garage; Courtyard; Garden; Fitness Room; Basketball Court; Laundry Room; Valet; Nursery; Playground; Common Storage Room.
Pied-A-Terre Allowed. W/D Not Allowed. Open Houses Allowed.

140 WEST END AVENUE

New York, NY, 10023
Upper West Side
West 66th Street and West 70th Street
Co-op
High-rise
Full Time Doorman
30 Floors. 560 Apartments.
Post-war. Built 1960. Converted to Co-operative in 1987.
Elevator (6)
Bike Room; Driveway; Garage; Garden; Basketball Court; Laundry Room; Playground; Common Storage Room.
Pied-A-Terre Allowed. W/D Not Allowed.
Pets Allowed.
Financing Allowed: 70%. Tax Deductibility: 51%. Corporate Ownership: Not Allowed. No Transfer Fee.
Allowed. Board Approval Required. After the first year up to two years with approval.

(updated November 29, 2016)

There are currently available (28) listings throughout the Lincoln Towers complex. The average price is $1,248,000. The average maintenance is $1802, the average square footage is 1215 and the average price per square foot is $1223.

Current available units range from a 2.5 room alcove studio at 170 WEA asking  $439,000 to a 3200 square foot 12 room, four bedroom 4.5 bath combine units at 140 WEA asking $3,595,000.

Contact me at 917-312-0924 if you're interested in buying or selling a coop apartment in Lincoln Towers.


Nov 17, 2016

Manhattan Monthly Market Report | October 2016

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Market Wide Summary 


Overall sales in the condo and co-op market were both down by double digits compared to last year, however contract activity in both markets improved from last month’s low sales numbers. Year-over-year average price was up for condos but down for co-ops, whereas median price declined in both markets by 15% and 5%, respectively.

Larger bedroom types saw increases in average price per square foot in the condo market, which brought up overall average price per square foot 13% from last year. All bedroom types in the co-op market experienced very little annual change in average price per square foot with the exception of a decline in the two bedroom market – enough to bring down the overall price per square foot metric 5% from last year.

Listings are spending more time on the market than last year while negotiability was more common. Overall listings increased year-over-year, which continued to the increased amount of negotiability.

Condominium Market 


Sales were down 27% annually, but increased month-over-month for the first time since April 2016. Average price was up 14% yearover-year while median price decreased over the same time period, as two sales this month over $10MM drove the average price increase. Median price was also down month-over-month by 27%.

Average price per square foot increased annually by 13%, with the greatest growth in the two bedroom market due to two prime midtown sales over $5,000 per square foot. Studios’ sizable decrease in average price per square is misleading as it is based on only three sales. While condo listings are spending 54% more time on the market compared to last October, time spent on market dipped 8% from last month. Last October, 52% of listings sold in under fifty days, whereas only 34% of listings sold that quickly this October.

Negotiability was more common this October than last, while annual inventory grew 16% as listings from recently launched buildings including 15 Hudson Yards and 565 Broome have been coming to market in batches

 Cooperative Market Snapshot 


Contract activity was down significantly compared to October 2015, dropping by 25%. Compared to last month, however, contract activity rose by 17%. Average and median price were down 8% and 5% from last year, respectively, while overall average price per square foot declined by 5%.

Average price per square foot was relatively level year-over-year across bedroom types with the exception of two bedrooms, where the metric decreased by 9%.

Days on market was up 25% from last October and 12% from September, indicating the pace of sales has slowed. Negotiability lingered around the same threshold as last month, but negotiating price decreases was more common this year than last. Inventory grew 4% annually, but held steady with last month’s level.

 Manhattan Total Listings 


Total inventory increased from last year, rising 9%, with the largest percentage of growth occurring in the condo market. Listings declined slightly from last month, but remain at a level comparable to the recent high point in total listings that occurred this past May.

Continuing a seventeen-month trend, condos made up over half the market with 53% of listings as condos remain the dominant product in the new development market. As outlined above, co-op listings also saw year-over-year growth, whereas townhouse inventory dropped 9% in the same period.

Manhattan Signed Contracts


In 2014 and 2015, contract activity in both the condo and co-op markets spiked starting in February of each year before declining at the beginning of summer. October also saw a boost in sales after a lull in September in both 2014 and 2015. In 2016, these seasonal trends stayed more or less the same as the two prior years, though to a lesser degree. While this year’s October sales had a seasonal boost, the uncertainty leading up to the presidential election may have stifled contract activity. Sales did increase from September to October, but there were only slightly more sales than in July and August of this past summer. In the 2014 and 2015, October sales were roughly 17% and 16% higher than in August, respectively, compared to this year’s increase of 9%. 


Nov 13, 2016

The NYC Flip Tax

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The NYC Flip Tax

Q: What is a Flip Tax?
A:  A private Transfer Fee

The flip tax is not a tax from the government it is a private transfer fee that many new york coops impose on shareholders. In the late seventies and early 80's when many rental buildings converted, huge profits were being made by former renters who bought their units at inside prices and then resold them. Called "flipping" The boards decided to impose the transfer fee and call it a flip tax on sellers to dissuade flipping.

Due to high costs of operating and maintaining their buildings, many coops and condos need to build their reserve fund by either trying to impose a flip tax or succeed at imposing a flip tax usually imposed on sellers. In order for the flip tax to pass most bylaws/ proprietary leases require 2/3 majority of the shareholders have to vote in favor of it. It requires a quorum. An absent vote is a no vote.

A flip tax is a restrictive covenant All co-ops and 99% of Manhattan condos have restrictive covenants. "A provision in a deed limiting the use of the property and prohibiting certain uses". A coop’s flip tax can affect the maximum loan amount a bank extends to a buyer

Condo and condop buildings can also legally have a flip tax. Although not as common as in coops. Condos often have many investor owners from out of town that make it difficult to pass a 2/3 majority if governing documents allow changes by vote since an absent vote is a no vote.

The terms "limited equity" or "shared equity" are terms related to the flip tax. A seller's equity is limited and or shared with the housing corporation via the flip tax.

HDFC coops (a NYC affordable housing program) usually have a flip tax as a way to keep the buildings affordable. An HDFC flip tax can be as high as 30% of the profit. Often in the early years of the coop's incorporation it may be 70% to coop and 30% to seller. Most HDFC coops eventually either vote a lower flip tax to maximum 15%-30% of profit or it was in the original bylaws specifying time frames.  Many have significantly lower flip tax and often the flip tax has been teired by the amount of years. Often it is lowered by shareholders after the regulatory agreement with NYC expires.

There are several ways a coop can attempt to or impose the flip tax. There are arguments on both sides for every type. It is any easy way to get 2% sometimes 3% - 5% of a unit's sale price or percent of seller's profit. The average apartment in Manhattan is over $1 million. Do the math. Buildings have figured 5-10 transfers a year what a nice windfall for them.
  1. A percentage usually 2% but sometimes 3%
  2. A flat fee
  3. Percent of profit
  4. Dollar amount per share
Management companies and boards lobby the shareholders why a flip tax is good. They argue if they have this reserve fund from the flip tax they won't have to raise maintenance or have assessments.

The Dakota
Elderly people planning on leaving the apartment to their children don't care as that is an exemption in many proprietary leases.

People who recently bought and have to be relocated feel it's unfair as they have not been there that long.

Long time residents feel they stuck it out and have already paid for all assessments over the years.

Most flip taxes are imposed on the seller. But some high-end coop buildings such as The Dakota and buildings on Park and Fifth Avenues impose the flip tax on the buyer.
If the flip tax is based on profit, in my opinion it should be net profit not gross. The seller should be allowed to deduct the cost of renovations and capital improvements they made to their unit. After all the profit is because the owner increased the value of their shares by making the improvements. The coop should not be entitled to limit the seller's equity unless they contributed to the value of that equity.

The contract of sale should clearly identify which party pays the flip tax. Everything in real estate including a flip tax may be negotiated between the buyer and seller.

A coop's flip tax can affect the loan amount

NYC Coop and Condo Closing Costs


Nov 10, 2016

Extension of 421-a Affordable Housing Program

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Agreement Reached on Extension of 421-a Affordable Housing Program
The Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York (BCTC) and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) today announced an agreement to extend the lapsed 421-a tax exemption program.
The agreement calls for eligible buildings in Manhattan to pay on average an hourly wage of $60 (includes wages and benefits) for construction workers based on all hours worked.  Eligible buildings in Brooklyn and Queens would pay on average an hourly wage of $45 (including wages and benefits) based on all hours worked.  
The wage and benefits obligation applies to buildings with 300 rental units or more in Manhattan south of 96th Street and in Brooklyn and Queens Community Boards 1 and 2 within one mile (5,280 feet) of the nearest waterfront bulkhead. Buildings with 50 percent or more affordable units are excluded from the wage and benefits obligation. Projects that have started prior to the effective date of this agreement and meet the eligibility criteria may opt-in to the program.
Other aspects of the agreement include:
  • The now suspended 421-a program would be amended citywide. Newly created rental units with income limitations would be kept in place for 40 years.  Such buildings would receive a 100% property tax exemption benefit for 35 years.
  • Regarding enforcement and compliance of the wage and benefits obligation, developers will hire independent monitors to audit certified payrolls. The independent monitor would certify to the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) within 120 days of the receipt of the final Certificate of Occupancy that the required average wages and benefits based on all hours worked have been paid.
  • Developers may enter into a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) at the developer’s discretion.  If a developer choses to enter into a PLA, then it may opt out of the 421-a wage agreement requirement in its entirety and still be eligible to fully participate in all other provisions of the 421a program.


Nov 9, 2016

New 421-A Tax Abatement

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New 421a Tax abatement


50 Riverside Boulevard - 20% Affordable
The 421a tax abatement program, which grants subsidies to developers who offer affordable units in new buildings, expired in January. 

Although New York City’s 421-a tax break expired in January, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has rolled out a new policy under the program that requires developers to make some of the mandatory affordable units available to individuals currently living in homeless shelters, 

In March the City Council passed sweeping changes to the city’s zoning code. The zoning law changes were considered a victory for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing plan. Part of the mayor's plan including Mandatory Inclusionary Housing was an important aspect of the mayor's goal to build 80,000 units of affordable housing in the next 10 years.

Prior to the change, the program allows developers who set aside at least 20 percent of the units in their projects at below-market rents to build taller or denser projects than would otherwise be allowed. Half of the 20% of a project’s units reserved for low- to moderate-income tenants were made available through a lottery while the rest were distributed to locals, the elderly, veterans and people with disabilities. 

421-A Tax abatement Pros and Cons

Nov 6, 2016

New Development Update | One West End Avenue

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One West End Avenue
One West End, the new residential tower rising at Riverside Center with iconic architecture by Pelli Clarke Pelli and interiors by hospitality visionary Jeffrey Beers. 

The 42-story building will be the first condominium project to come to market in Christian de Portzamparc’s masterfully-designed Riverside Center. 

Commanding a full city block between 59th and 60th Streets at West End Avenue, One West End will offer 246 light-filled one- to four-bedroom homes and several one-of-a-kind residences including two penthouses.


The Lobby Seating Area
Amenities include 12,000-square-foot rooftop garden terrace by Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, media room, game and playroom, on-site parking, 24-hour doorman and concierge and a fitness center with 75-foot indoor swimming pool and spa treatment rooms.


The Terrace and Cabanas
22 available homes range from $1,945,000 for a 919 square foot one bedroom to a four bedroom 5.5 bath, 5,371 square foot home for $19,500.

 New Development Updates

 
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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.

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