Feb 18, 2017

Manhattan Monthly Market Report | January 2017

January 2017 Manhattan Monthly Market Report 

Market Wide Summary

The new year kicked off with a handful of positive market dynamics as sales in both the condo and co-op market saw annual growth. The co-op market saw better metrics, including year-over-year improvements in average price and average price per square foot, growing by 14% and 6%, respectively. In the condo market, by contrast, average price, median price, and average price per square foot were down compared to last year. Total inventory rose versus January 2016 for both condos and co-ops, while negotiability also grew more pronounced over the same period of time. Listings in the co-op market sold faster than in the condo market, in which average days on market grew 37% compared to last year.

Condominium Market Snapshot 

For the second consecutive month, condo sales grew by double digits year-over-year. Average and median sale price, on the other hand, both decreased compared to last year, by 19% and 11%, respectively. In line with those statistics, average price per square foot was also down 19%, anchored by a steep decline of 35% in the three bedroom market. Last year’s average price per square foot, however, was unusually high due to sales at the Puck Penthouses and the Baccarat, rendering this month’s average price per square foot more in line with historical norms. Adhering to a trend seen throughout 2016, days on market increased sharply versus last year, by 37%. There was also more negotiability this year than last, again favoring the buyer. Inventory was flat with December 2016, but grew 14% from the supply last January.

Cooperative Market Snapshot 

Indicators in the co-op market were generally positive in the first month of 2017 despite an increase in supply. For the first time since August 2015, co-op sales rose year-over-year. This rise in contract activity coincided with annual growth in average sales price while median sales price remained relatively unchanged from last year. Average price per square foot also rose by a proportionate 6%. The markets for two bedrooms and studios saw increased price per square foot versus last year, while that of one bedrooms and three bedrooms decreased by 3% and 11%, respectively. There was more inventory available this year compared to last year, which is one factor that may have contributed to increased negotiability in spite of a dip in average days on market.

Manhattan Total Listings

Inventory increased to 5,866 total listings versus last January, which is a 12% increase. The metric was nearly unchanged from last month, whereas January inventory is typically up from the prior December. Condos made up over 54% of the market, which is the twentieth month during which condos made up the majority of the market share. Townhouse inventory held steady with last January at 364 listings, but is the lowest total number of townhouse listings seen since this time last year

Ask vs. Sale Price Comparison 

Nearly 70% of listings sold this past January traded below asking price, which is the highest number of sales below ask since January 2013. Throughout 2016, over half of units on the market were sold below ask, in contrast with 2015 in which most months saw the majority of units sold at or above ask. Between 2008 and 2013, there was a long streak of time during which it was common for over 80% of units to be sold below ask, so this past January’s high percentage is far from that.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions about The Report or the Manhattan market in general. I welcome the opportunity to be of assistance to you.

Feb 7, 2017

Purchasing a Home in a New Development

In 2017 there will be many new residential developments including both ground-up construction and the conversion of existing structures such as a commercial building or rental property. 

21st Century Designed. Modern room proportions, high quality materials, and windows that maximize light and air add up to a home that complements your lifestyle. Many new homes are healthy homes with green features.

Green features make your life healthier, and energy efficiency benefits you and the environment. Brand new apartments are outfitted with top of the line materials, the most up to the minute technology, and all the little extras that make life easy. Move in and build a new community with your neighbors.

How to buy in a NYC New Development:

Easy to purchaseBenefit from a hassle-free purchase process with no board packages, interviews, and use your residence however you want—live, rent, or pied-à-terre.

Once an offer is accepted by the Sponsor, The Sponsor's attorney draws up the Purchase Agreement. The Purchase Agreement and Offering Plan are then sent to the purchaser's attorney for review. 

Once both parties have signed the Purchase Agreement and the Sponsor receives a deposit, the residence is considered "in contract."

The Astor 

Hudson Yards

A Sponsor can only send out one contract per unit at a time for a New Development deal. 

This can be to your advantage to get a contract out on a property you may be interested in. If you change your mind you can easily withdraw offer.

If you’re facing a river or a park you are most likely safe of nothing going up around the area you are purchasing. If you are worried about views and are willing to spend a little extra money you can get the proof at least for the near future because a view can not be protected or guaranteed without owning the air rights.

Contracts are not very transparent, buyers need to get the right attorney and mortgage broker involved, it is very important to get a mortgage person that can finance in a new building. Everything has to be quick. 

It is important to have an experienced buyer's broker represent you in New Developments. On-site sales agents represent the seller/sponsor/developer's interests.

New Developments | FAQ


In New York, this is a residential offering that is completely new to the market, and must be approved by state and local governments. It includes both ground-up construction and the conversion of an existing structure, such as an office building or rental property.
The legal entity that owns the new development being offered—considered “the seller.”

A comprehensive disclosure document provided by the Sponsor and approved by the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York (“Attorney General”) that describes the property’s offering.

A modification to the Offering Plan that is filed with and accepted by the Attorney General. Amendments are issued over time as material changes are made to the Offering Plan.

A legal agreement between a Purchaser and Sponsor detailing the conditions of the sale of property, including price and terms.

Offers are made in writing and submitted to the development’s onsite salesperson by the buyer or their real estate agent.

Once an offer is accepted by the Sponsor, the onsite salesperson requests contact information for the purchaser. The Sponsor’s attorney draws up the Purchase Agreement. The Purchase Agreement and Offering Plan are then sent to the purchaser’s attorney for review. Once both parties have signed the Purchase Agreement and the Sponsor receives a down payment, the residence is considered “in contract.”

Typically, this is a percentage of the purchase price. Often, it is paid in the form of a certified check or wired into an escrow account set up by the Sponsor’s attorney.

Common Charges are monthly dues in condominiums, the most common form of new development. Maintenance Fees pertain to cooperatives.

Common Charges are the monthly charges allocated to each residence and paid to the condominium in order to cover the pro-rata share of the condominium operating expenses. This does not include the unit owner’s real estate taxes which are billed separately to each owner. As the cost of operating the building changes over time, Common Charges are also subject to change.

Top 10 Reasons to buy in a new development

Click here to receive new development listings or call me at 347-921- HALL (2455) or email me to schedule showings.

Jan 29, 2017

Lot Line Windows May Be Blocked

Updated originally posted: July 20, 2014 
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.

When you buy or rent an apartment with a lot-line window, it should be with the understanding that the windows may be blocked changing the room's light and view. Once a new adjacent building goes up, your building's lot line windows will be required to seal the lot line windows in compliance with building and fire codes.

Jan 18, 2017

Brooklyn Monthly Market Report | December 2016

Market Wide Summary 

December was a very active month for sales in Brooklyn, with 382 contracts signed, the highest figure for the month of December in over 5 years and 18% higher than last December. Listed inventory rose 11% year-over-year, but dropped to the second lowest level since January 2016.

Median sale price experienced double-digit gains over the last month, but experienced only a modest gain over the last year. Average price f ell 8% year-over-year, driven lower by a majority of buyers negotiating the sale price. This month the average price difference from last ask to sale was -2.5%, the lowest point it’s reached since November 2011. Given the increased negotiability in the sale process, days on market was 17% longer than December of last year.

Brooklyn Apartment Listings

Total December listed inventory rose 11% compared to last year, but was down 7% month-over-month. Newly listed inventory, at 313 units, made up 15% of overall inventory and reached its lowest point in a year. Consequentially, overall inventory remains low, at 3% below the 13-month running average.

Jan 17, 2017

Manhattan Market Report | December 2016

Market Wide Summary 

The year’s end brought varying market signals but included some notable improvements. Year-over-year sales increased in the condo market while holding steady for co-ops. Average price grew for co-ops while decreasing 16% in the condo market.

Annual trends in median price were less severe as the metric for condos decreased only 4% year-over-year and stayed flat in the co-op market. Average price per square foot was down versus last year for condos but up 5% for co-ops. Further demonstrating differences between the two markets, condos spent more time on the market than last year while co-ops spent less.

Discounts were prevalent in both markets, but more prominent in the condo market. Both markets felt the effects of increasing inventory as total listings increased marketwide.

Condominium Market Snapshot 

For the first time in 2016, monthly sales rose year-over-year. Despite this growth in number of sales, average price and median price declined versus both last month and last year. The decrease in median sale price was not as stark -- down by 4% -- demonstrating that last December’s high average sale price was unusual.

Average price per square foot was down by 9%, anchored by a 28% dip in the three bedroom market where last December’s highest sales took place. The two bedroom market had a 16% rise in average price per square foot. The length of time condos spent on the market rose to 125 days, which is a 21% increase from last year. Increased inventory spurred the growing amount of time condos have been spending on the market, as total listings rose 18% year-over-year. There was greater negotiability this December versus last, which was favorable to the buyer in both instances.

Cooperative Market Snapshot 

Co-op sales from year to year held steady, declining by a meager 1%. The co-op market saw promising pricing indicators this month, with year-over-year average price rising by 11%. Versus last month, the increase of 47% is more pronounced -- though November 2016 was abnormally low.

Median price was flat with December 2015, though it grew 19% compared to last month. Further, average price per square foot saw growth overall, at 5% annually, and for all bedroom types except for a sizeable dip for two bedrooms.

Difference from last ask to sale was -1.3% this month, indicating slightly more negotiability this year relative to last. Total co-op listings grew 13% year over-year. Days on market, however, essentially held steady with last year, decreasing by a day

Manhattan Total Listings 

There were conflicting forces driving inventory this year. Inventory has been growing year-over-year for the entirety of 2016, driven in large part by the high number of new developments introduced in the first half of the year.

Since September, however, inventory has been declining month-over-month. In line with seasonal trends, inventory this past month hit one of its lowest points all year. Condos comprised 55% of condo listings, though it is worth noting that co-op inventory has grown throughout 2016 after shrinking for parts of 2015. After seeing year-over-year declines in townhouse inventory since September, townhouse listings are up 5% relative to last December.

Negotiability Factor for Condos and Co-ops 

From the end of 2012 through the end of 2014, negotiability for condos and co-ops trended closely with similar periods of increases and decreases before flattening out after summer 2016. Since in 2015, however, negotiability for condos has been greater, reaching a low of -3.03% in August 2016.

The negotiability seen in the past few months is at the same levels as in mid-2013, when inventory in both the condo and co-op markets was at similar levels. Throughout this period, negotiability has favored the buyer. The one instance in which co-op negotiability favored the seller, in summer of 2015, coincided with shrinking inventory for co-ops. Throughout 2016, each month reported a year-over-year increase in negotiability for condos, while co-ops saw some months with less year-over-year negotiability

Jan 16, 2017

Brooklyn Market Report - Fourth Quarter 2016


Brooklyn Q4 2016 Report

Williamsburg Bridge

The 4th Qtr. 2016 saw continued 2016 trends of record sale prices achieved and challenged inventory levels – less availability at the lower end of the market and increased inventory at the high end.
Contracts signed this quarter were almost level with the previous quarter, but market-wide closed sales and contracts signed were lower this quarter than a year ago.
Closed sales, which reached an all-time high in the fourth quarter of 2015, declined 26% in the fourth quarter of 2016. Contracts signed were 1% less than 3rd Qtr. 2016 and 12% below a year ago.
Inventory played a role in the softening of sales this quarter.   Despite a 13% market-wide overall increase in inventory to 2,267 units, the persistent lack of inventory at the lower end of the Brooklyn market continued in the 4th Qtr. The number of available resale co-ops – Brooklyn’s largest property category with generally more accessible and affordable prices – had little inventory gain, increasing just 2% vs. a year ago and resale condominiums declined 5% compared to last year.   

This was a significant barrier for buyers looking to enter the market and for buyers looking to move up to larger properties.
4th Qtr. 2016 average and median sale prices both rose year-over-year by 33%, to record levels: $908,000 (average price) and $732,000 (median price).  This reflects the effect luxury new development closed sales had of driving prices upward this quarter.
The new development sector had the highest sale prices this quarter. The average new development sale price rose 45% to $1.54 million and the median new development sale price rose 14% to $950,000.
Brooklyn’s new development inventory rose a dramatic 96% in the 4th Qtr. 2016.  The number of new, development properties, generally priced at the higher end of the market, almost doubled compared to 4th Qtr. 2015, increasing from 289 units to 566 units.

Download the full report here.

Jan 6, 2017

Manhattan Market Report | Fourth Quarter 2016

I am delighted to share with you our Q4 Manhattan Report.  Inside you will find a detailed analysis of residential real estate sales that closed in Manhattan in Q4 2016 (October 1st through December 31st).

Key Findings of the Fourth Quarter Report:

  • Prices remain high, but gain no ground. Overall, median prices were down versus the prior year and unchanged versus the prior quarter. The median price in Manhattan is $1.024 million (down 8% vs a year ago) and the median price per square foot is $1,324 (down 2% vs the same period). The Fourth Quarter marked the third straight quarter of price stagnation or retreat from the First Quarter 2016 peak.
  • Fewer sales. For a fourth straight quarter, the number of sales was off from the prior year. 15% fewer sales closed and 15% fewer contracts were signed in the Fourth Quarter of 2016 than one year prior.
  • More inventory and a slowing pace. This was the fifth consecutive quarter in which the number of properties available for sale was up. 5,865 units were for sale in the Fourth Quarter, 16% more than in 2015. At the current pace of sales that represents about five-and-a-half months of supply, a 31% increase from the prior year.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about The Report or the Manhattan market in general. I welcome the opportunity to be of assistance to you.

Jan 2, 2017

Home Enhancement Guide for Sellers

Happy 2017! Considering selling your home this year? The way a home looks, feels, smells and presents is very important. Buyers make a very fast decision when they walk into a home or first see the pictures online. Sellers need to invest in creating an appealing home that buyers want to live in.

The First Impression

Did you know that within 15 seconds a buyer has already developed an opinion of your property? This is why establishing the right first impression is critical to achieving a successful sale. Following is a list of elements which create the overall first impression, including suggestions on how to make sure the buyer reacts favorably.

A fresh coat of paint can be one of the best investments you can make to increase the value of your apartment. If you do not want to spend the money to paint the entire apartment, consider just the entry at least.


Attractive windows can help increase appeal.

* Replace any cracked or broken glass.
* Make sure the windows are sparkling clean.
* Apply touch-up paint where needed.


The doorway is a focal point of your home.

* Repaint the door.
* Apply new door hardware.
* Install a brass kick plate.
* Replace apartment numbers.
* Install a new front light fixture.

Appeal to the Senses

The home should be sparkling clean, not just for the first Open House but for every single showing. No dust. No clutter not a single thing that will result in a negative reaction. Sellers do well to remove into storage as much as possible.

There are many ways to create a more exciting and saleable interior, at surprisingly little cost.


People react more favorably to property shown under bright light than dark.

* Keep windows clean.
* Use adequate wattage in light bulbs.
* Consider replacing older fluorescent lamps, which darken with use.
* Use mirrors to magnify the feeling of light and space.
* Use track lights to create a high-tech look.
* Use light wall colors.
* Open drapes and blinds and turn on lights prior to showings.


Keep colors neutral and light.

* Shades of white, off-white and very light pastels are the safest choices for the interior.
* Avoid highly patterned wallpaper whenever possible.
* Try to limit bright colors to accents like fresh flowers, towels, area rugs and shower curtains.


The sounds of peace and quiet are some of the best sounds to have when your home is being shown to a prospective buyer. But there are other sound considerations you should also be aware of.

* Avoid barking dogs and noisy children, if possible.
* Also avoid sounds of work like vacuums, dishwashers and lawn mowers.
* Make sure there are no sounds of mechanical problems like banging pipes or faulty appliances.
* Light classical or instrumental music can be effective in creating a pleasing atmosphere.


Smell has more impact than you might expect. It can work for or against you.

* The smell of newness is positive. This scent can be achieved by applying a fresh coat of polyurethane to natural wood or latex paint to walls.
* The smell of cleanliness is important to the selling environment of your house. Beyond actually cleaning, lemon oil or lemon wax can help create a lasting scent of freshness. Fresh flowers can also be effective.
* For a real heart-warming touch, place a dish of vanilla in a warm oven to create the aroma of fresh-baked cookies or bread. Cinnamon stick in microwave for 30 seconds works great too.
* Sweeten the refrigerator with a box of baking soda.
* Smells to avoid include strong pet odors, tobacco, and cooking oil or gas.

Packaging the Interior


The entry is where the first impression of the interior is created. Here you have the opportunity to make a big statement in a small area.

* Repaint the entry using light, neutral colors.
* Move a prized antique or attractive furnishing to the entry, where it will have maximum impact.
* Install simple chair rail molding on the wall.
* Apply a fresh coat of polyurethane to a wood floor.
* Tile or linoleum flooring should shine.
* Replace plastic switch plate covers with brass or porcelain.
* A new hall light fixture can make a great impression.
* Make sure the room is well lit.


The kitchen is an important room in the apartment. Here is a list of ideas to increase the appeal of your kitchen without spending a great deal of money.

* Make sure the room is virtually spotless and smells fresh. Try putting a quarter section of a lemon in the disposal and grinding it up.
* Consider replacing outdated light fixtures with new track lighting.
* If your appliances are dated by colors like harvest gold or avocado, consider having them professionally refinished in a new color like almond or plain white. This will make appliances look new at a fraction of the cost of actually replacing them.
* Spruce up kitchen cabinets by installing new knobs or hardware.
* If your cabinets look especially old, you can have a professional replace the doors or door fronts.
* Organize your kitchen cabinets to demonstrate how much room you have. Cabinet organizers are a good investment for this.
* Remove small kitchen appliances and gadgets from countertops to create an uncluttered look.
* Chipped or damaged countertops should be repaired or replaced.
* If your floor is badly worn, replace it with neutral no-wax flooring or tile.
* A freshly painted kitchen may be well worth the investment.


The bathroom has become an important selling feature in today's home. It is a room that has moved from the utilitarian to the exciting. There are many ways you can improve deficiencies and create interest through various levels of enhancement.

* Place a vase of fresh flowers on the vanity.
* Install a wall telephone for a high-tech look.
* Replace an old toilet seat.
* Replace an old light fixture with a new style light strip or make-up light.
* Refinish an old porcelain tub using a porcelain finishing service.
* Place all personal care articles out of sight.
* Freshen the air with lemon scented products.
* Replace an old towel rack with one of brass or oak.
* Add color and richness with new towels and shower curtain.

Living Room

The living room is a major selling point of an apartment. Buyers look for elegant and impressive living rooms to make the right statements to their friends and relatives.

* Use mirrors whenever possible to enhance the perception of size.
* A fireplace is one feature that everyone can appreciate - show it off to its best advantage. Sweep it clean and make sure the screen is in good condition
* Use inexpensive free-standing "can" lights to create dramatic visual effects behind large plants or pieces of furniture.
* Use chair rail or cornice molding to create a feeling of elegance.
* Professionally clean wall-to-wall carpet or large area rugs.
* Sand and refinish stained hardwood floors.
* Clean windows and light fixtures.
* Make sure all cosmetic plaster cracks are repaired. (This applies to every room in the house.)
* Use lemon oil on hardwood furniture to create the right look and aroma.
* Liberal use of fresh flowers and plants will enhance the environment.


The bedrooms can do as much to sell your house as they can to turn off a buyer.

* Make sure the bedrooms are absolutely spotless.
* Rugs should be cleaned, windows washed and fresh smells from flowers or lemon oil should be in the air.
* Organize closets to increase their perceived size.
* Rubberized wire closet organizers do a great job of helping fully utilize space.
* Mirrored closet doors can add dramatically to the feeling of size in any bedroom.
* Bedrooms should be well lit. You may want to add track lights in the master bedroom.
* A ceiling fan can be an attractive and practical accent to any bedroom.

By showing attention to detail and understanding the buyer's needs to visualize your home against a neutral backdrop, you can dramatically increase the salability of your property.

Updated originally posted: July 01, 2009

Listing your home
Selling your home

Dec 28, 2016

End of Year Manhattan Residential Data | 2016


Manhattan 2016 Year End Residential Data

All Apartments:

6,152 apartments are currently on the market in Manhattan. 

  • The average asking price is: $3,764,070. 
  • The median price is: $1,877, 500. 
  • The average price per square foot is: $2,347.
  • The average days on market is 169
  • 12,178 apartments (condo and coops) sold in 2016

 All Townhouses:

336 Townhouses are currently on the market in Manhattan

  • The average asking price is $12,420,579
  • The median price is: $8,997,000
  • The average price per square foot is$2,139.
  • The average days on market is: 221
  • 262 Townhouses sold in 2016

Each Manhattan market segment, neighborhood and building 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 20, 2016

Future of HDFC Coops? Now May Be the Time to Sell.

Why sell your HDFC coop now? 

As an industry recognized expert in HDFC coop sales, I've been asked by buyers, sellers and HDFC coop board members about the proposed changes. At this point the changes have only been proposed to community boards by HPD and a "taskforce" working with HPD of so-called "interested stakeholders" aka affordable housing activists, community organizers, law firms and management companies with their own political and monetary agendas before taking this proposal to the City Council for a vote sometime in 2017. The City Council must vote to approve a new tax break for HDFCs before this program can go into effect. Tax break is fine the rest of the proposal is not.

The proposed changes may put the future of your investment and equity in jeopardy. Because of this uncertainty NOW may be the most advantageous time to sell.

Many shareholders that I sold HDFC units to have reached out to me with concerns about the price they paid for their unit and the new proposed resale caps. My understanding is HPD’s proposal exempts units that have already sold above the proposed price caps by excluding those units from price restriction, and allowing a higher income cap of 165% of AMI for the resale of those specific units. While such an accommodation sounds great in theory and intention it's not based in reality. 

Whether an apartment is "affordable" or "market" the market (supply and demand) determines what a buyer will pay regardless of income but not the government. The government can not guarantee to shareholders who bought their apartments at prices above the proposed price caps that they will not lose any equity when they sell.

All units in a building need to be priced accordingly. Why would one buyer pay a higher price for a comparable unit in the same building when other comparable units are being sold for less? 

Proposed Changes and New Regulatory Agreement: 

According to advocates for the proposed changes and new regulatory agreement, the proposed change aims to preserve true affordability: maintaining income restrictions, while introducing asset restrictions and caps on sales prices (in buildings that vote to sign the Agreement)

HPD’s current avenues to help are limited under Article XI of the Private Housing Finance Law (PHFL). HPD has authority over formation, dissolution, and changes to certificate of incorporation

The "taskforce" of "interested stakeholders" expects that introducing this Regulatory Agreement will create more clarity for buildings about the affordability intentions of Article. In my opinion these "Interested stakeholders" want to change the "P" in (PHFL) from Private Housing Finance Law to Public Housing Finance Law eliminating shareholders and self-sustaining coops their property rights.

 Provisions of Proposed New Regulatory Agreement 

• 40-year Agreement with corresponding tax exemption that will be more generous than the current tax exemption for properties sold through DAMP (The Division of Alternative Management) cap which expires in 2029) 
 • A deeper exemption to account for added requirements in the Regulatory Agreement
 • Every eligible HDFC Coop – even high-value coops – would receive a tax benefit
 • The lowest value coops, which experience high rates of financial distress, would pay no property taxes on the residential part of their building, and could use the savings to pay down delinquent tax bills or making building improvements
 • To improve a building’s overall financial health, the new Agreement will require a 30% flip tax. When units are sold, 30% of the profit from that sale will go to the building’s reserve fund

Sales Restrictions

 • Eligibility for becoming a shareholder in an HDFC:
• Household income at or below 120% of AMI ($108,750 for a family of 4 in 2016)
• Household assets at or below 175% of AMI
 • Household must make the HDFC unit its primary residence
• Shareholders cannot sublet their apartments for more than 18 months cumulative out of a five year period, and they must obtain Board and Monitor approval if they choose to sublet their units
• Shareholders cannot own property within 100 miles of New York City
• Sales of units at prices affordable to 110% of AMI or below

While the proposed changes add more restrictions, and burdens for both buyers and sellers it does not address the problem of coop boards lack of accountability to its shareholders and potential buyers.

The city council has never voted to make coops in NYC accountable even though bills have been proposed numerous times. A coop does not have to give a reason why they reject a purchaser, they do not have to follow any standard application process or procedures nor are they required to conduct the application/purchase approval process in a timely manner. No special training or knowledge of real estate or Fair Housing is required to be a director on a coop board. The city council, the mayor and HPD should be concerned about housing discrimination rather than punishing low and moderate income New Yorkers that were fortunate enough to be here 20-30 years ago and take the on abandoned buildings in deteriorating neighborhoods. The original intent and spirit of the HDFC.

Contact your city council member and let them know you're an HDFC shareholder that wants to sell your unit to a low or moderate income New Yorker but you don't want the government punishing you by mandating the price you can sell it for. The income restriction already in place naturally limits the price you can get and it's still significantly below market. A portion of your profit is going back to the HDFC housing corporation in the form of flip tax already limiting your equity.

If you have been considering selling your HDFC coop, please contact me for a complimentary market evaluation and consultation.

Dec 16, 2016

Parents Helping Children Buy or Rent NYC Apartments

Co-purchasing, Gifting, Guarantors  

Many first time home purchasers are fortunate to get help from their parents. There are several ways parents can help their adult children buy apartments. There are several options depending on the building. The most common is gifting and or serving as a guarantor that will guarantee payments.

Gifting means the parent gifts their child a certain amount of money toward the purchase or down-payment. Lenders and coops will require a gift affidavit declaring the amount of gift. A gift is not a loan as a loan is debt that needs to be paid back.

Gifting, guarantors and co-purchasing are building to building specific. Some buildings may require co-purchasing as opposed to a guarantor and some buildings will not allow co-purchasing from a non resident. 

In a condo it is very simple. A parent can buy for an adult child. A corporation and or a trust can buy a condo. Most condos have applications but many are very simple applications. I recently had a condo transaction where the couple obtained a mortgage from their parents. As far as the seller, listing agent and the condo were concerned it was a Cash Sale. I presented proof of funds with the offer. A condo may require documentation but they can't reject a buyer. They can only exercise their "right of first refusal" and purchase the apartment for the same price and terms of offer.

It becomes more difficult purchasing a coop and even renting in certain Manhattan buildings. Most coops will not allow a parent buying for their adult child. Many coops will allow co-purchasing or a guarantor for working adult children. Even if the parents pay for the apartment, the coop will want the adult to be working with their own income and be responsible to pay the monthly maintenance and/or mortgage payments. The monthly housing costs can not exceed 25-30% of the adult child's monthly income.

Some rental buildings may require the parent to be on the lease. Some may not accept out of town guarantors and/or may require a few months of rent up front and additional security deposit. 40x rent in annual income is required by applicant and 80x rent is required to be a guarantor.

The coop will want full financial disclosure from both the guarantor and the applicant and from both applicants if a co-purchase. A guarantor letter and a gift affidavit is usually required as well.

The only alternative other than a condo purchase is purchasing a sponsor coop apartment. The sponsor is usually the developer or owner of building when it converted to coop that still has shares These shares are "unsold shares" in the cooperative corporation. I recently sold a coop sponsor apartment to parents from out of state for their son that recently graduated college here.

Purchasing a sponsor apartment in a coop is buying "unsold shares" there is no board approval process. However once purchased the shareholder has to adhere to the coop rules, enjoys the same "quality of life" as other shareholders but when unit is resold there is board approval and a board package is required.

A "holder of unsold shares" may pass the same rights to an investor purchaser as long as the purchaser never moves into the apartment. In other words a sponsor can sell a coop unit to an investor and as long the investor never occupies the unit the investor retains all the same rights as the original sponsor. The investor "holder of unsold shares" does not need board approval to rent or sell the unit.

Dec 13, 2016

Manhattan Monthly Market Report | November 2016

Market Wide Summary

November marked significant improvements in the condo market, but the co-op market lagged. Condo signed contracts were up 8% from last year and 9% from last month, but co-op sales dipped 9% versus November 2015. 

There were notable upticks in annual average and median sales prices for condos, while the co-op market saw declines in both metrics. Average price per square foot rose a modest 3% in the condo market but dipped nearly 20% in the co-op market, due in part to a significant drop in the average price per square foot in the market for three plus bedroom co-ops. 

Listings, on average, spent more time on the market than this month last year, driven by annual inventory increases over the past few months. Inventory increases further contributed to growth in negotiability favoring the buyer in both markets.

Condominium Market Snapshot

For the first time since last November, condo sales were up year-over-year. The 8% rise in sales was joined by annual increases in average price and median price by 19% and 23%, respectively. There were three sales over $10MM this month, contributing to these metric increases. 

Average price per square foot grew overall versus last year, despite decreasing in the studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom markets due to high sales in the three bedroom market. Condos spent 49% longer on the market than last year, a significant increase resulting from a handful of condos selling after being listed for greater than six months. 

Negotiability in the condo market was greater than last year but similar to last month as buyers were faced with more choices. Inventory increased 14% from last year, but decreased 5% month-over month, following 2016’s trend of year-over-over inventory growth.

Cooperative Market Snapshot

While up from last month, co-op sales were down 9% year-over-year. Both average price and median price declined versus last month and last year, with average price seeing an annual decrease of 11% while median price decreased 4% over the same period. 

Market-wide, average price per square foot was down 19%. The metric was also down across all bedroom types, with the greatest decrease in the market for three plus bedrooms. Coupled with annual growth in co-op inventory, listings spent more time on the market than they did last year. Compared to last year’s limited negotiability, difference from last ask to sale this November expanded to -1.0%

Manhattan Total Listings

Inventory crept up from last year, rising 11% from last November to 6,485 total listings. Inventory was down 4% from last month and 5% from September, which had the second highest inventory of 2016. Despite growth in the condo and co-op markets, townhouse inventory was down 9% versus last year. Since August, townhouse inventory has been shrinking. For the eighteenth consecutive month, condos made up over half the market as new development sponsors continue to roll out their available listings over longer periods of time.

Manhattan Signed Contract Price 

For the first time since June, average price increased year-over-year in the condo market. Further, Manhattan has seen strong average prices for the past three months. After a dip in average price during the late summer months, the metric is greater than in the first half of 2016, with the exceptions of January and June. 

Average price dipped and rose a fair amount during 2015, only to hold relatively steady for nearly all of 2016 so far. Also of note is that median price reached the highest level since January 2016 and the fourth highest level in the past two years. Through most of the year, median price held relatively steady before dipping in September and October, despite those months’ spikes in average price.

Each market segment and building 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.

Brooklyn Monthly Market Report | November 2016

Dec 7, 2016

Morningside Heights Proposed Historic District

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 


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