Mar 22, 2019

Mortgage Rates Back at All -Time Historic Lows

Jerome Powell (the chairperson of the Fed) held a press conference on Wednesday. It’s really good news for mortgage rates.

Banks have been anticipating that the Fed would raise rates twice this year, but now it looks like there won’t be any rate hikes. Now that there aren’t rate hikes, mortgage rates are dropping.

Rates are back at all-time historic lows.

NYC Mortgage Lenders

Feb 24, 2019

2018 Manhattan Year End Review



2018 was a challenging year for the Manhattan real estate market. As buyers and sellers continued to grapple with an ongoing market reset, sales declined by their greatest percentage since the financial crisis and inventory continued its upward climb. Price statistics declined versus 2017 in response to fewer new development closings, a rising share of resale co-op sales, widespread negotiability, and price reductions


Sales in 2018 declined 11% year-over-year to 11,790 closings, the lowest annual total since 2009. Condos and co-ops each had fewer sales compared to last year. New development sales fell at a rate five times the amount of either resale condos or resale co-ops, dropping 35% year-over-year to fewer than 1,500 closings; this was the lowest number of sponsor closings in more than 10 years. Resales also saw fewer sales compared to 2017, but had more moderate declines of 7% for condos and 6% for resale co-ops.


The Manhattan market added a net total of 1,705 new development condominium units to overall supply in 2018. While not an insigni cant sum, this was still 24% fewer units than the total number launched in 2017, and the lowest number of new unit introductions since 2012. 2019 could see more than 3,000 new develompent units commence sales.

The Manhattan market added a net total of 1,705 new development condominium units to overall supply in 2018. While not an insigni cant sum, this was still 24% fewer units than the total number launched in 2017, and the lowest number of new unit introductions since 2012. 2019 could see more than 3,000 new develompent units commence sales.


Marketwide price statistics declined in 2018. Median price at $1.1M was 4% lower than last year's peak. Meanwhile, average price per square foot fell 2% annually to $1,739 per square foot, but was 6% lower than its record high reached in 2016. Several factors drove price figures lower during 2018. The most significant contributor was the steady decline in new development sales. In addition, sales activity in the market for luxury apartments over $5M was, similar to 2017, muffled by low buyer and broker confidence and high levels of supply. Lastly, given that condo sales weakened more than resale co-op sales, the market share of lower- priced resale co-op sales grew versus 2017.

Feb 6, 2019

Selling Your Home in a Buyer's Market


What do NYC Sellers Have Control Over?
  • Location? No
  • Room Count? No
  • Square Footage? No
  • Floor? No
  • View? No
  • Building Amenities? No
  • Ceiling Height? No
Your home is a commodity - Control the Sale process.
What sellers actually have control over:
  • Price: Nothing matters more than the initial list price. Buyers and buyers’ brokers are very tuned into to marketplace valuation and the power dynamic shifts to the sellers when an attractive pricing means an apartment is seen as something to be pursued actively. If your goal as a seller is to get the most amount of net proceeds at closing in the shortest most efficient way, an attractive price is the only way to achieve that. Even in very soft markets, a well priced opportunity will attract a great deal of interest and offers and an overpriced one will not.
  • Sales Site Preparation: The way a home looks, feels, smells and presents is very important. Buyers make very fast decision when they walk into a home or first see the pictures online. I’ve watched the evolution occur where more and more buyers have spent a great deal of time scrutinizing pictures and then arrive to either have their impressions confirmed or disappointed. Sellers need to invest in creating an appealing home that buyers want to live in.
Some Obvious Suggestions That Can make a Difference
  • Clean and Clean! 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.
  • Depersonalize. Buyers want to imagine living in their home not yours. Sellers should remove all or most photographs, kids drawings or overly personal and items.
  • Paint. A fresh coat of paint can be one of the best investments you can make to increase the value of your apartment. Keep colors neutral and light.
  • Stage. This means hiring a professional to come to your home and rearrange, bring in new furniture and generally make the home as appealing as possible. Simply swapping in new towels, sheets  etc can have a huge impact. An empty apartment can be virtually staged at a lower cost that can help buyers visualize the space furnished. 
  • Marketing. The Price you get is a function of the Marketing you choose. 
  • Negotiating Attitude: This is a key component of a successful deal and one that is hard to convey. Years of negotiating deals has given me a sense of the tone, attitude and timeline expectation. A good broker will walk the line between keeping the pressure on to get clients to act but not scaring them away with overly aggressive tactics
More tips on increasing your home's value through home sales preparation in Manhattan Home Enhancement Guide.

Jan 12, 2019

Manhattan Monthly Market Report | December 2018


Market Wide Summary

December sales activity declined to its lowest level since 2011, with condo activity dropping 19% annually and co-op activity dropping 4% annually. Changes in pricing metrics were mixed. Condo average and median price figures fell, while co-op price figures increased yearover-year.

Listed inventory continued the trend of annual increases, as both condos and co-ops saw year-over-year gains. Days on market fell for condos due to an improved market share of less expensive residences; the increase in days on market for co-ops was skewed upward by a few residences selling after being on market for over two years. Negotiability deepened for both condos and co-ops, each of which experienced average discounts exceeding 3.5% off last asking prices.

Condominium Market 

Snapshot In December 2018, there was a 19% decline in condo sales and pricing metrics varied. Average and median sale price figures de clined year-over-year as sales above $5M shrunk compared to December 2017. However, despite the decrease in sales above $5M, average price per square foot increased a modest 1% year-over-year due to an increase in market share of new development sponsor sales.

Price per square foot for two-bedrooms declined compared to last year as sales above $2M declined. Inventory continued to rise, and by the end of December 2018 was up 9% annually. Inventory has now risen year-over-year every month since August 2015. Average days on market fell 15% year-over-year due to a significant decrease in the number of residences that lingered on the market for over a year. As expected with rising inventory and less buyer urgency, average difference from last ask to sale deepened by 0.7% from last year to reach 4%

Cooperative Market 

Co-ops saw a less significant decline in contract activity compared to condos, but still fell 4% versus last December. Pricing metrics improved across the board with average and median sale price figures up 10% and 4%, respectively. These increases were driven by a notable decline in sales under $1M compared to last year. Meanwhile, average price per square foot improved 5% year-over-year as market share of sales shifted in favor of more traditionally expensive neighborhoods. 

Inventory rose year-over-year for the nineteenth consecutive month, up 28% at the end of December 2018. Days on market increased by 17% annually, skewed by two co-ops selling after being on market for over two years compared to none last year.

Total inventory in Manhattan continued to rise in December 2018, growing 16% annually. Typical of seasonality, overall inventory fell 13% from November 2018, to a total of 7,076 actively listed units. This was highest actively listed December inventory figure since December 2011. Townhouse inventory continued its steady year-over-year increase, up 13% versus December 2017

The number of sales transacting below their asking price has generally trended upward since 2015. In December 2018, 78% of sales traded below their asking price, a level not seen since 2012. In the current market, greater negotiability combined with the year-over-year inventory growth across the market suggest that negotiability will continue to be prevalent moving into 2019.

Jan 11, 2019

Manhattan Market Report | Fourth Quarter 2018


Manhattan Market Report | Fourth Quarter 2018

Here’s what happened during the Fourth Quarter 2018 in Manhattan:

  • Market activity diminished as various market dynamics created buyer hesitancy: Manhattan market-wide closed sales and signed contracts declined compared to a year ago as many buyers took a “wait and see” approach to the market. Buyers remained cautious with lingering concerns over tax implications, rising interest rates, volatility in the financial markets, and the belief that prices will continue to decrease.

  • Market-wide closed sales declined 7% and contracts signed decreased 12% compared to last year: Declining sales were fueled by fewer condominium sales in both the resale and new development markets, which decreased by 11% and 26%, respectively. Resale co-op sales were level with last year at this time, increasing slightly by 1%.

  • Generally, prices cooled in the Fourth Quarter, but were bolstered by a spate of super high-end sales: In order to compete in a crowded market that lacks urgency, sellers have had to adjust by reducing prices and negotiating, which pushed median price downward by 2% year-over-year to $1.075 million. Average price, however, rose 2% to $2.012 million due exclusively to a number of super-luxury closings at 220 Central Park South and 520 Park Avenue.

  • Inventory increased 10% market-wide this quarter to 6,993 units: Fourth quarter inventory was last this high in 2011. By product type, co-op inventory rose most, up 17% year-over-year, and resale condos increased by 6%. New development inventory declined slightly, by 2%.

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

Dec 29, 2018

Flip Tax is a Private Transfer Fee

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 imposing a flip tax usually imposed on sellers.

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.
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 maintain the building and keep the building affordable. An HDFC flip tax can be as high as 50% of the profit.

Type of Flip Tax
  1.  A percentage usually 2% but sometimes 3%
  2. A flat fee
  3. Percent of profit
  4. Dollar amount per share

Dec 5, 2018

Holiday Building Staff Tipping


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 - $200 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.

555 West End Avenue Luxury Condo Conversion


The former St. Agnes Catholic Boys High School at 555 West End Avenue has been converted into a 13-unit luxury condo and is now selling. 

The building's facade remains original 1908 English collegiate- and Gothic-style.

555 WEA formerly St. Agnes Boys High School
The units listed start at $7.9 million for a four-bedroom 4 bath home, a $10.3 million five-bedroom 4 bath home, a second floor unit called The Library (with 5 bedrooms, 5 baths for $10.5 million and a $18 million penthouse solarium with 3 bedrooms 3 baths in the former high school's gymnasium.

555 WEA penthouse solarium
555 West End Avenue, an architectural landmark within the Riverside-West End Historic District features soaring ceiling heights with towering windows. The historic Beaux-Arts architecture features stone facade, limestone bay windows and pre-war details.

The three- to five-bedroom residences bring together elements of pre-war co-ops, condominiums, urban lofts, and townhouses with large spaces and gracious floor plans.

The units have marble slab counters and backsplashes in the kitchen, oak vanities with Calacatta Gold countertops and Italian marble floors in the bathrooms, and white oak herringbone floors.

Located one block from Riverside Park at 87th Street on West End Avenue, the full service 24 hour doorman building also offers refrigerated storage, a bicycle room, and stroller valet. Every residence has its own private storage room. A gym features state-of-the-art equipment in a daylit space and a recreation room features a wet bar with stools, a pool table, dartboard, comfortable lounge chairs, and a large-screen TV.

More info and listings

Nov 17, 2018

Manhattan Market Report | October 2018

Market Wide Summary

October 2018 saw a decline in sales activity as buyers continued to demand steeper discounts which put pressure on sellers to lower prices in an oversupplied market. There were year-over-year declines in pricing and sales for condos while co-ops also experienced a dip in sales activity but saw most pricing metrics increase. Average days on market continued to increase as buyers wait for better deals as evidenced by the increase in negotiability for both product types compared to last year. Listed inventory reached its highest point since October 2011 as supply continues to outpace sales.

Condominium Market Snapshot 

In October 2018, there was a moderate decline in condo sales and pricing fell across the board compared to last year. Average price decreased 13% annually due to fewer sales above $10M compared to last year, meanwhile, an increase in low-end sales caused the median price to fall 10%. The average price per square foot decreased 9% compared to last year and is at its lowest point since January 2017. Studios were the only product type to see an increase in average price per square foot, rising 15% year-over-year because of two sales Downtown.

One bedrooms saw a 5% decrease in average price per square foot while two and three bedrooms experienced more significant decreases of 12% and 9%, respectively. Two bedrooms dropped off from a high October 2017 figure that had 75% more sales above $2,000 per square foot.

The average price per square foot of three bedrooms declined against an October 2017 figure that was boosted by a few high priced sales Downtown. Average days on market increased 37% with listings continuing to linger on the market, which had 12% more inventory compared to last year. Negotiability deepened 1.5% year-over-year to -4.2%.

Cooperative Market Snapshot 

Sales activity in the co-op market decreased 6% year-over-year. Average price and average price per square foot increased 7% each, while median price fell 4% year- over-year. The rise in average price and average price per square was driven by an increase in sales over $5M, all of which were over $2,000 per square foot. Annual changes in average price per square foot varied by product type with studios and three bedrooms both increasing while one and two bedrooms decreased. The most notable change was amongst three bedrooms which increased 18% mainly because of a penthouse sale in Tribeca. Days on market increased 24% due to six listings lingering on the market for over a year versus half that many last year. Listed inventory increased 28% to its highest level since June 2012. Negotiability deepened significantly to -2.5%, down from -0.6% last year as sellers face deal-seeking buyers in an oversupplied market.

Manhattan Total Inventory

October 2018 marked the highest number of active listings of any October since 2011, fueled by year-over-year increases of 28% for co-op inventory, and 12% for condo inventory. Townhouse inventory grew 17%. This is the tenth consecutive month that co-op inventory has risen by double-digits year-over-year. Inventory has continued to rise across all product types as supply outpaced slowing sales. Excluding last month, the percent of condo inventory is at its lowest point since April 2015.

Manhattan Negotiability Factor by Price Point

Average negotiability in Manhattan has been deepening since the turning point in the market in Third Quarter 2015. In October 2018, the average discount from last asking price to sale price was -4.2% for condos and -2.5% for coops. Discounts for condos and co-ops have not been this deep since 2012.

Oct 26, 2018

Manhattan Market Report | September 2018

Market Wide Summary 

Buyer hesitancy and continued uncertainty characterized September market conditions as evidenced by the overall decline in deal activity, longer days on market, and persistent levels of negotiability. The result of fewer sales drove inventory levels up to its highest level of any September since 2011.

Average days on market for condos increased significantly as listings lingered and hesitant buyers waited for better deals. Compared to last year, negotiability at the extreme high and low ends of the market has actually tightened but negotiability in the middle of the market ($1M to $5M) remains unchanged. Given the overall level of negotiability in the market, average price declined annually. Median price improved for both condos and coops for the second time so far this year.

Condominium Market Snapshot 

In September 2018, condo sales decreased 10% year-over-year, dipping to their lowest September level since 2011. Average price decreased 11% compared to a high September 2017 figure with several sales above $10M. Median price, however, increased 24% due to fewer sales at the low-end.

Average price per square foot declined 8%, off an unusually high September 2017 figure that was skewed by a sale with Central Park views. This sale also led to the 13% year-over-year decrease in the average price per square foot of two bedrooms. The average price per square foot for studios, however, increased 16%, skewed high due to two expensive sales at Essex House and the Jade.

Listed inventory rose 5% compared to last year and was at its highest level for September since 2010. Days on market increased 12% due to lingering listings finally selling. Negotiability remained very high but decreased year-over-year as fewer properties traded at a discount of over 10% compared to last year.

Cooperative Market Snapshot

Sales activity in the co-op market decreased 10% year-over-year. Pricing metrics varied as average price decreased 6% but median price increased 9%. Average price per square foot decreased by 10% due to fewer sales above $1,500 per square foot compared to last year.

The largest year-over-year increase in price per square foot was amongst two bedroom units which skewed higher due to a penthouse sale on the Upper West Side. Units with three bedrooms or more experienced a dramatic 36% drop in average price per square foot, off an unusually high September 2017. Listed inventory rose 23% year-over-year along with the decline in sales.

Average days on market decreased 9% off an unusually high September 2017 that was skewed from a listing on the market over 400 days. Negotiability increased as the average discount from last asking price to sale price increased to 2.4%, up from 2.2% last year.


September 2018 marked the highest number of active listings of any September since 2011, fueled by year-over-year increases of 23% for co-op inventory, and 5% for condo inventory. Townhouse inventory grew 13%. This is the ninth consecutive month that co-op inventory has risen by double-digits year-over-year. The month-over- month increase for all product types is typical as may sellers often put their listings on the market in the Fall.


Average negotiability remains high in an oversupplied Manhattan market. However, nearly all price points actually saw year-over-year decreases in negotiability. The largest decrease occured in the $5MM+ price range. The average discount off the last asking price was 5.9%, down from 6.6% a year ago. The decrease in negotiability suggests that sellers have adjusted their asking prices given market conditions.


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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