Blog about NYC real estate by NYC Broker Mitchell Hall. Homes, architecture, neighborhoods, new developments, market reports, trends and more...

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 Mitchell Hall
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Mitchell Hall has been featured in and is a source for The New York Observer, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cooperator Coop & Condo Monthly, Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Post, Inman News, Brokers Weekly, The Real Deal, The Wall Street Journal, and various other traditional and new media outlets.

Best Real Estate Blogs That You Need To Read

by David Feldberg January 19, 2016


Mitchell J Hall has been blogging about Manhattan, NY real estate for over a decade and really has one goal, educate his readers about all aspects of real estate in Manhattan.  Mitchell really covers a lot of very complex questions that effect NY homeowners like "Did You Know A Coop's Flip Tax Can Affect the Loan?" or "Landmarking, Housing Production and Demographics in NYC".  In addition Mitchell puts out a very detailed marked monthly market report and showcases lots of homes in the area.  If you live in Manhattan NY this is a great blog for you.

From the October 2015 issue: 

Average co-op sales prices rose year-over- year, to more than $1.35 million in August, but inventory continued to dwindle — it was the 44th consecutive month of declines, according to a report from Corcoran Group. Fewer co-ops are put to market, and many owners are not so eager to sell, despite the increase in prices. “The reason most people sell is they want to upgrade,” said Mitchell Hall, a broker at Corcoran Group. With condominium prices also reaching new highs, “upgrades are possibly out of reach he said.”

“Hudson Yards will be a brand new 21st century neighborhood,” says Mitchell Hall, a licensed real estate associate broker for the Corcoran Group. “Hudson Yards is the epicenter of Manhattan’s New West Side. Bordered by the Hudson River, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen and Midtown, this neighborhood is booming with both private and public investments in mass transit, new parks and new cultural and recreational facilities directly adjacent to Hudson Yards, which will bring new residential developments.”

How the Word ‘North’ Affects Prices

Living Along Central Park North By JOHN FREEMAN GILL

Published: November 12, 2013
"At 45 Central Park North, an income-restricted co-op, prices are lower, and bidding can get fierce. A three-bedroom on the second floor, listed in July at $469,000, attracted multiple offers above $500,000, said Mitchell Hall, an associate broker with the Corcoran Group.  
A version of this article appears in print on November 17, 2013, on page RE12 of the New York edition with the headline: How the Word ‘North’ Affects Prices .
Middle of the UWS: Fun activities, gorgeous homes in the 80th streetsFeaturing Corcoran broker Mitchell Hall: more

How the Word ‘North’ Affects Prices

Living Along Central Park North

"At 45 Central Park North, an income-restricted co-op, prices are lower, and bidding can get fierce. A three-bedroom on the second floor, listed in July at $469,000, attracted multiple offers above $500,000, said Mitchell Hall, an associate broker with the Corcoran Group.
Published: November 12, 2013
 A version of this article appears in print on November 17, 2013, on page RE12 of the New York edition with the headline: How the Word ‘North’ Affects Prices .
- See more at:

How the Word ‘North’ Affects Prices

Living Along Central Park North

"At 45 Central Park North, an income-restricted co-op, prices are lower, and bidding can get fierce. A three-bedroom on the second floor, listed in July at $469,000, attracted multiple offers above $500,000, said Mitchell Hall, an associate broker with the Corcoran Group.
Published: November 12, 2013
 A version of this article appears in print on November 17, 2013, on page RE12 of the New York edition with the headline: How the Word ‘North’ Affects Prices .
- See more at:

The Total Package

By: W.B. King
Published: 4/30/2012
Source: The Cooperator

The Buyer's Application Process is Changing

In the best of circumstances, qualifying an applicant for a co-op or condominium purchase can be a challenging process. Market conditions play a part in a board's consideration of applicants, and recent fluctuations have changed the way both buyers and lenders are looking at real estate acquisitions.

In January, Manhattan-based appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage firm Prudential Douglas Elliman released a joint fourth quarter 2011 sales report, and the news was mixed. The report noted that as a result of the European debt crisis, New York City sales fell 12 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous year. The report also stated that purchases of condominiums and co-ops declined to 2,011 from 2,295 in the fourth quarter of 2010. However, there was some good news as well, as the median price of units climbed 1.2 percent from the first quarter to $855,000. 

 “Co-Op Envy”

When buyers are interested in purchasing, it’s usually the co-op board that holds the cards. They investigate prospective buyers and eventually either bet on the applicant or pass. Condominium boards don’t have as much power, but many are slowly moving toward the co-op board model in hopes of securing the best-financed owners. As a result, the approval process for each is different, from time tables to legal issues. 

“From a theoretical starting point, the processes are completely different,” says Manhattan-based real estate attorney Ronald H. Gitter. “With a co-op, the board of directors has the ability to turn down a buyer, but a condo board can only either issue a waiver of its right of first refusal to purchase the unit, or purchase the apartment on the same terms provided in the contract of sale.” Needless to say, the latter scenario doesn't happen often. 

Years ago, when it came to a condominium purchase, there was very little board oversight during the application process. Due to market shifts and the ongoing recession however, the approach is slowly changing—although Gitter notes that, “Even today, with new construction sales from a sponsor, there is no application; just the ability to close. Over time, a number of condo boards have tried to act more like co-ops by requiring extensive applications. If the buyers resist submitting all the documentation, the application can be deemed incomplete.” He jokingly refers to this strategy as a case of “co-op envy,” but warns that buyers should expect a comprehensive evaluation of their finances and references, regardless of what type of unit they're trying to purchase. 

 What Do You Want From Me?

Boards often have difficulty communicating their expectations and requirements clearly and effectively to the brokers who handle the sales for their building.  As a result, the application process can often be cumbersome and lead to a lot of second-guessing and procedural headaches. Therefore, it is recommended that brokers meet regularly with the managing agents of buildings they do business in so expectations reflect the building's current reality. 

“Co-ops [and condos] should communicate their expectations and requirements through their managing agent, and they should also list their expectations and requirements in their board package/application instructions,” says Mitchell Hall, an associate broker with the Corcoran Group. 

Manhattan-based residential and commercial real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey agrees, and notes that a board should do its best to secure the most favorable price on sales units, as this improves the value of the building for current and future sellers. “Good boards are accommodating to the brokerage community and supply building information readily,” he says. “If a building has certain financial requirements, this should not be kept secret. In New York City where very few brokerages control the market, this information can easily be passed with a few phone calls or emails by the managing agent.” 

Educate to Understand

As is the case with all board-related transactions, there is a learning curve when it comes to buyer applications. Variables such as new legislation or changes in the market must be taken into consideration. As a result, due diligence and a working understanding of all aspects of a building’s profile is essential to making sales transactions go as smooth as possible. 

To keep the wind in the proverbial sails, during every application process, boards should be equipped with the information they need to make an informed decision about a prospective purchaser. First and foremost, they need to verify that the applicant can afford the unit and related fees. 

“Boards need to know whether the applicant can afford the unit and the mortgage,” says Bailey. “They need a list of assets and liabilities and proof of every line...certified tax returns, employment documents independently verified by the employer, bank account statements, trust agreements, verified loan documentation, mortgage and verification of any other debt. Also, I would want to see two months bank account statements, references, housing and state Supreme Court searches to see if the applicant has been in litigation before concerning their home.” 

Obtaining the aforementioned information is easiest when a board is comprised of members who have prior experience reviewing applications, or who were recent applicants themselves. Additionally, board members need to know who to turn to for answers such as brokers, counsel or the building’s managing agent. 

“Brokers become educated in the process by successfully representing both buyers and sellers,” says Hall. “They should know their buyer client’s finances and qualifications before showing them apartments. They should discuss the documentation and financial requirements early in the process.  Prior to the interview they can coach their clients and offer tips to help them pass the board interview. They can have their manager review the board package before submitting it,” he continues. “When representing co-op sellers, it is important for the listing broker to  discuss the buyer’s qualifications and likelihood of passing the co-op board with the seller  rather than advising the seller to only consider the highest offer.” 

Avoiding Common Errors

Bailey’s firm, which handles hundreds of residential closings annually, says there are common protocol mistakes made on each side of the table. “I always tell my clients that if they have any questions about an applicant, make sure those questions are not asked at the interview. [The buyer] is at the interview to be approved, and any questions the board has should be determined from another source such as the broker, managing agent or seller,” he says. “The only function of the buyer at the interview is to convince the board that they will be good neighbors. Less talking usually leads to an acceptance while loose lips sink ships—and deals.” 

“A few years ago, my office would see rejections because the sales price was not high enough,” says Bailey. “We would realize why the applicant got rejected, and in some cases we got the offer increased to get the client approved and the deal closed. Boards served as the housing police during the housing boom, keeping out buyers who could not afford to pay their maintenance, common charges or mortgages. This has led to very few cooperative foreclosures compared to the rest of the market.”

While a stringent board can be a good thing when it comes to defending and preserving the financial stability and market cache of a co-op, too many rejections can flag a building as unattractive or unapproachable. And while it is imperative for boards to review an applicant’s financial standing thoroughly, there are lines of inquiry that are considered infringements, explains Gitter. “Boards can’t discriminate based upon age, race, religion or sexual preference,” he says. “Other than that, the Business Judgment Rule gives co-op boards’ great leeway in requiring information.” Whereas a board can ask for employment records and salary history, it cannot discriminate due to an applicant’s specific occupation. 

In an effort to streamline the application process, new software has been introduced into the marketplace, and while industry professionals feel it a progressive step forward, adoption rates are slow. 

“I think the use of software and electronic applications is the way to go,” says Hall. “REBNY and the brokerage community have been advocating this for years along with a standardized co-op and condo application. Unfortunately, I have yet to see any co-op that accepts an application and board package online. Some co-ops and managing agents have websites where the application can be downloaded and typed on to but they still require it printed on paper along with copies and collated sets of copied documents.” 

 New Government Rules and Regulations

Even a “bulldog” board is only as strong as regulations and legislation which have changed in light of the foundering economy. “This is one of the biggest issues facing co-ops and condos right now,” says Gitter. “It’s not just FHA, but Fannie Mae and other lending guidelines that particular banks are imposing.” 

“This has impacted the approval process tremendously, he continues. “There are many situations where the buyer signs a contract, puts in his or her  loan application, a loan commitment is issued, then maybe two to three weeks  later the bank might come back and raise an objection about the co-op or condo  such as insufficient reserves, insufficient insurance, serious litigation  issues or other variables.” As a result, Gitter says many co-op and condominiums boards do not want to deal with addressing the issues and will not complete the transaction, which is fundamentally changing the application and approval process. This is a “post-Lehman Brothers” market reality, he says. 

Hall explains that most New York City co-ops require a 20 percent minimum down payment. As a result of this ‘restrictive covenant’—as well as others such as board approval and flip taxes—the FHA does not loan to co-ops. However, there are a handful of condominiums in Manhattan that have been approved for FHA loans. “They are primarily in new construction condos in fringe neighborhoods that have had problems selling, so they applied for FHA approval. Most New York City condos are not eligible for FHA loans because the right of first refusal is also considered a restrictive covenant.” 

“Many banks,” continues Hall, “have their own guidelines but the new Fannie Mae requirements have had some adverse effects on the co-op and condo application and approval process here in New York. It is no longer just a matter of the borrower being qualified for a loan, the co-op and condo must qualify, too.”  

10/26/2011 | Source:  

Mixed-use Townhouses with Commercial Space
Author: Sonia Samuel and Emilia Ferrara

Any wise New Yorker knows that two heads is better than one. Any smart real estate investor knows that two renters are better than one. Mixed-use townhouses across New York are becoming hot commodities for many buyers.
“The townhouses split for commercial and residential use are rare,” says Louise Beit of Sotheby’s International Realty, “especially on side streets of prime avenues in top, sophisticated residential or re-tail areas.”
According to David Kornmeier, the Vice President and Director at Brown Harris Stevens, “Traditionally, a renovated single family house tends to garner a lot of interest.”Mixed-use townhouses aren’t typically what a family has in mind when interested in buying a new home.
“The West Village and Greenwich Village often consistently obtain the highest average price per foot for various types of homes, says Kornmeier though, suggesting that this has not always been the case. “What unites all buyers is that they are looking for a good deal and decent value. The key is understanding the dynamics of a particular market or submarket in order to appropriately define value and position a home to become the most sought after. That being said, it is easier to obtain$3,000 plus per square foot in the Village for a finished single family townhouse than almost any other neighborhood in the City.”
Still, buyers of all townhouses tend to have similarities. “Most townhouse owners value their privacy and enjoy having control over the entire building,” says Kornmeier. “Many [buyers] also appreciate having multiple outdoor gardens and terraces along with a large amount of space, and often for a lower price per square foot than in a similarly sized apartment.”
This brings the location of mixed-use townhouses into question. “There are many areas that have wonderful townhouse blocks and the houses are highly sought-after in those locations,” says Kornmeier. “Typically the Village, Upper East Side, Upper West Side and Gramercy Park areas tend to obtain the highest prices.”
“Top selling single family houses usually have elevators and full floor master bedroom suites,” says Kornmeier, making the amenities more interesting. “Another key factor is an appropriately large and generous kitchen positioned correctly within the house.”
The economy does not really seem to have a hold on the mixed-use townhouse apartment. “Although the economy is causing some unease,” continues Kornmeier. “Uniquely positioned townhouses still sell very well and in some cases, new sales price records have been set. Notable recent examples of this are the sales of multiple single family homes on the Upper West Side that sold recently for right around$19M when the previous record sales price for an UWS single family house was $15,750,000.”
But if you manage to stumble upon one of these diamonds in the rough the benefits can be quite re-warding. “An owner can do whatever they want, they can own the whole townhouse and rent out part of it for professional use,” says Mitchell Hall from Corcoran. They can take two or three floors as their own, they can take one apartment and rent out the others, there’s a lot of possibility in it. I had a buyer purchase a brown-stone in Brooklyn and it was mixed-use. The ground floor was set up for professional use, he was buying be-cause he wanted to live in it, but the rent [from the ground floor] helped cover his mortgage and expenses,” says Hall.
“These mixed-use townhouses are hot because the commercial space rents for higher price than a residential space and the property is a good investment since it is rare,” says Ms. Beit. Jimmy Choo was privy to this real estate secret, his shoe boutique located on east 51st street between Madison and Fifth avenues is part of a classic mixed-use New York town house. “Some clients are looking for income producing property,” says Olga Neulist of Sotheby’s International Realty, “and therefore rent out part of the house to a commercial tenant or residential tenant who could cover all the house’s expenses.”
However, mixed-use townhouses aren’t for retail alone, Mr. Hall told The Observer, “A doctor’s office in a brownstone that would be one of the best uses of it. It’s usually a ground floor apartment, ideally there’s a separate entrance. My dentist is in brownstone—I normally see professional use like doctors, dentists or psychiatrists, usually they have a floor and a separate entrance.” Hall continues with a chuckle, ‘You don’t really want to have to go through the building up-stairs to an office.” Mixed-houses, even if unprofitable, are still great self-sustaining properties, especially when held onto over time.
“Beyond paying the mortgage, a lot of times there is not a huge profit, but there is growth over the years. Rents are going to continue to go up, so the value of the whole property is going to continue to go up,” Hall continues. The Corcoran realtor suggests the absence of townhouses in the Upper East Side is a common misconception. “The Upper East Side, you don’t see them on main Avenues like Park or Madison because those are big buildings, but when you go on the side streets like Lexington, you’ll see brownstones, usually they’ll be ground floors below, you’ll have to go down the steps, a lot of those are businesses, doctors, dentists, law firms, even a little real estate firm.”
Ground floor real estate firms are an easy investment for a mogul looking to diversify their portfolio. “A property can be purchased by an owner or user, which makes it an excellent investment,” says Ms. Beit. “A 4,000-square-foot, three level commercial space of Madison Avenue in a prime Upper East Side location, in need of renovation, can rent for as much as $400,000 per year,” she says.
Still “in my experience,” Kornmeier says, “most people that purchase townhouses as a residence typically favor more residential locations, such as the charming tree-lined streets and uniform rows of townhouses.” There are many factors that will stay at play.
“Houses that are mixed-use are not usually on these types of blocks and tend to sell as an investment, or to a buyer that intends to occupy the commercial space. I have had a few clients who were quite interested in retail cash flow and did not mind living above commercial space in a busier location,” Kornmeier continue. “But, in these cases, they expected to pay a reduced price per square foot.”

The New York Times: Residential Sales Around The Region

Publication: The New York Times
Date: 6/26/2011
Title: Residential Sales Around the Region

Upper West Side… $720,000 

155 West 68th St., Dorchester Towers
700-sq.-ft. condo in a postwar building; 24-hr. doormen, volcanic stone counters, renovated bath, parquet floors; common charge $458; taxes $5,976; listed at $749,000. Broker: Mitchell Hall, The Corcoran Group

Copyright © 2011 The New York Times Company. Reprinted with Permission.  Photos should be credited as follows: The New York Times. 

Apartments '08
How to be the perfect candidate
TIPS FOR CO-OP BUYERS  - by: Scot Meyer

Five tips for wanna-be co-op buyers

Although a co-op board member may say that the process of meeting applicants is just a formality, the building bigwigs can reject you without explanation. So it pays to take the meeting seriously.

1. Answer questions. "You may be asked things that seem personal and sometimes even invasive," says Circle Mortgage Group president Dale Siegel. "Don't be fazed, just answer politely."

2. But maybe not all questions. Mitchell Hall, associate broker with Coldwell Banker Previews International, notes that co-ops can't discriminate based on things such as race or national origin. The board is also not supposed to ask about sexual orientation, marital status or if children will be living with you.

3. Don't elaborate. Hall says major renovation plans might turn off board members.
4. Don't ask. Even innocent questions can offend. "You might ask when they're going to renovate the lobby," Hall says, "and it turns out they just did, and someone on the board was head of the lobby-renovation committee."
5. Don't tell. Beware of revealing too much-questions about sublet or pet policies are a bad idea, and if there are patios, don't ask if you can barbecue on them.

April 24, 2008,
by Prashant Gopal

For the time being, yes. But if Wall Street continues to struggle, that could change
Is Manhattan Immune from the Real Estate Bust?
(page 2 of 2)
Many of the strictest buildings often insist that prospective buyers have liquid assets equaling as much as three times the apartment's asking price. So, if you're talking about a $5 million apartment, you need at least $15 million in the bank. Other real estate holdings don't count.
Subprime loans and foreclosures, as a result, are rare. 

"Here you have to put skin in the game," said Mitchell Hall, associate broker with Coldwell Bankers Previews International. "It's not easy to buy a place in New York-you have to be really qualified." Translation: rich. 

Nail-Biting Time

The fact that Manhattan has-at least so far-escaped the downturn doesn't mean it won't get hit. With a recession looming, plenty of job losses are expected this year on Wall Street, where bonuses are also expected to shrink. 

The new condos being built-with ever increasing prices-could also create an oversupply of luxury real estate. 

Even Spinola of the Real Estate Board concedes that the market could flatten in a recession.
New York real estate is by no means immune to dips. Prices dropped during the recession in the early 1990s and following the 1987 stock market crash. The biggest postwar decline came in the 1970s, when the city went bankrupt. 

Jonathan Miller, president of New York appraiser Miller Samuel, said even though prices are rising, sales activity is off from last year's record levels. 

The boroughs are doing worse. Expensive Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, and Park Slope have mirrored Manhattan's strength. But middle-class communities farther out have been weakened by the subprime crisis and the credit crunch.
Median home prices in Queens fell 12% in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to the Real Estate Board. The median price dropped 9% in the Bronx, 2% in Staten Island, and 1% in Brooklyn. 

"Look we've had a very brisk real estate market for the last four or five years," Miller said. "The New York region has held up better than virtually any market across the country. But we are not immune to situations on the national scale." 

See the slide show for the most expensive real estate listings in Manhattan.  
Gopal writes about real estate for in New York . is roaming around the country revealing the best real estate blogs in each city.’s Best New York City Real Estate Blogs

May 10th, 2010

By Serena Norr

On the beat of the real estate industry are some extraordinary NYC bloggers that are on top of the latest industry news and trends and whose sites feature in-depth articles ranging from tenant’s rights to real estate taxes. Here are some of’s favorites:

Covering all of Manhattan, NYC Blog Estate features current real estate listings, recent developments and informative articles about the industry. Users can also navigate their way through the site based on the neighborhood they are interested in. The site also has a buyer and seller section where interested parties can search their home or apartment direct.


Real estate professionals say buyers are in the driver's seat

Residential sales in Manhattan continued to slide in the second quarter, according to market reports released today, falling back from last year's lofty peaks. Mitchell Hall, an associate broker for Coldwell Banker Previews International in Manhattan, said, "I think the market has really turned to more of a buyer's market," and buyers seem to have more wiggle room these days in negotiating prices and other concessions with sellers.

"Everything's very negotiable right now," Hall said. "Where a year ago a buyer would ... insult a seller making a lowball offer, now everything is being considered." He cited the slow-moving economy among the factors contributing to slowing sales. "They are not grabbing things right away as they were previously. They are ... taking a wait-and-see attitude." Those buyers who purchased in the past year will likely lose money if they try to sell in the current market, he said.

While there are still first-time buyers in the market, Hall said that larger down-payment requirements are difficult for some buyers. "It's a little tougher getting mortgages right now." 

The co-op market, he said, typically requires a 20 percent down payment and in some cases a 25 percent down payment, and for condos most lenders are requiring at least a 15 percent down payment, he said.
There are plenty of homes for buyers to choose from, he said, citing a couple who found 80 properties that matched their criteria.

Trulia Century Award Winners announced

Tue, Aug 21, 2007

This week we are excited to announce the Trulia Century Award winners - that is an award to everyone who has answered more than 100 questions in the first 100 days since the launch of Trulia Voices.

There are 20 25 of these exceptional Voices, who have not only been active contributors on the site, but also provided us with product feedback, insight and opinions along the way.This week we sent them a little token of our appreciation and wanted to make sure they received a Trulia Blog shout out for the achievement and for their work putting Trulia Voices on the path to success.

So, to Deborah, Pam, Bruce, Jeannette, Melissa, Bridgette, Carrie, Keith, Cindi, Roberta, Mitchell, Jim, Paul, Kristal, Mario, Brian, Ellen, Ted, Herman, Kaye, Chris, Irina, Maureen, Ruth, and Sylvia and all of the Trulia Voices community…thanks for helping us get through the first 100 and we look forward to many hundreds more!

Publishers Pony Up for Plush Manhattan Show Houses

By Vanessa Voltolina

Hearst, Hachette lock in top-notch real estate for annual programs.

The price tag for the penthouse? According to nyc BLOG estate site, Soho Mews' rentals range from $7,000 to $20,000 per month. Two years ago, Esquire’s Ultimate Bachelor Pad—Esquire North, located in Harlem cost $8.5 million.

 Every Joe: How Blogging Can Make You Stand Out From the Crowed.

"I did find some blogs from realtors who were selling NYC real estate.  They seem to be doing a pretty good job of differentiating themselves from their peers and getting to know their customers. Mitchell Hall does a good job of writing about real estate news and neighborhoods on his blog NYC Blog Estate"

6/22/2007     New York Sun      Stalled Coop Bill Gains Backers  

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