Jan 24, 2018

Apartment Square footage is Just an Approximation


I'm often asked about square footage and if there are any rules in determining square footage. We all know that buyers of apartments and townhouses in New York City often look to the approximate square footage of a property as a measurement for a property’s value. Indeed, often one of the key factors for a buyer in their decision to purchase is a calculation of the cost or price-per-square foot of an apartment or townhouse. 

It is important to keep in mind, however, that the approximate square footage of an apartment is often just that – an approximation. 

Different appraisers or professionals may use different methods or standards in coming up with their square footage figures. Some will determine square footage of an apartment by measuring the space between the interior walls, including bathrooms, closets and foyers, while others may use exterior walls or other benchmarks. Some will include unusable floor area such as columns, mechanical pipe shafts and chases in their calculations. 

Moreover, many Manhattan apartments, including pre-war buildings, often have hard-to-measure elements like oddly shaped rooms, removed walls, or even turrets or alcoves. This is especially true for many of New York City’s oldest and most prestigious residences.

In addition, while many cooperative apartment buildings may have filed floor plans with the Attorney General’s office as part of their offering plans, those floor plans may not be up to date. Condominium offering plans also include floor plans and measurements, but developers often use different methods for measuring the square footage of their respective units. For example, some will include hallways or foyers or bathrooms in their square footage figures, others will not. 

Offering plans will only tell you the approximate square footage and the method used to measure it by the developer at the time of construction or conversion. Plans will not tell you how the square footage is measured at the time of a resale.

All potential purchasers should be made aware that all square footage measurements that are provided by brokers are usually just estimates, and are not certified or deemed reliable by either the listing firm or a participating co-broker. In addition, a buyer determined to have a square footage measurement should consult or retain their own professional, and have that professional explain the methodology for the measurement.

Jan 12, 2018

Manhattan Monthly Market Report | December 2017

Market Wide Summary 

December sales activity declined to its lowest level since 2012, with condo activity dropping 24%, and co-op activity dropping 8%. Changes in pricing metrics, however, were mixed. Condo average and median price grew, while co-op median price increased slightly, and average price dropped 24%. Listed inventory continued the trend of annual increases, as both condos and co-ops saw annual gains. Days on market increased across both product types over the last year, but gains were much higher amongst condos, at 30%. Negotiability remained almost the same for co-ops. Condos, however, saw a larger difference from last ask to sale, as average discount from last ask reached 3.3% this month, as compared to 2.5% last year.

Condominium Market Snapshot 

Condominium sales activity dropped a substantial 24% in December. However, December 2016 was abnormally strong, and December 2017 has just 18 fewer sales than the 326 posted in December 2015, two years ago. Average price increased 23% versus last year and 26% versus last month, bolstered by a boost in three bedroom pricing, which jumped 32% compared to last year due to a series of high priced sales. Alternatively, median price increased just 2%, as the increase in unit sale price wasn’t adequately pervasive to lift that figure.

Condo price per square foot changes varied. Average price per square foot up by double digits. Two bedroom units, on the other hand, saw 18% declines off unusually high figures last year. Meanwhile, studios saw double digit increases of 16%, to just under $1,400 per square foot, and one bedrooms saw more modest 5% gains. Inventory continued to rise, up 4% annually, a rather modest increase compared to increases seen earlier in 2017. The slowing of sales and increase in inventory has pushed days on market ever higher, rising to 163 days, the second highest figure of the year. Average difference from last ask to sale changed by 0.8% from last year, as it reached 3.3%, the greatest spread since February 2017.

Cooperative Market Snapshot 

Co-ops saw less significant declines in activity than condos, though still registered an 8% decline in sales compared to last December. Average price fell 24% off an unusually high figure last year that exceeded $1.5M. Median price on the other hand stayed fairly constant, increasing just 1% annually, but dropping 2% as compared to last month. Price per square foot remained stable monthly, but dropped by 20% annually, as a dramatic $500 decline in the average price per square foot of three bedroom units skewed the overall average. Studios and two bedrooms saw fairly minimal increases, both rising 2%, while one bedroom units declined 9%. Inventory again rose, though less significantly than previous months, up just 5% year-over-year. Days on market increased by 5% as well, but stayed under an average of 100 days on market.

Manhattan Total Listings

Total inventory in Manhattan continued to rise annually, though more modestly than months prior, up just 4%, compared to an average of over 9% the previous three months. Typical of seasonality, overall inventory fell 17% monthly, down to a total of 6,069 actively listed units, on par with previous lows in the last year and a half. Townhouse inventory broke a seven-month-long streak of annual declines, as inventory stayed perfectly level with a year ago.

Days on Market until Contract Signing

With listed inventory continuing to increase, and contract activity decreasing, days on market across the condo and co-op markets is continuing to rise. As a result of both these factors occurring simultaneously, discounts have become increasingly prevalent in both markets.

Days on market has trended up since July 2016. As units spend more time on market, there has been a growing need amongst sellers to lower pricing. As a result, discounts have become increasingly pervasive within the condo and co-op markets, with condos specifically demanding deeper discounts than years prior. However, discounting in the current environment has proven effective in moving inventory. As days on market has gone up market wide, units have spent a nearly level amount of time on market after discounting on a consistent basis. In December, units with discounts spent an average of 13 days less on market after discounting versus the five-year average of 66 days.

Jan 11, 2018

NYS Senate HDFC Bill Stricken


Senate HDFC Bill S6543

2017-2018 Legislative Session
A new HDFC bill spearheaded by HPD and The De Blasio administration that was intended to impose new restrictions and regulations on HDFC coops died today in the State Senate.
The bill was intended to amend the current NY State law (known as Article 11 of the Private Housing Finance Law or PHFL) that governs HDFC corporations and make changes that would permanently put HDFCs under the control of HPD.

HDFC coops were intended to be self-sufficient self-sustaining affordable housing corporations. Mayor Ed Koch proclaimed at a City Hall ceremony in 1981 to turn over deeds of Harlem buildings to the tenants so "the people, the tenants will control their own destiny.”
The bill was stricken in the state senate. Betty Little (R, C, IP) 45TH SENATE DISTRICT struck it. It's dead unless picked up and sponsored again by either a Senator or Assemblyperson.
More information at: http://www.hdfccoalition.org/

Brooklyn Market Report | Fourth Quarter 2017


I am delighted to share with you the latest edition of The Corcoran Report for Brooklyn. Inside you will find a detailed analysis of residential real estate sales that closed in Brooklyn in Fourth Quarter 2017 (October 1 through December 31)

Key findings of the Fourth Quarter report:

  •  The real estate market in Brooklyn closed out 2017 on a high note: It sustained the trend of an expanding market. Closed sales however, took a break from the double-digit surge seen earlier this year, as the annual gains were less robust in Fourth Quarter 2017 relative to the first three quarters of the year. For buyers, constrained inventory at all price points was a key factor for lower growth levels this quarter as sellers were unable to keep pace with the strong demand for housing. New development product played a crucial role in spanning the shortfall of resale supply and the market responded favorably with swift sales of new product
  • The total number of closed sales in Fourth Quarter 2017 rose 7% year-over-year: Apartment closings came in at 1,318. The new development market fared better than the resale market in Brooklyn as this was the strongest Fourth quarter for new development sales in seven years. 
  • The total number of closed sales in Fourth Quarter 2017 rose 7% year-over-year: Apartment closings came in at 1,318. The new development market fared better than the resale market in Brooklyn as this was the strongest Fourth quarter for new development sales in seven years. 
  • The total number of closed sales in Fourth Quarter 2017 rose 7% year-over-year: Apartment closings came in at 1,318. The new development market fared better than the resale market in Brooklyn as this was the strongest Fourth quarter for new development sales in seven years. 
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about The Corcoran Report or the Brooklyn market in general. I welcome the opportunity to be of assistance to you.

Jan 6, 2018

On The Market Now

On the Market Now

All Manhattan Apartments

All Manhattan Townhouses

All Manhattan New Condo Developments

Jan 3, 2018

Manhattan Market Report Fourth Quarter 2017


I am delighted to share with you the latest edition of The Corcoran Report for Manhattan. Inside you will find a detailed analysis of residential real estate sales that closed in Manhattan in Fourth Quarter 2017 (October 1 through December 31).

Key findings of the Fourth Quarter report:

  •  2017 ended the year in a more stable condition than 2016: Three of the past four quarters registered level or annual increases in closed sales activity. Fourth Quarter 2017 closed sales were essentially unchanged from last year, and at 3,140 closings, carried the 2017 year-end total to 13,400 closed transactions. Signed contracts fell 14% year-over-year, largely in response to non-market factors like tax reform that are adding complexity to buyer decision making.
  •  The chasm between buyers’ and sellers’ expectations on pricing, value, and velocity that affected sales in 2016 narrowed over the last twelve months: Market wide median price rose 5% annually to $1.068M. Market activity varied significantly by product type. In Fourth Quarter 2017, resale co-op sales rose 4% annually, for the third consecutive quarter. Resale condos, which have been limited by lingering high prices, experienced a 3% decrease in closed sales year-over-year. New development closed sales declined too, by 12% year-over-year, a decrease that was less a reflection of demand and more about the timing of the current building cycle and completions.
  •  Listed inventory increased 9% annually: Active listings surpassed 6,000. This represented the highest Fourth Quarter total since 2011, and was fueled by increases in new development inventory at recently launched developments Downtown. Inventory growth, consistently outpacing absorption in 2017, pushed months of supply to 5.9 months, nearly reaching the six month supply-demand equilibrium threshold.
  •  Prices in recent quarters have adjusted to reflect supply and demand conditions among different price points: The 5% increase median price to $1.068M reflected the strength of the core $3M and under market, while the 7% annual decrease of average price to $1.879M supported the narrative that rising supply continues to put downward pressure on prices at the higher end of the market, where discounts and negotiability are prevalent. 
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about The 4-Q-2017 Manhattan Report or the Manhattan market in general. I welcome the opportunity to be of assistance to yo

Download the full NYC real estate report here.  

Jan 2, 2018

New Laws Affecting New Yorkers and NYC Real Estate

Happy New Year!

2018 brings new laws that will affect New Yorkers and NYC real estate. A new uncertainty due to federal tax legislation including "SALT" deductions (State and local tax deductions including property taxes) will be capped at $10,000 and the mortgage interest deduction will be lowered from $1M to $750,000.  Still unclear is a coop's underlying mortgage interest deduction.

A new law, which imposes an annual conflict of interest reporting obligation on cooperatives and condominiums, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo went into effect on January 1, 2018. 

The law requires cooperatives and condominiums to give a copy of the new law to each director and to give to all shareholders an annual conflict of interest report, signed by each director.  

The report must list all contracts voted on by the board where one or more of the directors was an “interested” director, and for each contract state:

  1. the name of the contract recipient, the contract amount, and the purpose of entering into the contract
  2. the record of each meeting including director attendance, voting records for all contracts, and how each director voted on the contract; and
  3. the date of each vote on each contract and the effective date of the contract.

Even if the board did not engage in a transaction that requires the above disclosure, it still must prepare and deliver to all shareholders a document, signed by each director, stating “No actions taken by the board were subject to the annual report required pursuant to section 727 of the Business Corporation Law” [or subject to section 519-a of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law, as applicable].

Board members, shareholders, managing agents and real estate brokers should be aware. The law basically provides that contracts or other transactions between a BCL corporation and a director (or a company in which a director has an interest) are not automatically prohibited just because of that conflict.

If all material facts in regard to the director’s interest were disclosed in good faith, and the Board voted to approve such contract or other transaction without counting the vote of the interested director, the contract or other transaction is valid: it is not void or voidable (due to the conflict).

However, the law does not contain any provision for enforcement, nor any penalties for violations of this provision however it may be a small baby step toward coop transparency and accountability.

Dec 14, 2017

New 21-Story Condominium 214 West 72nd Street UWS


214 West 72nd Street, Upper West Side

214 West 72nd Street, via Google Maps

A 21 story mixed use building at 214 West 72nd Street on the Upper West Side is being planned.  New York YIMBY reported plans have been filed. 
The 219-foot tall structure will yield 30,650 square feet, with 29,560 square feet dedicated to residential use, and 1,090 square feet for commercial-retail use, to be situated on the ground floor.
The project will have 20 units, with one per floor. The residences will average 1,478 square feet indicating condominium units. Tenants will have access to bicycle parking and recreation space on the second and third floors.
GreenbergFarrow will be responsible for the design.
Demolition permits have not been filed. Construction is expected to start next Spring and finish in the Spring of 2020.

Dec 13, 2017

Manhattan Monthly Market Report | November 2017

Market Wide Summary

November sales activity was down year-over-year for both condos and co-ops. Pricing marked gains across the co-op market in excess of 20% for average and median price over low figures last year, while condo average price declined and median price only increased slightly. Price per square foot rose for co-ops, but dropped 2% for condos.

Continuing the trend of prior months, inventory increased by double-digits versus last year, with co-op inventory growth outpacing condos for the sixth consecutive month. Days on market moved by double-digits, but in opposite directions for condos and co-ops, declining for condos, and rising for co-ops. Negotiability remained relatively stable for condos, and was nearly level versus last month and last year. Alternatively, co-ops while still having more limited negotiability, saw deeper discounts than last year.

Condominium Market

 Snapshot Condo sales dropped 9% year-over-year, though activity last November was exceptionally strong. Average price dropped month over-month and year-over-year, each down 9%. This change was driven by a 25% increase in sales under $500K. Median sale price increased mildly compared to last year, as it rose 2%.

Price per square foot fell slightly due to a decline in one bedroom unit pricing, as two and three bedroom apartments stayed stable. Studios saw a 35% jump in pricing, exceeding that of one bedrooms, skewed as all sales exceeded a price per square foot of $1,200. Inventory continued to rise, jumping 13% as compared to last year. Despite inventory gains, days on market fell by a quarter, largely due to the second highest days on market figure in two years occuring last November. Average difference from last ask to sale saw a slight change year-over-year, slipping to an average discount of 2.8% off last ask.

Cooperative Market Snapshot 

Co-op sales, similar to condo sales, dropped compared to last year. A significant drop in sales was met by an annual increase in pricing metrics, as both average and median sale price increased compared to last year, due to the lowest average and median sale price of the last two years occurring last November.

Both average and median sale price actually dropped compared to last month. Price per square foot saw a more modest gain of 5%. This was a result of a boost in pricing of smaller units, notably studios and one bedroom units, which saw 16% and 12% gains in price per square foot. Three bedroom units on the other hand had declines of 16%. Inventory again rose, up 14%, marking the sixth consecutive month of annual increases. This rise in inventory contributed to a large 40% gain in days on market, as increased inventory and increased negotiability likely extended time spent on the market.

Manhattan Total Listings 

Manhattan total inventory continued to rise on an annual basis, but fell slightly month-over-month due to the decline in co-op inventory. The annual 12% rise in inventory was the largest rise this year, as new development inventory and slower sales continue to drive an increase in supply. Townhouse inventory continued to fall, down 6%, marking the seventh consecutive month of annual decreases.

Above/Below Ask by Price Point 

With inventory increasing and sales down, negotiability is prevalent across all price points. The greatest increase in sales below ask was in units priced from $3M to $5M. Last year 58% of sales were below ask, compared to 91% of sales this year. Additionally, this price range was the only subset to see no sales above ask in November, further exemplifying the demand of buyers to negotiate in the current market. 

Surprisingly, sales made in excess of $5M experienced the second lowest increase in sales made below ask over the last year as well as having the second least sales made below ask on a proportional basis. In this range there was actually a 1% increase in sales made above ask compared to last year. This is probably attributable to the fact that over half of $5M+ sales already had price reductions off their original asking price. Sales below $1MM continued to see the least negotiability, with under half of sales made under ask, and nearly a quarter of sales made above ask. 

Nov 24, 2017

Manhattan Monthly Market Report | October 2017

Market Wide Summary

 In October, condos saw a slight dip in contract activity while co-ops experienced a notable rise as compared to last October. Pricing metrics saw mixed results, with median price experiencing double-digit percentage increases for condos and co-ops, while average price fell for condos, but rose for co-ops. Price per square foot rose for co-ops, but dropped 7% for condos, driven down mainly by a drop in price per square foot of larger two and three bedroom units. Listed inventory rose compared to last year for both condos and co-ops, but dropped over the last month for condos. Days on market fell notably for both product types, falling 15% for condos and 9% for co-ops. Negotiability remained high for condos, which saw average discounts of 2.7%. Meanwhile, co-ops saw negotiability decrease in tandem with an increase in sales.

Condominium Market Snapshot 

Condo sales saw a slight year-over-year decline of 4% in October, though last year’s contract activity was already very low compared to the prior year. Pricing saw mixed results as average price decreased 4%, while median price increased 26%. Median sale price was driven up primarily by a 25% increase in the number of sales made over $1M. Though there was a rise in sales of high-priced units, price per square foot managed to decline, dropping 7% compared to last year. Two bedrooms saw the largest declines in pricing, as price per square foot dropped 18% to $1,649. One bedrooms registered a significant 17% rise in pricing, largely due to an unusually low price per square foot last year. Inventory increased annually, up 7% as compared to last year, while dropping month-over-month. For the first time since December 2015, days on market dropped, dipping below 100 days on market for the first time this year. Average difference from last ask to sale saw a slight change year-over-year, slipping to an average discount of 2.7% off ask.

Cooperative Market Snapshot 

Co-op sales year-over-year saw remarkable gains, up 22% annually. This jump in sales was partially attributable to a slow October last year, which saw the lowest activity for that month since 2011. A boost in sales was met by an increase in pricing, as average and median sale price both saw double-digit gains year-over-year, due to 40% more sales over $1M versus last year. Average price per square foot increased 7% as compared to last year, with every bedroom type experiencing a boost in pricing. Similar to condos, days on market fell for co-ops, falling to 86 days, a decrease of 9%. This decrease in days on market was met by an average discount of only .6%, making October only the third month to see discounts less than 1% in the last two years. Co-op inventory was nearly level with last month, but saw a more insignificant rise of 12% compared to last year, as listed inventory remained over 3,000.

Manhattan Total Listings

 Manhattan total inventory continued to rise in October, marking the 21st consecutive month of annual gains in inventory. However, inventory did fall 1% over the last month, typical of seasonality, but less of a drop than is usual. The growth in co-op inventory outpaced the growth in condo inventory, leading to a drop in condo listings as a percentage of overall inventory to just 52.3%, it’s lowest proportion in over a year. Townhouses saw their sixth consecutive month of annual decreases, at 389 listed townhouses on the market.

Days on Market by Price Point 

October saw just 8% of sales take place below $500K, the lowest figure since May 2016. Furthermore, only 41% of units sold under $1M in October, the lowest that figure has been since January 2016. October marked a very unusual month for sales in this price range, as a large boost in co-op sales, traditionally more affordable than condos, failed to boost the proportion of sales made under $1M. The difference can be attributed partially to a drop in sales in Upper Manhattan, where only 6% of sales occurred this October, compared to 11% a year ago. Meanwhile, sales made in excess of $5M continue to lag behind their highs of over 10% seen in 2015 and early 2016, and so far in 2017 maintained a proportion of sales of around 5 to 8%, reaching 6% in October, level with a year ago.


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

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