The Big Move

30 March, 2009 posted by: Simon T Anderson

After reading yesterday’s New York Times article about smiling renters I decided to use a fun (not necessarily reliable) web tool called Rentometer. The results for my apartment in zip code 10013 indicated that, “Your apartment is reasonable for your area. About 34% of listings are lower priced.” Great.

Now, if I follow the lead of a number of subjects in the article and explore the possibilities of moving to Brooklyn and choose zip code 11201 for the same price, I get, “Your apartment is reasonable for your area. About 56% of listings are lower priced.” Even better.

The tangible and intangible benefits of paying less or the same amount for commensurate space are fairly easy to calculate. So what will I get more of? Longer crowded commutes and that easygoing Brooklyn state of mind. What will I get less of? Choices in restaurants and other neighborhood amenities and parking rates. For now, the decision is in the balance.

Please keep a weekend open to help me move, just in case.



Questions for George

26 March, 2009 posted by: Shaun Osher

In June 2008 I was walking down Fifth Avenue and saw George Soros’ new book “The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and what it means.” I bought the book, read it, and thought to myself “whew, let’s hope this guy is wrong”. Unfortunately, he was right on the money, and the global financial and housing crisis is almost exactly as he predicted. The video above from 2006 further validates his foresight. He has been politically outspoken and has provoked some passionate rhetoric from the left and the right. Love him or hate him, one can’t argue with his success and foresight.He is one of the few billionaires (estimated above $9 billion) who’s net worth is growing, not shrinking. I would love to know a few things from him. Namely…….

1) What do you think of the stimulus plan?
2) Can you explain to me why Czech prime minister Mirek Topolaneka calls the plan a “way to hell” that will “undermine the stability of the global financial market”?
3) What is your outlook for the housing market in the next 12 months?
4) When will we hit bottom (if we haven’t already)?

I’m hoping to see a new book from him soon that will answer some of these questions, and more. I’ll certainly be paying attention!


Birds of a Feather…

24 March, 2009 posted by: Simon T Anderson

So I sign up for Twitter. I figure I will be able to read the newspaper, buy an apartment and hang out with 50 Cent in my spare time. Just when I thought things were going well, I get a message that says, “Too many tweets!“.

I guess when everyone absolutely must know what you are doing at that very moment things get a little hectic. Now you know what I am doing and maybe I will try again tomorrow!



It is Easy Being Green

23 March, 2009 posted by: Simon T Anderson

I am not sure of the practicality of diving in headfirst to the effort to commit to “green” practices in most New York City buildings by installing solar panels or wind turbines but I do strongly advocate taking some small steps to implement some practices that reduce our carbon footprint and enhance quality of life either by consuming less or becoming more aware of the effects our daily habits have on our immediate and global environment.

One resource that takes a very practical viewpoint in this direction is The Toeprint Project. I hope we can all learn a few tips on how to better ourselves and the world through some of the simple ideas espoused on this site. Here’s to a greener spring for all.


The Ultimate Housewarming

20 March, 2009 posted by: Emily Beare

Colin and I began our search for the perfect home more than two years ago. Each home Colin has had in New York City was very special (after Colin gave it his extraordinary touch). But the time had come for Colin to completely design his own home from scratch.

CORE Group Marketing was hired to market The Emory, a ground up boutique building in the Flatiron District. Colin purchased the top two floors with a 1,400 SF roof terrace and was able to build his dream home. No detail has gone unnoticed, from the stunning glass box entrance with sliding doors and walls allowing for an intimate arrival or a grand entrance, to the kitchen with everything a gourmet chef and uber-entertainer would need including a cleverly divided “wet” area where all the prep work takes place and a “dry” area storing glasses and dishes designed by Colin himself.  The living room, dining room and bedrooms all have accents of dramatic ebony wood paneling. The roof terrace has a full kitchen including a dumbwaiter fully complemented by Colin Cowie-designed outdoor furniture.

The past two years have been a wonderful experience watching this white box transformed into the ultimate jewel.



Now is the Time to Remember

19 March, 2009 posted by: Simon T Anderson

Jonathan Miller asks us to “forget 2008 and especially 2007”, in his Three Cents Worth report issued today but I think there is valuable information to be gleaned from evaluating trends within these two previous years and a number of others preceding them.

While no one denies the impact recent disasters in the financial markets have had on overall sales volume for Manhattan and the rest of the country, it is interesting to note that in the years we are supposed to forget there were highs and lows of quite an extreme nature within each year. Between Q2 2007 and Q4 we see a difference of $1.65B between a high of $5.25B and $3.6B. 2008 shows similar fluctuations between Q2 and Q4 with $5.1B and $3.4B respectively.

I am not the type of prognosticator willing to say that Q1 2009 will see a rebound sending us towards the catastrophic heights seen in previous years, but I am willing to realistically consider the possibility that Q2 2009 will see a marked difference from our current condition. Hey, if Q4 saw an increase following the attacks of 11 September 2001, I am willing to forgive but not forget.



Swinging for the Rental Fence

18 March, 2009 posted by: Simon T Anderson

Alex Rodriguez may have his own reasons for living at 15 Central Park West, but plenty of other well-heeled New Yorkers are choosing to rent high-profile properties for top dollar. Hesitancy in the ultra-luxury buying pool has buoyed the market for rental properties priced over $20,000 per month. Currently there are over 230 listings priced above $20,000 throughout Manhattan, with the priciest being a townhouse on East 64th Street asking $85,000. It remains to be seen if all of these trophies are fetching the asking rents but over 30 transactions with rents of more than $20,000 per month have taken place in 2009 already. The prize goes to a penthouse on Houston Street with a monthly nut of $75,000. This variety in location and steep rents clearly demonstrates that those with disposable income are seeking special properties without the risk of purchasing in this market.



February Core Real Time Report Released

09 March, 2009 posted by: Simon T Anderson

February is always a pivotal month because of Wall Street bonuses. The expectation this year is that weakness in the financial sector will lead to a continued destabilized real estate market. Click here to read the report.

February saw a large increase in deal activity, especially in the one bedroom market with 123 new contracts signed. This is still an historically bleak number year to date, but a great improvement over the past three months. Contract prices continued to trend downwards in the one, two and three bedroom markets, but the luxury 5/6 bedroom segment of the market showed improvement in the number of contracts signed as well as a 54% increase in contract signed price from January. The greater volume of absorption this month is a direct result of lowered unit prices.

With the overall number of transactions remaining nominal, the market remains in a state of uncertainty and pause.


Eastside Story

05 March, 2009 posted by: Mark Lynch

Who says dreams don’t come true? When I first began tramping around the Lower East Side in search of the perfect dive bar, I always looked upon it as a playground; a place to drive to in my 1962 “Three on the Tree” Rambler Wagon from my home on Staten Island, not a place I’d wind up living, even though everything about the neighborhood piqued my interest: so funky, so diverse, such a time capsule of a New York rapidly vanishing and evolving, the people, the places, the vestiges of the immigrants who settled here at the turn of the 20th century! Wistfully, I’d imagine a day I would be living on the lower east side the same way, I suppose, Chekhov’s Three Sisters imagined getting to Moscow. But unlike Olga, Masha, and Irina, my journey took place. Read all about it!




Across the River to Greener Pastures

03 March, 2009 posted by: Doug Bowen

Safe to say that Brooklyn is Hot! The Boom Borough, as it is affectionately called, has experienced many noteworthy advances over the last decade. Brooklyn’s green spaces are part of its allure. This series will focus on the development and design, continued maintenance, and history of green space, both existing and proposed, in the borough of Brooklyn, with a focus on the western shore from Greenpoint to Redhook.

Green space, especially in the form of parks and nature preserves, are integral parts of every American city. By offering opportunities for recreation, reflection, and relaxation, parks improve community health and increase property values. They provide habitat for numerous species of animals and plants, and cool city air through transpiration and evaporation.  Brooklyn’s green spaces includes famous parks such as Olmstead and Vaux’s jewel, Prospect Park,  which while perhaps not quite as famous as it’s big brother Central Park,  is arguably a finer park. Read the rest of this entry »

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