News

Steepest, cheapest listings to hit Manhattan this week

The Real DealOctober 31, 2014

Emily Beare and Elizabeth Beare from CORE had the week’s priciest listing with a $34.5 million unit at 1040 Fifth Avenue. Related CEO Jeff Blau relisted his palatial 10-room apartment, which includes three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms. Blau paid $21.4 million for the apartment in 2008 and gut renovated it. Amenities for the unit on the 14th floor of the Rosario Candela-designed landmarked building include a doorman, an elevator operator and a storage room. The apartment includes a wood-burning fireplace, original herringbone floors and a planting terrace.

 

The week’s second priciest listing was a $30 million condo at One57 at 157 West 57th Street. Douglas Elliman’s Janice Chang and Timothy Hsu had the listing. The 56th-floor apartment spans 3,228 square feet and has three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms. Costs come down to $9,293 per square foot. Christian de Portzampar designed Extell Development’s iconic tower. Earlier this week, Extell unveiled a new model unit in the tower.

 

The week’s third priciest listing was $19.9 million, or $4,278 per square foot, full-floor unit at the Ian Bruce Eichner-developed 45 East 22nd Street. The 55th-floor four-bedroom apartment is being listed by the 45 East 22nd Street Sales Gallery. The unit will be 4,651 square feet and includes four-and-a-half bathrooms. The Flatiron building is slated for completion in 2016.

 

Corcoran’s Karen Shenker had the week’s cheapest listing with a $189,000 three-bedroom apartment at 523 West 143rd Street. The Hamilton Heights unit includes one-and-a-half bathrooms and is 1,100 square feet. A total gut renovation is needed for this apartment in a pre-war elevator building, according to the listing.

 

Rapid Realty’s Jennifer Jones had the weeks’ second cheapest listing with a two-bedroom co-op at 1777 Madison Avenue in East Harlem for $195,000. Units 5A and 5D can be joined together as a two-bedroom, or serve as two adjoining studios, according to the listing.

  

The third cheapest listing this week was a one bedroom-, one bathroom-apartment at 552 Riverside Drive for $220,000. The 310-square-foot unit is being listed by its owner. The listing calls it “the cheapest one-bedroom in Manhattan.” The unit has hardwood floors and new appliances. Amenities include a roof deck, a community room, a bike room and a gym, among other things.

Short and Sweet

The New York TimesOctober 31, 2014

One-block-long streets are, and have always been, the manifestation of a theory that seems almost heretical for New York City: Bigger is not better, smaller is. The traditional single-block residential street offers less of everything — noise, traffic, neighbors, garbage and parking spots.

 

For that matter, many one-block wonders don’t have sidewalks, either. Just think of them as the introverts of the urban street grid. Hustle and bustle are absent. Charm is paramount. Yet they are bona fide public streets, as opposed to pedestrian-only mews or gated enclaves.

 

These mini-streets, some of them famous (like Jones Street, immortalized on a Bob Dylan album cover), some of them unsung (like sleepy Orient Avenue in Williamsburg), and many of them one-way (an implicit traffic deterrent), are not enjoying a renaissance or resurgence in popularity. They have never lost their audience. The appeal of their limited-edition exclusivity and self-generated hush is undiminished even in this era of vertical glass Goliaths with infinite amenities. Single-block streets are in short supply, and the housing stock, often carriage houses and brownstones, that occupies them tends to be both expensive and difficult to come by.

 

“If you’re looking to rent an apartment on one of those charming one-block streets in the West Village, believe me there is no haggling over the price, not even by pennies,” said Scott Sobol, a salesman at Urban Compass. “The landlords realize they’re holding on to a treasure. It’s like they tack on a $400 premium on top of the usual Village premium.”

 

Taking actual ownership of a piece of property on one of these rare single-block streets is even more difficult. Bidding wars over circa 19th-century Bedford-Stuyvesant brownstones have become the rule and not the exception. For example, No. 7 Arlington Place, on the market for just two days in 2013, according to the buyer, attracted a dozen bids and sold for $400,000 above its $1.3 million list price.

 

The winning bidder, Liz Mandarano, a fourth-generation Brooklynite, was seduced by the time-capsule essence of Arlington Place before she’d even toured the 1887 brownstone she is now restoring and, with partners, turning into an upscale bed-and-breakfast with just three guest suites. It won’t open until next summer but its name has already been chosen: Arlington Place, Bed-Stuy & Breakfast.

 

“I had never heard of Arlington Place, but there was something about the street that felt magical and unique,” Ms. Mandarano said. “It’s a fascinating, intimate street and just incredibly beautiful, with Queen Anne-style homes on one side and Renaissance Revival brownstones on the other. And it’s quiet. You don’t drive down this street unless you know it, and even though Fulton Street is just a half block away, you don’t see it because there’s a bend in the road.”

 

Zachary Stackell and Josh Doyle of the Corcoran Group spent six months scouring Brooklyn for a suitable investment property for Ms. Mandarano, a lawyer with Bikel & Mandarano, a matrimonial firm.

 

“We ran the gamut from empty warehouses in Williamsburg to townhouses in Clinton Hill,” Mr. Stackell said. “And then Liz began to be caught up in the idea of buying a historic home on a street that was not a conduit to anyplace else, was not an avenue or a number street. When I heard about Arlington, we jumped on it. Just walking down the street and seeing all the trees, she loved it.”

 

The house, one of four on the street by the architect George P. Chappell, turns out to have been a bit of a movie star: Spike Lee featured it as the family home in his film Crooklyn.” Although her original intention was to buy a property and convert it to a four-unit rental, Ms. Mandarano redefined her mission once she came upon 7 Arlington Place. “There was no way I could chop that brownstone into four apartments,” she said. “I felt a need to honor and respect the history of the street. I’m vested here. This is no flip.”

 

Developers have, inevitably, noticed the cachet inherent in one-block streets and are swooping in on streets not previously known for their residential attributes and rebranding them as desirable destinations. A prime example of this re-identification syndrome is happening in Manhattan on Renwick Street in the recently rezoned Hudson Square area downtown. Once a gritty, industrial afterthought between Canal and Spring Streets, it has become condominium catnip for several canny developers, including IGI-USA and Related.

 

At 15 Renwick, IGI-USA, the Manhattan arm of Izaki Group Investments of Israel, is erecting an 11-story, 31-unit property. Designed by ODA, the project includes four penthouse duplexes and three triplex townhouses.

 

The bold marketing plan, winking at the young titans of Wall Street it envisions as buyers, celebrates “the insider nature of the single-block street” and encircles the complex with a fictitious moat in renderings at its sales office. The ulterior message: Insularity has its privileges.

 

The price points range from around $2 million (for a two-bedroom apartment) to $10 million (for the largest penthouse), but all residents of the complex will be able to enjoy a Zen garden and a gym with a boxing facility. The anticipated completion date is fall 2015.

 

Eldad Blaustein, the chief executive of IGI-USA, described the transformation of Renwick as “a vision for the future that is unique in New York City because it’s almost like a secret street. Whoever comes to Renwick either lives on Renwick or is lost,” he said.

 

“This is not going to be a view building,” he added, “but it’s going to be like living in a private club on your very own street. You can be secluded here, but SoHo, TriBeCa and Greenwich Village are steps away.”

 

In TriBeCa, HFZ Capital Group is revamping a 1910 office building at 11 Beach Street into a 27-unit luxury condominium that incorporates terra-cotta embellishments and an internal origami glass pyramid as key architectural motifs. The loft-style interiors are by Thomas Juul-Hansen and the re-envisioned exterior by BKSK Architects. The prices begin at $4.5 million and one of the project’s three townhouses has already sold for $10 million. (Each townhouse has its own private spa and pool.)

 

According to Christophe Lagrange, the director of acquisitions for HFZ, the panache of a one-block location drove the project. “In terms of location, building on a single block makes sense,” he said, “because you have a finite amount of space, and that allows you to offer something more exclusive, but in an intimate setting. We were never talking about taking the existing building down and putting up something shiny and glassy. I think we’re enhancing the character of the street and providing a positive face-lift.”

 

In Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, Brennan Real Estate has transformed an eyesore of a parking lot on Strong Place into three contextually appropriate brick-above-brownstone townhouses, two of which are spoken for. The largest of them, 2 Strong Place, a corner townhouse with a detached carriage-house-style garage, just entered the market at $7.5 million.

 

In Brooklyn Heights, a portion of Monroe Place is morphing into mansion row courtesy of the Kushner Companies, which acquired six unremarkable apartment buildings there from Brooklyn Law School for $36.5 million. Kushner recently listed 38 Monroe Place for $13 million and 27 Monroe for $16 million.

 

Where zoning makes it possible and the Landmarks Preservation Commission endorses it, various reinterpretations and reincarnations of one-block streets are underway, but even the most sophisticated projects are still trading on the traditional charm and drawing power inherent in the notion of an address on a single-block street. Reinventing a classic requires a certain restraint and site sensitivity: Quaintness and intimacy are the desired templates, not height and heft.

 

Donald Brennan, the developer of three new townhouses on Strong Place, a one-way street bookended by DeGraw and Kane Streets, said previous plans for a condo development on the parking lot had not been warmly received by the neighbors. “I reached out to make sure the community’s expectations did not clash with mine,” he said. “The block is all residential, and townhouses seemed to be the right fit. To me, small streets like this are reminiscent of a time when there was less congestion in the city, and they definitely provide a gentler environment than a typical through street. Strong Place is not by any means suburban, but it is perceived as quiet and safe.”

 

Barbara Wilding, a saleswoman with Brennan Realty Services, which is marketing the Strong Place properties, lives in a 150-year-old carriage house on Hunts Lane, a single-block, dead-end street in Brooklyn Heights. She and her husband bought it 12 years ago and gut-renovated it five years ago. (The renovation process proved so educational that she left a career in finance and switched to real estate.)

 

There are just five houses on her side of the street, Ms. Wilding said, and no sidewalks or traffic. “It’s a throwback street, very sentimental and romantic. Our kids ride their bikes and play soccer on the street. It’s like stepping into another world. But you can always walk down to Henry Street and hail a cab and return to reality.”

 

The street is popular with filmmakers, she said. “Last year I opened my front door and there was Colin Farrell, 10 feet away, sitting on a big white horse.”

 

Mr. Sobol, the salesman with Urban Compass, recently recommended a fifth-floor rental apartment on Gay Street in the West Village to his client Hallie Johnston. She had spent the past five years living in London and was nostalgic for the Notting Hill vibe she’d left behind.

 

“I didn’t know about Gay Street before I moved,” said Ms. Johnston, a vice president at Momentum Worldwide, a sports and entertainment marketing agency. “But I instantly fell in love with the quirky street, the architecture and the people who live there. I was looking for apartments that had exposed brick, crown molding and a sense of history and character.”

 

Ms. Johnston doesn’t mind the fact that Gay Street’s reputation for charm and historic ambience is hardly a secret. “It does get quite lively with tourists and photo shoots, but I think that adds to the character of it,” she said. “I love seeing tourists take ‘a quintessential New York West Village’ photo on the street, and I feel grateful to live there.”

 

Fhay Arceo and her boyfriend, Daniel Pettrow, felt the same way after finding a one-bedroom, $2,600-a-month top-floor rental on Orient Avenue in Williamsburg, which Ms. Arceo, a video producer for Pandora, described in an email as “a street no one has ever heard about.”

 

“In a city where most covet the traditional brownstone block, this neighborhood feels so much like a street out of a 1950s TV show,” she said, “but while our street has a small-town feel, we’re right off bustling Metropolitan Avenue, so we’re never far from city life when we crave it.”

 

The couple previously lived on what Mr. Pettrow, an actor and director, called “a very special street” in Harlem; after deciding to move to Williamsburg to be closer to friends, their quest was at a standstill until Mr. Pettrow noticed a freshly posted online ad for the apartment. “As soon as I saw the apartment, I loved it,” he said. “The street had an Old World charm and reminded me of a lot of places I’ve stayed in Europe. Very private, with views of trees and sky.”

 

Sandra Salander, the Town Real Estate saleswoman who listed the apartment, said Orient Avenue, a street composed mainly of three-family Victorians built in the late 1800s and often handed down like family heirlooms from generation to generation, is a one-block gem that’s not for everyone.

 

“It’s like a sanctuary,” she said, “and it feels like everything else in Williamsburg is evolving except here. You either don’t get it or completely fall in love with it.”

 

Uptown on the Far East Side sits one of the most invisible single-block streets in Manhattan, Mitchell Place, a one-way, one-sided sliver between First Avenue and Beekman Place that runs parallel to but levitates a few stories higher than East 49th Street just north of the United Nations.

 

The painter Henri Matisse was a frequent visitor to the charming roof deck at 10 Mitchell Place, a.k.a. Stewart Hall. There, a framed 1930 photograph in the 1928 co-op’s equally charming lobby, which has a large fireplace, shows him resting on a canvas deck chair, pondering the East River views. The co-op emanates an antiquated Left Bank sensibility.

 

 “One of the attractions is that Mitchell Place is a relatively unknown street,” said Deborah Ribner, a saleswoman for Warburg Realty. “But people who know the building tend to stay and wait for that perfect unit to show up.” Ms. Ribner represents No. 9B, a renovated one-bedroom apartment priced at $698,000.

 

“The building is run like a tight ship,” she added. “The service is impeccable in an old-fashioned way. They deliver your mail right to your door, and if you need wood for your fireplace, the shop on the corner delivers it. It’s quaint and elegant and one of a kind.”

 

Just like the street it inhabits.

15 Renwick launches sales with costume party: PHOTOS

The Real DealOctober 31, 2014

Funky fashions and classic characters were on hand for the launch of 15 Renwick Street, hosted at the building’s sales center at 505 Greenwich Street.

 

The IGI-USA-developed building features 31 condos, including three adjoining townhouse units and four duplex penthouses, which are priced between $7.85 million and $10.5 million. Prices for two- and three-bedroom units range from about $2 million to $5 million, with townhouses starting at $3.9 million.

 

The project, which is being marketed by CORE, took some time to get off the ground following a stall in work during the recession and a change of hands. 

On the Market in New York City

The New York TimesOctober 31, 2014

Click on the slide show to see this week’s featured properties in New York City:

 

• In Greenwich Village, a two-bedroom one-and-a-half-bath with a gas fireplace and a foyer that fits a dining table in a full-service, prewar building.

 

• In Alphabet City, a one-bedroom one-and-a-half bath with a home office in an elevator building with a laundry room.

 

• In East Williamsburg, a one-bedroom one-bath condo with a large terrace, a washer/dryer, central air and a deeded parking space, in a 30-unit building.

Related Companies’ Blau Relists in New York for $34.5 Million

The Wall Street JournalOctober 30, 2014

Related Companies CEO Jeff Blau is putting his money where his mouth is. One week after Related announced that it had acquired a stake in the boutique real-estate brokerage CORE, Mr. Blau is listing his Fifth Avenue apartment for $34.5 million with CORE agents—the mother-daughter team Emily and Elizabeth Beare.

 

Located in the Rosario Candela -designed co-op 1040 Fifth Avenue, the 10-room apartment first went on the market with the Corcoran Group for $43 million in January. It was then reduced to $38 million and was subsequently taken off the market in June.

 

Mr. Blau purchased the apartment in 2008 for $21.42 million, according to public records. He and his wife Lisa spent about three years gut-renovating it, Emily Beare said. Mr. Blau said he is moving because he has a growing family. He said he plans to stay in the neighborhood for now but will eventually move to Hudson Yards, where Related is developing a 28-acre project.

 

With views of Central Park, the apartment is currently configured as three bedrooms, with a media room and staff quarters as well as 4½ bathrooms, Emily Beare said. The prewar apartment has a wood-burning fireplace, and there is a terrace off the master bedroom.

 

 

CORE and Related, which owns and manages some $20 billion worth of real estate across the country, announced the acquisition last week. CORE will remain a separate company and maintain its three offices.

The Best Real Estate Website Design: 24 Examples

PlacesterOctober 29, 2014

Real estate website design has become increasingly sophisticated as marketers find innovative ways to grab the attention of viewers and communicate effectively online. From bold graphics to unique navigational schemes, real estate website designers are constantly devising new ways to take advantage of the web’s interactive possibilities.

We’ve compiled a list of twenty-four sites that represent the best of what’s new in real estate website design.  Even if you aren’t a web designer, or an agent looking to create a new real estate website, the “curb appeal” of these designs make them worth a look.

 

Scot Karp, Premier Estate Properties

 

From top to bottom, Karp’s real estate website design is nearly flawless. It features all of the core components needed to supply site visitors with the information they want, whether they’re just doing research or are interested in specific listings: social sharing buttons at the very top of the page, a prominent real estate search bar above the fold (the portion of a web page that’s visible without having to scroll), appealing neighborhood and listing photos, and plenty of copy detailing Karp’s value proposition and his market.

 

Houlihan Lawrence

 

As one would expect looking at a real estate website from a Christie’s International Real Estate brokerage, Houlihan Lawrence’s is impeccable. No muss, no fuss: Just the basics featured in an elegant, clean layout. The scrolling slideshow below the navigation bar allows visitors to scroll through one beautiful property after another, while the “Featured Community” section beneath it offers visitors a glimpse into one of the niche markets the firm serves, including housing data for that particular area. All in all, an exemplary website design.

 

Ginger Martin and Co.

 

In the same vein as Houlihan Lawrence, the real estate website design for California-based Ginger Martin and Co., a Sotheby’s International Realty brokerage, is simple yet effective. Whether you want to investigate properties in and around Napa and Sonoma Valley, get info on the firm’s buying and selling value, or check out some of the company’s informative real estate blog posts, you can easily find each resource.

 

Slifer Smith and Frampton Real Estate

 

Crisp and concise perfectly describe the homepage for Slifer Smith and Frampton Real Estate’s website. All of the essential search tools are above the fold — along with appealing imagery of the Vail Valley, Colorado area. Additionally, real estate website visitors can access other vital resources to aid their buying and selling experiences, including a local housing market analysis, information on moving services, real estate videos detailing the local lifestyle, and a property alert sign-up. The map at the bottom of the page showing where the agency’s offices are located statewide is especially a nice touch. You won’t find many better real estate website designs than this.

 

EWM Realty International

 

Full-bleed images as part of a real estate website design is a relatively new fad among industry pros. These photos provide a sleek aesthetic for websites and can captivate visitors (assuming the full-bleed image is an attractive one, like a listing photo of a luxury property). EWM takes advantage of this website trend with a slideshow featuring some amazing interiors and exteriors of its listings and its microsite “Lifestyle of South Florida” magazine. Below the fold are all of the other important facets real estate websites need to thrive: open house info, social sharing buttons, blog post links, and other unique real estate marketing collateral for users to consume.

 

CORE NYC

 

Including lots of social proof on your real estate website is a guaranteed way to get visitors to stick around longer — something New York–based agency CORE knows well. Noting its designation as the top real estate brokerage in Manhattan in a big, bold font atop its homepage, the firm instantly instills trust in its audience. The symmetrical, easily navigable layout of the rest of the page is stunning. Scroll down and you see one dazzling feature after another. Moreover, the wealth of white space on the page works wonderfully for CORE’s design. (If you’re a fan of minimal layouts like this one, check out this post from web design education company Treehouse on how to use whitespace appropriately).

 

Edler Group

 

Another example of full-bleed imagery used well comes from Edler Group. In addition to showcasing its premier listings up top, the firm makes sure to provide numerous others along with the specific neighborhoods and communities where those listings are available — in other words, everything a prospective buyer needs to conduct thorough research of the local market. Despite the ample examples of homes for sale, the real estate website design isn’t bogged down or overcrowded.

 

The Goodhart Group

 

Showing off your listings is clearly a prime avenue to take with your real estate website design, but exhibiting the agents selling and buyers purchasing those listings can be powerful as well. For instance, The Goodhart Group displays its hard-working agents and those purchasing the residences it represents — another valuable form of social proof. Aside from that, everything on the homepage is evenly spaced and clearly identifiable, making the site a great one in terms of user interface and experience, both of which are very important.

 

The Force Realty

 

To get the best real estate website design, you need to get with the times. The Force Realty understands this, as it has an HTML5 real estate website. This is a type of markup language for websites that allows for unique graphics and designs (and of equal importance, Google appears to be a fan of HTML5 sites). It may seem like a small thing to have graphical elements like those on this firm’s real estate website, but they can help create a strong UX that improves your visitors’ time on site and capture leads effectively. (If you want to see more examples of HTML5 sites, take a look at this post from Creative Bloq.)

 

The Jills

 

Yet another example of agents using whitespace wisely. Hetzberg and Eber have one of the foremost easy-on-the-eyes real estate websites out there today. Three other notable qualities that make it stand out from the pack are its comprehensive search function positioned right in the middle of the homepage, The Jills’ detailed agent bios, and the numerous widgets along the right side of the page that link to their core pages — press mentions, their blog, local retail info, luxury rental details, and much more. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the broker duo are branding experts and clearly know how to make the most of their real estate website design.

 

DeLeon Realty

 

Short or small doesn’t mean substandard. Take DeLeon Realty’s homepage, for example: It may not include every last business detail or a plethora of listings, but it’s still a very efficient (and search-optimized) real estate website design. The logo and navigation atop the homepage are clearly laid out. The featured listing pops off the page, while the featured neighborhood and promotional video off to the right stand out as well. And the social proof below helps reinforce the agency’s great publicity. The real estate website homepage is minimalism at its finest.

 

Central Park Real Estate

 

Though it’s debatable if this website is the most SEO-friendly one, it’s undoubtedly a nifty real estate website design. The intent for appeal is clearly the upper-echelon buyers of Manhattan, meaning the firm’s website needs to attract that high-end audience. This intuitive design is certainly an ideal way to do just that. Scroll over each building and you get the info on every unit available. The rest of CPRE’s webpages are equally impressive. Squat New York, the real estate website designers behind the firm’s site, did an immaculate job crafting a distinct UX for luxury shoppers in the Big Apple. (Just looking at it makes you want to learn how to design a real estate website, right?)

 

Amanda Howard Real Estate

 

On the other end of the spectrum of the aforementioned short real estate websites are longer ones, like this one from Amanda Howard Real Estate. The multiple photo views above the fold and substantial search bar make for a straightforward UX, while the new, popular, and featured listings give visitors plenty to peruse off the bat. Adding in vibrant imagery for the background only bolsters this already superbly constructed real estate website design.

 

Riskin Associates

 

This HTML5 wonder is the total package. Well-spaced images and text allow for clearly discernible branding and functional elements, like the video listings and “about us” pages at the bottom. Riskin’s real estate website design is one you never get bored looking at — definitely a quality every agent should aspire to achieve with their sites.

 

Nancy Batchelor Team

 

As is the case with every aspect of your business, organization is key, and that extends to your real estate website design. Notice the neatly organized block links near the bottom of Nancy Batchelor Team’s homepage: The photos for each link are very eye-catching. Add in the blog and listing block links below it, the featured listing at the top, and the exhaustive company info right in between, and you’ve got a well-balanced real estate website.

 

Sue Adler

 

A change of pace from sites we’ve already mentioned, but nonetheless an equally practical and successful real estate website design. This site from Sue Adler Team favors function over style. Having said that, it’s certainly a modern-looking real estate website and does the job — that is, it offer buyers all they need to perform thorough home searches and access all of the pertinent details about the firm’s business.

 

The Engel Group

 

The real estate blog, client testimonials, detailed search function, business background info, recently added listings — all of the real estate website essentials are prominently featured on The Engel Group’s site, thanks in large part to a stellar design. The agency closes the deal, so to speak, by using a soft color palette and professional-looking font style to create an appealing user experience.

 

The Lanier Property Group

 

Boutique firm The Lanier Property Group adds personal touches to its Placester-built real estate website, designating spots for its favorite listings and blog posts about the Wilmington community. Its clear-cut navigation bar along the top of the homepage, and multiple search fields and lead-capture forms, make the site one for other agents to mimic.

 

Carol McGraw

 

Visitors of Carol McGraw’s real estate website can find everything they need to know about the metro San Diego housing market in minutes by navigating the undemanding, simple layout. Though there isn’t a search feature on the homepage, that doesn’t mean buyers can’t locate homes for sale of interest — the core markets McGraw operates in are linked throughout the homepage, making it a cinch for buyers to pinpoint relevant properties.

 

Stribling & Associates

 

“Elegant” is the first word to come to mind when examining Stringling & Associate’s real estate website design — which means the company’s real estate marketing is right on target, given its core audience of luxury consumers. The agency’s New York City–based niche markets are represented well on the homepage, while the firm offers industry insights in an educational video and its live Twitter stream at the bottom of the page. Arguably the most impressive part of the site is the “about us” page, where the company tells its story in style.

 

Nest Realty

 

Brokerages with multiples offices in multiple locations often benefit from having a real estate website dedicated to explaining what each group of agents offers consumers. If this fits your brokerage’s description, you’re well off taking a page from Nest Realty’s book. Six hefty-sized images represent each of the company’s six locations, allowing buyers to identify which markets to research. Consider this real estate website design an ideal one to point consumers in the right direction.

 

Maximum Exposure Real Estate

 

Go big or go home: A philosophy Massachusetts Realtor Bill Gassett adopts for his real estate website design. His blog posts, market reports, listing links, and value prop (along with just about anything else you could ever want to know about his firm) take up the majority of the screen. No, there aren’t any flashy elements or a scrolling photo slideshow, but Gassett has what he needs to succeed on his site. Take one look at it and it’s evident he’s a highly engaged agent who cares about how visitors access his company info — and is determined to turn those visitors into real estate leads.

 

The Agency

 

It’s only fitting a real estate agency from Hollywood has one of the more cinematic-esque real estate websites. Aside from featuring photos of SoCal’s best homes for sale, the firm gets right to the point with what it wants visitors to achieve: signing up for its email newsletter, accessing its blog posts, and finding the right office and agent to fill their buying needs. As the saying goes, sometimes less is more, and that couldn’t be truer here.

 

Reilly Realtors

 

Showing off tech-savviness, relatability, and comprehensive listings and business information to consumers can go a long way in helping you secure more leads. Reilly Realtors hits the trifecta with its real estate website, the design of which is clean and effective. The white-and-orange aesthetic fits the firm’s branding, while showing off testimonials and the design’s responsive capabilities across the homepage, along with clickable agent photos that lead to each respective bio page. Overall, an all-star example of website design for real estate.

 

 

Creature Comforts, à la Carte

The New York TimesOctober 24, 2014

The uninitiated buyer could be forgiven for thinking that an apartment with a price tag of $10 million, $20 million or much more comes fully loaded with amenities. But as prices for ultraluxury condos in Manhattan continue to climb, practically every extra inch in these fancy new buildings — be it in storage units in the basement or in staff quarters on a separate floor — is being sold à la carte for extraordinary sums.

 

Wire-mesh storage cages in the basement of 18 Gramercy Park, where a $42 million duplex penthouse closed last year, are going for $75,000, or $2,143 per square foot, for a 35-square-foot space. Private wine cellars range from $98,500 for 900 bottles to $215,000 for 1,700 bottles at 135 East 79th Street, an Upper East Side prewar revival where an apartment recently went into contract for $26.5 million. Twenty-five staff suites, commonly referred to as “maid’s rooms,” are selling for between $1.53 and $2.875 million at 432 Park Avenue, where a penthouse is in contract for $95 million. And then there are the underground parking spots at 42 Crosby Street in SoHo with price tags of $1 million apiece.

 

After all, this is Manhattan, where personal space — be it a place to park your Porsche, a spare room for your visiting in-laws or a spot to store your growing handbag collection — is the rarest of commodities. “It’s basic Economics 101,” said Izak Senbahar, the president of the Alexico Group, a co-developer of 56 Leonard, a 145-unit TriBeCa tower where nearly all of the 28 parking spots are in contract for $500,000 each and storage is selling for between $72,000 for a 36-square-foot space and $300,000 for a combination storage unit measuring 211 square feet. “These are valuable amenities, and demand is surpassing supply.”

 

Consider for a moment that start-ups like MakeSpace charge roughly $220 a month for 36 square feet of space at an offsite warehouse. And that they will pick up those golf clubs, the summer wardrobe and other off-season belongings from your apartment. Besides, there are plenty of other storage places that will gladly house the bulky items that won’t fit in your closet. But if you are buying a multimillion-dollar pad in a top luxury condo you are likely to choose one of two options: You can buy a larger apartment, said Mr. Senbahar, “or you’re going to go down to the cellar and get equal space in a private storage room at half the price.” Joking, he added, “I personally would rather do the latter to store my fur coat for the summer.” Some space, he said, “doesn’t need views.”

 

Space with no views at the Sterling Mason, a 33-unit condominium at 71 Laight Street in TriBeCa with 24 such areas, costs between $30,000 for a 28-square-foot storage unit (or $1,071 a square foot) to $55,000 for 94 square feet ($585 a square foot). The building’s 12 parking spots — nine of which are now spoken for — cost $275,000 apiece. Uptown at 520 Park Avenue, a 54-story luxury condo tower being built by Zeckendorf Development and its partners Park Sixty and Global Holdings, which recently made headlines for a penthouse triplex priced at $130 million, there are plans for 15 storage units ranging from $55,000 to $95,000 for the 31 apartments. Ten wine cellars will be offered for $125,000 to $275,000.

 

 “Storage is no longer an afterthought,” said Elizabeth Unger, a senior sales director at the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, which is marketing 56 Leonard and several other uber-luxury condos. “It’s as thought-out as designing a lobby.” And with many owners requesting storage space, parking spots and other extras, she added, “it’s also an income producer.”

 

Buyers at 56 Leonard who pay $72,000 for a storage cage will not actually own it, however. As in many new buildings with subterranean space, they are buying long-term licenses for their storage units and parking spots, entitling them to use the space as long as they are residents of the building and requiring that it be sold in the event of a move. In addition to the license fee for the storage area, there is a $19-per-month charge that goes toward utilities and payroll for cleaning and maintenance.

 

Not all that long ago, a visit to a storage bin in a stately co-op building might have involved negotiating a labyrinth with a flashlight and tripping over someone else’s chair. While today’s storage areas may be more organized, they are not much of an upgrade, mostly consisting of wire-mesh cages that come with electricity. Maid’s rooms are essentially glorified studio apartments. And parking spots are, well, parking spots.

 

But in today’s market, where land prices remain high, developers are compelled to find creative ways to justify the cost of a building. “You buy a site for top dollar and you have one chance to make your return,” said Jonathan J. Miller, the president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel. One way to maximize the return, he said, is to “leverage all the assets you have that can be made into amenities that people want.” In other words, he said, “sell everything that’s not tied down.”

 

And in Manhattan, where luxury condominiums have been commanding stratospheric sums, the add-ons are priced in relation to the apartments alongside which they are being sold. “These amenities are essentially proportional in value to the building they’re located in,” said Mr. Miller. With the starting price of $72,000 for the 36-square-foot storage unit at 56 Leonard, for example, the price per square foot comes to $2,000. “That kind of makes sense,” Mr. Miller said, when you consider the apartments there have been selling for as much as $4,000 a square foot.

 

Besides, he added, “What’s $72,000 on a $50 million sale? It’s a rounding error.”

 

And it isn’t just new condos that are getting high prices for amenities. Brokers say the costs of storage and other add-ons have also been going up with high-end co-op resales, although the trend is harder to pinpoint since extras are often wrapped into the overall sales price when these apartments change hands.

 

“The days of picking up these extra spaces at prices that could be justified easily are over,” said Kathryn Steinberg, an associate broker at the Edward Lee Cave division of Brown Harris Stevens. Paying $250,000 or more for a staff room in a stately Fifth Avenue or Park Avenue co-op “would not be unusual,” she said, noting that buyers use them for everything from guest rooms to “man caves” to personal gyms. “They’ve become, in a way, another luxury toy.”

 

Resales of condo extras have also been going up. Last September, a staff unit on the seventh floor of 15 Central Park West sold for $4 million, up from $1.8 million in 2011 and slightly above $1 million in 2008. In 2011, two ground-floor units in the building, designed as detached home offices, sold for a combined $3.56 million. Earlier this year, the same combination unit was sold again, this time for $7.15 million.

 

In new condominiums, developers often put the expensive condo accessories up for sale slowly, raising prices as more are sold. “They increase in value as we run out of them,” said Melissa Ziweslin, a managing director at Corcoran Sunshine. Sometimes these extra spaces are offered only to buyers of the largest, most expensive apartments, she added. “They’re really deepening their investment in a building they really believe in.”

 

At 432 Park Avenue, demand was so high for staff suites, which are essentially studios located on the 28th and 29th floors, that the developers, CIM Group and Macklowe Properties, are considering adding more to the building, which recently topped out as the tallest condo in the city. At 30 Park Place, Four Seasons Private Residences New York Downtown, so-called “accessory suites” (better known as “maid’s rooms”) start at $1.2 million. There are 11 in all for the 157-unit building. Seven staff units planned for 520 Park Avenue will be called “guest suites” and will be offered for $1.45 million to $1.57 million.

 

One of the few new buildings to offer enough extras, at least in parking, for every apartment is 50 United Nations Plaza, an 88-unit condo designed by Foster and Partners for Zeckendorf Development with Global Holdings. Parking licenses cost $150,000 apiece, plus a monthly fee of $295. The building is also offering 17 wine storage units starting at $50,000 for 24 square feet and 50 storage units starting at $45,000 for 50 square feet.

 

Not every luxury condo is selling these extra spaces separately. At Alchemy Properties’ 35XV at 35 West 15th Street, for example, where available apartments are priced from $3.95 million to $12.65 million, each of the building’s 54 residences comes with a wine cabinet that can accommodate 69 to 300 bottles, depending on the size of the apartment purchased.

 

Brokers encourage clients to buy extras when they have the chance, even if they don’t expect to use them.

 

“If they don’t buy storage or a maid’s room at the beginning they may lose the opportunity,” said Melanie Lazenby, a top associate broker at Douglas Elliman. “It may be 10 years before another will come on the market.”

 

On the other hand, she said, “if you are one of the few people holding one of these coveted extra parts of the building, it’s kind of buying yourself an option. If you find you don’t use it, you can resell it or rent it out even before you move.” And when it comes time to sell, she added, “it makes your apartment more attractive if you are going up against another apartment without one. It can sweeten the deal.”

 

 

On the Market: Bronx B&N Bookstore Spared; What Would Happen Without Rent Regulation?

New York ObserverOctober 24, 2014

There will probably be a lot of bad news in the coming days now that Ebola has hit New York, but at least not everything is bad: Barnes and Noble has reversed its decision to close its Bronx store, according to The New York Times, after what the newspaper described as a frenzied campaign to save the borough’s only full service bookstore. Landlord Prestige Properties has agreed not to raise the rent, as had been stipulated in the lease, for the next two years.

 

Meanwhile, in Citylab Sarah Goodyear examines how Barnes and Noble—a symbol of corporate greed not long ago—came to be so beloved in the borough. In short, it provides a “third space”—neither work nor home—where urban dwellers can hang out and interact, which is essential to a city’s fabric as it is bad for a business’s bottom line. But it’s something we might do well to remember with a burgeoning number of delivery services and a declining number of brick and mortar stores.

 

More good news: this Curbed guide to how to dress up like your favorite architect this Halloween. Just whoever you to decided to be “remember to keep your tone quixotic, your facial expression thoughtful, and, when your friends admit they don’t know who you even are, your demeanor aghast.”

 

While free market proponents have long advocated for the end of New York City rent regulation, arguing that all rents would go down to reasonable levels if we could free up the rent-regulated half of the housing stock, in Bloomberg  appraiser Jonathan Miller looks at what would really happen if we eliminated rent regulation. Basically, market rate rents would go down, but rent regulated rents would go up even more. According to Miller, “the rent on the average regulated unit would jump $686 a month, a 53 percent increase, while the average rent on the open market would fall $644, or 24 percent. (The smaller percentage decline for non-rent-regulated property is a reflection of how much higher rents are for open-market units.)”

 

More younger adults are opting to rent rather buy, according to The Times, spurring a building boom of rental apartment complexes. But are young adults simply gun shy when it comes to buying—having watched the mortgage crisis unfold—or have student loan debt and anemic employment opportunities made home ownership an impossibility for many in the generation? More of the latter, it seems. Even with the labor market improving, “they’re not going to go from living with their parents to buying a home,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

 

And whether it’s a condo or a rental, more and more Americans are moving to large, full-service buildings, embracing urbanism in strongholds of suburbia like Long Island, according to The Wall Street Journal. “I lived at a big house where I had to schlep,” one woman in her 60s told the paper. “When you get to be my age it is nice to have a doorman to run up the groceries.”

 

Amtrak is considering developing Sunnyside Yards and could start soliciting proposals as early as next spring, according to Capital New York, who attended a ULI panel moderated by Dan Doctoroff—who, we’re sure, was beside himself with joy that this will clear the way for Olympics to finally come to New York City. The de Blasio admin, of course, has some other ideas, among them using the yards to help meet the ambitious affordable housing goals, though Amtrak has stressed that it doesn’t want to sell the yards, only lease them.

 

Regarding trains—subway performers rallied after the Saturday arrest of a guitarist performing on a Williamsburg subway platform. Gothamist reports that performers called for the NYPD to learn that the MTA permits artistic platform performances; the guitarist actually read the relevant section of the MTA code of conduct to the officers arresting him, who arrested him anyway and took him to jail.

 

Related has bought a 50 percent stake in CORE, reports The Times, making its first foray into offering residential brokerage services and offering condo buyers the same full-service management services that residents in Related’s rental developments get. CORE CEO Shaun Osher will remain in his post and  Shaun Osher and “will collaborate with Related on the development and sales of future Related projects.” Both CORE and Related are private companies; the sales price was not disclosed.

 

Also looking into buying is actress Jessica Chastain, who toured a $3.5 Murray Hill townhouse—how is there a Murray Hill townhouses selling for just $3.5 million?—with her boyfriend this past weekend, according to The New York Post.

 

Meanwhile, the opulent Upper East Side condo of Joan Rivers, valued at $35 million “how Marie Antoinette would have lived if she had had money,” will go, unsurprisingly, to her daughter Melissa, according to USWeekly.  Melissa received the bulk of her mother’s estate.

 

If the de Blasio is really serious about reducing serious traffic injuries and fatalities, he might start with the city’s own employees, according to a report from the comptroller. As reported in The Journal, the city faced more than 1,400 injury claims between 2007 and 2014 from pedestrians struck by city vehicles and 22 died. There is also a high financial cost to the city—more than $90 million—in that same time period.

 

In things we are obsessed with news: Curbed National has a story on how Ben Bradlee, the former executive editor of the Washington Post who died on Tuesday and his journalist wife Sally Quinn bought and restored the Grey Gardens mansion after the Beales left. You know, it’s very hard to keep the line between the past and the present.


 

Big Developer and Boutique Firm Join Forces

The New York TimesOctober 23, 2014

If you are one of the hundreds of New Yorkers who live in a condominium built by the Related Companies, one of New York City’s most prolific developers, you might like to know that changes are afoot. That is because the company is making its first foray into offering brokerage services.

 

Related, which is behind some of the city’s most high-profile projects, including the Time Warner Center and the creation of the 28-acre Hudson Yards neighborhood, is buying a 50 percent stake in CORE, the boutique residential brokerage.

 

“We have built so many for-sale buildings, and we still manage every single one of them,” said Jeff T. Blau, the chief executive of Related. “But when it comes time for someone to move out, we can’t service them. This deal will allow us to keep our relationship with our original customers, many of whom become repeat buyers.”

 

So the relationship that begins with a buyer choosing a Related condominium and living in a Related-managed building, now can continue even as that buyer decides to move on and can choose to work with Related’s new brokerage partner, CORE. Related will continue to handle its rentals through its in-house team.

 

According to the terms of the deal, which was finalized Tuesday, Shaun Osher will remain as CORE’s chief executive and will collaborate with Related on the development and sales of future Related projects. Mr. Osher founded CORE with the Cayre family, which will continue to have a small stake in the company. Both CORE and Related, which are privately held, declined to disclose the sale price.

 

The deal marries a global developer with a carefully maintained reputation to a brokerage that came on the scene less than a decade ago with a much edgier aesthetic. CORE, after all, was one of the first agencies to sign on to “Selling New York,” HGTV’s reality series, and has marketed buildings like One Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue and Walker Tower in Chelsea, which last year broke a record for most expensive downtown sale with a penthouse that sold for more than $50 million.

 

The investment is the culmination of a six-month negotiation. “At first I wanted to see if we could steal Shaun away and have him come work here,” Mr. Blau said. “But he is very committed to his company, and out of those conversations came the idea to make a significant investment in CORE. As the slogan goes, ‘I liked it so much I bought the company.’ ”

 

While the main reason for the investment was Mr. Osher — “He is No. 1, 2 and 3,” Mr. Blau says — another factor is the capacity to build a resale business for Related.

 

The company is also one of the city’s largest landlords of luxury rental buildings, and one of its signature features is the ability to be a full-service company for its tenants, helping them move within Related properties as they upsize or downsize. The investment in CORE will now allow Related to offer the same full-service menu to its condo buyers. CORE has 98 sales agents and three offices — in Chelsea, on Madison Avenue and the headquarters in the Flatiron district. Since its founding in 2005, CORE has marketed and sold more than 30 new development projects and generated more than $4 billion in sales. With this influx of new capital, it will continue to expand, opening offices in Brooklyn and the Upper West Side “in short order,” Mr. Blau said.

 

 

Related’s size and reach take CORE out of the boutique realm, but Mr. Osher said they would not change the younger, hipper brand that his firm has cultivated. “I worked for almost 10 years to build CORE in the city,” he said, adding that Mr. Blau “understands that the CORE brand is an extension of me.”

 

Related also liked that CORE could provide real-time market insight. “We have 100 agents who have their finger on the pulse of what people want, and because we are small, we can stay close to those who are really out there walking the pavement and getting the market intelligence,” Mr. Osher said.

 

Mr. Blau added, “Because Shaun is doing so many deals, he is very informed about the resale market and what people want, and can help make development decisions.”

 

Founded in 1972 by Stephen M. Ross, the Related Companies has taken stakes in other businesses that are often popular with Related residents, including the fitness chain Equinox and Union Square Events, which is backed by the restaurateur Danny Meyer. This is the first time it has invested in a brokerage firm. Previously, Related either marketed its projects using an in-house team of six agents or formed partnerships with outside brokerage firms.

 

Last November, it announced a deal to partner with the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group for about $5 billion worth of new developments, including 15 Hudson Yards, 35 Hudson Yards and the Zaha Hadid-designed 520 West 28th Street. The deal will continue to be honored, Mr. Blau said.

 

“We will see how it goes,” Mr. Blau said. “So far Corcoran Sunshine is doing a great job.” Kelly Kennedy Mack, the president of Corcoran Sunshine, said the CORE deal would have “zero impact” on Corcoran Sunshine’s agreement with Related. “We have been collaborating with Related on six different properties across the city,” she said in a statement. “We’re very excited to launch our first property with Related early next year.”

 

Mr. Osher said there were still many details to be worked out. “Corcoran Sunshine already formed this partnership, it was pre-existing, and it is just on a couple of projects,” he said. “Our relationship with Related is forever. They are going to be an equal-stake owner of CORE, so that is very significant and a very different type of thing.”

 

Related’s investment in CORE comes as several new brokerage firms have opened or expanded in New York, including Urban Compass and William Raveis Real Estate, while some developers have begun hiring in-house sales teams to market projects, rather than outsourcing the business. “There has been a lot of change in the market, and when there is a lot of flux and disturbance, deals like this seem to bubble up,” said Andrew Gerringer, the managing director of Marketing Directors, a development, leasing and marketing company.

 

The way in which Related handles its agreement with Corcoran Sunshine will be closely watched. “There could be some ego issues there,” said Mr. Gerringer, who worked with Mr. Osher at Douglas Elliman before he left to start CORE. “If I was Corcoran, I wouldn’t want some guy to get involved out of the blue who is eventually going to replace me, but on the other hand, in this business you need to roll with the punches.”

 

 

Related Buys 50 Percent Stake in CORE

The Real DealOctober 23, 2014

Related Companies, one of the city’s biggest landlords, is buying a 50 percent stake in CORE, a boutique residential brokerage firm.

 

The sale price has not been disclosed, according to the New York Times.

 

Shaun Osher, the chief executive officer of CORE, will stay on in his current position. Osher will work with Related on its future projects.

 

“We have built so many for-sale buildings, and we still manage every single one of them,” Jeff Blau, the chief executive of Related told the newspaper. “But when it comes time for someone to move out, we can’t service them. This deal will allow us to keep our relationship with our original customers, many of whom become repeat buyers.”

 

 

CORE was one of the first brokerages to sign onto HGTV’s “Selling New York” and has brokered deals in buildings such as One Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue and Chelsea’s Walker Tower.

Related Companies Acquires Stake in CORE

Real Estate WeeklyOctober 23, 2014

Related Companies today announced that it has acquired a stake in CORE, a boutique real estate brokerage in Manhattan, to further expand CORE’s brand and offerings throughout New York City. 

 

“This is an incredible opportunity for CORE to align ourselves and work alongside one the most respected developers in the United States,” said Shaun Osher, Founder and CEO of CORE. “Our teams share a similar vision and commitment to quality, design, lifestyle and innovation. This is a game changer.”

 

Jeff T. Blau, CEO of Related said, “Related and CORE both have creative, collaborative, customer-focused cultures and share a commitment to great design and best-in-class product. Shaun Osher has built a great brand and assembled a strong management team and group of talented agents. We saw an attractive opportunity to help fuel the growth of the platform, invest in great talent and optimize opportunities throughout the city. Related has an over $6 billion pipeline of new condominium developments, and with this investment we will be able to bring real-time market knowledge and customer feedback even closer to our development teams. In addition, we have built over a dozen condominiums in New York City and we saw great synergies to better serve our clients with direct involvement in the resales in those buildings.”

 

CORE will continue to operate its services to agents and residential and commercial developers throughout the City. In addition, Shaun and his team will collaborate with Related on product development and sales of future development opportunities and build a customer-focused resale business around Related’s past developments.

 

CORE will remain a separate autonomous company with Shaun Osher remaining as CEO, and maintain its offices in the Flatiron District, Chelsea and on Madison Avenue.

 

Related’s condominium pipeline in New York City includes: 520 West 28th Street in collaboration with Zaha Hadid, 15 Hudson Yards (555 West 30th Street) in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group and 35 Hudson Yards (550 West 33rd Street) in collaboration with David Childs and SOM, as well as additional properties in Chelsea, Tribeca and the Upper East Side.

 

 

Since its first condominium development, Related has been responsible for over $7 billion in sales volume. The team of Related Sales will continue to be dedicated to the Related condominium pipeline as well as resale opportunities throughout the portfolio. In 2013, Related formed a venture with Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group on select projects including 520 West 28th Street and Hudson Yards. That venture will be unaffected by the transaction.

Suzuki Secures Construction Loan for Gramercy Condo

Real Estate WeeklyOctober 21, 2014

Developer Sam Suzuki has secured an $18 million loan to convert a former Gramercy police precinct into luxury condos.

 

Mortgage Equicap LLC announced this morning (Monday) that it arranged the non-recourse construction loan for a 12-unit condominium conversion near Gramercy Park.

 

Daniel Hilpert, managing director, said the firm was able to arrange 80 percent financing through a participation between a bank, taking the A note, and an unconventional lender, providing a highly leveraged B-piece.

 

In April this year, Suzuki paid $11.5 million for the property at 327 East 22nd Street along with 7,000 s/f of additional air rights. It was later reported that he planned to demolish the four-story structure that once housed the 21st Precinct and later became a group home for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender  young people.

 

 

Over the summer, Suzuki tapped residential sales and marketing firm CORE to handle sales of the two-and-three bedroom condos in the new building being designed by Philip Johnson Alan Ritchie Architects. The building is expected to be completed in fall of 2015.

The Window Shoppers

New York ObserverOctober 20, 2014

Sometimes it only takes one open house to find the right place - but that's certainly not the norm. According to the 2013 National Association of Realtors' Profile of Home Buyers, the typical homebuyer nationwide searches for three months and views 10 homes.

 

But in New York City, according to a wide-range of Manhattan-based brokers, the number of showings can vary from about 12 to as much as 130-plus before a client pulls the trigger - despite the lack of inventory. 

Renwick Street in Soho Seeing Hotel, Resi Redevelopment

The Real DealOctober 17, 2014

Four residential projects are in the works along a block-long stretch of Renwick Street, between Canal and Spring streets, in Soho.

 

One of the projects is IGI-USA’s 31-unit loft building under construction at 15 Renwick Street.

 

Condos are slated to range from $2 million to $10 million in price. CORE is marketing the property, which is launching sales later this month and will open by next year. The block largely features old-school bars such as the Ear Inn, Emerald Pub and McGovern’s Bar. But in addition to several forthcoming apartment buildings, hotels have invaded.

 

Tommie Hotel is opening a 329-room hotel at nearby 231 Hudson Street next summer.

 

Fortuna Realty Group’s Morris Moinian, in partnership with developer Matthew Moinian, opened the 122-room Hotel Hugo this spring.

 

“There’s only so much product in the north Tribeca area, and [people] are migrating to Hudson and Renwick,” Mara Flash Blum, a Sotheby’s International Realty broker told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s like being in Soho and not being in Soho.”

 

 

At the Top of the World, a View of the New York Real Estate Market

The New York TimesOctober 17, 2014

Rising home values around the country are welcome news six years after the housing market collapsed. But there is a growing segment of buyers who are capable of spending so much money that they operate in rarefied space, paying prices that are rising into the tens of millions of dollars and have no bearing, on the usual rules of supply and demand.

 

That is especially true in some New York neighborhoods like the one along 57th Street in Manhattan, known as Billionaire’s Row. There, apartments with Central Park views have fetched in excess of $30 million. What you get is nice: three bedrooms, four baths, floor-to-ceiling views. But the price is so detached from anything comparable, save what someone else has paid for similarly opulent pad next door, that the phenomenon raises some intriguing questions:

 

No matter how much money you have, how would you know if you were getting a good deal?

 

And beyond price, what is it like to buy one of these baubles of the 0.1 percent? How different is the experience from what everyone else in the world goes through to buy a home? Are there moments when egos flared and deals got ditched? Or are the buyers so wealthy that the gargantuan sums – and even the whole experience – are meaningless?

 

The prevailing view is that most of the buyers are international. Many at the highest end are from South America, China and Eastern Europe, said Leonel Piraino, a broker at Douglas Elliman Real Estate. In Manhattan, their purchases are generally confined to condominiums, which are about 30 percent of the market and have laxer requirements for disclosing financial information and renting than the larger co-op market.

 

Regardless of where the buyers come from, Mr. Piraino said most super rich international and American buyers looking at New York real estate as an investment were aiming in the $2 million to $4 million range.

 

International buyers “see the U.S. as a safe place to come to invest their money even if the return is not the highest return,” he said. “They look at it as a bank account: You come here, you park your money in real estate and you assure yourself that you’re in a safe place.”

 

Others, he said, look at New York real estate as a long-term growth investment, where they can use the monthly rent to cover their carrying costs.

 

Michael, a 45-year-old London-based digital media entrepreneur who asked that his last name be withheld for privacy, has done just that.

 

He bought the fourth-floor apartment at 50 Bond Street in New York’s NoHo area for $5.65 million at the end of 2012 and the third floor a few months later for $5.3 million. He rents them for $21,000 and $20,000 a month, and owns them through a limited partnership.

 

“To be honest it was an investment decision for me,” he said, adding that he’s never lived in New York nor even spent a night in one of his condos. “London is one of those markets where property right now doesn’t offer a lot of value.”

 

He said he based his decision on considering the similarities of the two cities as global financial centers and then calculated that property values per square foot would have to rise 60 percent in New York to reach where they are in prime London neighborhoods like Chelsea. He could also charge enough rent in New York to cover all of his costs, including 30-year mortgages on both properties at interest rates under 4 percent.

 

“I’m better off borrowing at 3 to 4 percent and buying two condos,” he said. “I do think we’re going to look back in 10 years’ time and say gosh that was the most amazing opportunity of our lifetime.”

 

He was persuaded to buy the second property by his agent, Mr. Piraino, who pointed out that owning two 3,000-square-foot condos on Bond Street that someone else could combine was more valuable than similar apartments apart.

 

Yet for foreign buyers owning real estate in New York – or anywhere in the United States – their heirs can end up with a hefty estate tax bill they might not be prepared for. The exemption for nonresident aliens is only $60,000, with a 40 percent tax on real property over that. (The exception is if the United States has an estate tax treaty with the person’s home country.)

 

Depending on the level of wealth, buyers can set up expensive and complicated structures to own the property or they can buy life insurance to cover the estate tax. But getting that insurances is not cheap.

 

Bryan Schick, president of NFP BVI Ltd., an international insurance brokerage firm, said the premiums varied widely depending on the risk rating of the country where the person resides. For an A-rated country, like Britain, the annual premium for $10 million of life insurances would be about $75,000 a year. But for a C-rated country like Colombia, that premium jumps to more than $122,000 a year.

 

When international owners are ready to sell or buy, that transaction typically takes longer and requires more patience on the other side. Jason Walker, another broker at Douglas Elliman, just brokered the sale of a $7 million downtown loft that was owned by a Middle Eastern princess.

 

“It definitely added a layer of complexity to everything,” Mr. Walker said. “I had to be careful to manage the expectations of the purchaser. The offer came in during Ramadan so I stopped getting responses.”

 

He added, “You had American buyers, a Middle Eastern seller and European lawyers – there were cultural sensitivities.”

 

This is a segment of the market, the globe-spanning superrich, that real estate firms are chasing the way other luxury brands are. To that end, Douglas Elliman and Knight Frank Residential, a similar high-end, London-based brokerage firm, recently announced an alliance to serve and share clients buying property around the world – to keep them from going to different brokerage firms in different markets.

 

A New Yorker by birth, Marc Rappaport has a different view of the city’s booming luxury real estate market: It’s a more interesting investment than stocks and bonds. He bought three apartments in Lower Manhattan in 2012 and 2013 that ranged in price from between $1 million and $2 million to more than $3 million. He is now looking to buy a pied-a-terre in Paris, even though he doesn’t speak French. (He does have a girlfriend there.)

“I look at it more as a lifestyle,” said Mr. Rappaport, whose wealth comes from distributing mutual funds. “I could make more money in stock and bond investments. The investment performance is not the driver.”

 

With mortgages on two of the three New York properties, he said he was also spurred by low interest rates.

 

Yet at the highest end, a mortgage typically has to come after an all-cash purchase. Competition can be fierce, and that increases the pressure to pay cash for these properties or make other arrangements.

 

Walter Welsh, head of private banking at PNC, said consumer financial protection regulations that came into effect this year make the mortgage process much longer and more complicated, even for people with plenty of money. To get access to money more quickly, he said clients prefer to use other assets as collateral — in effect, a high-end margin loan.

 

Still, in this rarefied world, now is a moment when people believe strongly in luxury real estate. Some international clients are buying it for children attending college in New York, while others, like real estate investors before them, see it as an asset that will just go up in value.

 

"I don’t know what my exact plan is," said Michael, the London buyer. “I have fixed mortgages. I expect to hold them for 10-15 years. By that time, the rents will go up and my monthly mortgage bill won’t." Or at least that's the hope.

Many on Renwick Street Embrace Development

The Wall Street JournalOctober 16, 2014

Renwick Street, one of a few, largely hidden one-block streets in Manhattan, is coming out from the shadows with a burst of new development construction.

 

The semi-industrial block-long patch between Spring and Canal streets has four new residential developments under way. Along with several other new buildings of the last five or so years, it’s nearly a wholesale redevelopment of the street.

 

“I’m not bemoaning the loss of the old neighborhood—it was quiet and nice, but this development is needed and well deserved,” said Giorgio DeLuca, a longtime resident and proprietor of Giorgione restaurant near the intersection of Renwick and Spring.

 

A cluster of old-school drinking establishments—the Ear Inn (established in 1817, making it one of the oldest bars in the city), Emerald Pub and McGovern’s Bar (now a dance club called Sway Lounge beneath its original dicey facade)—still anchors the intersection of Spring and Renwick. But now construction workers—not vagrants, as one longtime resident remembers—far outnumber pedestrians and residents, heralding the changes to come.

 

“I would venture to say that Renwick Street is probably the most changed block in New York City,” said Shaun Osher, chief executive of CORE, which is marketing the 31-unit residence at 15 Renwick St. Slated for 2015 completion, the loft-styled apartments will start at $2 million and three-bedroom apartments will reach $10 million.

 

 

Renwick Street once was home to horse stables and families, recalls Francis Healy, 88 years old, who lives around the corner on Hudson Street, noting that in his time police blocked off the street on weekends so children could play. But for decades it has been home to warehouses and garages for food vending carts.

 

Karla Maria Rothstein, co-founder of Latent Architecture, whose offices have been on the street since 1999, said, “We love buildings that have integrity and believe in giving [them] a second and third life. But there was nothing here that I could see was an aesthetic loss.”

 

Latent is among the many small design-oriented firms that have long made the neighborhood its home. She and her partner, Salvatore Perry, say they are “thrilled with the transformation” on the street.

 

That is a feeling Ellen Baer, president and CEO of the Hudson Square Connection Business Improvement District, hopes will telegraph to others considering locating in the enclave.

 

“We expect thousands of people moving in over the next 10 years….We want to create a neighborhood with more neighborhood-type services,” Ms. Baer said. She noted last year’s rezoning of the Hudson Square Special District will bolster the larger neighborhood, which historically lacked housing and services.

 

While the changes are welcomed by many, Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, raised questions about the impact of Renwick’s development wave on schools, parks and other public resources.

 

“We’re not opposed to new development taking place here, but there really was no comprehensive plan for dealing with the burden on local infrastructure these new developments would create…and for ensuring that this area had some socioeconomic diversity,” he wrote in an email.

 

It isn’t just housing that is popping up. Surrounding Renwick, new hotels are entering the market: the Hugo at 525 Greenwich St. opened this spring, and a 325-room hotel on the corner of Renwick and Canal is nearing completion, according to an application on file with the city department of buildings. Nearby, Tommie Hotel, a division of Commune Hotels, will open a 329-room hotel at 231 Hudson St. next summer.

 

In anticipation of welcoming residents and visitors alike, the local BID launched a $27 million streetscape improvement project to spruce up the area and make Spring Street—one of the few Manhattan streets to run from river to river—“more like a Main Street for our little neck of the woods,” said Ms. Baer.

 

Chris Miele, co-owner of reGeneration furniture, a fixture at 38 Renwick St. since 1997, said her business—like many others in the area—doesn’t depend on foot traffic, but referencing No. 45, the sole vacant retail space on the street, she said that “anyone who’s smart should do well here.”

 

Nick Incantalupo, who since 1979 has owned that storefront at No. 45, once home to a gallery, agreed the location is prime.

 

“If I was younger, I would put a pharmacy in there, but I’m beyond that stage—I want to go out of business, not in business,” he said.

 

Mara Flash Blum, a broker with of Sotheby’s International Realty, said she has been “selling a lot in the area—a lot.”

 

“There’s only so much product in the north Tribeca area, and [people] are migrating to Hudson and Renwick,” she said. “It’s like being in SoHo and not being in SoHo.”

 

Ms. Blum echoes what Mr. DeLuca’s instinct 20 years ago when he purchased 40 Renwick St., then a broken and abandoned building. It was the first property on the block to undergo redevelopment.

 

“I saw development surging in SoHo proper. This is close to the river, an affordable building we could afford to take a chance on,” he said. “I knew it was a matter of time but what I didn’t expect was the rate of development—the acceleration.”

 

Mr. Incantalupo said he, too, appreciates the changes.

 

 

“It’s gone from very low end to high end. I remember hookers, longshoreman, and drunks at night on the street,” he said. “Within the year, the bar should be [raised] unbelievably high.”

A History of New York in 101 Objects: 6sqft Edition

6SqFtOctober 16, 2014

As urbanists we tend to define the city by locations and the historic events that unfolded at them. But what about getting even more specific and looking at New York’s past through tangible objects? That’s exactly what New York Times urban affairs correspondent Sam Roberts has assembled in a new book, A History of New York in 101 Objects. And a corresponding exhibit at the New York Historical Society puts Roberts’ choices, along with objects from the Society’s collection, on view.

 

 

We were so intrigued by this idea that we decided to put together a 6sqft version of the list. From preservationists to architects to real estate brokers, we’ve asked ten people to give us the ten objects that they feel best define New York City’s history. There are definitely some favorites that emerged like cobblestones, Metrocards, and pizza, as well as an eclectic mix of items that speak to our participants’ personal connections to New York.

Made in the Shade?: As the W. 57th St. Area Sprouts Superdeluxe Towers, Long-Term Residents Face a Choice

New York Daily NewsOctober 16, 2014

Call them the humble millionaires of Billionaires’ Row.

 

Apartment owners living just south of Central Park are seeing their neighborhood altered by a stream of uber-pricey skyscrapers debuting along the short corridor between Sixth and Eighth Aves. from W. 57th to W. 59th Sts. The question on some of their lips: Should we stay or should we go?

 

Resales of existing condo and co-op units along the 57th St. corridor have ticked up in recent months as owners opt to sell their pads amid the development boom. There was an 83.9% increase in resales in the area in the second quarter, according to listings website StreetEasy, an early indication that some long-term owners in older buildings may be starting to get itchy feet.

 

“This is a case of a rising tide lifting all boats,” said Alan Lightfeldt, a data scientist at StreetEasy. “There’s certainly more interest in properties on the 57th St. corridor, which used to melt into the rest of Midtown. Now, it’s quite a powerful address.”

Manhattan’s Most-Celebrated Architects and Interior Designers Go Large-Scale

New York PostOctober 15, 2014

The latest crop of luxury residential developments is breaking ground in a whole new way: by hiring interior designers and architects better known for their work in hotels, restaurants and product design — along with swanky private homes.

 

Previously lauded for their smaller-scale commissions, these talents bring a fine eye for architectural and design detail to their first-ever large-scale residential developments.  Along the way, they’re imbuing these projects with bespoke features that come from very personal visions.

 

“Who knows how to better craft homes than interior architects?” says Barbara van Beuren, managing director of Anbau Enterprises, which hired Andrew Sheinman of Pembrooke & Ives for a new Upper East Side development. “They have a deeper understanding of lifestyles and needs, and that translates into
the design.”

 

“People want beautiful design rather than a brand name just for the sake of the name,” says Shaun Osher, CEO of CORE, which marketed 141 Fifth Ave., one the city’s first bespoke developments, in 2008. “Something that feels customized to the buyer and feels unique is what they’ll put the value on.”

 

Citing the high stakes and high costs of today’s market, Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel, sees this new trend driven by economics.

 

“There’s an extra cost associated with a brand that might not translate into additional returns,” he says. Bringing in “people who have been successful in their own right [versus a ‘starchitect’] but that don’t have the brand recognition [is] a cost-effective alternative.”

 

On the Upper East Side, developers are placing a value on reinterpreting history, selecting interior designers who can straddle tradition and trends, and respect the neighborhood context.

Peek in the Seller’s Closets, Nix the Bathroom Stop, and More Ways to Ace the Open House

Brick UndergroundOctober 14, 2014

For buyers and nosy neighbors alike, open houses can be a welcome opportunity to poke around other people's homes and see how they live (and decorate). But if you're genuinely looking to buy in a city as rife with bidding wars as NYC, the open house is also a crucial time for you to make a good impression. The seller's broker could be silently vetting you for a massive financial transaction and, if you're looking in a co-op, how you'd fare in a board interview, to boot.

 

"How someone conducts themselves in an open house is generally a good indication of how they'd act in a board interview, and how likely they are to be approved," says Halstead Property agent Chris Kromer. And no seller wants to waste their time with a candidate who’d never impress the board.

 

Coming across as the ideal buyer is a delicate balance: you don't want to seem desperate or likely to overpay, but you do want to come across as a legitimate, interested purchaser with the means and the know-how, not just another voyeur who stopped by to gawk. You also want to leave the sellers with the impression that you'd be easy to work with. "We definitely get a sense of a person’s personality and how the process would go [during the open house]," says CORE agent Dana Karson, who adds, "it can sometimes lead to the seller wanting to work with someone else."

 

So how do you leave an open house in good standing with the seller and ahead of your competition? We grilled experts for the best tips (and cautionary tales), and came up with these no-fail guidelines:

 

1.     DON'T overdress

 

While a seller might assume you're not serious if you show up in sweats, it's also possible for the pendulum to swing too far in the other direction. "Some people walk in flaunting everything they've got like it's a special occasion—diamond jewelry, the works—but you don't really want the listing agent to assess your financial situation from what you're wearing," says Gea Elika, principal broker of Elika Associates. "It's important to show that you're a strong candidate, but not over-the-top. Think professional, not flamboyant—don't go in dressed like Liberace."

 

Mostly, the rule of thumb is not to overthink it, and Karson advises to aim for "comfortable and appropriate." 

 

2.     DO play it cool

 

As with outfit choice, you want to show that you're legitimately interested in (and capable of) buying but not come across as over-eager, lest you ruin any future attempts at negotiation. "I wouldn't make any declarative statements, like 'I will definitely be bidding,'" Warbug Realty broker Jason Haber tells us.

 

"An open house is about learning about the property," rather than becoming best friends with the listing agent, Elika adds. "If you try to negotiate there, it shows that you're not qualified and you don't know what you're doing." Put it this way: "Would you ever walk onto a used car lot and say, 'I love that car!'?" 

 

Another upside to not spending the whole time gushing to the seller: the opportunity to eavesdrop.

 

"Listen to other people and see what they think," advises Elika. It could give you a sense of the competition, or potential points for negotiation down the road. 

 

3.     But DON'T play it too cool

 

If you're interested in making an offer, say something more along the lines of "I love the home, it could be a great fit for me, and I'll get back to you as soon as possible," Elika suggests. Ask smart, specific questions about the building's financials and maintenance charges, and how many residents live there year-round. 

 

You want to be remembered. "It will always raise eyebrows if the seller or their broker gets your offer and doesn't even remember meeting you at the open house," explains RealDirect CEO Doug Perlson.

 

Since so many ultra-competitive buyers are in the habit of putting "placeholder" bids on the apartment right then and there—and never following through—you should have a brief, polite, conversation letting the broker know that you're seriously considering the place (not just bidding to keep it on the back burner), and will be in touch again. 

 

4.     DON'T be an armchair critic 

 

Openly critiquing the apartment won't score you points, and it definitely won't score you a better price. "Lots of buyers think they have to be poker-faced—or worse: negative—​in order to have better leverage when making an offer. Not so," says Realty Collective agent Tina Fallon. "The listing agent will be more willing to work with a buyer who demonstrates a sincere interest in the property."

 

"Don't be mean," adds Brennan Realty Services broker Barbara Wilding. "You can explain why a place isn't for you—​not enough space, too dark, etc.—without being personal." After all, home decor is something that can be changed, but making a terrible impression—or offending the seller—isn't.

 

5.     DO surrender your shoes

 

No one likes walking through an open house in stocking feet, but think of it as a necessary evil. (And also, pretty understandable if a seller's got dozens of people coming in off the city streets and tromping through their home.)

 

"Don’t roll your eyes if they ask you to take off the shoes," says Halstead's Kromer. The no-shoes request is particularly common in higher-end listings, but is a universally accepted practice. "I've even had listing agents give us medical booties to put on over the shoe," says Citi Habitats broker Corlie Ohl. Best to wear your good socks and go with the flow on this one—after all, if you can't handle a basic request during an open house, how will you respond to the building rules if you're a resident?

 

6.     DON'T use the bathroom (and if you can't help it, at least close the door)

 

Bathroom use is a lightning rod of open house etiquette—some say it's strictly verboten, but everyone agrees that if it absolutely can't wait, you must follow certain rules. 

 

"Use it for 'number one' only," our etiquette columnist Jamie Lauren Sutton advises. "Don't stink it up, or worse, clog or break the toilet—which has happened," Brennan broker Tiffany Lee adds. If you simply can't wait to get to a Starbucks, always ask before availing yourself of the apartment's facilities. And be quick: "Especially if the open house is crowded, understand that everyone's going to want to see the bathroom, and getting in there to use it makes things a little awkward," Kromer says. 

 

One major don't he's encountered after years of open houses: a well-known retired athlete using the bathroom during a showing with the door open. It should go without saying, but just in case: Don't. Do. That.

 

7.     DO snoop—within reason. 

 

The whole point of an open house is to scope out a potential purchase, so don't be shy. "Sometimes people are hesitant to do things like open up closets, or they sort of lean into a bathroom instead of walking in," says Haber. "If someone has an open house, though, they’re anticipating people poking around the apartment, and you should do that." 

 

That doesn't mean rifle through the medicine cabinets and the bedside table. A good rule of thumb is to refrain from opening drawers in furniture that'll be going along with the seller—coffee tables, dressers, etc. "You’re buying the apartment, you’re not buying the seller’s underwear," Haber says. "You’ve got to get acquainted with the space, while being mindful that all the stuff in the apartment isn’t yours when you buy it." Sit on the furniture to "test it out" if you'd like, but know that it's not likely to be part of the purchase.

 

8.     DO stay on schedule

 

Yes, we told you to play it cool, but no need to be "fashionably late." "If the showing's from 12:30 to 2 and you show up at 1:59 expecting a full tour, the listing agent probably has other places to be," says Kromer. Besides potentially irritating the seller's broker, it won't give you the time you need to properly scope the place out. Citi Habitats' Ohl recommends allowing yourself at least 15 minutes to look around the apartment and ask a few question. And if you're a leisurely browser, get there towards the beginning so you don't have to rush yourself.

 

9.     DON'T let your kids run wild. 

 

In fact, you may not want to bring them at all. Simultaneously keeping an eye on your kids and a potential apartment will distract you from the whole process, and you want to focus your attention on the property (which probably won't be childproofed if the seller doesn't have kids). Let the kiddies scope out the place for themselves if you like it enough for a second visit.

 

If you do need to bring your children, "they should behave as they would on a school interview," etiquette expert Sutton advises, and they shouldn't wander the house unsupervised or touch valuables.

 

Depending on their age, put them in a stroller or hold their hands while you walk through the place.

 

"Children have a way of finding plugs or other knick knacks and causing damage," Ohl says.

 

Sometimes, though, they can make unexpected appearances: "I once had a client go into labor while she was at a showing," recalls Warburg's Haber. "Her kid was almost there by accident!"

 

10.   DO be careful with the snacks (and the wine). 

 

Outside food or drink is a no-no at the open house (after all, dozens of people may be coming through, and the seller doesn't want any unnecessary mess or stains). On the flip side, a lot of open houses serve up snacks and wine (the better to keep you lingering in the apartment). 

 

If you'd like to stay in everyone's good graces, do your eating near the table, or make sure you're putting all your detritus in a trash can, not on the coffee table. (As with so much etiquette advice, a lot of this comes down to common sense.)

 

If you're not making a serious play for the apartment, well, the rules are (hypothetically) a little looser. At one of Haber's open houses, which he hosted in an East Village townhouse on Halloween, a woman came in off the street, had a few glasses of wine, and passed out downstairs. "We turned off the lights when we left and she slept there overnight," he says. "The owner came in the next day, said hi, made her breakfast, and they had a nice chat. These things happen; it's the East Village." 

 

 

Williamsburg is Not in Manhattan, and 6 Other Surprises For NYC’s Foreign Apartment Buyers

Brick UndergroundOctober 08, 2014

For the average overseas buyer, the NYC apartment search will be an education

The New York City real estate market already feels like a foreign country, with its own language (alcove studio, classic-fives, mansion tax), geography (no, "the city" is not the five boroughs, according to some people), and social conventions (yes, it's perfectly acceptable never to speak to your neighbors). But when you're shopping for an apartment and you actually come from a foreign country, the hunt is that much more complex—and filled with assumptions that are all too quickly dispelled. 

 

With the firm belief that ignorance is not bliss, we spoke to local real estate brokers who frequently work with buyers from China, Russia, Europe and elsewhere to enumerate the most common myths their clients have about the New York market. Below, the biggest reality checks for buyers from outside the United States:

 

1. Most apartments are not actually for sale

Many clients are surprised to find out that the ratio of all apartments is 70/30, of which only 30 percent are sales and 70 percent are rentals. —​ Eliot Bogod, founder of brokerage Broadway Realty

 

Compared to the fast developing cities in China, New York City has a very low inventory.​ —​ Li Chen, a broker at Siderow Residential Group

 

The inventory that hovers between $800,000 and $1.5 million is very minimal. So the all-cash buyer who believes they can come here and make a quick deal is not so quick. — Reba Miller, founder of brokerage RP Miller Realty Group

 

2. And the apartments that are for sale are off-limits

 

Approximately 80 percent [of the apartments in New York] are co-ops, which are hard for foreigners to purchase. They are always surprised when they hear about the concept of a co-op. —​ Nataly Rothschild, a broker at Engel & Volkers

 

In regards to purchasing in a co-op, these buyers are also sometimes taken aback by the lengthy board approval process and the restrictions that come along with ownership in these buildings.​ —​ Keren Ringler, a broker at CORE

 

They are even more interested to find out that only 30 percent are condos... ​Many of my foreign clients are surprised to find out that most "desirable" real estate is out of touch for them. As an example, they inquire about Fifth Avenue buildings north of East 57th Street along Central Park. When they learn that area is mostly co-ops that allow full-time residents only, they are disappointed. —​ Eliot Bogod

 

3. Some sellers find out everything about your finances

 

Foreign buyers are always surprised and easily annoyed by the fact they need to be fully prepared with their financial documents before they make an offer, and sometimes even before they can see apartments. ... The different buying process makes it harder for them to understand that the sellers need to see all funds for the down payment in a U.S. bank as well as a pre-approval letter from the bank in order to be considered a serious offer. —​ Li Chen

 

4. Prices may seem comparatively low...

 

Prices are reasonable compared to other major international cities such as London.​ —​ Keren Ringler

 

Very wealthy buyers accept [the prices] as they are looking for a status symbol or are used to high prices in other cities where they already own real estate. —​ Nataly Rothschild

 

Someone from Hong Kong is usually surprised at how much bigger apartments here are.  A studio in Manhattan is the size of a two-bedroom in Hong Kong.​ —​​ Wei min Tan, a broker at Rutenberg Realty

 

5. ...Until you realize what you get for those yen, Euros and pounds

 

For a lot of buyers [with budgets] between $1 and $10 million, they need a learning curve of several months to understand what is available for the money they want to spend. This will most likely be a much smaller place than they thought they could buy and could afford in their hometown, with some exceptions of similar expensive cities around the globe. They will most likely lose some great apartments because they are not quite ready to understand the market. —​ Nataly Rothschild

 

Buyers from overseas are used to living in high-end glass towers back home, so when they come to New York, they expect to buy similar spacious apartments with high [ceilings] and in brand new condition. Many of them consider post-war buildings too old. Only buildings [that are] three to five years old are acceptable to them. —​ Li Chen

 

6. Neighborhood choices are all over the map

 

Usually foreign buyers come anticipating to buy in Times Square, Wall Street, Central Park and Fifth Avenue [because] these are the names they are familiar with. These are touristy areas but may not always be the best for investment.​ ... Those buying for investment decide based on metrics such as demand/supply, rental prices and vacancy rates. —​​ Wei Min Tan

 

There are two groups of overseas buyers: investors and homeowners. For pure investors, they will compare the rental market, fees that are involved, return rate and potential growth of value. Many of them prefer neighborhoods close to universities for the stable rental income that this provides, while some of them will consider buying in neighborhoods which are up-and-coming, such as central Harlem, and the First and Second Avenue areas. For homeowners, they scatter all over the city. They care more about safety and convenience. Many of them like buildings which are only two to three blocks to subways stations, supermarkets, and sometimes close to their work place. ​—​ Li Chen​

 

Always very popular with our international clients: the West Village, Soho, Chelsea and the Flatiron, as well as centrally located in Midtown. And the "classic" buyers who still love the areas around Central Park best. —​ Nataly Rothschild

 

7. Oh, and Williamsburg is in Brooklyn

 

"Williamsburg is now an entity unto itself. I get phone calls—usually from foreign buyers looking to buy something for their children—who are absolutely sure it’s a neighborhood on the island of Manhattan."​ —​ Jacky Teplitzky, a broker at Douglas Elliman

 

 

Good Morning New York Real Estate

Voice AmericaOctober 07, 2014

Parul Brahmbhatt is featured in this weekly online real estate segment.

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