Featured Listing: 15 West 20th Street, PH

Modern NYC WeeklyAugust 05, 2013
15 West 20th Street, PH

A luxury penthouse duplex, nestled between nearly 2,000 square feet of front and back outdoor space in the middle of Manhattan, is considered a rare gem. This Flatiron District residence was uniquely designed for the discriminating buyer who seeks privacy and the perfect oasis to escape the rush of the City, while still offering a loft-like feel as soon as you step out of the elevator. Surrounded by windows, most looking out onto the private terraces, this home offers exposure from three directions resulting in an abundance of sunlight throughout the day. Currently configured as a 2-bedroom with library and 3 baths, this home can easily be converted back into a property 3 bedroom as the floorplan suggests. The home has been carefully appointed with only the best materials and appliances one would expect in a luxury apartment, including a wood-burning fireplace cased in imported marble, sophisticated custom woodwork, built-in sound system, radiant heat flooring in master bath, Sub-Zero and Miele appliances, and central heat and air. The private terraces are perfect for entertaining or a quiet and tranquil evening, complete with hot tub and endless possibilities for a garden like paradise. The Altair 20 provides an attended lobby, a fitness center and additional storage.

CORE Joins Leverage Global Partners

August 02, 2013
New York, NY – Leverage Global Partners and CORE are pleased to announce that CORE has been named Leverage’s exclusive New York City member, joining a unique group of the most prestigious independent real estate brokerage firms around the world. Leverage Global Partners offers its members the opportunity to better serve their clients’ relocation and real estate portfolio needs by establishing the Presidents of each member firm as key players in the international real estate arena.

As a member of Leverage, CORE will be promoted as the sole representative for the New York City area with all contact and inquiries being directed to the company’s Founder and CEO Shaun Osher. Through this network, Osher and CORE Associates are offered referrals and introductions and provided access to partners at member brokerages around the world, ensuring incomparable networking ability in the worldwide luxury real estate market.

“Leverage is curating a collection of similarly-minded boutique brokerages throughout the world,” notes Shaun Osher, CEO of CORE. “Accessibility to the founders/CEOs of each brokerage offers the highest degree of personal attention in making the right client/agent match and offering a new level of white- glove service and personalization. CORE is thrilled to be named the exclusive New York City member of this fantastic program.”

“We personally vet each real estate brokerage before offering them membership, so we are certain that CORE is a market leader, offering exceptional service to the communities of New York City,” said F. Ron Smith, President of Leverage Global Partners. “We are thrilled to welcome them to Leverage Global Partners. CORE is a full-service, boutique real estate brokerage, and they have extensive expertise and apply a unique marketing approach, which is why they are the #1 brokerage in their class.”

In addition to offering exceptional service and connectivity, Leverage differentiates itself from existing international luxury real estate associations by promoting the presidents of member firms and by extending media access for their properties through robust public relations outreach and digital platforms. Similarly, as a dynamic boutique brokerage based on integrity, informed by expertise and driven by innovation, CORE is also at the forefront of maintaining a distinct digital presence in the real estate industry.

CORE’s exclusive membership with Leverage provides a seamless opportunity to join the growing organization as the firm continues to thrive in the New York City real estate market. Leverage Global Partners is rapidly expanding its membership base and currently has members in numerous dynamic communities around the world, including Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, Hong Kong, Chicago, Cannes, Shanghai, Santa Barbara, Vail, Palm Beach and Bangkok. For more information on Leverage Global Partners, call 310-500-3641, visit, or friend them on Facebook or Twitter.

About CORE

CORE is a real estate sales and marketing firm delivering the best in brokerage, communications and advisory services for the luxury residential segment. In addition, CORE’s elite group of highly experienced and successful professionals service developers who value efficient, no-nonsense results. CORE was founded by Shaun Osher as a full-service boutique firm with a strict adherence to the principles of integrity, efficiency and results. For more information visit

A Changing Upper East Side

The Real DealAugust 01, 2013
The Upper East Side used to be called the Silk Stocking District. Today, the ritzy nickname isn’t heard very often, but the neighborhood is still one of New York City’s most affluent.

Upper East Siders — there are about 60,000 of them — earn on average about $100,000 a year, and they are protective of their high-priced turf. Many are up in arms over a proposal to open a waste transfer station at East 91st Street and FDR Drive, where one operated for six decades before closing in 1999.

The fiercest foes are fighting the plan in court. Others are threatening to lie down in front of the bulldozers when they start to roll. Still others are looking to put their homes on the market — and a few already have.

Regardless of the legal battle and the threats, the station will almost surely be built. Judges have signed off on it; so has the federal government. Right now, construction is scheduled to start later this summer, and the finish date is sometime in 2015.
Already underway is work on the Second Avenue subway, a nearly $4.5 billion project that will ease crowding on the Lexington Avenue line and improve connections to Midtown and Downtown. The digging is almost done and the first phase — more than two miles of new tunnels from 96th to 63rd streets — should be wrapped up in 2016, according to transit officials.
The subway work and the waste station are issues du jour, but the UES is still a neighborhood that New Yorkers are jockeying to move into, of course. And the numbers prove its popularity. Different reports show slightly different specifics, but the takeaway is the same: The median price for resales — condos and co-ops — is up, demand for new development units is strong, and inventory is tight, just like it is in the rest of the city.

With all that’s happening, we decided it was time to take a close-up look at the UES through the eyes of our experts. Here’s their take on the neighborhood.

Tom Postilio
Founding Member, CORE

What impact will the waste transfer station have on the residential market?

This is a similar situation to the Urban Glass House in the West Soho area on Spring Street. The city put plans in place to put up a parking garage for sanitation trucks, and everybody panicked. You couldn’t sell apartments across the street at the Urban Glass House, and the real estate values plummeted. It was fear of the unknown. Once the city put out the renderings of what it was going to look like, people could start to deal with it. That’s my prediction as to what is going to happen here in this one area of the Upper East Side. People panic over fear of the unknown, but the dust will settle. And if the values are temporarily being hurt, they will come back.

There are several new-construction residential projects on the market or launching soon, including Harry Macklowe’s 737 Park Avenue, the Marquand at 11 East 68th Street, and Extell Development’s Carlton House at 61st Street and Madison Avenue. Which do you think will have the most impact, and why?

They are all so different. I think that the collective influence will reshape how we think of the Upper East Side as a co-op-driven market. These kinds of projects are presenting opportunities for people who may have plenty of resources and lots of money, but they may not pass muster with a co-op board. That’s the big impact.

Are there any other upcoming projects that you think are going to have an impact, and why?

I’m the director of sales for One Museum Mile, at 1280 Fifth Avenue at 109th Street, and [there’s] 1212 Fifth at 102nd Street. Both of these projects have shattered the myth that the Upper East Side stops at 96th Street. We are seeing that particularly with international buyers, because they don’t have that in the back of their mind. It’s more the local buyer who thinks that [the UES] stops at 90th or 96th Street.

What’s the inventory of available homes?

It hasn’t been this low since they started keeping records in New York City. It’s great to see that there are all these new projects happening and inventory is coming to the Upper East Side. The Philip House is fabulous, 200 East 79th, 530 Park, 150 East 72nd. Product is low, but there is a nice assortment of new development that has been happening and is continuing to happen.

How long are properties staying on the market, and how does that compare to a year ago, two years ago and during the boom?

The averages have dropped. If the average apartment was listed for 120 days, maybe that’s now down to 90 to 100 days. It’s definitely better than a year ago, it’s a lot better than two years ago, and it’s almost comparable to the boom in terms of: a nice product priced well in a good location is going to sell immediately.

What are the biggest challenges to selling property on the Upper East Side?

Because of so much construction, the area along where they are putting in the Second Avenue subway has been a little bit challenged. Savvy shoppers understand that once it is finally all cleared up and we get that desperately needed subway, those values are going to increase. We did a deal at Second Avenue and 69th Street and [the buyers] got a really nice deal. I explained to them this is a challenging spot because of what is going on. Not everybody can see past the mess, but when all is said and done, this is going to add value to your property because you practically have the subway right outside your door.

Who are the most active buyers?

In general terms, there are a lot of families that are expanding.

Which areas of the Upper East Side — Lenox Hill, Carnegie Hill, Yorkville, for example — are performing best? Which are the weakest?

Anywhere that you have pockets of new developments, it’s like bees opening up a hive. That’s where the people will go because it’s fresh new product. If anything is maybe moving any slower, it may be the Sutton Place area, just because it is a little bit removed and off the beaten path.

Daniel Farris
Associate Broker, Brown Harris Stevens

How is overall residential sales volume?

The volume has changed dramatically since a year ago and two years ago. The number of apartments available has dropped dramatically and there are so many buyers actively looking. There were something like 1,257 apartments available on the East Side in June, versus 1,344 in May and 1,780 in June 2012. You send your buyer some listings and if they wait a week, most of those listings have gone into contract.

What’s going on with sales and rental prices?

Buyers are so savvy and they know when an apartment is priced correctly. I’m seeing apartments going at asking or, if there are multiple bidders, over asking. A year or two ago, you could negotiate. It’s all a cycle, but those days are over and out for now.

Which price ranges and housing types are struggling?

One-bedroom apartments have slowed in the past month, particularly in co-ops that only permit 50 percent financing.

What impact will the waste transfer station have on the market?

It will definitely impact that area. Two of my buyers passed on great apartments within range of the transfer station simply due to the uncertainty surrounding it in the future and for possible resale.

What’s the inventory of available homes?

Quite frankly, pathetic. There is so little available in so many price points. You can show maybe one or two good listings and that’s it. A few years ago, I spent three days showing apartments to one of my buyers and she bought the last apartment I showed her on a three-day run. Can you imagine doing that today?

How long are properties staying on the market?

A few days or up to a few weeks if the property is priced correctly. Misprice it and the apartment lingers. Buyers still will not put in an offer on an overpriced property.

What are the most surprising trends you’re seeing?

Besides lack of inventory, it has to be the willingness of buyers to look at new condominiums. But the prices of those apartments sometimes boggle the mind. I’m also seeing families who bought Downtown a few years ago coming back Uptown to be closer to some of the schools and activities for their children.

What are the biggest challenges to selling property on the Upper East Side?

You have to know your inventory cold. Get a new listing to your buyer before they pick it up on StreetEasy and know the nuances of the building and what it takes to get them past the [building’s] board. You had better clearly understand the purchaser’s financial situation and know how to explain it to the board.

Eloise Johnson
Executive Vice President, Halstead

How is overall residential sales volume?

Compared to a year ago, it is quite healthy and it is much better than two years ago. Comparing today’s market to the boom, it is difficult to draw parallels, as it was two totally different markets — there was much more inventory during the boom.

What’s going on with residential sales and rental prices?

Prices are on the ascent, with sales in certain categories being very robust. Rental prices are more than holding their own. We are fast approaching pricing during the boom. And in certain categories such as three- or four-bedrooms with views — those prices are exceeding the boom years.

Which price ranges and housing types are performing best?

I am seeing large condos on high floors with fabulous views and perfect, move-in condition move quickly. Townhouses are also experiencing a nice comeback.

Which are struggling?

Large apartments on very low floors are not selling quickly. One-bedrooms on lower floors are also lagging.

What impact will the waste transfer station have on the market?

As expected, some prospective purchasers are reluctant to [buy] in the area. If the station does open, it will have some impact on prices. However, sometimes the fear of the unknown is worse than the reality. The Second Avenue subway has also been a source of concern for prospective purchasers. Now that the subway is near completion and the real estate market is stronger, many consider the new subway a plus.

What are the most surprising trends you’re seeing?

For the past 10 or 15 years, properties in the East 50s, Beekman Place and Sutton Place have sold at lower prices than comparable properties on the Upper East Side. We are seeing an increased interest in this area. We believe our customers are interested in taking advantage of the lower prices. A customer of ours is a family that is purchasing in Sutton Place. They believe there will be long-term value in the area due to the resurgence in Midtown East. This family believes — and we agree — that eventually the extension of the Second Avenue Subway will contribute to an easier commute to Downtown and higher prices of residential properties.

What are the biggest challenges to selling property on the Upper East Side?

Often, our first job is to help buyers understand how strong the Manhattan market is today. Many still think there is a real estate recession. Another challenge is that co-op and condo boards are increasing their standards for purchasing, making it more difficult for some prospective purchasers to buy the property of their dreams. [The tougher standards are the consequence of many owners falling behind on their monthly common charges during the recession.] Finally, rising prices and lower inventory have combined to make the Upper East Side a very fast-paced selling environment. Agents and buyers need to be prepared to act quickly.

Who are the most active buyers?

We deal mostly with young professionals, young families and empty-nesters. During the recession, there were fewer young professionals because it was difficult for them to find jobs, or if they did have jobs, it was difficult for them to find better-paying jobs so they could buy larger apartments. We saw some young families use the opportunity to trade up. The empty-nesters who no longer wanted a large house in the suburbs used the opportunity to purchase in Manhattan. Lastly, during the recession, we were pleased that purchasers from other countries were buying. The foreign buyers are still here. However, people who live and work in New York are coming back in big numbers.

Which areas of the Upper East Side are performing best? Which are struggling?

Lenox Hill has always been very much in demand, and therefore expensive. We believe that this area will continue to outperform other areas of the city. Since there is an abundance of excellent private and public schools, families are increasingly interested in purchasing properties in Carnegie Hill. There have been many new residential buildings, plus new stores and restaurants. Since prices in Yorkville, east of Second Avenue, have been lower than Lenox Hill or Carnegie Hill, some buyers are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity.

Kathy Slattery
Associate Real Estate Broker, Corcoran

Which upcoming projects are going to have a big impact on the UES market?

432 Park is going to be an iconic building, both on the New York skyline and in the apartments. It has 10-foot square windows, has soaring ceilings, is beautifully designed and is in a great location.

How long are properties staying on the market?

In the under–$3 million category, apartments are on the market up to two or three months. Above $6 million, depending on the location and price/value perception, it can be a year.

What are the most surprising trends you’re seeing in the Upper East Side residential market?

All of the new development in the East 70s, Manhattan’s “Gold Coast.”

Who are the most active buyers right now and how does that differ from the past?

I see more retiring baby boomers moving into the city and sizing down in the city, which may account for the low supply of smaller apartments and the higher supply of larger apartments. Fortunately, I am also seeing more big families with children looking for space on the UES, because that is where their children are in school.

Which areas of the Upper East Side are performing best?

West of Third Avenue is the strongest market in all of these neighborhoods.

Peter Culliney
Director of Research and Analytics, CityRealty

How is residential sales volume?

About on par and maybe slightly ahead of last year, which had the highest volume since the crash — 2008 was the prior peak, with $5.5 billion in co-op and condo transactions, and 2012 is the peak since with $5.2 billion. Since the second half of the year is traditionally stronger than the first half, provided the current dearth of inventory does not keep too many people out of the market, our feeling is that we will at least equal last year’s overall volume, but it will be a hard push to beat the 2008 record.

Where are sales and rental prices?

Overall average sales prices [for co-ops and condos] are off slightly this year from last year’s feeding frenzy, dropping to $1.4 million from $1.7 million. There is clearly a lot of demand and not nearly enough supply. This is keeping pricing somewhat firm but also causing hesitancy for both buyers and sellers.

Which price ranges and housing types are performing best? Which are struggling?

There seems to be a rising demand for larger units and more bedrooms. The average square-foot pricing for condo units with six or more bedrooms — driven by demand — is more than 50 percent above the 2008 peak. Studios, on the other hand, are almost 8 percent below peak, while two-bedroom apartments are almost 2.5 percent below peak. Smaller co-ops — studios to two-bedrooms — are off by 10 percent to 15 percent.

What’s the inventory of available homes?

We are seeing less than 50 percent of the listings we have recorded for 2009.

How long are properties on the market?

Of the thousands of properties that have come to the market in the UES over the past year, there are only 56 that have been on the market more than one year, and only 160 that have been on the market for more than six months.

Roy Silber
Associate Broker, Citi Habitats

What’s going on with residential sales and rental prices?

Prices for rentals are up 5 percent to 7 percent from this time last year. I am even seeing clients outbidding each other for rental apartments, and that’s something I haven’t experienced in recent years.

Which price ranges and housing types are performing best?

The most intense demand is for two-bedroom homes with two full baths. Apartments with two full bathrooms can carry up to a 15 percent premium over those with just one and a half.

Of 737 Park Avenue, the Marquand and Carlton House, which do you think will have the most impact?

I predict that all three are going to trade at price points that will put them among the most expensive buildings in the neighborhood. It’s extremely rare to find completely gut-renovated buildings of this magnitude in well-established areas. Typically, home seekers would have to go east to find new construction.

What are the biggest challenges of selling property on the Upper East Side?

The challenge is not to overprice the home. In this market, everything and anything will sell if it’s not overpriced.

House of the Day: 23 Downing Street

The Wall Street JournalAugust 01, 2013
Everything But the Facade
Price: $9,500,000
Location: Greenwich Village, NY
Type of Home: Townhouse

This Greenwich Village townhouse underwent a gut renovation that involved excavating a lower level and adding a top floor, all while working around the original brick façade, which was also restored.

Joshua Gurwitz purchased this property at 23 Downing Street, pictured at center, in Greenwich Village through an LLC in 2011 for $3.35 million, according to public records. Mr. Gurwitz is the co-founder and principal broker for Good Property, a real estate development and consulting firm with offices in New York, Miami and London.

A sculpture sits at the base of the stairs in the building’s lower level. Mr. Gurwitz is a native New Yorker and started his company in Miami in 2009. “Generally speaking, we’re a repositioning firm,” said Mr. Gurwitz. “We take an old asset and turn it into something new.”

Pictured, the first floor living area. Mr. Gurwitz’s parents live in TriBeCa and he says he first heard about this property from his mother. “I recall her saying, ‘I think you’ll like this,’” he said. It became his company’s first project in New York. He describes the renovation as practically a ground-up construction, apart from the façade – which they were required to preserve and restore because of the property’s landmark designation.

The kitchen and dining area is pictured. The townhouse falls within an extension of the Greenwich Village Historic District that was designated in 2010. The home was originally built in 1836 and has been altered several times since then. The Renaissance-Revival style façade was added in 1886.

Sliding doors lead from the kitchen to the backyard garden. The renovation involved excavating the backyard of the building to increase the lower level space. A fourth floor was also added, enlarging the property from 2,400 square feet to approximately 3,700 square feet, Mr. Gurwitz estimated. The building’s design was by Turrett Collaborative Architects who have worked with Mr. Gurwitz on other properties.

A section of the backyard has a skylight which allows daylight into the lower level living area, a signature design feature of the company, Mr. Gurwitz said. Construction took nine months and was completed in spring, but the process from acquisition to completion of the renovation took 22 months, Mr. Gurwitz said.

The lower level living area with skylight is pictured. The company excavated an additional six feet down, giving the lower level an eight foot ceiling. Mr. Gurwitz says the space would be ideal for a living room, play room or artist’s studio.

The skylight and backyard is pictured from below. “It’s a completely new building except the façade,” said Mr. Gurwitz.

Shown here, the second floor master bedroom. During construction, they kept the façade in place by building a scaffolding system from the inside and reinforcing and securing the façade to the scaffolding. “We tore down the existing building and built the new building around the scaffolding, so there was never a need to anchor and dismantle the faced,” said Mr. Gurwitz. “It worked out beautifully.”

Shown here, the master bathroom on the second floor. Mr. Gurwitz said in building the house, he imagined what we would want and need if he lived in the space. His priorities for the home’s design included a warm “organic environment,” modern amenities and “great walls for art.”

A bedroom on the third level is shown. “I think it’s a really breathable, livable space for a young family or a couple to live in,” he said.

The top floor bathroom is shown here. Mr Gurwitz lives in SoHo and has worked in interior design and strategic planning. He studied art at Parsons the New School of Design and initially wanted to be an art dealer. “I’m an artist at heart,” he said.

The top floor features another bedroom or study, pictured, and has a terrace. Mr. Gurwitz declined to disclose the cost of the renovation. The home has four bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, two half-bathrooms and 900-square-feet of outdoor space.

The top floor front terrace. The property was first listed by Good Property in June 2012 for $9.5 million and increased to slightly under $10 million in March this year. It was listed again at the beginning of July with Emily Beare and David Beare of CORE Real Estate for $9.5 million.

New Listings: 171 West 73rd Street #10

Brokers WeeklyJuly 31, 2013
171 W 73rd St. #10

One bedroom atop a classic brownstone. High ceilings, oversized windows, exposed brick and a multi-level layout. The kitchen has been renovated and there is a planted terrace. Building amenities include storage and an on-site laundry. Pets are welcome. Monthly maintenance includes internet and cable TV. Listing broker: Adrian Noriega, CORE.

Delicious Deal: 27 East 61st Street

The New York PostJuly 31, 2013
That’s a lot of pasta. The owners of the Serafina Restaurant Group, Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato, have listed a five-story building at 27 E. 61st St. for $18.5 million.

The building – which is under construction and being expanded to 8,100 square feet – includes two private residential floors, two commercially zoned floors and a restaurant with a 10-year rent roll in place. The Geisha restaurant is slated to reopen there in January with two sushi bars, a lounge and table seating for 160 people. It was previously located down the street.

The property comes with air rights and a rooftop terrace. The listing broker is Reba Miller of CORE.

Just Sold: 55 White Street, 1C

The New York PostJuly 31, 2013
TRIBECA $2,825,000
55 White Street

Three-bedroom, three-bath triplex condo, 2,300 square feet, with great room with 16-foot ceilings, fireplace, Corinthian columns and bookshelves, chef’s kitchen with sliding doors, laundry/utility room, home office and family room; building features newly updated roof deck and façade. Common charges $1,445, taxes $922. Asking price $2,899,000, on market three weeks. Brokers: Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brendon DeSimone, CORE and Jeff Kaplan.

Enjoy It While It Lasts: 277 President Sets a Carroll Gardens Condo Record

New York ObserverJuly 29, 2013
It may be a condo record in a brownstone neighborhood, and it may be fleeting, but for the moment, it’s 277 President Street‘s time in the sun: a contract for a condominium spanning two brownstones in Carroll Gardens has just closed, and it is the most expensive sale of its kind—at least that we know of—for the neighborhood.

“We just closed on Thursday,” Town Residential broker Terry Naini told The Observer, setting the neighborhood record at $2.4 million for the three-bedroom, 2.5-bath unit.

“What’s really unique about this condo is that it spans two brownstones,” she explained. “Forty feet wide, it’s a floor-through. The developer bought two brownstones, and basically completely took it down to the shell and created five apartments.”

The two buildings, with matching light brown faces and perfectly aligning façades and cornices, were not always that way—“before” photos from Barrett Design, who did the renovation, show two similar but nowhere near duplicate brick townhouses, with windows not quiiiite aligned. “The street façades were completely restored with brownstone surfacing, window and door details, and openings were enlarged to their original grandeur,” quoth the designer.

“I helped the seller purchase it in 2009,” Ms. Naini told The Observer. (Property records show them to be Gina Mastantuono and Luke Feltham; Ms. Naini would not, of course, reveal the buyers’ names.) “There were no floors, we were just walking across slats of wood looking down.” The unit now boasts not only floors—that essential amenity for any modern New Yorker—but five-inch wide plank oak floors, along with Caesarstone countertops, a pot-filler by the stove, and “hand-glazed subway tiles” in the bathroom (in case you were feeling a bit too clean?).

Enjoy it while it lasts, though, 277 President—the Sackett Union’s newly-constructed townhouses have already entered contract, according to Streeteasy, and a penthouse asking $3.1 million for more than 2,500 square feet of space is aiming to set a new record for priciest Carroll Gardens condo. Then again, with 277 President having closed at $1,256 per square foot against the Sackett Union condo’s $1,207-a-foot ask, the price-per-square-foot record is likely still Ms. Naini’s—till she breaks it again, at least.

Brooklyn Properties Setting New Records Left and Right

CurbedJuly 29, 2013
Meanwhile, in Carroll Gardens, unit #2 in 277 President Street very nearly set a condo record for the neighborhood when it closed for $2.4 million, according to the Observer. The 40-foot-wide, 3BR/2.5BA spans two brownstones and would have been the priciest Carroll Gardens condo ever to sell, if it weren't for that sneaky Sackett Union, which has, apparently, already sold a penthouse for $3.1 million. With records falling all over the place, it's like the steroid era of Brooklyn properties.

Long Island City Townhouse Goes For At Least $3 Million

HGTV FrontDoorJuly 29, 2013
Brooklyn neighborhoods tend to get all the attention when it comes to landmark townhouse sales, but this week the focus is on Long Island City. A townhouse at 531 51st Avenue hit the market in April for $3.25 million and just went into contract. The CORE Group, which holds the listing, tells us the contract was signed last week after receiving several offers over $3 million. Based on those numbers, this will mark one of the biggest — if not the biggest — townhouse sales in that neighborhood. Just to give you an idea, the median price for houses in Long Island City is $2.25 million, according to Streeteasy. "Talking about buying a property for $3 million here is no longer a profanity," CORE broker Doron Zwickel told the Wall Street Journal.

The 21-foot brownstone is divided into a four-bedroom triplex with three full baths and a two-bedroom penthouse with two baths. The renovated interior features exposed brick throughout, wide-plank white oak floors and radiant heat flooring. Though the 3,100-square-foot triplex has been branded as the owner's unit, the 1,030-square-foot penthouse doesn't sound too shabby — it comes with a private 950-square-foot roof deck. Then again, the triplex boasts a 770-square-foot landscaped garden, so you really can't go wrong when it comes to outdoor space in this house.

Done Deals: 7 Bond Street, PH AB

Brokers WeeklyJuly 24, 2013
CORE’s Michael Graves has tapped into a pool of wealthy buyers who value privacy over perks. The veteran broker just sold two downtown lofts for over $12 million, despite having little or no amenities.

“The demand for boutique loft buildings downtown is very high,” said Graves. “And contrary to what some might believe, there’s a huge buyer pool of people who want buildings that are not amenity-rich. Some want to live discreetly and not come home to a doorman. They don’t need the interior gym and all the amenities being sold in the market these days. There’s a big buyer profile that I’m in touch with that likes these properties. I used that sales strategy for both properites.”

The four-bedroom penthouse at 7 Bond Street sold for $9.2 million, $700,000 above the asking price after just 23 days on the market. The building has no amenities.

Graves also sold a two-bedroom penthouse at 22 Warren Street for $3.55 million, $200,000 above the asking. A 1,000-square foot private terrace was the only “amenity.”

$3.25M Long Island City House Already Has Multiple Offers

CurbedJuly 23, 2013
This newly-renovated Long Island City two-family townhouse is currently listed for $3.25 million, but you're probably already too late, as it has received multiple offers over $3 million, according to its broker. Separated into a 4BR owner's duplex with a finished basement and a 2BR top-floor rental with a roofdeck, every floor of the house—as well as the facade—offers a surplus of (not at all unattractive) exposed brick. When it does close, it will almost certainly set a new record for townhouses in Astoria/Long Island City.

LIC Townhouse Gets Offers Over $3 Million

The BrownstonerJuly 23, 2013
A Long Island City townhouse priced at $3.25 million has received several offers over $3 million possibly making it a record for the area. According to the broker, some offers were under $3 million and some over including some that were all cash and others not contingent on financing. The 21 foot-wide brick townhouse at 531 51st Avenue is set up as a four bedroom owners duplex with a finished basement playroom that includes its own entrance. It also has a 1,000 square foot two bedroom, two bathroom top floor rental with a roof deck that could be combined into the main house. Prices have been rising dramatically in parts of the borough according to the Wall Street Journal which first reported the offers on the home today. According to a report by the Real Estate Board of New York, sales prices of one to three family homes were up nine percent in the second quarter this year compared to last year. The median sales price borough-wide for these homes was $475,000. Prices in Astoria were up 27 percent in that period. However, prices in areas hit most severely by Hurricane Sandy including the Rockaways and Howard Beach were down by as much 30 percent.

NYC’s Premier Properties: 15 Central Park West

Luxury Listings NYCJuly 23, 2013
Condo: 12 rooms, 5 beds, 6 baths ∣ Amenities: Fireplaces, Doorman, Gym
Common Charges: $7,349 ∣ Maintenance $5,136 ∣ Listing ID: S913820

Located on the 35th floor of 15 Central Park West, this residence is the building’s only post-construction combination unit. Listed by Emily Beare, 212-726-0786,

City's Housing Bounce Spreads Beyond Manhattan

Wall Street JournalJuly 23, 2013
In Long Island City, a renovated property on 51st Avenue has just received several purchase offers for around $3 million, brokers say, potentially setting a record price for a townhouse in Queens. In Park Slope, a restored townhouse on 10th Street found a buyer after a single open house. It was listed for just under $2.7 million.

Sandy's impact continues for some properties such as in Staten Island's Midland Beach.
Such experiences are becoming more common in a newly resurgent housing market across New York City this year: Recent gains in other boroughs are outpacing those in prime Manhattan neighborhoods, where the market rebounded sharply last year.

A new report by the Real Estate Board of New York, an industry trade association, found that city-recorded sales of homes outside of Manhattan, including condos and co-ops, rose 13.4% during the second quarter, compared with the same period in 2012. In Manhattan, overall sales were flat in the latest quarter, the report found.

Excluding condos and co-ops, the pickup for one-to-three-family houses was even stronger. A total of 4,486 sales were recorded outside of Manhattan in the second quarter, a 20.5% increase over the year-earlier period. The largest sales rebounds were in Staten Island and Brooklyn. In Manhattan, where there are few one-to-three-family transactions, the number of sales still rose in the latest quarter.
The report found that some of the worst-performing areas were Sandy-damaged neighborhoods such as Howard Beach and the Rockaways in Queens, and Midland Beach in Staten Island. But even there, brokers say, pricing in some areas has stabilized, as bargain hunters stepped in to buy both renovated house and some still needing repairs.

The city's housing rebound has expanded outside Manhattan to Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Michael Slattery, the board's senior vice president for research, said that sales outside Manhattan slowed down sooner than Manhattan in the housing slump and were slower to recover. Instead, he said, the city pattern excluding Manhattan more closely resembles that of the single-family-home market across the country, where low interest rates and growing confidence in the economy sparked a housing recovery this year.

"Outside Manhattan the bounce back has been more recent," he said. The report put the median price of a one-to-three family house at $458,000, a price that showed that despite a stronger market, "the middle class can afford to live in New York City," he said.

In Manhattan, sales of homes selling for more than $10 million fell to 22 in the latest quarter from 40 in the first quarter and 30 in the 2012 second quarter, according to the report.
Overall, Manhattan remains the prime market driver, making up 58% of the $8.2 billion in residential transactions filed with the city in the second quarter while the borough has only 18.5% of the owner-occupied housing stock in the city.

Still, the city's housing recovery is far from complete. Real Estate Board figures show that average prices in the second quarter were still 5.5% below prices recorded in the second quarter of 2008.
But that isn't worrying Doron Zwickel, a broker at CORE with the listing for the townhouse on 51st Avenue, a prime location in Hunters Point in Long Island City. The 21-foot-wide brownstone with six bedroom, bare brick walls and oak floors was listed for $3.25 million in April.

He said that as a string of high-rise rental buildings went up near the East River in recent years, some renters have started looking for bigger homes in the same neighborhoods. With the supply of townhouses limited, prices have been pushed higher.

"Talking about buying a property for $3 million here is no longer a profanity," Mr. Zwickel said. "We have gotten tons of interest and multiple offers."

Rebekah Witzke moved with her husband and three children to a Long Island City rental from the Upper East Side last year. Working with Jonna Stark of Nest Seekers International, she has been searching for a house but says everything she has seen is too expensive or needs too much work. "The inventory is so low and everything is going so quickly," Ms. Witzke said.

In Park Slope, prices and sales are rising. The report found that the median price in the neighborhood was $1.75 million in the second quarter, up from $980,000 a year earlier. There were 36 sales recorded in the second quarter up from 24.

The house at 418 10th St. in Park Slope that listed for just under $2.7 million was 18 feet wide and was renovated with a sweeping main staircase and a fancy kitchen opening out on the garden. It went on the market in late June and immediately attracted attention.

"If you've got something nice and if it's priced right, it is going to get a lot of attention and multiple offers," said Carol Graham, a broker at Corcoran Group who has the listing. "But you still can't be stupid about pricing.”

In Howard Beach, where the storm flooded many homes, the number of sales fell sharply in the latest quarter and the median price per square foot fell 30%, according to the report.

"There was a lot of panic selling; there was a big scare factor," said Jerry Fink, a broker based in Howard Beach. But Mr. Fink said prices had stabilized and have begun to rise in some parts of the area.

"You still have a great neighborhood," he said. Now that memories of Sandy begin to receded he said some buyers see the storm's aftermath as a buying opportunity.

But on the south shore of Staten Island, where repairs on many Sandy-damaged houses are incomplete, would-be sellers are finding buyers only by dropping prices, while prices are rising in many other intact Staten Island neighborhoods.

In Midland Beach, a newly renovated house on Patterson Avenue a few blocks from the water went on the market in April for $349,000, close to what it sold for in 2009. Since then, the asking price has been cut twice to $329,000.

"Prices are very low," said Dritan Gashi, a broker with Robert DeFalco Realty who has the listing. "People are worried about Sandy, but when the price is low there is interest."

Neighborhoods: Gramercy/Flatiron – Jarrod Randolph

Luxury Listings NYCJuly 23, 2013
Q & A: What is important to buyers looking in the neighborhood and how is that changing?

Buyers looking in Gramercy Park want quality. The neighborhood has a cache because of the park, prewar co-ops and architecturally significant buildings. Even with standard new buildings like 160 East 22nd Street by Toll Brothers, consumers are willing to pay more to be close to the park, but want designer finishes in buildings with amenities.

On the Market in New York City: 420 East 51st Street

New York TimesJuly 21, 2013
Beekman Area Co-op $1,895,000

MANHATTAN 420 East 51st Street, #12F

A five-bedroom four-and-a-half-bath with a terrace, a dining room and a washer/dryer in the Morad Beekman, a pet-friendly full-service postwar elevator building with a roof deck.

Maggie Kent, CORE (646) 342-0698;

A Building With a Pool

New York MagazineJuly 21, 2013
One Museum Mile, 1280 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side

Pool Profile:
Nearly a dozen lounge chairs and a barbecue area surround the pool, which is three feet eight inches deep and 18 by 35 feet long, in this Robert A.M. Stern–designed condo.

Apartment 7H, a 1,372-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bath, facing the park.

$1.595 million; Tom Postilio, CORE.

LXTV Open House: 15 West 20th Street, PH

LXTVJuly 21, 2013
This episode of Open House was hosted from 15 West 20th St., New York, NY. For more information on this property, please contact Adrian Noriega of CORE at 646-279-6104.

Maggie Kent | CORE Group: 420 East 51st Street, 12F

Modern New YorkJuly 19, 2013
Experience elegant Beekman Place, full-service living in this five-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom home, with its own private, 600-square- foot terrace and open city views. The well-appointed living room, state-of-the art kitchen and separate dining room lead to the outdoor terrace, adding to an expansive custom-designed layout that is perfect for entertaining. Wide plank hardwood floors, gorgeous wood cabinetry, custom sound and lighting features, wet bar and foyer lounge area add to the ambiance of this cleverly-designed, modern living space. There are two distinct wings of this spacious apartment, currently configured with a south-facing master bedroom, en suite master bath and an office/den with custom built-ins and en suite bath. The north wing has two large bedrooms, two full bathrooms and an exercise room. This pet-friendly building features a 24-hour doorman, lobby-accessible garage and a planted roof deck. Monthly maintenance is $8,843, with a $4000/month seller rebate for two years following closing.

New York’s NoMad on the Map for High-End Home Buyers

The Financial TimesJuly 19, 2013
New York City’s newest neighbourhood is attracting tech companies, foodies and upmarket real estate developers.

From SoHo to NoHo, NoLIta to TriBeCa, Manhattan is an island of acronyms. One of New York’s newest is NoMad, a fashionable neighbourhood, North of Madison Square Park, which is increasingly attracting tech companies, foodies and home buyers. Not to be confused with Madison Square Garden 10 blocks to the north, Madison Square Park is a 6.2-acre emerald oasis wedged between the gallery-filled Chelsea to the west and the architecturally-important Flatiron District to the east. NoMad’s borders are not exact, though most agree that the area begins at the park’s upper edge along 26th Street and runs northward for about six blocks, dissected by Fifth Avenue, Manhattan’s most enviable address.

NoMad, a former industrial zone, is relatively new to upmarket real estate. In the late 19th century, the area was one of Manhattan’s most exclusive – a gathering spot for Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain and Theodore Roosevelt. Songwriters such as Cole Porter and Irving Berlin, along with music publishing houses, congregated along NoMad’s upper limits, earning it the nickname Tin Pan Alley.

But the 20th century was less kind to NoMad. Madison Square Park succumbed to crime and homelessness amid New York’s economic crises in the 1970s and 1980s. “The area lost its identity and became a no-man’s land,” says Debbie Landau, president of the Madison Square Park Conservancy and a revitalisation advocate.

Yet a recent Conservancy-led, 15-year, $35m restoration scheme has helped Madison Square Park and surrounding quarters such as NoMad to thrive again. Boosted by the newly-beautified park, which now offers contemporary art shows and twice-weekly children’s musical performances, private sector players began to realise NoMad’s untapped potential.

Restaurateur Danny Meyer, for example, helped establish the area’s culinary reputation with Tabla, 11 Madison Park and the haute burger venue Shake Shack, which has just opened a branch in London. Meyer was followed by chef-entrepreneurs Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. Hotels also arrived in NoMad, such as the affordable Ace and the eponymous, higher-end NoMad, followed by tech companies such as Buzzfeed and Tumblr. Now upmarket real estate developers are set to open half a dozen high-end projects in and around NoMad within the next 18 months.

“We have huge confidence in the NoMad area,” says Steven Witkoff, chairman of the Witkoff Group, which is co-developing half of the huge International Toy Center into 125 one- to five-bedroom condominiums to be called 10 Madison Square West. “They’ve done a great job restoring the park – especially for families – while the area offers great connectivity to the rest of Manhattan.” Priced between $1.5m and about $25m, 10 Madison Square West is indicative of NoMad’s thriving real estate market – which now commands more than $2,000 per sq ft, up from roughly $1,500 per sq ft in 2010.

The price increase reflects prevailing market conditions in Manhattan – notably, the scarce housing supply. According to a report by Douglas Elliman, a real estate company, the number of available apartments in Manhattan fell more than 31 per cent in the second quarter of this year – a 12-year low. Meanwhile, prices of new-build Manhattan real estate rose nearly 31 per cent during the same period to more than $1,400 per sq ft.

With its central location and prime park access, NoMad-area agents, such as Doron Zwickel of the Core Group, suggest neighbourhood pricing could reach more than $2,500 per sq ft by the end of the year.

Zwickel is representing 241 Fifth Avenue, a 20-storey, new-build glass tower with one- to three-bedroom residences, including two penthouses priced between $7m and $8m. About 75 per cent of buyers are American, says Zwickel, with the rest from Canada, the UK, Asia and Latin America.

US buyers, including Chelsea Clinton, have also flocked to The Whitman, a former textile showroom converted into four floor-through homes starting at 5,000 sq ft and priced from $10m. Three have sold, while the 6,540 sq ft penthouse is still on offer for $25m. “The project has proven particularly attractive to affluent young families looking for a long-term base to raise their kids,” says Dina Lewis of Douglas Elliman.

Dutch developers and Dutch designers Piet Boon and Piet Oudolf are behind Huy – “house” in Dutch – a project set in a converted office tower with 58 one- to four-bedroom condominiums priced between $1m and $11m. Landscape designer Oudolf is well-regarded for his work on the nearby Highline, a mile-long elevated park built on what was once a freight railway track. Nearly 70 per cent of Huy’s homes have already been sold, many of them to European buyers.

Still, the area’s most eagerly-anticipated opening remains One Madison – a slender, 600ft tower directly on Madison Square Park which has languished unfinished and nearly unoccupied for three years. The 60-storey project went into insolvency just as construction finished but now a new ownership consortium, led by Related Companies, is completing and upgrading One Madison, which will re-enter the market this autumn. Responding to the high-end sector’s demand for larger units, the residence count has been reduced from 90 to 65 and prices will reportedly start at $10.5m for three-bedroom units.
Michael Iannacone, vice-president of Related, anticipates a heavy concentration of international buyers. “We expect buyers to move in by early 2014,” he says, “a year before many of our neighbouring new developments.”

As projects, such as One Madison, push the area’s entry point at some buildings past the $10m mark, will NoMad ultimately prove to be a sound investment? Veteran buyers such as Mexican-born banker Jaime Rodriguez believe so. Rodriguez bought a two-bedroom home on Fifth Avenue just above Madison Square Park in 2009. “I love the area’s restaurants, its central location and what I consider to be the most beautiful park in New York,” he says. What has surprised him, however, is his apartment’s appreciation in value. “People regularly offer me more than 40 per cent over the purchase price for the place,” he says. “It’s a nice increase and a tempting offer but there’s so little available in New York right now.”

Done Deals: 234 West 21st Street, #55

Brokers WeeklyJuly 17, 2013
234 W21st St. #55

South and west-facing one-bedroom co-op in Beaux-Arts elevator building. Newly renovated with open chef’s kitchen with Sub Zero and Miele appliances, granite counters, designer tiled backsplash; spa-style, windowed bathroom with heated floors. Exposed brick, decorative fireplace, recessed lighting and Brazilian cherry wood floors. Asking price: $829,000. Time on market: 1 week. Brokers: Lindsee Silverstein (pictured) and Elizabeth Kee, CORE; Flora Resnick, Corcoran.

Done Deals: 11-25 45th Avenue, #2B

Brokers WeeklyJuly 17, 2013
Long Island City
11-25 45th Avenue, #2B

Two-bedroom, 2-bath home with 1, 277 s/f terrace. One Murray Park is LIC’s newest condominium, nestled on the renovated Murray Playground. Steps away from the MoMAs PS1 and the E, M and 7 subway lines, features include a doorman, indoor parking, gym, common roof deck, residents library and a bike room. Asking price: $925,000. Time on market: 8 months. Brokers: Doron Zwickel, CORE; Diane Rathjen, Corcoran.

Stuy High

New York PostJuly 17, 2013
Open houses have been the real estate equivalent of lions swatting each other over prey.

At 618 Dean St., in Prospect Heights, broker Rodolfo Lucchese of the Corcoran Group held exactly one open house for a two-bedroom.
“We could have put [the listing] on in the low $900,000s, but we decided on $895,000, because the owners wanted to sell it quickly,” says Lucchese. “At one open house, we got 14 offers. Within a day and a half we went to highest and best.”

The apartment now has an accepted offer above the asking price and 13 backups.

“We had 200 people at our first open house,” says broker Avi Voda of Douglas Elliman, who is selling Clinton Lofts. “We sold nine apartments in our first week.”

Townhouses are more or less the same story as condos in these neighborhoods. “I just went into contract [two weeks ago] on 402 Monroe St.,” says Doug Bowen of Core. “It was a three-family in Bed-Stuy. There were five bidders in the best and final, and the house is in contract for well over the asking price of $950,000.”

“Every house we were going to see, there were all-cash offers, bidding wars,” says Ben Fleming, who finally closed on a house in Bed-Stuy in June with his wife, Sarah Ogden. “Every offer was above whatever the asking price was.”

In May, a townhouse at 7 Arlington Place in Bed-Stuy was listed for $1.3 million and, after a bidding war, closed at $1.7 million. Last week a townhouse at 739 Macon St. in nearby Stuyvesant Heights, which was on the market for $999,000, went into contract — yes, it may have had some work done on it, but it sold last December for just $325,000 before being “polished to perfection” and re-listed.

According to data from the Corcoran Group, two-to-four-family townhouses went up an average of 36 percent in Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Bushwick and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens from last year.

And the price jumps are happening fast. “When we closed, [the seller’s] Realtor came up to us and said, ‘You guys got a really good deal,’ ” says Fleming, who paid $760,000 for his two-family home. “Another one around the corner just sold for $950,000.”

The most obvious explanation for the Brooklyn frenzy? Not much has been built in the last few years, and buyers have been willing to broaden their search.

“This is definitely out of the way,” says Laura Juszczak, an Upper West Sider who showed up at Clinton Lofts, looking for something with outdoor space closer to her work (she’s an assistant professor at Brooklyn College). “But I’ve not been finding anything.”
“A surprisingly large [number of buyers] are from Manhattan,” says broker Rachel Medalie of Douglas Elliman who is selling Clinton Lofts with Voda.

Toni Martin, a broker for the Corcoran Group whose listing at 739 Macon St. is in contract, says that Brooklyn has its own draw. “I have buyers wanting to move from within other boroughs and outside of NYC wanting to come to Brooklyn,” says Martin. “Brooklyn is a top-tier destination, not a second choice.”

Another part of it has to do with the fact that these neighborhoods have experienced retail booms, just like in the rest of Brooklyn.
“Franklin Avenue exploded,” says Suzanne Mattiello-De Groot, who owns a townhouse in Crown Heights (and was thinking of trading it for one in Bed-Stuy but has mostly been scared off by the prices). Franklin Avenue has gotten every important marker of gentrification, from juice bars to cocktail bars to fancy donut purveyors to restaurants like Mayfield and Taste Buds.

A final reason why buyers might be jumping into the fray right now has to do with interest rates, which have risen from 3.52 percent on May 1, to 4.48 percent on a 30-year fixed rate yesterday, according to “Buyers start to feel more pressure as interest rates fluctuate,” Barrocas says.

Along with interest rates, prices have gone up, too. Even in the space of a year, buyers have seen prices shoot up dramatically.

“Everything is more expensive,” says Marisa Rahaman, who showed up at Clinton Lofts with her husband, Brad, and their 2-month-old son, Julian. Rahaman first started looking for something to buy a year ago. “I remember thinking it sounded expensive when we saw a 1 1/2- bedroom loft in Greenpoint for $579,000. I thought it was insane. Now it doesn’t sound so bad.”

House of the Day: 105 Cambridge Place

BrownstonerJuly 16, 2013
This Italianate brownstone at 105 Cambridge Place in Clinton Hill was built in 1873 by Thomas Lambert. Currently configured as an owner’s triplex with a top-floor rental, it has plenty of historic details, such as mantels, pocket doors, etched glass and decorative plaster. The listing says the house is structurally solid with well-maintained mechanicals but needs updating. There are no photos of kitchens or baths. It will be delivered vacant. What do you think of it for $2,275,000?
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