Articles on Buying Manhattan Apartments

Tracking What the Experts Predict For the Manhattan Real Estate Market in 2012

Central park view from condoAs you already know if you follow Manhattan real estate or read this blog, the market for luxury condos in New York City has recovered almost completely from the crash of 2008. 2011 was a pretty good year for real estate in Manhattan. Condos sales had a banner year in Upper Manhattan and Harlem, and the market more or less avoided the usual slump that’s expected with the early winter months. To ring in the new year, the Real Deal polled a group of real estate experts and industry insiders to get their predictions on how the market would play out in 2012. What they said wasn’t particularly surprising; most of them agreed that this year would see a continuation of last year’s trends. But, good news for all, they provide an overall positive view of the market for luxury condos in Manhattan.

The Comeback Story of The Sheffield

Sheffiled57 in Manhattan is making a comebackWith a distinctive brown-brick and glass facade, the 57-story high-rise condominium  Sheffield57 at West 57th Street and 8th Avenue seems to fit right in in the up-and-coming Clinton neighborhood. But this recent development has a quirky portfolio, and until being foreclosed in late 2009, was steadily heading downhill. The desperate behavior of the building's developers reflected the frustration of a bad market coupled with poor managment, as developer Ken Swigs hired a marching band with trumpets and tubas to drown out the the sound of renters protesting eviction. Later his partner would make headlines (and a court appearance) for throwing a metal ice bucket at him. But under new management, and with a new name, The Sheffield has drastically resurrected sales, which seemed at one time unthinkable.

Upper East Side's Lenox Hill Grows in Popularity

Luxury condos in Lennox Hill

As any Manhattanite knows, there’s a tradeoff for buying real estate inside the Big Apple: there isn’t a whole lot of space. Now, although luxury Manhattan condominiums and co-ops have the persuasive appeal of amenities and friendly service, some New Yorkers are still keeping their eyes out for vacancies in the city’s limited supply of townhomes and brownstones. So, basically, all eyes on Lenox Hill, which stands out among some of the taller Manhattan neighborhoods with its historic charm and lines of single-family homes.

Lenox Hill, the bottom half of the Upper East Side, runs from 59th to 72nd Street. Most of the townhouses in the neighborhood have been bought up, gutted out, dusted off and listed with stark prices that have defied the economic downturn. With single-family homes a furiously hot city real estate, closing prices for the Lenox Hill gems range from $8 million to $48 million, according The Wall Street Journal.  A limestone townhouse on 64th Street for instance, sold out to renovators in 2002 at $5 million. Renovators added a pool, elevator, gym, and subsequently a ringing grand total of $21 million.

Latest NYC Trend: Condo Owners as Landlords

Luxury condos in Manhattan as landlordsA trend is emerging in New York City real estate that doubles as an ideal way to deal with the struggling housing market. High-end condo owners are subletting their homes and moving into new apartments in New York. This trend of subletting in Manhattan began as a way for homeowners struggling to afford their mortgage in a difficult economy to lessen their housing expenses, but it’s since become an option for property owners who want to do things as simple as bring in some extra cash, or move into a more convenient location. And apartments for rent in Manhattan are difficult to come by, so people looking for real estate in New York benefit as well. But the process of becoming a landlord in NYC is often fraught with some surprising concerns that may not have crossed an owner's mind right away. If you're a condo owner who has recently decided to sublet your apartment and add your name to the list of New York City landlords, here are a few tips and suggestions you should keep in mind as you embark on your new role.

Revival of the Harlem Condo Market in Full Swing

The Harlem condominium market is on the upswingWhen Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in the fall of 2008, perhaps no neighborhood was more greatly affected than Harlem. The ill-timed flurry of construction in Harlem that preceded Lehman’s collapse left about a dozen new developments stranded, so to speak. In other words,  those new luxury condominiums either on the market or about to be on the market at that time suddenly had no buyers and a bleak future. So, almost overnight, the new construction revival in Harlem created a glut of luxury condos that no one wanted to live in. This unfortunate turn of events had defined Harlem real estate for the past few years, but it looks like the damage wrought by those events has finally abated: in the third quarter of this year 150 condos sold in Harlem, marking the fifth quarter in a row where condo sales in Harlem exceeded 100 units. Despite the odds, sales of new luxury condos now exceed pre-Lehman levels. Granted, this is due to greatly reduced inventory and an extreme shortage of quality inventory elsewhere in Manhattan, but this recovery is still impressive, and it spells good news the Manhattan luxury real estate market as a whole.

NYC New Construction Condos: Tips and Tricks

TA newly constructed luxury apartment in lower Manhattanhe allure of newly constructed luxury condos in Manhattan is undeniable. These shiny new condominiums look great and offer a litany of amenities not found in older buildings. Plus, many luxury apartments in pre-war and older post-war buildings are badly in need of up-keep and may need extensive renovations, whereas newly constructed luxury condos are untouched and pristine. But before making the decision to purchase a new luxury apartment in hot neighborhoods like Battery Park City or Chelsea, there’s a few things you should address before you sign on the dotted line. While new construction buildings offer many benefits that range from new amenities, modern designs, and excellent locations, buyers should keep these new construction tips in mind when searching for a new home.

For example, buyers probably won’t know the details of the offering plan for their building. Moreover, when buying a new luxury condo, eager buyers may be entirely unfamiliar the ramifications of the contract they’re about to sign. In order to save money, avoid problems, and buy the best apartment possible, don’t jump right into a deal; take the time to check some of the basic features of the building and the apartment. There’s a lot more going on beneath the surface than you may realize.

Condos Revisiting the Market Find Buyers

Buyers are eager to purchase luxury condos in ManhattanThe New York City luxury condo market is generally recognized as its own real-estate niche. Certainly, national real-estate market forecasts have repercussions on NYC's real-estate beat--but they're limited. So don't write off the Manhattan luxury condo market to broadcasted waves of statistics just yet. Yes, according to The Wall Street Journal the national housing inventory crashed into rocky lows this year; but refocusing the real-estate market lens to apartments for sale in Manhattan, the city has seen units going up, and several buildings being re-launched after bitter 2010 presales, according to The New York Post. Manhattan is proving yet again to be the exception to the rule.

Brokers on the Buyer's Side

A broker attempts to sell an apartment in NYCMost people think that, in a nutshell, a broker is a broker is a broker. Buyers pay good money for the brokers that work for them because of their excellent knowledge of Condominiums and Co-ops in Manhattan, but that’s only half the story. Consumers often fail to realize that most brokers are seller’s brokers and as such their primary responsibility is to represent the seller’s interests. After all, the sellers pay their commission. Sometimes seller's brokers leave out important information about building problems, apartment defects or poor resale value, for instance, or negotiate unfavorable contract terms for the buyer. These practices aren't common but they are possible in these situations.

No More Behemoths: New York Condos Go Small

A rendering of 949 Park Ave, one of the many smaller condos being builtThe days of massive condos that were a staple of the boom period in New York City condo construction are over, at least for now. An extremely difficult loan market has forced developers to adjust their strategies and abandon earlier efforts to build condos with hundreds of units. The result is a sharp drop in size: according to data compiled by, new condo projects in 2005 and 2006 averaged 83 units per building, while so far in 2011 the average is 34 units. Additionally, reports that developers built 10 condos of 100 units and over in both 2005 and 2006, but this year there is only one such condo being built.

The crux of the problem is that the money just isn’t there. New York City’s overall real estate market may be healthy – at least in comparison to the rest of the country - but financing large projects is difficult at best. Extell Development Co. president Gary Barnett told the Wall Street Journal that, "It's extremely difficult to finance large condos. Rentals you can get done, you can get small projects done." The residential high rises that define many neighborhoods, such as Midtown Manhattan, have also tapered off severely for similar reasons. In the eyes of the banks the market demand for these kinds of buildings is simply not strong enough to justify their creation. Loans in the ranges of $25million – $75 million are now the norm, a far cry from loans of $500million+ needed to build larger projects.

The Remarkable Market for East Harlem Condos

A rooftop view of condos in East Harlem New YorkSome things are too good to be true, and some things merely seem that way. File the real estate market in Manhattan’s East Harlem in the latter category. For buyers in search of affordable New York City condos and co-ops, East Harlem offers new buildings that have incomparable prices when compared to the rest of Manhattan. The real estate market there didn’t recover much from the recession, and prices per square foot remain much cheaper than pre-recession levels. Combine this with continuous construction of new condos in East Harlem despite the changed economy and everything adds up to very good deals for buyers.