New York City Real Estate Blog Archives for January 2011

Down Town: Home Prices On Decline In NYC... And Everywhere Else.

Home prices in New York City are in decline

Many words might pop into a prospective home-buyer's head while browsing New Construction Manhattan's NYC condo listings, but the word "cheap" probably isn't one of them. There's a reason why Manhattan apartments have proven to be such a good investment, after all -- a limited supply (as discussed earlier at the NCM blog, possibly very limited in the near team) and virtually unlimited demand has ensured that Manhattan apartments tend to hold their value very well. Of course, if you are approaching it from a buyer's perspective, it might seem more correct to say that Manhattan apartments tend to stay quite expensive. But while the Manhattan real estate market remains one of the most competitive and expensive real estate markets in the world -- and while New York City occasionally seems to be its own independent country -- the market for NYC condos is not immune from the effects of the broader U.S. economy. Which is all sort of a long way of saying that, while Manhattan apartment prices remain high, they are in fact notably lower than in years past. No, really.

Bump Ahead, Or Why Waiting To Buy A Manhattan Apartment Could Cost You Money

Waiting on a manhattan apartment may cost you money

In the years since the economic collapse, we have seen a wide array of metaphors deployed to describe both what just happened and what lies ahead. Some were more felicitous than others and none quite did the trick, but when it comes to summing up the current situation in the market for Manhattan condominiums, "like turning around a battleship" isn't bad at all. This particular pundit-approved cliche is unusually apt when it comes to describing the Manhattan condominium market's a slow, steady and maddeningly gradual ongoing comeback. Given the extent of the slump in the Manhattan real estate market, this is to be expected -- and is even somewhat advantageous for those browsing Manhattan apartment listings, as condo prices are still relatively low, and price cuts still comparatively common. But a recent article in the New York Times serves as a sobering reminder of both how deep the real estate trough of the last few years actually was, and as a warning that -- once we finally get this battleship turned around -- there may still be some choppy seas ahead for those looking to buy a condo in Manhattan.

Go East: Lower Manhattan's East River Park Just About Finished

You live in an apartment in the Financial District. Or a condo on the Lower East Side. Or are browsing East Village condo listings. Congratulations: you have good taste, both in Manhattan neighborhoods and in NYC real estate listings sites. Let's continue. You're looking for a Manhattan apartment that offers more than, you know, an apartment and a fistful of amenities. You'd like some green space in your neighborhood. Check. You like to jog. Check. You play basketball, say, soccer. Check. You enjoy lounging, or fishing, just taking in some river views. Check, check, check please. There is a park near your apartment where you can do all these things. Check... almost. Yes, work on the East River Park is almost done.

Shovel Ready: Meet 20 Pine, The Weather-Proof Financial District Luxury Condo

Snow at the 96th Street Subway StationWith one mega-blizzard down and a few slightly less 'zardy snowfalls in both the past and immediate future (at least as this post goes live), it's fair to say that winter has arrived in New York City. New Yorkers know what this means -- it means frequent reiterations of "snowpocalypse"-grade weather hyperbole, and it means subway delays and wet socks, and slush and wet socks and all kinds of other fun stuff. There are some considerably more appealing things about snow in NYC, of course -- a walk on the quiet streets (in waterproof boots, naturally), that sort of thing -- but for the most part, New Yorkers' have one goal in mind when it comes to snow, and that goal is avoiding it. Which brings us to 20 Pine, which is unique among condo listings in the Financial District not just for being an especially artful renovated luxury condo, but for having a luxury that many New Yorkers will wish they had on snowy mornings to come -- private subway access.

Park Life: Is Long-Stalled One Madison Park On The Comeback Trail?

One Madison Park from Gramercy ParkIf you've waited in line at the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, or even if you've just rambled around the greater Gramercy Park area, you are familiar with One Madison Park. One Madison Park being the striking, super-luxurious and surpassingly star-crossed high-end luxury condo standing at the south edge of Madison Square Park. We've written in the past here at the New Construction Manhattan blog about the travails of One Madison Park, but there hasn't been much news -- good or bad -- of late to report about this particular new construction luxury condominium. Which is a shame, because One Madison Park remains one of the most intriguing new construction apartment listings in Manhattan -- an architecturally stunning building with an elite Manhattan location, what promised to be stunning apartments for sale, and an elite suite of amenities.

At Any Rate: With Mortgage Rates On The Rise, Is The 4% Mortgage A Thing Of The Past?

Are 4% mortgages a relic from another era?As you have probably noticed, we spend most of our time here at New Construction Manhattan blog pondering the ups and downs of the Manhattan condo market. This means all kinds of chatter and gossip and so on about various NYC condominium listings and rising neighborhoods and new buildings and so on. But at some point, all of that fun stuff comes back to something decidedly less exciting -- the mortgage rate. The impact of those rates on all these condo listings isn't hard to figure out -- the lower the mortgage rate is, the more appealing an investment a Manhattan apartment comes to seem. All of which means that, when mortgage rates dipped to record lows just a few months ago, we did everything short of pop champagne at the prospect of how much easier 4.17% fixed-rate mortgages would make it to purchase a Manhattan apartment. Today, with rates climbing at a rapid clip and most forecasters predicting that they will continue to do so throughout 2011, it would stand to reason that we'd be somewhat less bullish on the NYC real estate market for the coming months.

Good Form: What You Need To Know About New York's New Broker Disclosure Law

New Yorks New Broker Disclosure LawFor potential buyers browsing Manhattan condo listings and the brokers charged with selling those apartments, Manhattan real estate isn't simple. Anything but, in fact. If you work with the right real estate agent (and take advantage of the right buyer's information resources), finding – and even purchasing – the right NYC condo doesn’t have to be a maddening experience. But it is inherently a complicated one, given the series of interlocking interests that are part of every Manhattan condominium purchase – buyer's agents and seller's agents, owners and buyers, developers and brokers and co-op boards and so on and so forth – that ensure that there's virtually no such thing as a quick, simple Manhattan real estate transaction. Your friendly neighborhood real estate broker would no doubt be happy to explain the myriad ways in which the current system is frustrating, confusing, inefficient and so on, but it is the way that real estate business has always gotten done in New York City. Or it was, at least: a new real estate disclosure law that passed just before the New Year aims to simplify and clarify the apartment-buying process, and to make sure that both brokers and agents understand each other before anyone signs any dotted lines. In recent years, it has been far easier to be skeptical about things coming out of Albany than it is to be optimistic, but in this instance we're offering a tentative thumbs-up. Anything that makes it simpler and less stressful to buy an apartment in Manhattan is good by us. And at first glance, the new disclosure law seems to do just that. So, how did assemblyman Jonathan Bing et al pull this off? In short, by keeping it simple. "The law requires a real estate agent to have clients sign a form stating that they understand whom the agent represents and to whom the agent will give 'undivided loyalty,' as soon as they enter into a relationship," Vivian Toy writes in the New York Times. "The disclosure law is designed to clarify the roles of buyers’ and sellers’ agents, in order to, as the form itself states, 'help you to make informed choices about your relationship with the real estate broker and its sales associates.'"