New York City Real Estate Blog Archives for November 2011

It's Official: Manhattan Isn't Growing Fast Enough

New Construction in Manhattan is not meeting demandAs we know all too well here at New Construction Manhattan, our island’s real estate market is going strong. Improving yet again on last year’s numbers, Manhattan sales when measured by price per square foot (PPSF) have increased by 8% over the past year, with only a 4% increase when compared to the second quarter of 2011. However, that statistic doesn’t nearly cover the fluctuations at the neighborhood level, a trait that truly gives us insight into the inner workings of the Manhattan luxury real estate market, especially in regards to new developments.

The Story of One Madison Park Nears an End (Maybe)

We’ve covered, along wOne Madison Park in Gramercy Parkith the rest of the real estate world, every development in the agonizingly drawn-out process of turning One Madison Park into an operational Manhattan condo, with little to show for it in terms of resolution -- though we now have some surprisingly intriguing (and sometimes exasperating) stories about the complications of real estate law. The legal limbo of One Madison has been frustrating considering how impressive this Manhattan condominium is, with a prime Gramercy location, notable architecture and covetous amenities. But today is a different kind of day. We have the happy task of reporting that this case of real estate stasis is apparently over -- or at least closer to over than ever before. A bankruptcy court judge in Delaware has recently approved a settlement that would resolve most of the financial claims bogging down One Madison, and grant official ownership jointly to the firms Related Companies and HFZ Capital.

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.

The Touraine: A New Manhattan Condominium Construction That Sells

Toll Brothers 861 Lexington The TouraineConventional wisdom lately suggests that New Yorkers in the past couple of years have favored the luxury rental market in lieu of committing to a purchase in a less-than-certain residential real estate market. But the numbers lately beg to differ. The hopeful luxury condominium sales numbers in the third-quarter of 2011 and the increasing popularity of Upper Manhattan residential real estate, means that it's easier than ever for a building to sell out its units and make a splash. So for a building to attract even our attentions here at NCM, it must stand out even more so than usual.

One particular building that has managed to rise above the competion is the Touraine on the Upper East Side. In a neighborhood known for its posh buildings and sterling reputation, the Touraine has been able to make quite the impact -- by selling units based on the strength of floor plans alone, something that has become less common post-2006. How did the Touraine do it? By a combination of smart apartment design and a modern technologically-savvy marketing approach.

Attracting Foreign Buyers in the Middle of the Eurozone Crisis

WThe uncertainty surrounding the eurozone threatens to further hurt the Manhattan luxury real estate marketait-and-see. For many foreign buyers whose fortunes hinge on the outcome of the European debt crisis - even those who aren’t from Europe - these words neatly sum up their attitude towards the future. This potentially disastrous impasse threatens to slow sales of luxury condos in Manhattan even further, but who can blame people for waiting? The fate of the world’s economy is up in the air. In case you’re wondering why this is immediately relevant for us, look at the numbers: foreign buyers made up one-third of sales in Manhattan over the past year, and from March 2010 - 2011 8% of home sales nationwide came from foreign buyers. In other words, foreign buyers have been keeping the Manhattan luxury condo market afloat, so this wait-and-see attitude could prove to be devastating; the market is already bogged down in a sales slump. However, new legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate might stimulate sales of luxury condos in Manhattan to unprecedented heights, if it passes. And that’s a big if.

Walker Tower: The Newest Very Old Chelsea Building

Walker Tower Construction Project in ChelseaChelsea is in the interesting position of being one of the hippest and most modern neighborhoods in all of Manhattan, while still being decked out in equally hip and desired pre-war buildings. As we've written about before, developers often address this position by renovating old pre-war apartments to fit with a modern style and sensibility. We’ve seen this often enough; developers will buy an old apartment building, raise the ceilings, expand the windows, and put the new luxury condos back on the market, describing them as a combination of the new and the old.


In Manhattan, Luxury Condos and Luxury Rentals Blend Together

A rental apartment in Silver Towers that was originally designed to be a condoWhat’s the difference between a luxury condo and luxury rental in Manhattan? These days, barely anything. The average size of a 1-bedroom luxury rental in Manhattan is 600-675 square feet, while the average size of a 1-bedroom luxury condo in Manhattan is 700-800 square feet. The units in 8 Spruce Street in FiDi and Silver Towers in Midtown West are newly constructed luxury rentals that are indistinguishable from newly constructed luxury condos and subsequently attract wealthy buyers who would’ve only considered condos before; Silver Towers in particular was originally going to be a luxury condominium. This trend is no accident; the uncertain economy has made developers antsy about the future, leading them to adopt the strategy of designing luxury buildings in Manhattan that could convert easily from rentals to condos or vice versa. Consequently, these newly constructed luxury buildings have made the distinction between the two thinner than ever.

Autumn Real Estate Sales are Fading Fast

EvLuxury real estate in Manhattan just isn't selling in Autumn anymoreen though, traditionally, autumn has been a strong season for sales of luxury condos and real estate in Manhattan, sales these days have been harder to come by. This decline has put brokers and real estate pros in a bind, because many buyers and sellers are waiting until the spring to make their moves. Over the past few years, New Yorkers have turned their attention towards spring in lieu of buying or selling Manhattan luxury real estate during the fall. According to, Manhattan October sales have declined from 868 in 2009 to 371 in 2011. This precipitous drop may not be as bad as it as sounds - this isn’t a long-established pattern - but as of right now it appears that a slow autumn season may become the norm, as the market shifts from autumn to spring. But is there a benefit to this slowdown for Manhattan buyers?

Manhattan Buyers Are Choosing LEED Certified Buildings

Green Leed Certified Luxury NYC BuildingsLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or more commonly known as simply LEED, is one of the biggest buzzwords in real estate right now. In short, it is a set of strategies that are used to evaluate real estate development projects on their effort towards environmental friendliness. In order for a building to be considered LEED certified, it must pass a series of required prerequisites and elective credits set by the U.S. Green Building Council. Once a building has been approved by the Green Building Council, it will then be confirmed and decreed by the Green Building Certification Institute as officially certified. While many people have heard of LEED certified buildings, few New Yorkers can confidently identify the characteristics of green buildings.

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.