Archive for February, 2012


In the News

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2/5/12:  Big Ticket: $19,000,000 - “A Condominium at Trump International Hotel and Tower that sold for $19million was the biggest sale of the week, according to city records.”  Read the entire article in the New York Times.

2/10/12:  More rooms at more inns loom in NY’s future - “City saw at least a dozen new hotels bow in 2011, with no less than 40 more expected to follow in the next 30 months; YOTEL was the only addition to the Top 25 hotels, with 669 rooms.”  Read the whole article at Crain’s New York.

2/14/12:  Uzbekistan Cancels Valentine’s Day – Who needs love when you can celebrate the birthday of Mughal Emperor Babur?  Uzbekistan has canceled Valentine’s Day — or at least a yearly concert by Rayhan, a popular singer who traditionally croons during Feb. 14 celebrations.  Instead, the government is trying to push the appreciation of Babur, who’s a descendent of Genghis Kahn and helped spread an empire across South and Central Asia.  Basically, its a rebellion against Western influences.  Instead of candy hearts and valentines, the government will schedule commemorative readings and poetry festivals.

2/14/12:  Big Deal Rental:  Just-sold CPW mansion to hit rental market for $110,000 a month – “A 13-room townhouse at 247 Central Park West recently sold by  the former president of handbag company Coach, is now set to hit the rental market in the next few days for a staggering $110,000 per month”  Read more about it at The Real Deal

2/14/12  Want a Date?  Buy a Home:  In a survey of 1,000 single people, more than a third of women and 18% of men said they would much rather date a homeowner than a renter.  Read about it at

2/16/12  Big Deal Brazil Booms and Brokers Smile:  “Many of the Brazilian buyers in New York are professionals in their 30s and 40s, often tied to commodities or the finance sector, which has made many Brazilians rich from a flurry of I.P.O.’s in recent years. Brazilians favor addresses along Central Park on the Upper East Side or in Midtown near Lincoln Center, where many have season tickets, brokers say.”  Read about it in the New York Times

2/22/12  A tour of beer heiress’ UES apartment, on market for $14M:  :Beer heiress gives a tour of her New York City apartment at the Stanhope, on the Upper East Side, in a video from the New Yorker, via the Real Estalker blog.”  Read about it and see the video at the Real Deal.

2/22/12 MTA to make late-night house calls along Second Avenue Subway construction site:  “Rather than take Upper East Siders’ word, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials want to experience sleepless nights along Second Avenue for themselves. According to the New York Post, transit officials plan to make late-night visits to apartments near the Second Avenue Subway construction site that has elicited constant noise complaints from neighbors.”  Read more at the Real Deal

2/25/12  Subway Entrances? Not on Our Block:  “…fears running along 69th Street near Lexington Avenue, home to the Union Club, neo-Georgian homes and carriage houses. They are fears normally associated with the less-charming realities of urban life, like a homeless shelter or a late-night dive bar. But in this case, they are focused on something quite different: new entrances to a subway station.”  Read the whole article in the New York Times.

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On December 14, 2011, Community Education Council 2 voted to change the current zones for P.S. 151, P.S. 290, and P.S. 158 to open a new school, P.S.5427, in the Our Lady of Good Counsel building located at 323 E 91st St. .  The approved changes for the 2012-2013 school year may be found in the map provided below. 

The change will affect incoming kindergarten students and students new to public schools who live within the zones.  All currently enrolled students may remain at their current school.  Kindergarten students with siblings who are in an existing zone will be grandfathered as an in-zone sibling.

Further information can be found at the NYC Department of Education website

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What Co-op Boards look for in your Financials

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Many co-op boards do a cursory examination of your application:  review financials, check references, interview and make a decision.  But what does it mean ‘review financials’?  In the old days, if the bank gave the ok for financing, that was ‘good enough’; but not anymore.

So what do they look at? 

  • Debt-to-income ratio    
    • Mortgage lenders generally want no more than 28% of a buyer’s gross monthly income to the mortgage payment (Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance), or a maximum of 36% for PITI and recurring debt (loans, credit card payments, child support, etc)
    • Co-op Boards usually want to see something closer to 25-30% debt-to-income
  • Income – liquid income
    • Generally the last 3 years of tax returns are reviewed for gross income and adjusted gross income
    • Earning Potential – if your earnings are less than board guidelines, or assets are too weak, but you can show potential for increased income, the board may approve with conditions such as a year’s maintenance held in escrow.
    • Debts
      • Boards also consider other debts, student loans, car loans, other mortgages.
  • Other Factors
    • Location – locations such as Brooklyn or Queens may be less likely to look for large assets and permit more financing than a building on Park Avenue in Manhattan
    • Building size – larger buildings could be easier to buy into than smaller buildings because one or two arrears owners have less impact in a 200 unit building than a 20 unit building.

Boards want to protect their co-op, choosing people who are the right fit.  They also need to stay within the boundaries of discrimination laws.  Reviewing the financials allows the board to decide whether to move forward or not without violating the discrimination laws.

Excerpted from Habitat article

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The Admission Process

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You like the building and apartment, you’ve agreed on the price.  Now it’s up to the board.  Financially and personally, the co-op board approval process is all about whether you are a good fit for the building.  It can seem simple or complex, or simply perplexing.  You want to know what is expected of you, either ahead of time or during the interview.

A few tips to make it through the process:

  • The board can be discriminating  (picky if you will) but not discriminate for reasons of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, family make up, disability, sexual orientation or citizenship status.
  • Appropriate information for basing a decision
    • Can you afford to pay maintenance charges
    • How many people will live in the unit
    • Income, credit, residential history and employment history
    • Some boards request a preliminary application which is reviewed by a board screening committee to determine if a purchaser is eligible.  If so they move forward with the full application package.
  • Application package
      • Residential History
      • Bank history
      • Employment History
      • Hobbies and Interests
      • Interest in board or committee service
      • Anyone who will live in the apartment
      • Full financial disclosures.  See our post: What Co-op Boards look for in your Financials.
  • Community Values
    • Assess compatibility with the co-op and its character.
    • Some boards allow opportunity for you to ask your own questions
    • Have pets?  Some boards want to ‘interview’ them as well (Read about it in our article: Co-op Board Interview for Pets!)
    • Each board has their own guidelines
  • After the Interview
    • After review, the committee will give recommendation to the board, who votes on the purchase.
    • Letter sent to seller with decision, with copy to purchaser and co-op’s attorney
    • Co-op’s attorney will communicate with all attorneys involved to arrange closing.

Excerpted from Habitat article

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In the News

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1/31/12:  NYC hotel sales reach all-time high in 2011:  “New York transaction activity in 2011 was driven by the perfect combination of strong operating fundamentals, quality product being brought to market and unprecedented real estate investment trust appetite.”  Read about it at the Real Deal

2/1/12:  Tavern on the Green tour yields a few surprises:  More than 100 restaurateurs attended the Parks Department’s tour of the famed former eatery, as city solicits bids for a new operator. The new rules? Forget the fairy lights and fancy parties in a space now half its former size.  Read about it at Crain’s New York 

2/2/12:  Manhattan Townhouse Decade Report Released:  The year 2011 saw a 21.8% increase in Manhattan townhouse sales, with the most sold since the credit crunch began.  Read the whole report at Prudential Douglas Elliman 

2/2/12:  Manhattan Families Forsake Suburbs for Sprawling Apartments:  “In looking at real estate trends over the past 10 years, the Elliman report found that the past two years saw the most sales of three- and four-bedroom apartments”.  Read about it  at DNAinfo

2/3/12:  Lloyd Goldman buys UES Retail building for $13M:  “Property owner Lloyd Goldman is on a bit of a roll. He’s closed on or in contract to buy at least three small retail properties over the last four months in Manhattan and says there are more to come”  Read about it at the Real Deal


Categories : In The News
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Manhattan Co-op & Condo Decade Report

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Our 2002 to 2011  Manhattan Co-op and Condo Decade Report  which was released Today and summarized below was prepared by Miller Samuel for Prudential Douglas Elliman

“Manhattan housing prices and sales activity have remained stable for the past three years, despite the general economic turbulence.”

  • The number of sales remained above the 10,000 sale threshold for the second consecutive year and for the fourth time in the decade. There were 10,161 sales in 2011, the third highest total of the decade. The total was 1% above the prior year total of 10,060, but 24.3% below the 2007 housing boom peak of 3,430. The weakest period of sales activity for the decade was in 2009, the year after the “Lehman tipping point” in late 2008 when the credit crunch and low consumer confidence stifled sales activity.
  • There were 7,221 listings at the end of 2011, nominally less than 7,232 listings at the end of 2010. The 2011 result was 3.8% less than the 7,506 inventory in 2002. Modest inventory levels have been the key to market stability in the past two years.

  • The year-over-year price indicators were mixed but have continued to remain relatively stable for the past three years after the sharp price correction at the end of 2008. The 2011 median sales price of a Manhattan apartment was $850,000, 3.4% below $880,000 in 2010. The price indicator was at its fourth highest level in the decade and 88.9% above the 2002 level.

  • The number of days to sell a Manhattan apartment was 127 in 2011, 8 days slower than in 2010, but roughly the same as the 126 day average days on market for 2002.

  • Listing discount, the percentage difference between the list price at time of sale and the sales price, was 4.3%, down from 7.1% in 2010. Buyers and sellers were more in sync on establishing sales price in 2011 than they were in 2010.


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MTA recently hired Parsons Brickeroff to conduct an air-quality survey.

Starting on September 12, 2011 and continuing throughout a 4 week period, the firm collected minute-by-minute data for various pollutants at 10 locations between E 69th and 87th Streets.  The final report, revealed that most measured pollutants were below national air quality and industry standards. 

  • High concentrations of one type of particulate matter were “attributed to local traffic emissions, other local sources such as commercial and residential boilers . . . with no significant contribution from blasting activities”, according to the report.
  • Another spike during the 3 to 7 pm blasting period showed concentrations below acceptable levels to indicate no adverse health effects.

According to a statement released Thursday, MTA Capital Construction President Michael Horodniceanu  “Based on the results of the study, there are no concerns that Second Avenue Subway construction si causing any danger to the public’s health. We will continue to do everything we can to be a good neighbor as we complete this critically important project as quickly as possible.”

Several measures were implemented to mitigate the odors and dust :

  • “Dust Bosses” that spray water mist to force the dust particles to settle within the “muck house” structure were installed in two of the structures.
  • Wet burlap curtains were installed in the shafts to act as screening for dust.
  • Permanently sealing some overhangs
  • Installed additional vents
  • Increased time between blasts to allow for dust and smoke to dissipate.

Residents agree these measures have improved the conditions, but lament the delay in implementation.

The study findings will be presented by the MTA to the Community Board 8’ Second Avenue Task Force at Hunter College, 695 Park Ave, West Building Lecture Hall Room, 714W on January 26, at 6:30 which we will be attending.

Excerpted from article by Amy Zimmer.