Archive for July, 2012


In the News – August 5, 2012

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07/26/12:  Prudential Douglas Elliman Releases Exclusive 2nd Quarter 2012 Elliman Report for the Long Island Market.  The spring housing market in Long Island was brisk this year with an increase over last year’s sales even though we had unusually strong sales in the previous quarter caused by the warm winter.  Housing prices remained stable and inventory fell to a seven year second quarter low.  Record low mortgage rates continue to drive demand in this slow-to-improve economy and we anticipate more of the same conditions in the coming quarters.    Download the full report at  

07/29/12:  Big Ticket: Sold $27,376,940.03 An urban version of the traditional rambling family compound, a seven-bedroom, nine-and-a-half-bath apartment that occupies all 8,360 square feet of the 16th floor at 995 Fifth Avenue, a condop building formerly known as the Stanhope Hotel, was the biggest sale of the week, according to city records.  See the full article in the New York Times    

07/30/12  Country’s most expensive apartment lists for $100M:  The most-expensive apartment in the country — a triplex, wrap-around penthouse on W. 56th Street — can now be yours for just $100 million.  Read the full article in the New York Daily News


Comfortable Small Spaces in New York

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Watch More News Videos at ABC2012 Presidential ElectionEntertainment & Celebrity News 


Recently we reported on LifeEdited’sSwiss Army Apartment” in SoHo.  As part of Mayor Boomberg’s adAPT NYC design competition which is seeking designs for 275 to 300 s.f. apartment designs, ABC World News reported on several small spaces, including a 300 s.f. apartment with a loft style sleeping quarters.  Mayor Bloomberg’s design competition is seeking to better serve New York’s growing 1 and 2 person household population.


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East River Transfer Station One Step Closer

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Despite intense opposition, the plan to build a garbage transfer station on the East River at 91st Streetnear the Asphalt Green Recreation area  has received final federal regulatory approval from the US Army Corps of Engineers.  Construction is slated to begin before the end of this year.

The Bloomberg Administration developed a waste-manage plan in 2006, in part to rely more on barges to transport trash and decrease the amount of trucks used.  Each borough would also have to handle its own waste.  Currently Manhattan is the only borough without a waste-transfer station, making the East River transfer station a key part of the plan.

Opposition to the plan includes several unsuccessful lawsuits to stop the construction, and a current lawsuit brought by Assemblyman Micah Kellner of Manhattan which charges two other key parts of the plan have yet to be implemented:  building a recycling center on Gansevoort Street in Greenwich Village; and modifying the 59th  Street Recycling center to receive commercial waste; as well as the greater than estimated volume of waste coming to the 91st Street station.  The Bloomberg administration states the Gansevoort Street recycling center would be operational by 2016 with the W 59th Street station would be modified at that time to receive the commercial waste.

Other opposition is concerned about air quality and marine life in the East River and the proximity to Asphalt Green Recreation center.  

With a budget of $240 million, the construction contract will be forthcoming.  The waste station could be operational by 2015, according to city sources.

 Inspired by New York Times Article.  Map courtesy Google Maps


In the News – July 23, 2012

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07/19/12:  Elliman Releases 2Q 2012 Brooklyn Market Report.    The housing market in Brooklyn continued to show price stability and a slight increase in sales, largely the result of falling inventory. The rise in demand and fall in supply have made the current market move at its fastest pace in two years. Despite record low mortgage rates, strict lending conditions have held back further improvement.  With a slowly improving regional economy, we expect more of the same conditions over the upcoming quarters.The housing market in Brooklyn continued to show price stability and a slight increase in sales, largely the result of falling inventory. The rise in demand and fall in supply have made the current market move at its fastest pace in two years. Despite record low mortgage rates, strict lending conditions have held back further improvement.  With a slowly improving regional economy, we expect more of the same conditions over the upcoming quartersSee the full report at

7/23/23:   Elliman Releases 2Q 2012 Queens Market Report.  The Queens housing market experienced a seasonal increase in prices, with slightly fewer sales than a year ago and a large drop in listing inventory. As a result, properties sold somewhat faster and buyers and sellers moved closer together in negotiating sales prices. Tough mortgage lending still remains one of the market’s greatest challenges. As the regional economy continues to improve, we look for more of the same conditions in the immediate future.   See the full report at

7/23/12 City Takes the Initiative in Revitalizing Industrial: As part of a comprehensive package of initiatives aimed at revitalizing the city’s industrial sector, the 16-member Industrial Business Advisory Council is holding its first meeting on Aug. 1.  See the full article at



How’s the Market? June 2012

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 While Quarterly Sales Reports show closed activity for the previous quarter, monthly Contract Signed reports are the ‘crystal ball’ of closed sales to come.  Granted all contracts signed for any given month may not close in the next month, and some may not close at all but most (over 95%) will become closed sales which will become part of the next Quarterly Sales Report.

In the following charts and graphs you can see how the market stacks up against last month and this month last year.






Recently ABC News did a story on Graham Hill and his group at showing how they turned a 420 square foot SoHo studio apartment into a veritable Swiss Army Apartment.  The apartment was gutted and rebuilt with convertible walls and multi-purpose furniture and fixtures that morphs into six different living spaces, all in a single room.

Dinner party for 10?  No problem with an expandable table with multiple leaves slides out from under the kitchen counter to seats 10.

Guests staying over?  Pull out the convertible second bedroom to reveal bunk beds to sleep 2 more.  Dark heavy drapes ensure privacy.

Even the kitchen is unique.  All the appliances, refrigerator, dishwasher and stove are tucked into drawers.  The stove top is actually two induction burners that store in a drawer and are placed on the counter-top when needed.

Technology is present all over the apartment.  Projection screen TV and Rumba Robot vacuum are two of the features. 

Nearly every space has dual purpose, including the bathroom that doubles as a ‘quiet room’. 

The apartment embodies the “Less is More” philosophy, and does so with style.




In the News

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06/26/12:  Let them all eat a $1,000 dessert:  A crown prince of Dubai and his party arrived at the Serendipity 3 for one of their Golden Opulence Sundaes recently.  Read the full article at the New York Post   

7/13/12:  Geffen gets super Rich pad:  David Geffen buys Upper East Side Penthouse apartment of Denise Rich for $54 million.  See the full article in the New York Post


REBNY Question of the Week – Roommate Law

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Q:  In connection with last week’s REBNY Question of the Week describing New York’s “Roommate Law”, we received many questions relating to the section of the New York City Administrative Code which regulates the number of individuals who can live in a given apartment.  Specifically, people have asked what the particular statute is and what the New York City Administrative Code says about how many individuals can live in a given apartment? 

 A:  New York City Administrative Code Section 27-2075 is the statute that was referenced in last week’s REBNY question of the week.  This statute sets forth a formula for determining the number of individuals who can live in a given apartment.  To determine this number, one must calculate the total “livable floor area” by adding up the square footage allocated to all floors which are at least 80 square feet (no floor area of less than 80 square feet can be counted in adding up the total livable area).  This computation includes adding the square feet allocated to the kitchen/kitchenette, but does not include the square feet allocated to the private halls, foyers, bathrooms and water closets.  After you add up the total livable floor area, you divide the aggregate sum by 80.  You divide the sum by 80 because every person occupying an apartment must have a minimum livable area of 80 square feet.  After you divide the total sum by 80 you will arrive at a number representing the total number of individuals who can live in a given apartment.  Additionally, for every two persons who are entitled to live in an apartment, one child under the age of four is also permitted to live in the apartment.

Neil B. Garfinkel,
REBNY Residential Counsel
Partner-in-charge of real estate and banking practices at Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP

From REBNY Newsletter

 This week, we released our Second Quarter report for the Manhattan Residential Rental Market.  Manhattan Residential Rentals Market Overview Q2 2012 reported here and summarized below was prepared by Miller Samuel for Prudential Douglas Elliman.

“Tight mortgage lending conditions and regional economic gains continued to drive rental prices higher.”

  • Median net effective rent was $3,115 for the second quarter, 7.9% higher than $2,888 in the prior year quarter.
  • Landlord concessions were used in only 3.7% of new rental activity with those transactions averaging only 1 month of free rent. The average year-over-year median rental increase in each quarter of the past year has been 7.6%, indicating there has been no ease in the pace of rental price gains. 
  • Studio and 1-bedroom rentals showed the largest gains in rental price indicators, driving affordability down. As a result, the combination of rising rents and falling mortgage rates have caused the highest share of entry-level purchases since 2009. 
  • The rise in rental prices forced many tenants to look elsewhere in search of affordability. This caused inventory to rise, yet days on market remained near 17-year lows. Inventory was up 27.9% to 5,660 apartments over the past year as listing discount compressed further to 1.3% this quarter from 1.7% in the prior year quarter


Seller, is Your Home Being Setup?

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With the improving conditions in some markets this spring, a potentially growing number of setup homes are popping up.  When an apartment is on the market with an unrealistically high asking price, has many showings for buyers and agents but no offers, the home could be a setup.  Some Real Estate agents will use the overpriced home as a negative example to sell other, similar homes that carries a more realistic asking price.  It makes the lower priced home look more attractive.

 How to avoid having your home being used as the Setup:

  • Make sure your home is realistically priced.
  • Ask your broker for the Competitive Market Analysis for other homes sold in the area that are similar to yours.
  • Remember there is no way to put a price on sentimental value.
  • Follow your Real Estate Broker’s advice in pricing.
  • If you are getting a lot of showings but no offers, start asking why that may be.

In the end, it is about selling your property and moving on.  Educate yourself on the market.  If you’re holding out for an unrealistic price, your home will probably become the home that everyone loves to visit.


Inspired by Miami Herald article.

Today, we released our Second Quarter report for the Manhattan Residenital Co-op  & Condo Sales Market.  Manhattan Residential Co-op & Condo Sales Market Overview Q2 2012 reported here and summarized below was prepared by Miller Samuel for Prudential Douglas Elliman.

“Although Manhattan prices and sales remained stable, the decline in supply continued to present a growing challenge to the housing market.”

  • While price indicators showed modest declines from prior year levels, they were largely the result of a 6.7% jump in entry-level sales and a 3.6% increase in sales below $500,000. Median sales price declined 2.5% to $829,000 from $850,000 in the prior year quarter.
  • There were 2,647 sales in the second quarter, 8.1% higher than the 2,448 sale quarterly average over the past five years. The number of sales was essentially unchanged from the prior year levels, but there was significant disparity between co-op and condo results. Co-op sales increased 10.9% and condos declined 11.8% over the prior year quarter results.
  • Listing inventory fell 13.5% over the same period with new development inventory falling at a 20% pace, faster than 11.8% seen for re-sales. As a result, the monthly absorption rate fell to 7.9 months, the fastest market pace in more than 4 years.
  • Days on market—the number of days from the last price change, if any, to the contract  date—increased to 165 days from 136 days as falling supply helped sell off older inventory.
  • Listing discount—the percent difference between the list price at time of sale to the sales price—increased to 5.1% from 3.5% in the same quarter last year.



Beginner’s Guide to Doormen

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You’re living in a building with a doorman, something you’ve never done before.    It may be a little intimidating, after all, you see them every day, and they know who you hang out with, where you shop online and your favorite takeout.  A doorman can be a great asset to a building.  Most doormen are extroverts; they like being in contact with people.

Here are a few tips to smooth the nerves:

  • Introduce yourself with a nice smile. 
  • Doormen are a great resource for who on the building staff does what. 
  • Be polite, the Doorman is there to help you.
  • Know the limits.  The Doorman may be able to help you hail a taxi or carry your bags from the curb to the elevator, but they probably won’t be able to fix a leaking faucet or vacuum for you, but he will offer the name of the person who does those things for the building.
  • When you request assistance, frame it as a question “could you direct me…” rather than a demand.  As grandma used to say “You catch more flies with Honey”.

A doorman is generally part of the building’s security.  Knowing who belongs – and who doesn’t – is part of his job.  Don’t be offended if a new doorman introduces himself and asks you to state your business in the building.   Just smile, tell him who you are and your apartment number and you’ll be fine.


From New York Times article.