Archive for Townhouse/Brownstone

Douglas Elliman released the Fourth Quarter report for Manhattan Residential Co-op and Condo sales market.  The Manhattan Sales Quarterly Survey of Co-op & Condo Sales for 4Q-2014 reported here and summarized below was prepared by Miller Samuel for Douglas Elliman.


“All Manhattan price indicators showed robust gains from the prior year quarter, largely driven by low inventory and higher than average demand.”


Manhattan housing prices continued to rise, but the market remained challenged by the lack of inventory. Sales activity was high, but did not equal the record volume achieved last year. New development market share continued to expand with more new offerings coming online in 2015. The current market pace remains brisk with nearly half of all sales resulting in purchase prices that were at or above the asking price. Based on the strong finish for 2014, we are anticipating an active market going into 2015.


How’s the Market – August 2014

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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.


AV&MED_SP_DOM_08-2014 - Copy

DISC_AP_08-2014 - Copy

Sales_Region_08-2014 - Copy



In the News – February 2, 2014

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1/30/14  Douglas Elliman Releases Decade Report for Manhattan Townhouse Sales 2004-2013:  Like the apartment market, Manhattan townhouse sales jumped and prices edged higher over the past year. Inventory continued to fall, resulting in the fastest paced market in 17 years. There were noticeable gains in market share of 3-5 unit/family sales, as more consumers looked to convert them to single family homes. We anticipate additional improvements in the townhouse market over the coming year.  See the full report at




Bigger Loans = More Hoops to Jump Through

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Jumbo loans, for most lending institutions, are defined as mortgages over $625,500, and they come in three sizes: small, medium and large. Face it if you’re buying in New York City and need a mortgage, you’ll likely be seeking one of these jumbo loans.

While several banks offer these Jumbo Loans, the may have different requirements.  For Example

  • EverBank offers a Jumbo Loan up to $1.5M and requires a 20% down payment, and 12 months of cash reserves; a loan from 1.5M to 2.5M requires a 30% down payment and 18 months cash reserves; and over $2.5M requires $35% down and 2 years of cash reserves.
  • Bank of America offers a jumbo loan up to $1M with a 20% down payment; a $2.5M to $5M loan with 30% down; and $5M+ loans require a 35% down payment.
  • Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has several tiers starting at $417,000 to $2M with 20% down payment and 12 months cash reserves.  After that, for every $1M above the $2M requires an extra 5% down and additional cash reserves.

While most lenders build in some flexibility to their loan programs, expect to see credit score requirements of 720 and above and debt-to-income ratios of 40% to 43%.  You might be able to get more favorable terms if you have a strong financial profile.

Some other things to think about:

  • Relationship:  The first place to look is the lender where you do the majority of your business.  If you have a strong relationship with your lender already, they may be more likely to relax their requirements.
  • Identify liquid assets:  Some lenders will accept assets such as stocks that can be liquidated easily if the borrower does not have sufficient cash reserves to meet the tier requirements.
  • Shop sooner rather than later:  The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules go into effect in early 2014.  These protections will tighten standards for verification of borrower income or assets and make interest-only loans difficult or impossible for many borrowers to obtain.

Based on Wall Street Journal article by Anya Martin

 Q:  I am considering purchasing a condominium unit in a small building, but the condominium board does not have an accountant prepare audited financial statements.  Is there a requirement that condominium and co-op boards have accountants prepare audited financial statements?

 A:  No, there is no requirement that boards have accountants prepare audited financial statements.  However, audited financial statements prepared by an accountant provide assurance that the financial statements fairly reflect the building’s financial position.  Consequently, an audited financial statement will provide a prospective purchaser with confidence that they have an accurate picture of a building’s financial condition.  Purchasers considering a condominium or co-op that does not have audited financials should proceed with caution when conducting their due diligence.

 Important Tip:  As mentioned in a past Legal Line Question of the Week, audited financial statements for a condominium or co-op are one of the due diligence items that your real estate broker should request from the seller or managing agent as soon as possible in order to expedite the transaction.

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

This post is provided as informational proposes only and should not be construed as legal, accounting or tax advice by the RealEstateGeezer. You should seek advice from a qualified professional

The Elliman 2003-2012 Decade Survey for Manhattan Townhouse Sales was released recently and summarized below was prepared by Miller Samuel for Douglas Elliman.

With the drop in inventory and the rise in sales, 2012 proved to have the fastest market pace since 2006″

The Manhattan townhouse market had the most sales since the market peaked in 2007 and activity has been rising for the past three years. Prices remained stable over past year, as they have been during the past four. The market has tightened over the past year as listing inventory fell and marketing times are now faster on average than during the boom. The townhouse market has continued to perform well and we look forward to another active year in 2013.

  • Median sales price fell 4.2% to $3,500,000 from the prior year as the other indicators rose over the same period. Average sales price rose 6.1% to $5,260,136 and average price per square foot jumped 12.2% to $1,265 over the same period.
  • Townhouse inventory fell 18.9% to 411 from the prior year total bringing the absorption rate down to 17.8 months, from 25.4 months in 2011. This was the faster pace of absorption since 2006 when the rate was 16.4 months.
  • There were 277 sales in 2012, second to the decade high water mark of 343 seen in 2007. Residential market share reached 2.6% of Manhattan activity, the highest since 3.1% was reached in 2006.
  • Days on market, the number of days from the last price change to the contract date, fell to 106 days, 2 months faster than 166 days in 2011.
  • Listing discount, the percent difference between the list price at the time of sale, fell to 4.6% in 2012 from 5.4% in 2011.


In the News February 17, 2013

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 1/14/13  The Pricing Puzzle:  How much is that Central Park view really worth?  In a year full of eye-popping luxury listings — in the second half of 2012, four homes hit the market asking at least $90 million — pricing a New York City apartment can seem increasingly subjective.    See the full article at the Real  Deal .

2/4/13  Despite real estate ties, Ed Koch was lifetime renter:  Despite having been a force in real estate, the late former Mayor Ed Koch never personally owned a piece of New York City.    See the full article at

2/5/13 Douglas Elliman releases Manhattan Townhouse Decade Report:  The Manhattan townhouse market had the most sales since the market peaked in 2007 and activity has been rising for the past three years. Prices remained stable over past year, as they have been during the past four. The market has tightened over the past year as listing inventory fell and marketing times are now faster on average than during the boom. The townhouse market has continued to perform well and we look forward to another active year in 2013.  See the full report at   

2/5/13 UES residents deterred from use of privately owned public spaces, new study finds:  A majority of the Upper East Side’s privately owned public spaces, or POPS, discourage public use, new research from Hunter College’s urban planning institute reported by DNAinfo shows.  See the full article at 

2/6/13  NYC Remains bargain among top world cities:  New York may feel like a squeeze for all but the city’s top earners, but compared to other major world metropolises, the five boroughs are still a relative bargain.  Read the full article at

2/13/13 New Housing Legislation levels the playing field:  Last month the New York State Legislature passed an important piece of housing legislation called the Omnibus Housing Bill.  Signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on February 5, the bill renews the coop/condo abatement and J-51 programs as well as amends certain provisions for the 421a program.  See the full article from REBNY on


In the News – August 19, 2012

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08/15/12  In Manhattan Home Search, Some choose to Go Big:  There are a small, but growing group of New Yorkers with deep pockets and the stomach for renovations, some are creating single-family homes out of an apartment building.  Behold the return of the urban mansion.  See the full article in the Wall Street Journal 

08/16/12  Refinancing a Vacation Home:   Homeowners who want to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates and refinance a vacation home should be prepared for stricter loan requirement especially if they rent out the property.  See the full article in the New York Times

08/17/12  Rent or Buy?  Blanching at their rent bills, more New Yorkers are being forced to confront that age-old question, should I rent or does buying make more sense?  See the full article in the New York Times 

08/19/12 Upper East Side  fourth-grader Samuel Wohabe is cooking up quite a career in food: White House ‘State Dinner’ is next for the 9-year-old upper East Sider and co-winner of national Healthy Lunchtime Challenge  See the article in the New York Daily News


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.


In the News

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6/11/12  Manhattan apartments tip furthest in favor of buyers in last six years:  Amid rising rents, buying a Manhattan apartment hasn’t looked this sensible since 2006. Citing data from appraisal firm Miller Samuel, Bloomberg News reported that in the first quarter the average cost of buying was 20.8 times more expensive than the annual cost of renting, the smallest spread since the end of 2006, when buying was 20.4 times the cost of renting. In the second quarter of 2008, the multiple was 26.7.   Read the full article at the Real Deal

6/11/12:   For Comedian, Leading Her Condo Board Is a Serious Matter:  To sit on the board of a condominium or cooperative in New York City is to exert exquisite control over your building, to decide who gets to buy Apartment 12C and to pick the color of the lobby wallpaper. But it is also a position that comes with neither compensation nor thanks, and it requires sitting through hours of bickering over questions like whether the doormen ought to wear little caps. The ranks are often dominated by retirees, real estate brokers and lawyers.   Read the full article in the New York Times 

6/13/12  American buyers join foreigners in flight to city’s luxury market:  Wealthy Americans have been lost in the hysteria over foreign buyers descent upon the city’s luxury real estate market, but in the last week domestic buyers have returned with a vengeance. The Wall Street Journal noted that two apartment deals totaling $110 million closed Monday to foreign buyers.  Read the full article at the Real Deal 

6/14/12  Hospital for Special Surgery Unveils Plan for New Building:  The Hospital for Special Surgery unveiled plans Wednesday to build a 207,000-square-foot, 13-story ambulatory care facility.  The proposed building would included three floors of operating rooms for ambulatory surgeries — where patients stay up to 23 hours — along with a floor for recovery.  Read the  full article at


In the News

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4/25/12  ‘Sex and the City’ Townhouse sold for $9.85 million:  The home at 64 Perry Street, listed for $9.65 million in early March with sold for $9.85 million, according to city records.  Read the full article at The New York Observer 

4/26/12  Useful  Vocabulary for Building Watchers:  Here are a few  architectural definitions that anyone who wants fluency in New York architecture will find useful.  Read the full story in the New York Times  

4/26/12  Prudential Douglas Elliman releases “The Elliman Report:  Long Island Sales 1Q 2012”:  Mild winter weather brought consumers into the market earlier than usual, causing the number of signed contracts in the Long Island housing market to jump from year ago levels. Housing prices were mixed, as buyers of lower priced properties took advantage of record low mortgage rates. Although properties took slightly longer to sell, listing inventory fell to its lowest first quarter total in six years. Despite the slow improvement in the national economy, we are encouraged by the state of the market in 2012.  See the full repor

4/26/12:  Prudential Douglas Elliman releases “The Elliman Report:  Hamptons & North Fork Sales 1Q 2012”:  The Hamptons and North Fork housing markets showed stability in both price and sales activity. Just as we have seen in prior quarters, the high end of the market continued to show strength. While it took somewhat longer to sell a typical property this quarter, listing inventory continued to decline. Considering the slow pace of our national economic recovery and tight credit, the East End housing market has continued to hold its own.  See the full report 

4/27/12:   Space Shuttle Enterprise’s Historic Flyover Wow’s New Yorkers: Did you see it?  Hundreds of space shuttle shuttle fans braved the chilly temperatures and biting wind Friday Morning along the Hudson River here to catch a glimpse of NASA’s prototype orbiter as it flew past the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum it will soon call home.  See the full article on Yahoo! News 

4/27/12:  Threats, stormy Exits and…:  The setting for the closing on an apartment in the East 50s was a lawyer’s office. Things seemed to be going well between the sellers until the wife found out the price her husband had received for the apartment.  This is New York City, where real estate transactions can literally take on the trappings of a blood sport. Unlike most other parts of the country, it is a place where lawyers are invariably involved in the transaction; at the very least, this increases the number of people around the table.  Read the full article in the New York Times 

4/27/12  Brokers See Bright Future for 2012’s Residential Real Estate Market: The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) has released the results of its Residential Brokers Survey for the first quarter of 2012.  With the unseasonably warm weather and favorable market conditions, brokers saw an uptick in activity this quarter and are optimistic about next quarter.  Of the brokers surveyed, 69 percent reported that they thought the first quarter of 2012 was better than the previous quarter.  Additionally, 76 percent of brokers reported that they expect the second quarter of 2012 to be better than the first, a 16 percent increase from last quarter. 

 Their optimism was based on the improving activity in the market.  The survey found that 70 percent of brokers reported completing executed contracts of sale this quarter, a nine percent increase from last quarter.  Another highlight from the first quarter of 2012 was that 74 percent of brokers reported closing rental transactions at or above asking prices, which is a 13 percent increase from this time last year.  In addition, 26 percent of the brokers reported closing sales at or above asking price, a nine percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2011 and a 4 percent increase from the first quarter 2011.

 “Brokers feel changes in the market first and we count on them to help us gauge where the market is headed,” said REBNY President Steven Spinola.  “Based on the survey results, it’s clear that broker’s optimism is coming from an improving market and that their view that 2012 will be a strong year for New York City real estate is justified.” 

 The survey also found a near perfect record of 99 percent of brokers reporting that they received a coop board approval in less than 90 days from the time a completed coop board application was submitted.

 Similar to last quarter’s findings the top features/amenities this quarter were: 1) doorman building, 2) laundry in unit, 3) private storage space, and 4) on-site fitness center.
 The survey was sent to REBNY’s Residential Broker Members.  404 brokers took the survey this quarter.  See the REBNY Q1 2012 Residential Broker’s Survey Results

Today, we released our First Quarter report for the Manhattan Residenital Co-op  & Condo Sales Market.  Manhattan Residential Co-op & Condo Sales Market Overview Q1 2012 reported here and summarized below was prepared by Miller Samuel for Prudential Douglas Elliman.

“Employment conditions have continued to slowly improve, inventory levels have remained modest, and new development stabilized, but tight mortgage underwriting conditions remain a challenge to the market.”

  • Median sales price was $775,000, 0.9% below $782,071 in the prior year quarter. Price per square foot increased 6%, and average sales price increased 0.8% over the same period.
  • The S&P’s downgrade of US debt, paired with the European debt crisis, Wall Street bonus concerns, and large swings in the stock market indices all contributed to the market’s slowed pace leading into the first quarter. As a result, the number of sales slipped 3.5% to 2,311 from 2,394 in the prior year quarter.
  • Active listing inventory slipped 0.6% to 7,560 in the first quarter from 7,605 in the prior year quarter, but remained consistent with the 7,478 quarterly average over the past ten years.
  • Days on market—the number of days between the last price change, if any, and the contract date—saw a 25-day increase to 152 days from 127 days as older inventory was sold off.
  • Listing discount—the percent difference between the list price at time of sale to the sales price—increased to 6.3% from 4.5% in the same period last year.


Manhattan 10-Year Townhouse Sales Trend Analyis 2000-2009

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Recently we reported the Manhattan 10-Year Townhouse Market Report for 2000-2009.   The 10-year sales trend analysis summarized below was prepared by Miller Samuel for Prudential Douglas Elliman.

  • There were 402 Manhattan townhouses listed for sale at the end of 2009, 24.2% below the 530 listings available in 2008. Listing inventory was similar to the levels seen ten years ago reflecting the fixed nature of turn-of-the-century housing stock.
  • The 2009 median sales price of a Manhattan townhouse—defined as a 1-5 family residence that can be delivered vacant—fell 31.9% from the record set in 2008 to $3,400,000 from $4,995,000.
  • There were 149 townhouse sales in 2009, down 1.3% from 151 sales in the prior year. The average annual number of sales over the past decade was 249 sales, indicating that the number of sales over the past two years have been below trend levels.
  • The listing discount, the amount buyers and sellers have to move to agree on price, expanded to 15.3% in 2009 from 6.9% in the prior year.
  • The days on market for townhouse properties was 142 days in 2009, faster than the 155 days in 2008.
  • The decline in market conditions left more sellers “chasing the market” when setting list prices

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Harry Potter Buys Townhouse In West Village

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Daniel Radcliffe buys Manhattan townhouse in West Village

Daniel Radcliffe buys Manhattan townhouse in West Village

Daniel Radcliffe, the 20-year-old Wizard in Broadway’s Harry Potter production, has purchased his third New York City property, a five-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot West Village townhouse.  The price:  $6.4 million.

Celebrity publications report Radcliffe now owns more than $16 million in Manhattan area condos and apartments, plus a luxury condo in his home United Kingdom neighborhood of Fulham in London.

As reported by Real Estate Channel

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