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Friedman Rosenthal Team

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New York Lifestyles Magazine

Real Estate For All Seasons

Manhattan real estate is changing every day. By the time this article goes to print, the market will already have changed again. Each neighborhood has different moods, vibes and attributes and price per square foot changes building to building, even within the same location. Over the years, it has seen tremendous growth. High-end condos are being built everywhere; not much can stop the growth or gentrification and as Comedian Billy Crystal said in an interview recently on his latest visit to The Tonight Show upon seeing all the constant construction, "I'm looking forward to when they finish the city."

New construction has been booming thanks to the now defunct tax abatement called the 421-a and in recent months high-end closings have been on the rise from construction two years ago with foreign buyers signing contracts off floor plans. As reported in the NY Times, "In the two years since Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, took office in January 2014, developers have received construction financing for 13,929 affordable units, according to data from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Of those, 5,006, or more than a third, were to receive a 421-a subsidy, a clear sign of how heavily the mayor's overall program relied on the now-defunct exemption." Even though the program has not been renewed, we won't see the true effects of that for another year or two and it likely will not be pretty. Almost every brokerage has seen a jump in closings over the last year. Some like Halstead are up almost 25 percent; however, if you continue to look at the top of the market there are still inconsistencies. Even as I write this, emails are interrupting me from all different brokers about price points with "price improvements."

The luxury residential market has logged four strong weeks in a row, with 115 sales worth a combined $950 million, including a $76.5 million sale at Macklowe Properties' 432 Park Avenue.

Maybe the slowdown in the Manhattan luxury sales market is a bit of a fabrication? No, it is not. Industry publication The Real Deal totaled it up, and the pessimists are right: Modern aristocrats' appetite for en-suite lap pools, members-only pet spas and penthouse views of New Jersey really seems to be on the wane.

While we had a strong four weeks, luxury sales volume is down a stomach-churning 25 percent in the first 20 weeks of 2016 compared to the same period last year. Just 449 contracts at or above $4 million were signed so far this year, compared to 597 in the first 20 weeks of 2015, and 552 in 2014, according to a TRD analysis of data.

Meanwhile the biggest growth of million dollar listings is actually in Brooklyn. According to TRD, Bedford-Stuyvesant, a neighborhood in the north central part of Brooklyn, moved from 1.7 percent of homes valued at $1 million or more in 2012 to 56.5 percent in 2016. That's more than a 3,000 percent increase. Another Brooklyn neighborhood, Greenpoint, saw an increase from 8.4 percent in 2012 to 56.7 percent in 2016.

So after reading all of this you may think it's impossible to buy anything for less than a few million and why even try when all you read or see in the news are stories titled "The new Billionaires Row." That's what New York real estate experts have dubbed a lineup of a half-dozen new super luxury skyscrapers overlooking Central Park that are home to some of the world's most expensive apartments.

Topping it all and appearing next year in a high-rise being built on Central Park South: a 23,000-square-foot, four-story apartment offered at $250 million! Really! That jaw-dropping price was contained in documents the developer filed with the state attorney general's office. Floor plans show 16 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms, five balconies and a massive terrace.

However, it is not true that you must spend millions to find your new home, properties in Manhattan Valley all the way through Washington Heights and up to Inwood are being sold for under $1 million. Recently, my client and I were featured in The New York Times' The Hunt for buying a great one bedroom for only $699,000 in Manhattan Valley. My team recently sold a two-bedroom apartment in Washington Heights with a doorman, roof deck and gym for $689,000. These neighborhoods are up-and-coming and still affordable. The most important way to achieve your goal is to work with a broker you trust and one who will prepare you to be the first buyer to the table with a professional offer.

If you have any questions about the current market or you need an evaluation on your property please email me at the Friedman Rosenthal Team at Halstead Property through www.halstead.com.

Friday, July 01, 2016