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Hi,
Another quarter another laughter! This time the cards are changing hands and buyers have a better margin of manœuvre in a market where sales volume have considerably dropped and inventory gained slightly while recovering from record low levels.
The market has softened but talking bubble at this stage is a bit exaggerated (but it does sell paper). I’ll present some facts and figures associated to New York City Real Estate fundamentals to bring some rationality to all the hype out there.
The complete shutdown of the L train in 2019 for a period of 18 months is starting and will continue to have some repercussion on the Williamsburg market over the next couple of years. However, the Southern and less known side of Williamsburg close to the J,M,Z, which has already taken close to 50% in appreciation in the last 3-5 years may expect a boost in interest for current and future residents wanting the perks of Williamsburg without the hassles.
For this 3rd Quarter, the market focus will be on the two/two under two – short for 2-bed/2-baths under $2M. This is the most sought after property type for the price and its increasing scarcity is making it a hot prey for house hunters.
I hope fall will ease into the holiday season nicely. A good time to check out the new ice skating rink and Danny Meyer’s new seasonal restaurant Public Fare at Bryant Park.
Cheers!
Hi,
Spring is now behind us and left with a confirmation of the 1st Quarter trends showing a cooling Manhattan Market with high level of prices and a growing Brooklyn Market where New Developments are picking up the slack of slower co-op and condo resale.
In this Q2 2016 Newsletter, I’ll introduce the concepts of tax abatement and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) to show how vital they are to maintain diversity in Manhattan’s population.
Also, you may have noticed a massive tower on the Far West Side of Manhattan at the end of the High Line Park. That’s the first tower of the Mega Project Hudson Yards on which I’ll give you an update following my recent meeting with The Related CEO.
Finally, if Brooklyn is on your eye sight, this short overview of the New Development market landscape could help manage some of your expectations if you decide to take the leap across the Hudson River…and even if you already did.
I also wanted to thank you for your support and trust in contributing to me making it into the Top 2% of the 47,000 agents of the NRT network nationwide.
A bientôt!
Hi,
The 4th Quarter 2015 finished on a high note for New York real estate (and me as I became a Dad) with all time high price levels and a slight rebound of inventory. Manhattan and Brooklyn market snapshots will confirm the different trends both markets are currently undertaking with more opportunities arising for Manhattan buyers.
As we closed on 2015 and debuted 2016 with questions about the Fed recent rates increase and oil prices effects on Real Estate, I have including two notes about the influence of the Fed on mortgage rates, and oil price drops potential effects on strengthening foreign investment into New York commercial real estate this year.
Few people have decided to sit on the side line for the last year or so hoping for prices to drop and inventory to replenish. Since timing the market is everything, 2016 may bring its doses of opportunities, even if prime neighborhoods and well priced properties will keep showing resilience.
Finally, with Brooklyn’s anthology of neighborhoods and lifestyles, I am bringing some focus on Downtown Brooklyn (dubbed DoBro by many professionals) as the area is set to propel the borough into an entire new and exciting dimension.
I truly hope that this newsletter will be beneficial and informative while shaping your real estate plans. I remain available to consult with you at your convenience.
Cheers!
Breaking News! New York City recently fell down the list of nation’s priciest Zip Codes, owning only 2 spots versus 6 a year ago! Something must be happening! This 3rd quarter 2015 newsletter will support some signs of a possible slow down in the Manhattan Market based on the price level/inventory and sales volume data.
On the other hand, Manhattan’s best neighbor, Brooklyn, is pursuing its growth stage supported by an escalating demand for properties ranging from entry level to luxury apartments.
Finally, the New Development pipeline section will focus on the number and quality level of units scheduled for delivery from 2016 to 2018 in Manhattan, which could spark some worries in the Super and Ultra Luxury products offerings.
I truly hope that this newsletter will be beneficial and informative while shaping your real estate plans. I remain available to consult with you at your convenience.
Cheers,

Hi,

Another quarter and another record breaking set of numbers for Manhattan and Brooklyn real estate.

The boom of the luxury and super high end condos have pulled the average price of a Manhattan apartment to an all-time high $1.81M and also helped trigger a rise in inventory with the sales commencements of several high profile New Developments across the borough.

Brooklyn also gets its share of records with the average price per square foot breaking a 7-year high to reach $704/sf. The historically low inventory has risen over the last quarter but in proportion far from the levels that a market requires to reach equilibrium.

In addition to the traditional Corcoran Manhattan and Brooklyn market reports, this newsletter will touch base on the current relationship between Manhattan inventories, price level and the effect of New Developments in the borough. To follow, the impact of Global Wealth and its potential contribution to New York Real Estate along with the consequences of China’s economy will present data that could help developers keeping their cool in regards to the rise in super high end properties hitting the market. Finally, Brooklyn’s alarming lack of inventory may show a swift in current developers’ strategy to anticipate a change of plans and bring more products for sale quicker than expected to feed a demand starved of choices.

I truly hope that this newsletter will be beneficial and informative while shaping your future real estate plans. Please feel free to contact me should you want to consult on your real estate projects.

Cheers,

Q2_2015_Newsletter

Step into the stately entrance of the Engineer’s Club to enjoy a journey in one of the most iconic Manhattan property where the distinguished names of Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, or Tesla elaborated the plans that shaped the future of New York City architecture and engineering. This Bryant Park hidden gem is located in the12 story Renaissance Revival style building completed in 1907 which has kept its look and appearance almost intact, and stands as an architectural reminder of the emergence of NY State as the engineering center of the country and the World.

The unit 1A is over half the taproom/grill space which originally extended across the full back lobby and boast a large leaded glass window featuring a ship and the ceiling beams that are part of the original motif from 1907. The 14ft ceilings and skylight window brings a unique and grand dimension to the space surrounded by original brick walls and a decorative fire place, and covered with hardwood floor finished with light grey contemporary stains.

The Unit 1A connects with a small kitchen to 1K on the main level. Each unit also has separate entrances and a fire door that creates a flawless pass through between. The Unit 1K spreads over a modern duplex layout and combined a private patio. The finishes include terra cotta floors and a steel staircase. The 1K unit was built later and calls for a possible residential conversion.
As such, a kitchen extension and additional bathroom could be installed to extend the possible residential conversion of this unit, which would bring a substantial upside in the property use and value.

For more information please visit the listing and the Virtual Tour sponsored by YouVisit

Gallery

Presentation – Downtown Manhattan by Frédéric Maingois

The area below Chambers street defined as the Financial District has experienced a tremendous transformation since the 9/11 attacks, which plunged the area into darkness for almost a decade. Subsequently, the residential, commercial and retail booms have revived the area with more to come.

In the early 2000’s, the area attracted renters in quest for a better bang for their bucks. The 24/7 full service doorman building lifestyle has its perks and despite the limited nightlife options at the time, the 10 subway lines available within 5 min walk from wherever you stand in the Financial District allow residents to quickly exit and be in the hottest nightlife spots or commute to work within minutes. Then, the real estate boom brought top of the line condominiums to the neighborhood such as 20 Pine Armani Casa, which was the first cross marketing condo development pairing a fashion designer with residential real estate. It was and still is a success.

The commercial landscape changes happen upon the 2008 financial crisis when the neighborhood witnessed many firms closing their offices, downsizing or simply relocating. Similar to the residential boom, non-typical Wall Street companies in need of more space for their money started to migrate to the area and enjoy class A building near a major transit hub. Ad agencies, tech and media firms among others have now replaced financial firms. The new World Trade Center also anchored a major tenant Condé Nast acting as a snowball effect since most of his midtown located vendors are now looking to move near the new headquarters. Proximity remains an important factor to maintain efficient relationship.

The retail has been the biggest challenge and is now seeing the expansion this area needs in order to become an all-star venue for locals and visitors. As mentioned in my May 8th 2014 Blog, Brookfield place along with the gallery under the Oculus will bring the most prestigious fashion brands and eateries to satisfy a demanding local clientele who often have to shop outside their neighborhood to find quality products.

With so much going on, real estate developers have been able to move forward with stalled projects by securing additional funding, that precedent events froze. Luxury condos are already in the area, but ultra luxury are not…yet. With land prices fetching $900 to $1000/sf and development costs reaching the $600-$800/sf for a decent product, a developer starting a project with these constraints would have to sell at $3,000/ft to see the risks worth the reward. To create a better spread one could look at either searching for a cheaper acquisition or reducing construction costs. The latter one is harder to handle with rising labor and material costs that a developer can’t always control. The first one is where developers can get creative and search for alternatives (i.e: cheaper) sites to build in, on or upon. It is definitely worth the challenge – keeping in mind the high demand for ultra exclusive and luxurious New York Real Estate. We can find a good illustration of this strategy by looking at Alchemy Properties project involving the Woolworth Building.

woolworth_condos_09 Woolworth_Overall2_MGa

IMG_Woolworth Lobby 886_2 Woolworth Lobby Woolworth_Interior1 woolworth-building_views   

Located at 233 Broadway, the Woolworth building is a National and New York City historic landmark designed in the neo-gothic style by Cass Gilbert and built in 1913. It consists of about 58 stories reaching 792ft (241 meters) in heights that earned it the title of the tallest building in the World from 1913 to 1930. In 1998 the building traded hands for $137.5M to a partnership of Witkoff Group and Cammeby’s. Most recently, Alchemy Properties bought the top 30 floors totaling 106,000sf for $68M, or just about $640/ft. The price point is great, but the quality and uniqueness of the product acquired is even greater. The site is classified National landmark, boasts original and historical details that traditional new developments can’t replicate. Looking at the unit mix below, the development will offer 34 units (33 + 1 Penthouse).

Woolworth_Unit_Mix WoolworthCoverPhoto

The average ppsf excluding the penthouse is expected to fetch around $3,440/ft. The crown jewel will be the 8 level (Floor 50th-58th) Penthouse dubbed the Pinnacle (see floor plan below). The Penthouse is asking over $11,000/sf or $110,000,000, one of the priciest listing to ever hit the Manhattan market. The plans currently show the Penthouse as a 3-bed 3-baths with 3 powder rooms. The more than 4,700sf contains between the 50 and 51st floor will host the dining and living rooms. The subsequent floors will be arranged to have media room, library and an observation deck among other luxury features. Naturally, a private elevator will help navigating this 8-story sky-high mansion.

The neighborhood of West Chelsea extends approximately from West 14th to West 30th street from 8th Avenue to the West Side Highway.

In the past 5 years, West Chelsea has drawn worldwide attention notably through the success of the High Line elevated parkway: a 1.43mile former railroad line (west side line) running along the lower West side of Manhattan from 14th to 29th Street (shown below). The repurposing of the park was inspired by the famous Promenade Plantée in Paris and has spurred many new real estate developments along the 9th and 10th Avenue rows, where multimillion dollar condominiums are burgeoning. The proximity to the High Line park along with the quality of mom and pops stores, art galleries and Google’s economic boost to the area  have been attractive factors for home hunters. 

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To better enjoy such quality of life, buyers have been flocking to one of the best place to contemplate in the city: the Seminary block. Located on West 20th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue, this exclusive street block is home to the 1800’s Episcopal seminary that is supported by the church. For the story, in 1878, the new appointed Dean Eugene Augustus Hoffman led the expansion program of the seminary which included the construction of new campus facilities based on an Oxford model with neo-gothic buildings facing onto a central quadrangle. More recently, upon the opening of the Desmond Tutu Center 2007, the western part of the seminary facing 10th Avenue operates primarily as a hotel and conference center. The seminary has been maintained impeccably and the area is pristine.

GTS_Vintage_Postcard

For buyers in need of a large home (3,500sf +) the options available in condominiums remains very limited and…expensive. At this time, there are only 8 condos with 4+ bedroom available in the area at a median price of $15.950M, an average ppsf of $3,415 and size of 3,825sf. Any current condos over 4,000sf will cost more than $16M with maintenance and Real Estate taxes approximating more than $10K/month.

With so few options, my attention drew toward the townhouse alternative and more specifically to the Circa 1853, Anglo-Italianate style 5-story townhouse listed at 438 West 20th Street by townhouse specialists Paul Kolbusz and Sara Gelbard. The house is currently asking $8.580M and offers close to 4,800sf of exquisite space, light and luxury. After my visit, I was stunned by how much more a homeowner could get out of a townhouse compare to a condominium. To expand on this idea, I compared and put into perspective the main attributes of both property types.

Facade

Cost of ownership.

As mentioned above, buyers should expect to pay in the $15M range for a 4,000 sf condominium in this area. The monthly cost of ownership of such condominium range in the $9 to 11K/month or over $100K/year. Comparatively, at $8.580M, the townhouse looks like a bargain. In addition, the average yearly cost of ownership ranges in the $10-14K which include real estate taxes, insurance, fuel/gas/electricity and basic repair and upkeep. The townhouse alternative would leave no less than $100K in the owner’s pocket every year on top of $6M on the purchase! Certainly a budget that can be used for other investments or lifestyle upgrades.

Full Service and amenities: the condominium alternative will bring all the services as soon as you walk in which should justify the $6K+ of common charges to be paid each month. The doorman will be there to greet, the gym should have the state-of-the-art fitness equipment, the common areas such as rooftop and lounge would be kept in great conditions and offer additional space for gathering or relaxing. Most likely a dry clean service will be available (at an additional cost of course) and maybe valet parking will be available.

On the other hand, the townhouse lifestyle can bring these 6K+/month into better use. This could translate into hiring a housekeeper or nanny for instance. With so much space in the house, there is the possibility to have a live in house staff to occupy the garden level space so that the owners can keep their privacy through the rest of the house. To substitute for the gym and stay active, the townhouse has also enough space to build a private workout area, and host a private trainer. Still not convinced?

The no-doorman alternative keeps the owner’s privacy to its highest, which many people value in New York City. With a valet parking across the street, this townhouse location really make it simple and effort less to come and go whenever you need.

As far as outdoor space, 438 West 20th Street offers a beautiful and large garden, as well as two terraces each on the 3rd and top floor, that can be re-arranged at the new owner’s taste. The top floor overlooks the Chelsea skyline with no vis-à-vis: a wonderful place an homeowner could appreciate in many ways. Finally, with 5 floors boasting high ceilings, the elevator will allow for quick rides up and down the house and be a wonderful asset for visitors with limited mobility.

The townhouse exclusivity:

Let’s take a walk through the house now and show the townhouse shines a lifestyle and exclusivity that no condominium, no matter how expensive they are, will offer.

This house is currently set up as a 6 story single family with 6-bedroom 3.5 baths, which had undergone a complete and tasteful renovation that preserved its unique character since its 1853 origination. Among the 6 stories, The ground floor has a living area and guest room which provides a sense of autonomy from the separate street entrance and access to the rear garden (see pics below).

GF GF2

As you open the cast iron gate and walk through the front garden, the house welcomes you into a beautiful first floor foyer assorted with one of the five wood burning fireplaces built with marble mantles: think about the cold/rainy/snowy days of NY and how cozy the feel of coming into a warm house hearing the wood fire cracking noise. Passing the foyer, the house leads you to a fully renovated kitchen featuring a Bertazoni oven and Carrera marble counter tops that opens to a casual dining room with access to the rear garden. In an instant, you can disconnect from the outside and any nuisance you want to escape.

Foyer Kitchen CasualDining Garden2 Garden1

One flight up through the beautiful staircase with coffin corners or using your private elevator will lead to the parlor floor which opens up on the light filled living room overlooking the seminary. On the other side of the parlor floor lays a formal dining room overlooking the private garden. Both rooms are separated by a wet bar with a fridge, a great feature that became handy in this grand space built for entertaining.

Staircase

LV LV2 Dining

As you reach out to the third floor, the master bedroom sanctuary features a grand fireplace, and connects to the bathroom through a large customizable walk-in closet. The master bedroom is a gem: dual sink with Delta facets and a jetted, freestanding tub. To complete this oasis of relaxation, the floor benefits from a home office/ lounge area with direct access to a calm and quiet back terrace.

masterbed masterbath2 masterbath

Bedroom view

The fourth floor brings two additional bedrooms, a full bathroom and a washer dryer. This floor could also be reconfigured as a laundry room, a recreation area or a cinema. It is certainly a floor that opens to ideas for tailored space configurations.

2ndBed 

Reaching the fifth floor will bring an owner’s wildest thoughts into perspective. A top floor gallery with a terrace boasting incredible views of Manhattan. The floor has plumbing for a full bathroom or an outdoor hot tub/Jacuzzi (just a thought), and can be used as an additional entertaining space, an art or music studio, or a projection room among other things.

Gallery Gallery2 Terrace terrace2

Urban sophistication: 

To conclude, the choice of living at 438 West 20th Street reflects a modern, subtle, and sophisticated lifestyle. This townhouse is one of the best accomplished mix of historical grade property with modern features that bring a unique atmosphere and experience that the future owners will be able to embrace for many years ahead.   

Last year I covered the residential, commercial and residential expansions of the area below Chambers Street covering three distinct neighborhoods: Financial District, South Street Seaport and Battery Park City. We can now observe significant changes and an even more positive outlook for the years to come.Residential Q1’14 vs Q1’13 figures look very healthy. Condos average ppsf increased by 25% to $1,106, and the median price by 36% to $968K. The increasing demand for larger units (3-bed) with an average price that amplified by 30% to $2.350M is partially responsible for driving the prices upward. New Developments with 225 Rector as a Star product following by the W Downtown (pic below) and 75 Wall Street have a ppsf that increased on average by 30% to reach $1,391/sf and a median price who increased by 48% to $1,214M.

W Residences

Once stalled mixed-use luxury condo/retail developments such as 50 West Street is finally going up after securing a $400M debt/equity deal mid2013. The Top 30 floors of the iconic Woolworth tower are being converted into condominiums that will average over $3,000/sf. The Four Season hotel and residences on Church and Barclay Street is under construction (below) and 22 Thames Street is slated to become the tallest residential tower in Downtown.

FourSeason_Downtown

Knowing that the cap of residential construction has been reached in BPC, and the Financial District residential inventories have dropped by 42% in the past year, these developments will help accelerating the residential life in the neighborhood.The retail activity and prospects are showing signs that very few New Yorkers could have ever imagined just a couple of years ago or even months following Sandy: on the Battery Park City side, Brookfield Place $250M renovation is revamping the entire market place of the World Financial Center (see rendering below) and is now connected underground with the World Trade Center Path Train Station and Fulton MTA transit center. Le District, a French food marketplace is slated to open later in 2014, along with Umami Burger.

Brookfield place

On the other side of the highway, Westfield, who owned the retail space of the WTC recently announced the signature of Eataly at 3 WTC, which follows high end designers (Breitling, Canali, Montblanc) setting up retails next to the 17,000sf Victoria Secret store in the 365x115ft long main hall known as the Oculus (see bottom pic), described as “an elliptical fish-tank-like area with a movable glass eyelid on the ceiling”. Tom Ford, Tiffany and Armani are also eyeing space at 3 WTC

Calatravas-Oculus

Westfield place

The commercial landscape is also transitioning: the high rent and low vacancy rate of Midtown and Midtown South have pushed startup firms in need of quick, cheap and efficient set up to the Financial District that has been deserting by financial services and is now being invaded by tech, media, and Internet companies. Several drivers have pushed to this direction. First, the MTA Fulton transit hub converges more than 10 subway lines which will facilitate the commute of the many Brooklyners employed by these creative companies. Second, the price of $52.49/sf versus $66.24/sf for midtown south combined with flexible workplaces is an attractive feature. Also, some tenants are acting as magnets such as Conde Nast’s media empire who has taken over 1 million sf of office space at 1 WTC, the hot ad agency Droga5 who settled on 90,000 sf and collaborative space provider WeWork who took over 300,000sf on Wall Street. Finally the area has 20 new hotel projects under construction which will bring about 1,700 rooms to facilitate tourism and business travelers’ needs.