All posts by Brian Silvestry

I have been in the real estate industry first as a licensed agent and as a broker since 1999. I have sold in every Manhattan neighborhood though do work a lot on the Upper west side where I live and upper Manhattan. I speak French,Portuguese, and Spanish.

Why are the taxes so high in some Manhattan buildings but not so in others?

Understanding NYC’s archaic and often inequitable system of real estate taxes might be a life long pursuit but for the purposes of this blog, let’s take a look at a couple of the items that influence your real estate taxes of a Manhattan townhouse.

One of the influencing factors is how recently the property transferred. You have some long time owners in Manhattan whose properties are now worth several million dollars yet their assessed values are artificially low due to the lack of a recent sale. However, once the property changes hands, the Department of Finance might be right there adjusting the value and raising your taxes.

Continue reading Why are the taxes so high in some Manhattan buildings but not so in others?

321 West 136th street construction update

321 West 136th street in Harlem is still sitting dormant with the windows removed from the building. It appears as if the property transferred late last year for $3.525 million 2 years after being purchased for $2.2 million. Plans were filed with DOB for a new 6 story building with 10,000 sqft of residential space. A loan was taken out at the same time so perhaps some sort of construction is imminent at the site.

 

 

How much can you negotiate on a Manhattan apartment?

Since the current market conditions are heavily in favor of buyers in Manhattan’s residential market, now is the time that you can negotiate more on a potential purchase. According to the latest market reports, in Manhattan’s luxury market, the average discount from asking price to sale price is somewhere around 8-9% percent. With new development, this number can be tougher to gauge because developers are loathe to discount the sale price but instead offer incentives from the mundane like paying transfer and mansion taxes to offering a free parking space. Generally, though now is the time when you can do a bit of negotiating but you really need to understand how motivated the seller is, how long the property has been in the market and how long the competing listings are staying on the market. In this market, some buyers might even make multiple bids and play one against another to see who will cut the best deal.

Patience is the key in today’s market as I have told a couple of buyers. Depending on the segment, you may need to let the market come to you as the seller’s expectations become more in line with the current conditions.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

Is Airbnb causing NYC renters to pay higher rents?

According to a report by the NYC Comptroller’s office, which analyzed data from 2009 to 2016, rents are rising in NYC due to the “Airbnb effect.” Citywide, the number of listings on the home sharing site have increased from 1000 to 40,000 in the time period. The report analyzed what the rent increases would have been in these neighborhoods with what they actually were and attributed the difference to the Airbnb. Their analysis concluded that roughly 9.2% of the citywide rent increases were attributed to airbnb.

I am not sure if I agree with their numbers but I do see apartments that are pulled off of the regular rental market to be used solely for airbnb rentals. I even went to recent open house in Harlem where the agent mentioned that the apartment was netting the owner approximately $2k per month over the normal rental price due to posting it on the Airbnb site. Apartments like that do come off of the market. Also, on the upper west side in one luxury rental building, landlords have reportedly been looking the other way, while tenants are using the listings site to rent out their apartments to tourists and as a result, the landlord receives a higher monthly rent that they would have otherwise.

City Comptroller Report on Airbnb effect

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

Uber and Lyft are changing where people live in NYC

According to the latest reports and anecdotes from top brokers, proximity to subway access is beginning to lose it’s importance to affluent Manhattan property buyers. This is due directly to the emergence of Uber and Lyft. Riding in the car, you can continue to be productive so it’s not as important to be 3 blocks away from the subway.

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The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

Does it make sense to buy in a land lease building?

If you are thinking of buying in a building where they lease the land below the condo, only do so if there are sufficient time left on the land lease, meaning 30 years or more and you understand fully the risks.

In general, the land price can skyrocket at the end of the land lease in the case where the owner is a private individual or company so have an attorney very knowledgeable in these matters advise you. Also, have a buyer broker who knows what questions to ask to save you unnecessary attorney expense. How much does the land lease go up annually and for how long are those rates locked in?

In Battery Park City, the owner of the land leases of all the buildings is the Battery Park City Authority, a non profit set up to create and preserve the neighborhood of Battery Park so there is not an interest to raise the rents beyond the realm of reason. Having said that, you and your broker, plus later attorney should exercise caution and make sure that you are getting exceptional value for your purchase.

For example, as a result of paying rent on the land, your monthly charges might be higher than a typical Manhattan apartment.  If you are going to be paying a higher than normal monthly charge then the apartment should be less expensive than something similar where the monthly charges would be on par with Manhattan averages. Also, you might not see the typical appreciation that you would see on other Manhattan apartments.

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The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

 

Upper West side townhouse report

In the month of April, 9 new listings for townhouses on the Manhattan’s Upper West side came on the market.

331 W 78th street 5.3 million
52 W 85th street 9.95 million
248 CPW $29 million
42 W 70th street $14.2 milllion
49 W 94th street $6.288 million
22 W 90th street $8.150 million
129 Manhattan ave $5.25 million
164 W 81 street $5.35 million
305 W 78th street $7.95 million

Overall, there are 55 townhouses in the market on Manhattan’s Upper west side ranging from $4.35 million to $29 million for a high end renovation at 248 Central Park west.

Two contracts were signed in April for townhouses on the Upper West side. At this rate, it would take more than 2 years to sell all of the supply that currently exists in the market.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

Harlem Townhouse market update

Since April 1st, 22 townhouses have been in the market. The lowest price offering was for an SRO priced at just under $2 million to a historic home asking $5.25 million on Lenox avenue. This is a pretty significant amount of townhouses put in the market. Streeteasy is currently showing 19 townhouses in contract. Most of the townhouses have gone into contract in the first 4 months of the year.  4 contracts for Harlem townhouses were signed since April 1st. At that pace it would take about 6 months to sell off just the supply of houses that came on the market in April.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

What is a tenant buyout?

*Please note the below is not legal advice or meant to substitute for legal advice. If interested in approaching a tenant of your building for a buyout, it is best to consult with an attorney so that you remain in compliance for all applicable laws. *

A tenant buyout is when a landlord offers money to a tenant to vacate an apartment. For example, a landlord wants to offer a rent stabilized tenant money to surrender their apartment so that they charge market rate rent. Recently, I showed an Upper West side townhouse where the rent controlled tenant was in place for approximately 50 years. They are paying around $600 for a 3bd/2ba that would rent for around $7500. There is no amount of money that can be offered to this tenant to have them leave. They are saving approximately $80k per year in rent and are in their 60’s. This townhouse has transferred in the past with the same tenant in place.

A tenant buyout will be a function of the age of the tenant, likelihood that there is someone that can succeed them in the apartment like a son or daughter, difference between their rent and the market rent and their and the owner’s motivations.

For landlords, there are many applicable laws to this situation. See the below link for some assistance and consult with your attorney as this is a place where many landlords are running afoul of the law either intentionally or unintentionally.

Tenant buyout overview

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

Thinking of selling your Manhattan property-Choosing a broker

I think when you are choosing a broker to sell your Manhattan apartment, it comes to 5 questions that you need to answered.

1- How long have you been working in real estate?

2- Do you work by yourself or in a team?

3- What experience have you had in my building or nabe?

4- What is your marketing plan to sell my apartment?

5- How did you arrive at your proposed listing price?

Continue reading Thinking of selling your Manhattan property-Choosing a broker