Category Archives: Manhattan

Manhattan rental prices starting to increase

The Manhattan median rental price inched up 1.8% to $3,394 according to the latest report while the luxury rents stayed static at $8,194. According to the broker feedback there is a lot of inventory to absorbed into the market and concessions and price still drive the Manhattan rental market. While buyers are staying on the sidelines, you would think that rents were begin to increase but while lease activity in September has increased market wide we have to enter into a new cycle of rent increases. There is so much parity in the market in terms of choices and Manhattan has competition from both Queens and Brooklyn in terms of offerings and types of buildings.

TRD coverage

How is a Manhattan co-op different from a condo part 3?

In this continuing series we will take a look at a couple more differences between co-ops and condos.

1- Co-ops tend to be located in prewar buildings while condos tend to be newer, shinier and more full of amenities. So if you love prewar lobbies, crown moldings and other details of prewar buildings, you probably will be looking at more co-ops. Almost all new offerings in the last 10 years plus are condos so condos tend to satisfy the wants of Manhattan buyers who are looking for newer buildings with amenities like swimming pools, roof decks, bowling or golf simulators. Some co-ops will have nice amenities as well but very few co-ops have been built in the last 20 years or so.

2- If you are a foreign national or US based investor, condos will most likely be your choice. Co-ops tend to examine a plethora of documents as previously mentioned including US credit. Since a co-op can turn down someone without providing a reason, if you are foreign national purchasing as a primary residence or a pied-a-terre, your safer bet will be a condo. Also, if you are purchasing for investment, almost all co-ops will require you live there first then there will be restrictions for how long you can rent.

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

Manhattan co-ops versus condos part 2

There are many differences between Manhattan co-ops and condos and in this series we take a look at a couple at a time.

1- Condos typically let you rent your apartment out without limit. So if you experience a job change and do not want to sell, you can rent out the apartment without an issue. In a co-op typically, you can rent out 2 of 5 years and then need to move back or sell.

2-Co-ops normally have higher monthly carrying charges than condos but lower prices. For example a 2bd/2ba co-op on the upper west side of about 1100 sqft might cost you  $1.5 million and have monthly charges of about $2900. A similar condo might run you $2.1 million but the monthly charges might only be $2000.

Price differences, and ability to rent out are just two differences of the many between co-ops and condos in Manhattan.

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

What are the main differences between a NYC co-op and condo part 1?

This is the first in a 3 part series of the differences between Manhattan co-ops and condos. 

There are many differences between a Manhattan co-op and condominium and in this first installment we will explore 2 of them.

1- Co-ops can turn down the application of a prospective purchaser without any reason given and that’s it, the buyer can not complete the purchase.  Any fees or costs incurred are not reimbursed and that’s it. A condo grants a waiver of the right of first refusal when they take an application from a prospective purchaser. The only time that they may exercise the right of first refusal is when an apartment is being sold far below market. Instead of letting the sale go forward, they can purchase the apartment.

2- Co-ops more closely scrutinize the financial wherewithal of prospective buyers than condos. So you need to have a down payment of 20-25% plus a debt to income ratio of no more than 28% plus stable job history, and excellent credit. A condo may run credit but they are satisfied with you obtaining a loan commitment or purchasing cash. They are not going to turn you down because you do not make enough money.

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

24 Luxury contracts signed last week in Manhattan

Last week, 24 contracts for $4 million and up were signed. This was an increase from 15 contracts signed for the same week, last year. The most expensive contract was a co-op at the Pierre at 795 Fifth avenue which had an asking price of $22.5 million.

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’s the advantage of tax class 2A and 2B for Manhattan properties?

Some investors focus on larger apartment buildings for their acquisition and may miss out on smaller ones that make just as much or more sense. In a recent Commercial Observer, a commercial broker takes a look at the advantage of tax class 2A and 2B(4-10 units) and perhaps acquiring a few of those instead of large buildings that are just in tax Class 2(11+ units).

Full coverage from Commercial Observer

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 buying your first Manhattan apartment?

Very often, I am asked by first time buyers what are the guidelines that banks use to determine how the bank determines how much they will lend. In generally, let’s take a look at a scenario where you are interested in buying a Manhattan condo for $1,000,000.

$1,000,000 purchase price
$200,000 down payment
$40,000 closing costs
?                   post closing reserves

In this scenario you need about $250,000 liquid plus post closing reserves which depend on the bank but let’s say 6 months of payments which can be in a 401k or non-liquid account.

In this case, your monthly mortgage is about $4,000 based on a 4.5 interest rate on a 30 year mortgage, add in about $1400 for common charges and taxes and you end up at $5,400. In order for the bank to make a loan you would need to have at least 2.5 to 3 times that in monthly income assuming little or no debt and very good credit. So you would need a minimum of $13,500 in monthly income or $162k annual. In many neighborhoods this will buy you a  1bedroom condo or even a  2 bedroom north of 110th street.

If you purchase a co-op, the co-op will require a minimum of 20% and in some cases more plus they will require 2 years of monthly payments in reserves so the cash outlay will be higher. So you may need close to $400k in assets to make the purchase. However, you will have a much larger choice of apartments with a co-op in this price range- 102 listings with at least 1 bedroom on the Upper west side under $1 million on the listing site streeteasy compared with 17 condos under $1 million. Co-ops are less expensive than condos but have more restrictions and higher monthly charges. More on that another time.

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

Most sought after and least supplied amenity in a Manhattan rental is?

Apartmentlist.com did nationwide research to see what amenities were most sought after by renters and compared that to what is most supplied by landlords. Interestingly enough in the NYC market, 39% of the renters were looking for an in-unit laundry while only 10% of the apartments had it. This coincides with the on the ground data of my past rentals where many tenants ask if the unit has an washer/dryer in the apartment and most do not.

When you do a search on streeteasy.com for 1 bedrooms for rent on Manhattan’s upper west side, you find 204 listings but when you check the box for washer/dryer, the number goes down to only 8!

In Central Harlem, under $2,500 per month, you find 59 listings with at least 2 bedrooms and when you only look at apartments with washer/dryers the number goes down to 7!

Full coverage from Apartmentlist.com

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

When should you adjust the price of your Manhattan property?

So you list your Manhattan property and are imagining bidding wars and cash offers. What happens if you do not receive offers or have a dearth of showings? At what point do you adjust your price and how much do you adjust? Normally, within the first month you like to see showings and perhaps an offer, this is the best time to capture someone off the initial marketing/interest. If however, you have very few showings, an adjustment might be needed. But how much?

Often times, I will see price adjustments of $20,000 on a $3 million property or $100k on and $8 million property. These types of adjustments will not move the needle at all. Generally speaking analyze the data of showings of your property with your real estate broker and compare it with traffic of recently sold and comparable listings that are for sale and you can see how far off you are on your pricing. If you are getting showings but no offers what that means is the market is willing to come see your property but not offer on it. In this case 7-8% might be enough. However a total lack of showings and a declining market are a bad combination. If that is the case an adjustment of 10% or more depending on what the competing properties are offering. Communication is very important here with your real estate broker. I use a project management site to communicate directly with my clients so that if they want to know about showings and feedback from buyers in real time they can receive these updates directly in their email box or on their phones. You need to get that feedback to understand what the buyer market mindset is.

Recently, on a Battery Park City listing that I had,  we had to reduce it twice from $1.5 million to $1.35 to eventually $1.2 million. That was due to an extreme case where the common charges and taxes were unusually high.  In this case, two very strong negatives were dragging the price down but thankful the seller adjusted and was able to get a buyer before the market headed down even more which it did especially in that neighborhood.

So as far as price adjustments, be aggressive with them especially if after the first month you are getting zero or a very low amount of showings. Be less aggressive when you are getting showings but no offers. And adjust your expectations when the market is heading down and there is more inventory coming to market to compete with your property.

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