Recent Transactions and Trends

Just when you thought that apartments in New York City couldn’t get any smaller, the mayor decides to seek proposals for the design of a “micro-unit” apartment.  The idea is to construct buildings that have apartments measuring 275-300 square feet, an amount smaller than what is allowed by current regulations.   The first neighborhood where the mayor will waive zoning regulatoins is in Kips Bay, according to Bloomberg.

The purpose for constructing smaller apartments is to battle the supply issue with studio and one-bedroom apartments.  According to the Department of Housing and Preservation, New York City only has 1 million studio and one-bedroom apartments.  In the past year, however, rental prices for studio apartments have increased 4.3% to $2,065 per month and for one-bedrooms 4.8% to $2,810 per month.  The goal with these “micro-units” is to create 165,000 new units by the end of 2014.  Hopefully the increased supply of the “micro-units” will lower prices.

In the meantime, the sales market for studios and one-bedrooms is on the rise.  Given that the affordability of a studio or one-bedroom has become more difficult, many New Yorkers would rather buy than rent.  If you are looking for a studio or one-bedroom, contact NY2 so we can help you with this very important decision.

Click here for the full story on the development of “micro-units.”

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A debate has begun as to whether loft-space in SoHo should still be exclusively rented out to artists in New York City, or whether everyone should have the opportunity to live in a SoHo loft.  The debate centers around a 1971 New York City zoning law, which requires each SoHo loft to have at least one artist or successor.  Opponents of the 1971 zoning law believe that the law has outlived its purpose and it’s time to offer these loft spaces to the general public.  They also claim that the current residents and owners of the loft spaces should not have the city zoning law hanging over their heads, especially because many of the residents are in the lofts illegally.  On the other hand, proponents of the zoning law claim that changing the law will speed the influx of Wall Street financiers buying multimillion dollar lofts, thus putting more pressure on artists to leave.  Essentially, they claim that getting rid of the law will destroy SoHo.  In addition, they claim that changing the zoning law will lead to the wholesale eviction of the artist residents, both rental and co-op.

It is unclear whether the zoning law will be overturned.  One thing is for sure though; if the law is in fact repealed, there will be a wave of gorgeous SoHo lofts available to the general public.  Stay tuned for further developments.

Click here for the full story: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304550004577508944091448360.html?mod=googlenews_wsj 

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Beyonce’s former five-story mansion in SoHo is currently on the market for $100,000 (this is not a typo) per month.  The property is located at 214 Lafayette Street and boasts three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a ripping 13,000 square feet of space.  For $100,000 per month however, this is not all you get.  Amenities include a swimming pool, and a 1,000 square foot terrace with a Zen garden.  Some of you may remember the swimming pool, featured in the music video of Beyonce’s 2008 song Halo

Let NY2 know if you want us to find your next celebrity mansion.

Click here for the full story.

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For those of you Sex & the City fans, now is your chance to live in the West Village townhouse that Carrie Bradshaw resided in on the HBO television show, located at 64 Perry Street.  All you need is $9.65 million.  In exchange, you get 4,100 square feet, four floors, ten rooms, and six fireplaces (totally worth it).  It may also be a good investment.  The prior owners purchased the townhouse in November for $9 million.  If they get the asking price, that is a $650,000 gain in approximately half a year.  Showing of the townhouse begins today (March 6th).

 

Click here for more on this story.

Manhattan’s population is currently at approximately 1.6 million people, not including commuters who bring the number up to 3.9 million on any given day.  But did you know that New York is expecting approximately 220,000-290,000 additional residents by 2030?  How do we accommodate our future neighbors?
 
There are two ideas that could potentially address the issue.  First, how about a brand new neighborhood: LoLo, which stands for Lower-Lower Manhattan.  LoLo would be a new neighborhood beginning in Lower Manhattan and stretching towards Governors Island.  Is this unrealistic?  Maybe not.  Much of Lower Manhattan’s foundation is a landfill anyway so stretching it out a little bit more to add another square mile is not beyond the realm of possibilities.  Of course, another solution is to simply allow for taller buildings.  One proposal is in favor of “impact fees” that developers would pay to cover the infrastructure costs associated with their buildings.
 
Time will tell if the increase in population is simply much ado about nothing.  According to the Census Bureau, Manhattan did in fact have over 1.9 million residents in the 1910’s, 1920’s, and the 1950’s.  Maybe we just need a boost of developments in areas that have yet to be developed.  Stay tuned…

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Oprah Winfrey is unloading some real estate; she is selling her 2,530-square foot apartment for $7.9 million, a cool $800,000 gain in approximately four years.  Her apartment, located in Midtown Manhattan’s Place 57 features three bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms and is surrounded by floor to ceiling glass windows.  The pad also has a wrap-around terrace with breathtaking views of our lovely city.  Other features include a unique living room shaped like a triangle, three walk-in closets, and a soaking tub.

Click here for more information: http://www.examiner.com/celebrity-headlines-in-national/oprah-is-selling-her-new-york-apartment-where-gayle-king-has-been-living

Looking for a good rental deal?  Well, maybe it is worth taking a look on the Upper East Side; something along Second Avenue.  Rents have dropped by approximately 1.7% thanks to the Second Avenue subway construction.  Strangely enough, however, many tenants are looking to move away from this construction rather than closer to it.  But for those of you who are looking for great space at a good monthly rent and don’t mind the noise all that much, perhaps the Upper East Side is the neighborhood for you.

For more information, click http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local/new_york&id=8552426 

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Did you ever want to own a piece of a 102-story New York skyscraper?  Now you can!  On Monday, the owners of the Empire State Building filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission in order to offer shares in the building to raise $1 billion.  This figure is not final, and it is unclear as of yet how much the price per share will be.  Just imagine… If you buy stock in the building, and you’re ever watching King Kong, you have a great conversation piece and may even be able to brag about how you own a piece of the Empire State Building (something you never thought you’d be able to say).
 
The Empire State Building was purchased from Donal Trump by real estate investor Peter Malkin approximately 10 years ago for $57.5 million.  You could read more about this on the Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/APa0d7dd45edc0472587d88ef9b1605707.html
 
Let New York Squared know if you are interested in purchasing your very own building (but something a little bit smaller than the Empire State Building please).

For those of you who don’t know, Jeremy Lin is basketball’s (and the Knicks’) newest sensation.  He has surely reinvigorated the sport and New Yorkers’ interest in the team.  So what does Harvard grad Jeremy Lin have anything to do with real estate other than the fact that he “spends most nights on a couch in a one-bedroom apartment on the Lower East Side”?  See New York Times article on Lin, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/08/sports/basketball/jeremy-lin-has-burst-from-nba-novelty-act-to-knicks-star.html?_r=1
  
Well, according to New York Mag there are many beneficiaries of Lin Mania including the Lower East Side.  Not only do the bars around Madison Squared Garden stand to benefit, but everyone knows that the Lower East Side is where “musicians and artists and wealthy people who like being surrounded by those types live” but it is also a place where NBA stars such as Jeremy Lin live. 
 
Click here for a larger list of beneficiaries of Jeremy Lin’s rise to stardom, http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/02/whos-benefiting-from-the-jeremy-lin-economy.html

The New York rental market continues to rise, reports the New York Times.  Reflecting back on 2011, the number of apartment units decreased while rental prices increased.  And there is no indication that this trend will change in the near future.  In fact, the decreased inventory has actually set new rent records, with tenants bidding up rents especially in unsuspecting neighborhoods like the Financial District and Midtown West.  The New York Times reports that fewer new buildings are scheduled to open this year, which means that this pressure will inevitably trickle down to the lower end of the market.  Part of the reason for this decreased inventory is that construction financing has been tight and the number of building permits issued by the city fell drastically after 2008.  Time will tell if potential tenants will feel this decrease in availability.
 

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