JUST IN: Citi-Habitats’ 3rd Quarter Residential Sales Market Report

The Q3 2012 Manhattan Residential Sales Market Report is now available.  This report provides a comprehensive overview of current sales market conditions and tracks trends market-wide and by neighborhood.

A few highlights:

  • Sales activity reached a four-year high in Q3 2012 with 3,821 market wide closed sales, making it the strongest quarter since Q2 2008, before the financial crisis began. Sales rose 3% from Q2 2012 and significantly increased by 17% compared to Q3 2011.
  • Market-wide inventory declined 11% from Q2 2012 reaching a seven year low with 7,041 available listings. Co-op and condo inventory are declining at similar rates, each down over 20% from last year.
  • The combination of strong demand and depleted inventory pushed prices higher. Resale co-op overall median price is down year-over-year as more small residences traded in Q3 2012, but each individual bedroom category increased. Resale condo median price increased 1% versus last year and new development median price increased 18%.

For the full report click here: 3Q12 Citi-Habitats Residential Sales Report.

If you would like to take a look at units within your price preference — now is a great time to start looking and planning your purchase.

Talk Soon,

Katherine Duclos


REBNY Reports NYC Sales Market Strengthening

The 3rd Quarter REBNY (Real Estate Board of New York) NYC Residential report is published.  And, the news is good…

REBNY reports that:  Average prices increased by 1 percent year on year citywide and sales increased 6 percent year on year.

For the full report click here: 3Q12 NYC REBNY Residential Report.

Talk Soon,


Riverside Drive

The other day I was doing my morning cardio (a 30 minute walk/jog/run moving south on Riverside Drive and then back North to home) and I couldn’t stop thinking about how lucky I was to live on Riverside Drive in Manhattan. 

Snow capped limbs and branches of frozen trees canopied the Drive.  Runners made room for each other on the narrow pathway of snow cleared sidewalk.  A cardinal rested peacefully (or so it appeared — I have no idea what was going on in that little bird’s mind) on a limb of a branch of a winter dormant tree.  And a hawk swooped down into Riverside Park just 20 feet west from where I ran.  It was magical: to live in one of the world’s largest urban centers and to be surrounded by such natural beauty!

The City planners were wise in 1875 when they commissioned Frederick Law Olmstead (the designer of Central Park — 1858-1873) to design and build Riverside Park, which naturally involved Riverside Drive.  NYC is filled with his natural landscapes: from Morningside Park in Upper Manhattan to Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn.  For more information go to the NYC Parks Department — I am not really a huge landscape architecture history buff, I just love living on Riverside Drive.

With all of that said, living in the City has its price.  Real Estate is pricy — it is — and it takes some doing to find an apartment that will work for you.  It always involves compromises on size, aesthetics, location and/or price.  I am not being a Negative Nelly with that statement — typically people in Manhattan make 3 compromises when it comes to selecting their new home.  You just might have to give up your amazing oven that can roast a 34 pound turkey for Thanksgiving in order to live in, what I consider, the most vibrant and exhilarating and peaceful places in the world.  I know that the last half of the previous sentence is a big claim but — for right now, it is my opinion.

With that said…

…daybreak is dawning and I need to prepare for my morning exercise so that I will return to my triathlon competition shape after just about 18 months of settling in uncomfortably into post-mortem depression poundage…

With that said…

…have a great day and remember:  love where you live and live a life that you love…

Talk soon,


A New Broker Disclosure Law in New York (NYtimes)

Typically when new news hits the stands that I find important or at least interesting, I tweet the information or put it on Facebook or put it in the “In The News” section of this Blog…
…But that is typically.
With the change into the New Year, not only was I privilege to hear some of the best underground jazz that I have ever had the honor of hearing  (The After Hour New Year’s Day Party at Berta’s), I am now required to disclose whom I represent in any and all real estate transactions.  I guess this is a good thing — now you will know where I stand when I am giving advice.
Today the New York Times ran a good article on the topic so here is the link: A New Broker Disclosure Law in New York.  The article is by Vivian Toy and discusses how “Buyers and renters are now required to sign a form stating that they understand whom their agent represents.”
Over the next few days I am going to address this issue directly, but for now just wanted to share this article with you in preparation.
Talk soon,

Hello Autumn: What does 4q10 have in store?

Well, the big Summer Housing Rush has passed just about along with the passing of the Autumnal Equinox.  College students are back in classes.  Children have started again the time-honored tradition of Back-to-Schoool.  New graduates have started their 1st “real” career positions.  Parents may look back on all of the fabulous family summer vacation fun and begin plans for the new year.  For all of you not included in any of these groups (and you know who you are) — you are most likely out there in this fantastic city enjoying one of the best seasons in NYC! 

This is a fantastic time of the year — one of my favorites. 

And, most everyone has found their new home for the coming year.  In fact, in the 3rd quarter of 2010, Citi-Habitats helped 4,250 families into new homes — that is a 15% bump over 2009 third quarter results.  Another interesting statistic: only 23% of the transactions involved the owner paying the broker’s fee — this is a significant (30 percent) decline from 2009 stats where 53% of owners paid the broker’s fee.  These are great economic indicators that the overall NYC economy has strengthened!

According to the Citi-Habitats’ Residential Rental Market Report for the 3rd Quarter 2010: “While we are still not back to the conditions found during the market’s peak, during this quarter rents increased, the use of incentives plummeted, and landlords found themselves back in the driver’s seat.  Volume has increased as well.”

As for pricing, this is where the market ended for September 2010:

  studio  1 bed 2 bed 3 bed
New Development   $2,636   $3,686   $6,358     $9,283
Doorman $2,322 $3,267 $4,715 $6,268
Elevator $1,914 $2,739 $4,241 $5,679
Walk-up $1,761 $2,248 $3,252 $4,403

For more specific details and to read the full 3q10 Residential Rental Market Report right here!

Knowing this…

What Does The Fourth Quarter of 2010 Have In Store?

Well, according to the report and what we know about the market during this time of year:

  1. Fewer people will move into new residences.  The winter months are usually slower than the summer months.
  2. Owner concessions/incentives may increase slightly — I would venture to guess an average of 5 to 7% over the course of the quarter.  (Naturally, the best units with solid pricing will not require concessions or incentives.)
  3. Pricing should hold steady without any major shifts in either direction as the vacancy rate is still low at 1.19%.
  4. And while the market is slower: if you see an apartment you see yourself happily living in move swiftly because if you like it – chances are someone else will like it as well.  So Be Prepared to secure your new home!

And, for now that is about it.  Enjoy this beautiful Autumn Day.

Speak with you soon,


Every Apartment Is A “No Fee” Apartment

That is correct.  Every apartment in the New York City market is a “No Fee” apartment.  The trick is knowing who to ask, when to ask, and accepting the space and price offered.  The other, lesser, trick is having the time to find the right person and the right time to ask for this apartment.  It is that simple. 

New York City is home to about 8.25 million people.  The number of housing units and the number of housing unit owners is staggering.  (I should actually have these numbers but I don’t so … I hope “staggering” will suffice.  If not, let me know and I will do some research and get the specifics.)  There are multi-million dollar corporations that develop, own and lease units.  Then there is the mom & pop brownstone/townhouse/co-op/condo owner who leases out a unit or two.  And, there is everything in between these two groups.  

Brokers, Licensed Real Estate Professionals and Housing Consultants, are the middle-men between the owners and the renters, facilitating the introduction, communication/negotiation, and final agreement between the two parties.  Brokers make it easier and more efficient for Landlords and Tenants to form good, working relationships.  

A good Broker is invaluable: saving you time, effort and, yes, money. 

Now, a few weeks ago, a couple responded to one of my advertisements for a 2 Bedroom with Hudson River Views with over 1,000 square feet in a classic pre-war West End Avenue apartment for $3000/month.  The couple only wanted to see this unit, nothing else.  So I showed it to them.  They slowly and laboriously submitted an application because they didn’t think that I had earned my broker’s fee for this apartment because I had only showed them 1 place.  But…

  • It was the right place.
  • For the right price.
  • In the right location.

We haggled over my Broker’s Fee for far too long.  I pointed out that I did more than just unlock a door.  I researched the market.  Found the best $3000 2 bedroom in that location to advertise.  I advertised it honestly and accurately.  Then, they went to my brokerage website and found the ad.  And, they responded to my ad …  A response that could eventaully and conceivably bridge my relationship with the owner of the apartment to them.  It was more than just unlocking an apartment door — it was efficiently and professionally unlocking a home, a lifestyle, future possibilities… 

Then they haggled over the price.  Needless to say, 36 hours after showing them the apartment I had their application in hand but this great apartment had already been rented to someone else.  They couldn’t believe it.  He was angry.  She was very disappointed.  But … the market is what it is … and …

My point is: if you have the time, energy, industry/market expertise, and relationships — you can find your own apartment without a Broker.  We aren’t indispensible, afterall.  However, if you don’t have the time, energy, industry/market expertise, and relationships (and/or you just don’t want to dedicate every evening and every weekend for months on end walking the streets of NYC, searching on your own) — and you do call a Broker, please know that you are going to have to pay for that person’s time, knowledge and expertise.  And with the market having limited inventory — with rental prices having adjusted — that price is going to be 15% of the annual rent (unless you are willing to work with a bargain basement agent). 

Last year people received a special gift from landlords (and brokers) with no fee and lower fee apartments.  It wasn’t anything personal — it was an economic anomaly — it was the market and the need to create movement in the market, to move real estate inventory.  At the worst point last year the vacancy rate approached 3%, a huge number for this market, and everyone was desperate to get people moving.  Rental rates dropped.  Inventory was renovated.  And, owners decided to pay the fee, while brokers were willing to accept 8.3333% (an amount equal to 1 month’s rent) as their broker’s fee. 

But the market has changed.

So, budget the broker’s fee into your price and be prepared to find a fantastic apartment with the assistance of a Broker who possess time, energy, industry/market expertise and relationships.

Speak with you soon,


Vacancies At Record Low

Well, we are just about ready to wrap up the 1st month of the 3rd Quarter of 2010 and all I have to say is that it is HOT, a NYC scorcher: apartments are flying off of the market at record rates. 

On Wednesday morning before this past Wednesday — this great $1500 studio with exposed brick, a separate kitchen, 350 square feet, a working wood burning fireplace came on the market.  A few hours later (precisely 12:20 pm) 2 brokers with 2 clients were taking a look. 

My client and I peeled out of the apartment and as we ran to the bank and back to my office (literally, we ran – she runs half-marathons for fun) — we developed our strategy for making sure her application was accepted.  At 1:05 pm, less than hour after seeing the apartment, my client was approved.  About 10 minutes later the other person who had wanted the apartment sat crying on the stoop.  I feel bad for the young woman who didn’t get the apartment but I am very happy that my gal is moving in!

The week before, a fantastic 2 bedroom — just renovated: great kitchen (granite & stainless steel) and bath (newly tiled); private terrace; $2850/month; great management; 91st Street & Broadway — came on the market.  A colleague told me about it so later in the day I stuck my master-key in the lock of the apartment and it wouldn’t work.  I jiggled.  I jiggled again.  I set down my bag.  I jiggled yet again.  I stopped.  I took a deep breath.  I tried again.  I inserted the key the whole way in and jiggled.  I inserted the key almost the whole way.  I jiggled then I toggled.  I sweated.  Actual beads of sweat dropped from my face.  A young woman came to the door with a combination of anxiety and excitement filling her face, with boxes filling the background of her expression.  She had just moved in.  The apartment rented and was occupied in less than a day. 

Yesterday, brokers in my office were calling out: “Who has a 4 bedroom for $4500?  College student share.”  “Who has a 2 bedroom?  $3500, young couple.”  “Who has….  Who has….”  Another broker ran in sweating, “When will the inventory return?  I have shown them everything and they haven’t seen what they want.  When will new inventory hit the system?  When?  I need to know!  When!”  OK — at this point I exaggerate but… hopefully, you get my point.

Broker’s have been swapping stories like these and asking these questions for the past 3 months.  But, now it has gotten down to crunch time and finding good apartments requires preparation and skill — on the part of brokers and apartment seekers alike.  

Unfortunately, there are still a good many people looking for apartments who believe that the market is the same as it was a year ago: plenty of inventory – time to wait and find just that perfect apartment – owners willing to give any incentive or accept any offer to fill a vacancy. 

But the market has changed.  Pricing has adjusted over 2nd Quarter 2009 levels:

  • Citywide, 2 bedrooms are down 4.3% from 2009 pricing levels
  • 3 bedrooms are down 4.2% from mid-year pricing 12 months ago
  • 1 bedroom prices have declined 1.7% for this same time period
  • However, studio pricing is up 0.7% since the same time last year.

AND THIS IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE: the vacancy rate is also down.  It is down 0.91% from the end of the 2nd Quarter of 2009. 

So, if you are looking for an apartment and want the best chances of being approved for your first choice apartment — BE PREPARED.  Be prepared to submit a solid application quickly.  Be prepared to submit a full price offer.  Be prepared to pay a broker’s fee (I am writing about this topic tomorrow).  I feel like a broken record sometimes but the person who can submit a complete application package in less than a half hour has a competitive advantage — and, this person isn’t left crying on the stoop. 

This month I have had 10 applications submitted — but fewer than 50% were submitted quickly enough to actually be considered for the apartment.  This is tragic as it becomes a waste of everybody’s time.  And who has time to waste when everyone is asking “Where is the inventory”? 

Speak with you soon,