With inventory tight these days, don’t leave anything to chance

By / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Thursday, October 10, 2013, 6:27 PM

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Jeff Bachner/for New York Daily News

Citi Habitats president Gary Malin.

The Money Pros are standing by to take your questions.

Q. With inventory very tight right now, I want to do everything I can to make sure my apartment deal goes smoothly. What are some tips for aceing the co-op approval process?

A. The co-op board approval process can be nerve-racking, and it’s important to know what the process will entail before placing an offer.

Co-op buildings are run by a co-op board, just like a company has a board of directors. This group of building residents reigns supreme, and has the right to approve or reject all potential buyers, and for any reason – as long as it is not in violation of fair housing laws.

Boards want to see that would-be residents are financially qualified to purchase the apartment in question (by examining pay stubs, tax returns, etc.), and that they will make good, quiet neighbors.

Financial qualification requirements vary from building to building. Typically though, most boards like applicants to have a monthly income that is four times greater than their total monthly housing expenditure (mortgage payment, plus maintenance fees/taxes and insurance), and in addition, have a full 12 months of housing costs available in liquid assets (cash, money market accounts, bonds etc.).

If you are working with a real estate agent, ask him or her to give you as much information as possible about the approval process for the board in question. It helps to know what you are walking into beforehand.

Meeting with the board is the most important step in the process. Remember that first impressions count. Be on time, be friendly, and be prepared.

Understand the ins-and-outs of all your required financial documentation, and be sure you can answer questions about it quickly and accurately. Be sure to dress appropriately, as you would for an important business function.

When in doubt, err on the conservative side.

Let the board ask the questions, and answer only what is asked of you. Volunteering additional information only increases the chance they will find something you say unacceptable. In most cases, a short interview is a good sign you will be approved.

Always have a positive attitude about the apartment and the building. Act like you wouldn’t change a thing about both.

Now is not the time to discuss your plans to knock down walls and gut the apartment. While renovating your unit is your right as an owner, its best to avoid bringing it up during the interview.

The goal is to act like you love the building and will be a no-hassle neighbor.

Keep in mind, co-op boards are allowed to ask personal questions. Asking what you do on the weekends and if you have frequent guests are common questions. While it’s okay to spin the answers a little, reply to them honestly.

While the co-op approval process can be a challenge, remember the payoff of a home you love is worth the short-term inconvenience. Keep the tips above in mind, and you should be in great shape.

Gary Malin

Malin is the president of Citi Habitats.

Do you have a question for the Money Pros? Send it to pfurman@nydailynews.com.

Amy Zimmer

By Amy Zimmer on October 10, 2013 7:14am | Updated on October 10, 2013 7:14am

@the_zim

Price Per Square Foot Might Not be the Best Gauge for Value, Experts Say
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Price Per Square Foot Might Not be the Best Gauge for Value, Experts Say

MANHATTAN — Take a tape measure on your next open house visit.

Though popular real estate websites such as Trulia, Zillow and StreetEasy often include an apartment’s price per square foot, many brokers warn that the art of calculation is imprecise at best.

Some listings might use closets, hallways — inside or outside the unit — and even elevator shafts in their measurements. Others might just include usable space.

Then there are questions about how to include terraces or outdoor areas.

There are no rules that dictate how to measure square footage, experts told DNAinfo New York. Because of that, some brokers discourage buyers from relying on the price-per-square-foot figure to gauge whether they’re getting a good deal.

“Buyers and sellers are always asking about per square foot,” said Dan Bamberger, of CitiHabitats. “It’s the most common way people try to make a justified analysis of how much they should be paying for an apartment.”

“I hate to put it like this, but it’s really more trickery than anything else.”

Usually when an apartment is listed, brokers hire someone with a tape measure — rarely a licensed architect — to create a floor plan, explained Bamberger, who recently wrote about the murkiness of square feet in a newsletter he sends to clients.

For his piece, he randomly selected four Greenwich Village apartments currently on the market and found that the floor plan, on average, was nearly 44 percent smaller than the listed square footage.

Bamberger also found discrepancies of nearly 12 percent in square footage between the same unit listed at two different times or similar apartments on different floors of the same building. Yet in many cases, buyers would pay a premium based on price per square foot, he said.

There are few references for homebuyers to check apartments’ square feet. Co-ops — which represent three-quarters of Manhattan’s housing stock — have no public record, and measurements for condos are included in their offering plans, explained Jonathan Miller, president of the Miller Samuel appraisal firm. 

Jackson Heights History 2
Many real estate experts say that calculating square feet of apartments is an inexact science. There’s no public rec…

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Queens Borough Public Library/Images of America: Jackson Heights

“If you put two licensed architects in a room, you would not get identical measurements,” he said. “You would get a close measurement, but there isn’t a level of precision available.”

Miller said measurements in listings tend to be between 5 and 10 percent higher than the actual size.

“A 2,000-square-foot apartment might be closer to 1,800,” Miller said. “That doesn’t mean that apartment in that building sold for 10 percent more than it was worth.

“I think there’s an expectation of precision that doesn’t exist. But it’s not like [the space] was hidden from you when you bought. It’s just another rating for the apartment.”

A lot of brokerage firms don’t include square footage in their listings or are cautious about the numbers being approximate, because they’re worried about being sued, he said.

Case in point: David Wilkenfeld, founder of PromGirl.com, a major formal dress e-tailer, agreed to pay $13 million for a penthouse at 200 Chambers St. in TriBeCa that was listed at 4,700 square feet.

But only after he agreed to the deal, he learned that the condo’s offering plan listed the unit as having 4,548 square feet, according to a lawsuit he filed against the broker in March, essentially seeking a $2.08 million refund based on the smaller size.

The lawsuit claimed the 2012 sale of the condo was “hurried” by email during the “traumatic period of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath in New York City.” The case was dismissed in April.

Especially in today’s market, with its lack of inventory, using such questionable numbers to base home-buying decisions may not make for the most solid foundation, the experts agreed.

When he works with sellers, Bamberger tries not to disclose the square footage since it could present issues or disputes down the road, he said.

When he works with buyers he encourages them to assess the apartment on its merits rather than on the listed square footage.

“You have to make a subjective opinion on what an apartment is worth,” Bamberger said.

http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20131010/tribeca/price-per-square-foot-often-used-trick-homebuyers-experts-say

Q3 2013 Brooklyn Residential Sales Market Report

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The Q3 2013 Brooklyn 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. 

Intense buyer demand for housing drove pricing trends as it was met with limited available properties; the result was rapid absorption and price increases across the board.
A few report highlights:
·         Market-wide closed sales totaled 1,146, a 9% increase year over year and a 16% increase compared to last quarter.
·         The market-wide average price per square foot rose to $693 this quarter, a 9% increase year-over-year, while the average sale price of $662,000 increased 8% year-over-year.
·         Prices for townhomes displayed year-over-year improvement, particularly the two-to-four family townhouses market, where double-digit median sales price increases were recorded throughout the borough.
Full report is available here

The Q3 2013 Manhattan Residential Sales Market Report

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A few highlights from the Third Quarter:

·         Despite diminishing inventory levels, the Manhattan sales market thrived in Q3 2013 with 4,164 closings recorded, 5% higher than the same period a year before.  Last quarter also marked the highest level of sales activity since Q2 2008 – the last time there were more closings in a single quarter listed inventory was 73% higher.

·         Prices reflected strong local, national and international demand, historically low interest rates and a continued influx of all-cash buyers.  Market wide average price per square foot reached $1,170 – an increase of 11% from Q2 2012 and 5% from Q2 2013.

·         Market wide median price for resale co-ops and condos both reached an all-time high this quarter – at $720,000 and $1,220,000, respectively.

·         Inventory continued an established decline with 20% fewer listings available than a year prior.

Full report can be accessed here.

Q3 2013 Manhattan Residential Sales Market Report

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A few highlights from the Third Quarter:
  • Despite diminishing inventory levels, the Manhattan sales market thrived in Q3 2013 with 4,164 closings recorded, 5% higher than the same period a year before.  Last quarter also marked the highest level of sales activity since Q2 2008 – the last time there were more closings in a single quarter listed inventory was 73% higher. 
  •   Prices reflected strong local, national and international demand, historically low interest rates and a continued influx of all-cash buyers.  Market wide average price per square foot reached $1,170 – an increase of 11% from Q2 2012 and 5% from Q2 2013. 
  • Market wide median price for resale co-ops and condos both reached an all-time high this quarter – at $720,000 and $1,220,000, respectively. 
  • Inventory continued an established decline with 20% fewer listings available than a year prior.
Full report is available here

Hurdles for Condo Buyers

The New York Times
By LISA PREVOST
Published: October 3, 2013

In New York, buyers intent on getting a co-op know to brace themselves for the notoriously invasive approval process. But increasingly, condominium buyers are also being asked to fill out lengthy applications and provide detailed financial information to buildings’ governing boards.

Although condos don’t have the same right as co-ops to reject buyers at will, they do have a right of first refusal. This means that on any pending sale, the condo association has the right to step in, through its board, and match the offer.

In allowing the condo to be sold to an outside buyer, the board issues a waiver of its right of refusal. Before doing so, however, it may at this point in the process demand information about the buyer, including financial statements, employment history, personal references and other details.

In reality, although it is intended to give condo associations some control over who lives in their building, the right of first refusal is very rarely exercised, said Patricia Kantor, a real estate lawyer in Manhattan. Most condo associations don’t have the money to buy an apartment quickly. And bylaws typically require that such a purchase be approved by a majority of unit owners, which can be time-consuming. “There’s a very limited time for the board to act in response to an offer — 15 to 30 days, 45 at the most,” Ms. Kantor said.

What’s more, many condo bylaws limit a board’s ability to get financing, or may require a unit owner vote to do so, said Adam Leitman Bailey, a lawyer who represents condos in New York. Though he has helped condos obtain loans, financing is difficult because usually the only collateral for a loan is the common charge, he said. 

Still, even condos without the means to act on a right of refusal may use their waiver-granting power as leverage. “The right of first refusal is being used more frequently and aggressively than ever before in order to give the boards the ability to have more control over who is living in the building,” said Stuart M. Saft, a lawyer whose firm represents about 50 condos in Manhattan.

Mr. Saft says he has used the process to require buyers with “shaky” finances either to find a guarantor or put several months’ common charges in escrow.

Mr. Bailey says he wields the right of refusal “as a weapon” to ward off potentially troublesome buyers. “If they don’t want to provide the tax returns and fill out the questionnaires and give the references,” he said, “then they’re not getting the waiver of right of first refusal. I need to protect the building before they enter it.”

Mr. Bailey says he has also started asking buyers to sign riders in which they agree to terms that may not be in the condo bylaws, like smoking or pet prohibitions.

He has no problem holding up a waiver if a buyer refuses to comply. Could a buyer sue him for damages as a result of a lost interest rate? Possibly, Mr. Bailey says, but the process would be so lengthy that it would hardly be worth it. “It’s very rare that we get pushback,” he said.

In the rare instances when condos do buy apartments, it’s often because “the apartment is just being dumped and the sale price is going to have an adverse impact on the comps,” Mr. Saft said, referring to comparable sales. “This frequently happens in estate sales, when the family and the executor don’t want to waste a lot of time fighting, so they just take the first offer that comes along.”

Or the board may simply not like the buyer. Mr. Saft recalls one instance, in a building with two units per floor, in which an owner objected to an applicant for the unit next to his, because he feared the person would be too noisy. The owner asked the board to exercise its right, which it did, and he bought the apartment himself.

A version of this article appears in print on October 6, 2013, on page RE8 of the New York edition with the headline: Hurdles for Condo Buyers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/realestate/hurdles-for-condo-buyers.html?ref=realestate&_r=0

Home Sales Rose in Tighter Manhattan Market, Report Says

By
Published: October 2, 2013

As Manhattan’s residential sales inventory continued to plunge in the past three months, dropping to its lowest level in 13 years, sales took off in the opposite direction, with buyers determined to make their move before mortgage rates and home prices commence the inevitable tandem escalation experts have predicted.

According to a report being released on Wednesday by the Douglas Elliman brokerage, sales spiked to their highest level since the 2007 heyday that preceded the Lehman Brothers collapse. The volume of sales increased by 30 percent over last year to 3,837, while inventory was down by nearly 22 percent, and the time listings spent on the market shrank by 54 percent. Bidding wars, popular with everyone except buyers, regained their toehold on negotiations, and sellers were able to reap 98 percent of their final asking price.

“I think there was a mad rush to complete deals in this quarter before things change,” said Dottie Herman, the chief executive of Douglas Elliman. “It’s a very healthy market. Sure, you’re seeing bidding wars because there’s no inventory, but properties are still trading at a price that has to make sense.”

One-bedroom apartments, a sector that is sensitive to interest rates, inspired the most frenetic trading in 15 years, a sign of a shift in focus from a somewhat inflated luxury-driven marketplace (where the entry threshold is now $2.95 million) to a more accessible demographic.

Jonathan Miller, author of the Elliman report and president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel, said sales were up and inventory was low in the second quarter of the year also, but the third quarter, which ended on Monday, “was like a quarter on steroids: sales surged because the fence sitters rushed to buy before the mortgage rates rose.”

“Buyers were concerned that prices would rise and they’d miss their chance,” Mr. Miller continued. “So this added a layer of excessive demand on top of the usual organic demand.”

With the fence sitters now in motion, and with the flurry of transactions completed, Mr. Miller said he expected inventory to stabilize. The supply of new construction, sales of which dropped this year by 55 percent, is also expected to undergo a substantial upswing in 2014 as projects hobbled by the recession come to market.

But Andrew Heiberger, the chief executive of Town Residential, said that demand would persist in outpacing the supply. “Building permits are up 60 percent from last year, which would indicate an increase in supply is forthcoming,” he said, “but the pent-up demand will dwarf the supply of units coming to market.”

Elliman reported a significant year-to-date jump in co-op sales of 37 percent, along with a 19 percent increase in condominium sales. The 62 percent market share held by co-ops was the highest in nine years.

“It was the double-digit quarter,” said James M. Gricar, the president of Halstead Property. “For the three preceding quarters, we knew inventory was down and sales activity was up, but it seems to have come to fruition: we had this highly energized atmosphere with a bunch of super-motivated buyers and a contingent of sellers in the driver’s seat.

“The statistic that is mind-boggling to me is that we sold 16 percent more apartments than at this same time last year despite having 25 percent fewer to sell.”

Mr. Gricar said the short time that properties spent on the market — his brokerage clocked it at 77 days — was another surprise: “Seventy-seven days, it’s an eye blink.”

The brokerage also noted a 75 percent jump in sales above $10 million in the quarter. “It gave quite a boost to our average sale price,” said Diane Ramirez, the chief executive of Halstead, which reported an average sale price of $1.45 million, along with a 19 percent increase in condo sales, up 8 percent from last year.

Pam Liebman, the president of the Corcoran Group, said fairly priced listings at all levels moved quickly. “If it’s good, it’s gone; nothing lingers,” she said. “It’s the most fast-paced market I’ve ever seen.” She also emphasized the quantity of deals struck on properties that traded for $1 million or less. “Everybody thinks Manhattan is so expensive,” she said, “but 37 percent of sales were between $500,000 and $1 million, and 19 percent were below $500,000.”

Ms. Liebman said she did not expect resale inventory to replenish itself anytime soon, particularly on the Upper West Side. “We’ll be dealing with an inventory shortage for some time to come, and that’s going to put an increasing pressure on prices,” she said. In other words, any adjustment will be upward.

“This is a market in recovery,” said Sofia Song, head of research and communications for Streeteasy. “It’s not a recovered market. When we still need federal supports keeping mortgage rates artificially low, we’re not out of the woods yet.”

A version of this article appears in print on October 2, 2013, on page A20 of the New York edition with the headline: Home Sales Rose in Tighter Manhattan Market, Report Says.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/02/nyregion/home-sales-rose-in-tighter-manhattan-market-report-says.html?_r=1&

The Broker-Free Sale

By JIM RENDON
Published: September 26, 2013

With inventory hitting new lows, the housing market in New York City has taken a dramatic turn in favor of sellers. Buyers face fewer options and stiffer competition. And that can get homeowners thinking about the value of their increasingly expensive broker.

Phil Marden

For news and features on real estate, follow @nytrealestate.

“Every time the market tightens up like this we see more people trying to sell their own homes,” said Jonathan J. Miller, the president of Miller Samuel, an appraisal company. Sellers see a real benefit to cutting out a broker, especially if they are confident their home will sell easily. “The impetus is always to save money,” Mr. Miller said.

In New York City, the savings can be substantial. According to the latest Douglas Elliman market report, the median sale price of a Manhattan home in the second quarter was $865,000. A seller paying the standard 6 percent commission on an apartment priced at that median would owe nearly $52,000 in brokers’ fees.

Handling a sale alone has become much easier in recent years with so much information available on the Internet, said Sofia Song, head of research and communications at Streeteasy.com. Its paying subscribers have access to the same data that brokers can use when trying to determine the value of a home. Owners can easily look up “comps” — recent sales of comparable properties — to get a sense of a property’s value. And real estate blogs give readers a daily peek at the temperature of the market.

More sellers seem to be giving it a shot. According to Ms. Song, the number of people selling their own properties in Manhattan and listing them on Streeteasy has increased over the first eight months of the year compared with last year. The biggest jump came in July, with listings up 43 percent over the previous July. Broker listings fell by double digits over the same period, largely because of the drop in total number of properties for sale. For-sale-by-owner listings at nytimes.com, however, fell by 20 percent in the first eight months of the year, compared with the same period last year.

One owner/seller, Francesco Sarti, has a one-bedroom two-bathroom loft at 420 West 25th Street. When Mr. Sarti, 44, a financial analyst, bought the apartment in 2008, he did most of the research. “I realized that I wanted to experience the same process on the sell side,” he said.

Mr. Sarti used Streeteasy to research comps and settled on a price of $1.64 million. He took his own photos of the apartment. He listed the apartment in March but took some time off from showing it over the summer. (He also lists with nytimes.com.) He has had about eight open houses, each of which drew about a dozen people.

In the beginning, Mr. Sarti dealt only with buyers who were not represented by a broker, to avoid having to pay that broker 2 to 3 percent of the sales price — the usual cut when two brokers are involved in a deal. But he soon realized he was losing out on too many potential buyers. Now he takes all comers and is willing to pay the commission of the buyer’s broker, in his case as much as $49,000. The only downside has been facing off with aggressive brokers hoping to get the listing for themselves. Two brokers copied his ad and put it up on their own Web pages. Those ads were then picked up by listing aggregators like Trulia, and getting them taken down from the different sites was time-consuming. He also has to be available for open houses and to show the home at night.

“You have to have an interest in doing this,” Mr. Sarti said. “Otherwise you won’t have the motivation to do the open houses and everything else involved.”

Brokers, predictably, are not happy about the for-sale-by-owner, or FSBO, trend. Jordan Cooper, a partner of Cooper & Cooper Real Estate, says sellers are taking a big risk. Sure, he said, some owners are capable of selling their own homes, but brokers are professionals who provide a skilled service. “Would you represent yourself in court?” he asked.

A good broker could not only help sellers reach the right group of buyers with effective marketing, Mr. Cooper said, but also help them navigate the complexities of getting the highest price through best and final offers. And, most important, a broker could determine what offers are most likely to lead to a closing — landing a mortgage and, in the case of a co-op, board approval.

When it comes to co-ops, good brokers know how to put together a strong board package, including what information to highlight, what to have references mention and what not to mention. They can also help coach people for the interview. “What does the average owner know about putting together a board package?” Mr. Cooper asked. “If you choose the wrong buyer, you are out of luck.”

Sellers often think that they can turn to their lawyers for help, but that is not always the case, said Michael Moshan of the law firm Gold Scollar Moshan. “Attorneys generally don’t participate in vetting buyers and their financials and submitting the perfect board package,” he said. Lawyers for those who sell their own properties do more of what he calls “hand-holding,” but they have a narrow area of expertise. “Finding the right buyer is its own skill,” Mr. Moshan said.

Mr. Miller said that he believed that many sellers eventually hire a broker after they realize how much work selling a home entails. Indeed, the data from Streeteasy show that a much higher percentage of FSBO ads were discontinued without a sale than is the case with brokers. In June, 37 percent of FSBO ads expired without a sale, versus 7 percent of broker ads.

Michael Laffan, 57, a retired New York City firefighter, tried selling his Red Hook, Brooklyn, town house several ways. When his family decided to move to Georgia, he listed the house for $755,000 with a family friend who was also a broker. He soon found himself locked into a contract for nine months with a buyer who was ultimately unable to complete the deal.

In September 2012 he tried selling on his own. In an ad on Craigslist.com, he listed the home for $900,000. He had a number of interested potential buyers, including Orren Azani, a broker at Douglas Elliman Real Estate who lived nearby. Then Hurricane Sandy hit. Remarkably, Mr. Laffan’s home was not flooded, but many of the businesses that draw buyers to Red Hook were devastated. Mr. Azani was unable to move ahead with the purchase because of flooding in his own home.

Eventually Mr. Laffan tired of the effort — his wife and sons had already moved to Georgia and he was paying for two homes. “I thought, ‘Let’s try to make this thing go,’ ” he said. He listed the house with Mr. Azani, who had several offers lined up after the first open house. The property went into contract three weeks after it was listed, selling for $875,000, and Mr. Laffan finally joined his family in their new home in Georgia.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: October 6, 2013

An article last Sunday about what it takes to sell your home without a broker misspelled the given name of the head of research and communications at Streeteasy.com. She is Sofia Song, not Sophia.

A version of this article appears in print on September 29, 2013, on page RE9 of the New York edition with the headline: The Broker-Free Sale.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303643304579107691208150088.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_US_News_5

Sales keep NYC housing market hotter than ever

By Max Gross

October 2, 2013 | 8:44pm

Traditionally, the fall is the start of real estate’s busy season, where brokers — well-rested from a summer in Sagaponack — are champing at the bit, ready to unveil the next big thing.

But it’s almost as if summer never even began. A busy spring just kept going and going. “There was no rest for the weary this summer,” says Wendy Maitland, managing director of Town.

According to Corcoran Sunshine, 3,400 contracts were signed in Manhattan in the third quarter of 2013 — a 17 percent jump from last year. And the second quarter was even better. The second “quarter there were $7.6 billion in sales,” says Kelly Mack, president of Corcoran Sunshine. “That was the second highest ever.”

And one can only expect it to get busier. “So far in 2013, we’ve seen 1,660 new development units enter the market,” says Mack. “We’re projecting another 1,000 by the end of the year.”

One would hope these new units would ease pressure on prices and increase the vacancy rate. But it doesn’t look like that’s in the cards. According to a market report released this week by Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel, for Douglas Elliman, Manhattan inventory dropped to the lowest level in 13 years (when Miller started tracking the market) and the number of sales — 3,837 — is the most since 2007. And most units coming to market are expensive.

“Land costs have gone up, which means cost of development has gone up and that has required the purchase price to go up,” says Susan de Franca, president and CEO of Douglas Elliman’s new development division.

Basketball court, climbing wall and luxe lobby await at One Riverside. (WordSearch/Visualisation One)

In August, veteran developer Michael Shvo returned to the market spending $23.5 million — about $850 per square foot, the most ever paid for a residential site in New York — for a gas station at 239 10th Ave. His hope is to put up a new condo off the High Line, one of the most sought after new neighborhoods.

Prices are far from being set yet (the building is slated for 2015) — but if the nearby condos are any indication, numbers will be insane. At developer Cary Tamarkin’s 508 W. 24th St., the smallest unit is $3.35 million (it’s in contract), and the 3,018-square-foot penthouse is on the market for $10.5 million, or $3,479 per square foot. The developer Blackhouse recently announced it was building a six-unit condo at 534 W. 29th St. According to Sean Ludwick, a partner at Blackhouse, “The penthouse should be $3,500 per square foot … Lower units should be in the $3,000 per-square-foot range.”

But the High Line is hardly the only downtown hood to command crazy prices. At 66 E. 11th St. by Delos, the new five-unit building in Greenwich Village that is being marketed by Dolly Lenz, the starting price is $15 million for a three-bedroom and goes up to $50 million for a 7,693-square-foot four-bedroom (an average of $4,764 per square foot).

Over in SoHo, at Jared Kushner’s Puck Penthouses at 293 Lafayette St., the six units — ranging from 4,895 square feet to 7,000 square feet — start around $21 million. And at the FXFOWLE-designed Greenwich Lane on the site of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village, prices haven’t been set but one can expect them to start at $2 million and go up to $20 million, or higher.

Nor is this a downtown phenomenon. This summer, the Witkoff Group shelled out $650 million for the Park Lane Hotel on Central Park South, which will include a condo component. “We’re big on downtown — and the other downtown neighborhoods,” says Steve Witkoff. “But Park Lane was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. How often do you get to build on the Park?” Down the block at 22 Central Park South, Lisa Lippman at Brown Harris Stevens is selling six full-floor two-bedroom residences, each spanning 2,021 square feet and starting at $6.7 million. A 2,943-square-foot penthouse is going for $26.5 million.

Resales have also gone through the roof. Last year, Tony Sargent, a broker with Core, sold a TriBeCa apartment at 28 Laight St. for $3.8 million (it was featured on “Selling New York”) — he just closed on the same unit for $4.58 million, or $780,000 higher than a year ago.

In August, Corcoran broker Jana Koplen got a listing for a full-floor loft in SoHo for $3.5 million that she was planning on putting on the market after Labor Day, but decided to strike early. She had 10 showings within 24 hours, and 19 buyers came to the open house on the second day — with four offers. The property got eight offers and is in contract at $225,000 over the asking price.

And Witkoff, like other developers, is looking at sites in Queens and Brooklyn.
“While Manhattan is rising [in price] modestly, Brooklyn is rising sharply,” says Miller. Over the summer, Miller released a report showing the median price of housing was up 15 percent in Brooklyn from the year before and inventory was down 19 percent. Brooklyn is “no longer seen as a less expensive alternative — it’s now a specific destination,” says Miller. “I saw, the other day, a banner touting [a building in Queens] and the slogan was, ‘Queens is the new Brooklyn.’ I thought that was pretty clever.”

Some are slightly wary of the exuberance in the air. “Every market has to correct at some point, right?” poses Shaun Osher, CEO of Core.

But most are bullishly riding the wave. “We’re in a comfortable place,” says John Gomes of Douglas Elliman, who is selling 11 N. Moore in TriBeCa. “Prices are strong [and] I think it’s healthy that interest rates are inching up … The temperament of the buyer is more relaxed, less rushed, more in control than the spring market. It’s a very healthy, very strong market.”

http://nypost.com/2013/10/02/legends-of-the-fall-4/