Thursday, September 05, 2013
By Matthew Schuerman : Editor, WNYC
Bill de Blasio’s support for Atlantic Yards in 2006 was a tricky political move: many voters in his brownstone Brooklyn district opposed the huge skyscrapers that Atlantic Yards would bring nearby. But the group that had crafted the affordable housing deal for the project had played a key role in the Democrat's first race for City Council.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
When a Silicon Alley startup gets a new round of funding, the company might double or triple in size and quickly need to find a roomier office to house all its new employees.
Friday, June 28, 2013
By Brian Wise
Steinway Musical Instruments announced on Friday that it has finalized the sale of Steinway Hall, its flagship showroom at 109 West 57th Street.
Monday, June 10, 2013
By Ilya Marritz
A Lower Manhattan street that's long been synonymous with hard living continues to gentrify.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
By Ilya Marritz
Realtors go the extra mile to sell in a neighborhood vulnerable to storms.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
In some places, Sandy’s wrath is a reason to walk away from their homes as opposed to staying on and fixing them up.
For many Sandy’s wrath is a memory that happened six months ago.
But some home buyers and sellers are just now feeling its power surge through the real estate market in coastal areas.
“Not one property has closed to date in Sea Bright since the storm,” said Donna Markowitz, broker-manager at Gloria Nilson and company real estate in Keyport, New Jersey.
In parts of New Jersey, coastal properties are selling for much less than they were worth before the storm.
Many homes that were flooded will have to be raised up to new flood elevation standards set by FEMA. And they’ll also incur increased costs for flood and homeowner’s insurance. Those increased expenses, combined with the uncertainty of what new regulations will be, could be spooking buyers and coaxing sellers to drop their prices.
“There’s the uncertainty of the [FEMA flood] zones - we don’t have anything firm yet, we don’t have firm maps or elevations,” said Steve Acropolis, the Mayor of Brick Township, New Jersey.
The uncertainty is causing some to walk away.
In the working class town of Keyport on the Raritan Bay, two Sandy-damaged homes on the market in Keyport are on the market for about $70,000.
“Before Sandy, they would have been, in this market, like a $240 to 250,000 home,” said agent Markowitz.
It’s a similar situation in tony Mantaloking, father south, where only one home sold on the open market since the storm struck.
“It was on the market for $5.5 million before the storm. The house was destroyed [during Sandy] and sold for $2.7 million, about half the value after the storm,” said Peter Zanowic, with Gloria Nilson and Company real estate in Bay Head, NJ.
According to Zillow, the online real estate site, there’s not enough data yet to determine via sale listings, if there’s a high volume of short selling going on.
But Zillow economist Svenja Gudell says there is added pressure on owners of homes seriously damaged by Sandy, particularly in the Garden State.
She said that in New Jersey, 25 percent of homeowners with a mortgage were underwater before Sandy hit, meaning they owe more on their homes than their property is worth.
“You’re getting the double whammy if you will,” Gudell said of those homeowners. “Not only were you underwater before, but now you’re even worse off because your home has been damaged.”
And some of those financially ‘underwater’ are more likely to sell at distressed property price instead of trying to cobble together a way to pay for repairs on what is already, a losing investment for them.
“That makes it easier for people to say: ‘It’s going to take so long for me to reach positive equity again in my home, I’m going to walk away from my home now,’ ” Gudell said.
This homeowner fatigue is expected to shake out overtime, experts say.
As powerful as Sandy’s storm surge was, it’s not likely to influence buyers of shore properties a few years from now, if tradition is any guide.
“The older homes that were destroyed, there will be brand new homes in there. So the houses will be worth more, the market will rebound, and people will want to live here and spend money for it,” said Zanowic.
But some fear the rebuilding will force working class families away from the beach.
“It’s going to change the character of some towns, and I worry about young people being able to afford being on the water,” added Steve Acropolis, Mayor of Brick.
But in some storm-ravaged areas, like Long Beach, and on Long’s Island’s North Shore too, sales this spring have been less affected by Sandy.
“Waterfront [property] is a limited commodity [here] and it still commands the high numbers,” said Risa Ziegler, a licensed broker with Douglas Elliman in Huntington, Long Island.
The North Shore still lacks inventory, and it’s a desirable area.
Long Island’s South Shore sustained much more Sandy damage, and initially, home prices of flooded properties fell sharply.
But now, in anticipation of summer, sales are trending upwards.
“When Sandy first hit, I thought my career was over, I didn’t know how I’d sell another house here,” said Long Beach real estate agent Joyce Coletti.
But over time some started buying damaged homes on the South shore, and prices began rising, even for homes that had been gutted after storm damage. In Long Beach, nine homes burnt after a car blew up during Sandy.
“I had a bidding war on burnt homes, that were burnt to the ground,” and we sold them,” added Coletti.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Six months after Sandy hit, we take a look at how recovery is impacting current real estate trends and housing prices in the area. Plus: Isabel Allende talks about her new novel and its theme of adolescence in America; a discussion of whether or not the NYC electorate actually wants a progressive mayor; and a new book that chronicles the daily rituals of creative types, from Jane Austen to Woody Allen.
Monday, April 15, 2013
As the government's largest effort to compensate victims of the banks' foreclosure practices comes to a close, ProPublica's Paul Kiel reports that it won't be much of an ending: roughly 3 million borrowers will receive no more than $500. He goes into the history of robo-signing and other aggressive practices that caused homeowners who weren’t behind on their mortgage payments to face foreclosure. His latest article is "For Most Homeowners, Gov’t Foreclosure Deal Brings A Few Hundred Bucks."
Thursday, April 04, 2013
Charles Bagli, New York Times reporter and the author of Other People's Money: Inside the Housing Crisis and the Demise of the Greatest Real Estate Deal Ever Made, explains the housing crisis through the prism of the Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village sale-gone-bad.
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
By Daniel P. Tucker : Associate Producer, WNYC News
There's so little office space available from Canal Street to 32nd Street — an area known as Midtown South — that more companies are setting up shop in Lower Manhattan, according to data released Wednesday by commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
By Ilya Marritz
So long as credit is tight, homeowners who might think about upgrading don't have much reason to put their apartment on the market. Interest rates are low, but few would-be purchasers qualify.
Friday, March 29, 2013
Across the country, home prices are up, foreclosures are down and mortgage rates are unbelievably low. The inventory of homes is also low, which means it's hard for buyers to find the right place.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Steinway Musical Instruments Inc. is selling its stake in the Steinway Hall building in New York to JDS Development Group for about $46 million.
Monday, March 25, 2013
By Tom Lisi
Homes close to good transit options made for better real estate investments during the recession, according to a new study from the American Public Transportation Association.
APTA looked at housing market data from Phoenix, Boston, San Francisco, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Chicago from 2006 to 2011, and compared homes close to transit with homes for the metro region overall. The study found residential property values located near transit performed 41 percent better. Heavy rail, bus rapid transit, and light rail, with more frequent service and transfer options, helped real estate prices even more than commuter rail more typically found in suburbs, according to the study.
Areas with no transit options fared the worst in terms of home value.
Residents close to transit sheds -- areas that are a half-mile away from a transit stop or closer -- also had better access to jobs and incurred less transportation costs. In Chicago, residents close to the city's transit system spent $300 less on transportation per month than the regional average.
Transit is not the sole factor of course, but allowing residents wider access to local amenities has made it a real estate catalyst. Alex Boylan, a Minneapolis-based realtor, says he's noticed that properties close to the light rail or major bus routes don't stay on the market as long. "Now more people are more about community, wanting to live closer to work, and using the transportation that's provided around them," he said. In Minneapolis-St. Paul, the study showed that home prices fell everywhere from 2006 to 2011, but homes next to the Hiawatha light rail line better maintained their values by 62 percent when compared to the entire Twin Cities.
Areas with accessible transit tend to have more nearby amenities, and therefore better walkability scores, something Boylan says homebuyers have been paying much closer attention to in the last few years.
Related: What Makes A City Walkable
The years covered in the APTA study were bad years for the housing market, but now that the market's improving, Darnell Grisby, APTA director of policy and research, says the desire for a city lifestyle will only continue to grow. “The millennial generation that seeks more transit-oriented lifestyles and empty nesters that will be seeking to downsize their homes while living near amenities will ensure that this trend continues,” he says.
The study showed that The Loop in Chicago performed more than 75 percent better than the region as a whole, where retirees and young professionals are fueling one of the most dramatic downtown housing booms in the country -- though the 2010 Census showed that middle class families were still flocking to the city's suburbs.
The study corresponds with other cultural shifts. Other data shows millennials are less car-centric than their parents. A recent Zipcar survey said Americans in the 18-34 age group consider their computers and mobile phones more important in their daily lives than cars, and fewer young people are trying to get driver’s licenses.
"People are voting with their feet," says Sara Wiskerchen, a spokesperson for the National Association of Realtors, a group that partnered with APTA for the study. The real estate industry group has become a booster for transit-oriented development. Wiskerchen says NAR plans to take the study to Congress to push for more public transportation and smart growth initiatives in American cities. "Consumers are looking for, and choosing, neighborhoods that they're able to find more walkable features, that have lower transportation costs, and really just looking at communities in a smart way," says Wiskerchen.
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Steinway & Sons said Wednesday it is in “advanced negotiations” with a buyer for Steinway Hall, its longtime home on West 57th Street.