Fall Season Brings Few New York City Condos

Looking for an apartment in Manhattan? Read on to see why some people are saying that as the fall season begins, finding a great condo in New York City is no easy task.

Before the recession, there seemed to be a new condominium project in New York every day. No matter what you were looking for there was probably something out there to suit your needs. Now, however,  many projects have no survived the economic downturn and the number of units introduced this year will be significantly lower than in the not-so-distant past.

Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group recently released data they compiled that showed 1,111 new units have opened or are projected to open this year in Manhattan south of Harlem, down from 1,767 a year ago and a whopping 8,552 in 2007.

The news isn’t bad for everyone though – developers who buildings are about to hit the market find the numbers encouraging as it signals a lack of competition and perhaps even higher prices. However, for anyone looking to buy a new apartment, the news is nothing short of worrisome.

President of Corcoran Sunshine, Kelly Kennedy Mack said, “It’s not just about rising prices. It’s also about not having the same kind of choices. Those buyers who are looking for something very unique are going to have a very difficult time finding it.”

Jonathan miller, president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel, agreed with Kennedy Mack and said that inventory is lower. But in Manhattan, especially downtown, there is ample “shadow inventory” – new apartments that are being rented out or held off the market.

In Brooklyn lower prices have made development financing easier to get, which has led to a stead rise in market share for new condos, according to Miller. In the second quarter of 2010, he said, 14% of closed sales in the borough were on newly developed units. By the second quarter of this year, that number had risen to 24.6%.

Those looking for luxurious condos have an even harder task ahead of them. Most of the buildings entering the market this fall are on the small side. Of the 20 that have opened or are projected to open this year in Corcoran Sunshine’s Manhattan coverage area, only 3 have more than 100 units.

However, several high-rise, high-profile buildings will soon angle for buyers – including one highly-anticipated project that is set to change the city’s skyline: One57, a 90-story mixed-use tower at 157 West 57th Street. It will be the tallest residential property in Manhattan with 135 condo units ranging from two- to five-bedrooms, from the 32nd floor up. Pricing specifics have not yet been released, but Gary Barnett, president of the building’s developer Extell, said units would cost $3,000 to $7,000 per square foot – or $3 million and up – when sales start in November. Interested buyers are encouraged to “register their interest” online and One57’s website gives a price range beginning at $5 million all the way up to $30 million.

Toll Brothers, one of the country’s largest residential developers, has two condo buildings opening in the coming months: the Touraine, a 22-unit structure at 132 East 65th Street with prices from $1 million to $15 million, and 205 Water Street, in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn.The latter, located in a cobblestoned part of the neighborhood dominated by converted factories and warehouses, has 65 units. Prices will be around $850 per square foot, according to David Von Spreckelsen, the president of the Toll Brothers City Living division. The building was designed by GreensbergFarrow and has apartments ranging from 550-square-foot studios to a 2,300-square-foot penthouse. The list of potential buyers is allegedly more than 1,100 names long.

In eastern Brooklyn Heights at 75 Clinton Street, there is a rare new condo development for the area. The W Development Company is converting a prewar commercial building there into 74 condominiums. The building has a 5,000-square-foot roof deck and all the amenities usual to a new building including an onsite gym. Apartments range in size from studios to three-bedrooms, and in price from $479,000 to $2.05 million.

Besides a few larger scale projects like One57, Manhattan condo-hunters will have mostly small and midsize buildings to consider, though smaller does not necessarily mean cheaper. There is 55 Warren Street, in TriBeCa, a converted five-story building with an Italianate limestone facade and just four floor-through apartments. Amenities include a stone-walled wine cellar. Only one condo is listed so far — a 3,627-square-foot four-bedroom, for $6.75 million — but the others are expected to cost as much as $16.5 million.

Source: New York Times

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