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  • Top Brokers Hone In On The Hot Neighborhoods For Families

    Top NYC brokers offer expert insight into how to find a great home for your family in some of the city’s hottest neighborhoods

    By Eric Messinger

    Hudson Yards. Photo courtesy of Related-Oxford

    We interviewed top residential brokers for insights into where affluent families are looking for high-end digs. Be sure to check out out selective hot list of buildings for families at the end of this story!

    Area: West Side, from 34th Street to Canal Street
    Broker: Sydney Blumstein, Corcoran, sblumstein@corcoran.com

    Thinking about the West Side from 34th Street to Canal Street, what are one or two “hot” areas for a family with a budget of up to $6 million looking for a dream home with at least three bedrooms?

    I have found that southern West Chelsea (since everything is micro neighborhoods!), south of Hudson Yards, still has some wonderful value and the area is replete with parks, galleries, public transit options, and fun places for families like Chelsea Market, the Highline, and Chelsea Piers. I have also always felt that the nexus between the West Village, SoHo, and Tribeca—currently being called Hudson Square—is a great option as well. With some of the original warehouse-style infrastructure of a shipping neighborhood, you can find quiet streets, big floorplans, and also great access to the West Side bike paths and parks. For dreamy rentals, you should be thinking in the $15,000-18,000 range, like at 57 Lispenard (formerly the home to iconic Pearl Paint art store on Canal).

    What about families looking for more value? Assume they want good public schools and least two bedrooms (preferably three), and have a budget of up to $1.75 million.

    I feel NOMAD [North of Madison Square Park] serves this community well. Anyone who lives there has a short trip to Madison Square Park and still has easy access to Chelsea and Downtown. This area also offers tons of rentals, including many no-fee options, so tenants can increase their budget slightly since they don’t have to foot this additional cost.

    What’s your advice for anyone looking to buy right now?

    If you aren’t scared by renovation, buy something that needs work, and for the price of transforming it you will realize significantly more value in resale.

    What’s your advice for anyone looking to sell right now?

    First: Presentation. Beautiful photos, comprehensive information, floorplans/alternate floorplans, and light staging. And second: Price. If you price something to, or just below, market, you will have a deluge of interest.

    Area: West Side, from 34th Street to West 110th Street
    Broker: Michael Lubin, Brown Harris Stevens, mlubin@bhsusa.com

    Thinking about the West Side from 34th Street to West 110th Street, what are one or two “hot” areas for a family with a budget of up to $6 million looking for a dream home with at least three bedrooms?

    Riverside Drive north of 96th Street is one of my favorite stretches of the Upper West Side. Many of the most elegant and grand pre-WWI buildings are found here with high ceilings, detailed plasterwork, inlaid wood floors, formal rooms to entertain, and multiple “staff” rooms (which of course today are generally bedrooms, or auxiliary space to become vast kitchen/family rooms). To me, there’s no view like a water view in Manhattan with passing boats and the GW Bridge. For rentals, a spacious three-bedroom home can be found in the $7,000-10,000 per month range, but inventory is limited.

    70 Charlton; photo by Extell Development Company

    What about families looking for more value?

    Upper West End Avenue, also north of 96th Street, provides more value than to the south and to the west. Many of the buildings here were built by the esteemed architects who shaped our city, such as Rosario Candela, but were built at a more humble and smaller scale. But Classic 6s can easily become three-bedroom homes. Rentals for 2-3 bedrooms will start in the $5,000-6,000 range per month. The townhouses that line the side streets in the 90s and 100s also offer wonderful charm and detail—many were veritable mansions in their day and then later converted to gracious apartments.

    What’s your advice for anyone looking to buy right now?

    I always tell my buyers to pretend they’re living in the area they’re perusing. Shop and dine there like a local. Run errands. You’ll know if it feels like “home.”

    What’s your advice for anyone looking to sell right now?

    Throw open your windows. Plant window boxes. Have your windows professionally cleaned. Bring in spring and the buyers will follow.

    Area: Canal Street to the Financial District
    Broker: Jeffrey Carlson, TOWN, jcarlson@townresidential.com

    Thinking about lower Manhattan (anywhere below Canal Street), what are one or two “hot” areas for a family with a budget of up to $6 million looking for a dream home with at least three bedrooms?

    Northwest Tribeca is one of the “hottest” neighborhoods in all of the city. For those people who are looking to keep their budget below $6 million with at least three bedrooms, there’s a handful of inventory to choose from here that is absolutely stunning. You’re going to find a lot of original warehouses that have since been converted into luxury condos over the last two decades—like 79 Laight Street, 28 Laight Street, 415 Greenwich, and 250 West Street. These buildings feature top amenities and are just steps from Hudson River Park.

    What about families looking for more value? Assume they want good public schools and least two bedrooms (preferably three), and have a budget of up to $1.75 million.

    Finding a three-bedroom below Canal Street and below $1.75 million is not an easy task. If you do happen to find one, you’re usually going to sacrifice building amenities. Locating a decently large two-bedroom is a different story. In the Financial District you can find a 1,200-square-ft corner two-bedroom/two-bathroom apartment in buildings like 88 Greenwich Street, 15 William Street, and even 30 West Street in Battery Park. Renting a space like this will run you about $6,000 a month. If you’re renting a true three-bedroom in Lower Manhattan, expect rents to range from $7,000-12,000 a month, and $20,000-25,000 on the super high end.

    What’s your advice for anyone looking to buy right now?

    Be open to neighborhoods that are adjacent to where you’re targeting because deals can be found an avenue or two over.

    What’s your advice for anyone looking to sell right now?

    The biggest mistake sellers are making right now is being aspirational with pricing and thinking that they’ll just negotiate down. What happens is that they start to go above the budget of where people would actually be finding them.

    Area: East Side, from 34th Street to the Lower East Side
    Broker: Rebecca Buchanan, Compass, rbuchanan@compass.com

    Thinking about a big swath of the East Side (from 34th Street to the Lower East Side), what are one or two “hot” areas for a family with a budget of up to $6 million looking for a dream home with at least three bedrooms?

    There are several exciting new developments in Gramercy that come right to mind, including Gramercy Square, comprised of four separate buildings with their own distinct character, and 121 East 22nd Street. Besides offering a variety of three bedroom layouts, you get access to substantial private outdoor space, a children’s playroom, and a pool (at Gramercy Square). Many of the older co-op buildings in the neighborhood offer mostly smaller apartments. It can be difficult to find the opportunity but, if you like the idea of renovating, combining apartments can be a great option. Rentals in the neighborhood range from a spectacular three bedroom on Gramercy Park for $20,000 per month, to some nice options nearby for $9,000-12,000 per month. In this price range, you’ll frequently find some negotiability.

    What about families looking for more value? Assume they want good public schools and least two bedrooms (preferably three), and have a budget of up to $1.75 million.

    If you’re looking for value, the Lower East Side and Murray Hill have some nice options. In this price range, you’ll mostly be looking at co-op buildings and may want to do some updating. If you’re looking to rent, there’s a lot of three bedroom inventory in Murray Hill. You can find a spacious three-bedroom in a condo building for $7,000-9,000 per month.

    Hudson River Park. Photo by Mathews Nielson

    What’s your advice for anyone looking to buy right now?

    The market is more balanced between buyers and sellers, but well-priced properties are still moving quickly.

    What’s your advice for anyone looking to sell right now?

    There are almost always small changes you can make to your apartment that will have a big impact.

    Area: East Side, from 34th to 110th Street
    Broker: Stacey Froelich, Compass, sjf@compass.com

    Thinking about the East Side of Manhattan (from 34th Street to 110th Street), what are one or two “hot” areas for a family with a budget of up to $6 million looking for a dream home with at least three bedrooms?

    The East Side, north of 34th Street, is where you will get the most space for your money. Of course pricing is important when considering a purchase for your family, however you also need to consider access to parks, children’s services, schools, and community. The Upper East Side has 653 active (co-op and condo) three- and four-bedrooms (and beyond). Pricing varies greatly. The No. 1 factor is condo vs. co-op. Condos are significantly more expensive than co-ops, and re-sale condos are substantially less than new development condo projects. In terms of renting, the average three-bedroom rental on the Upper East Side, with a doorman east of Lexington Avenue, is asking $13,700. Properties on Park, Madison, and 5th Avenues skew up the neighborhood average significantly to approximately $20,000 per month.

    What about families looking for more value?

    The Upper East Side and Midtown East will still be your best options if you are looking for a two-bedroom to maximize value and convenience. A budget of $1.75 million will afford you a sizable two-bedroom, two-bath in a 24-hour doorman co-op, whereas the average two-bedroom condo in that price range will be smaller at
    an average of 1,100 square feet.

    What’s your advice for anyone looking to buy right now?

    Your real estate agent should be your advisor and help navigate what could be a daunting process by making it seamless and fun!

    What’s your advice for anyone looking to sell right now?

    We are experiencing a very strong spring market. Inventory is extremely low, mortgage rates have threatened to rise but are still historically low, and buyer demand is high. If you are considering selling, now would be the time.

    Area: 110th Street to Inwood
    Broker: Tecumta Tiwoni, Halstead, ttiwoni@halstead.com

    Thinking about Upper Manhattan (from 110th Street all the way to the tip of Inwood), what are one or two “hot” areas for a family with a budget of up to $6 million looking for a dream home with at least three bedrooms?

    The current and most popular areas in Upper Manhattan are Central Harlem and Hamilton Heights. Homebuyers looking to spend up to $4 million can find very spacious condo apartments with two or three bedrooms overlooking Central Park, Morningside Park, or the various lovely green spaces that Harlem and Hamilton Heights have to offer. And of course, Hamilton Heights and Harlem are known for their stately and historic townhouses and brownstones. Renters, too, have an ample rental stock to choose from, whether it’s in the newer buildings like 92 Morningside with luxury amenities, or it can be a wonderful brownstone floor-through apartment with high ceilings, original oak floors, and maybe even a fireplace. Three-bedroom rentals could run between $4,000-7,000 per month.

    What about families looking for more value?

    A person looking to spend $1.5 million would find their choice of new condos just built with full services, such as 24-7 concierge, gyms, and laundry facilities within the apartment. In terms of rentals, two- or three-bedroom apartments can rent from $4,000 or higher, depending on whether it’s in a wonderful brownstone, or a unique rental building.

    What’s your advice for anyone looking to buy right now?

    My favorite advice to anyone looking to buy is “be prepared to move quickly.”

    What’s your advice for anyone looking to sell right now?

    My favorite advice is “call me first.” The most important thing is to work with an agent that understands your ultimate goals, knows the market, and is willing to work very hard for you.

    Hot Building Sampler

    In the fall, we’ll return with our big annual guide to new buildings with family appeal in the city. But if you want to get a jump on it now, here’s a sampler.

    15 Hudson Yards
    15 Hudson Yards
    fifteenhudsonyards.com

    15 William
    15 William Street
    15williamny.com

    70 Charlton
    70 Charlton Street
    70charlton.com

    92 Morningside Avenue
    92 Morningside Avenue
    92morningside.com

    121 E. 22nd
    121 East 22nd Street
    121e22nd.com

    180 E. 88th Street
    180 East 88th Street
    180e88.com

    The Encore
    175 West 60th Street
    glenwoodnyc.com

    Gramercy Square
    215 East 19th Street, 225 East 19th Street, 220 East 20th Street, and 230 East 20th Street
    gramercysquare.com

    Madison Square Park Tower
    45 East 22nd Street
    madisonsquareparktower.com

    VIA 57 West
    625 West 57th Street
    via57west.com

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