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  • Local Flavor: A Neighborhood Guide To NYC Real Estate

    NYC brokers share their expertise on where to buy & rent now—plus a hot list of great new buildings

    By Danielle Sullivan

    Navigating the real estate landscape in New York City can be a notoriously stressful process, demanding quick action when you find something you like. To help families get the lay of the land, we asked local brokers to share their expertise on some of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods. While we couldn’t cover every neighborhood, we picked six that cover a good chunk of Manhattan, and plan on adding more in the year ahead.

    To see our new building hot list, click HERE!

    Hawthorn Park low res

    Hawthorn Park

    HARLEM

    Jason Christie, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, REBNY at Halstead Property LLC

    What makes families favor Harlem over other areas?

    People moving into Harlem are driven primarily by value. With resale condominiums trading between $900-1,200 per square foot, it has a lot to offer for people seeking more bang for the buck… Add a 10-minute commute to midtown, proximity to Central Park, and a thriving multicultural community, and you’ll see why the neighborhood is so popular.

    How much is an average three-bedroom to buy or rent in
    a good, full-service building?

    A three-bedroom averages around $2.25 million to purchase and about $4,000 per month to rent.

    What about the market for townhouses?

    It’s very competitive. Two-floor homes are rare, as most of the townhouses are being sold as single- or multi-family units. A townhouse in Central Harlem below 125th Street that is move-in ready, but requires renovation, costs about $2.5 million. If the property is in mint condition, it can fetch much more. Several are now going for up to $5 million.

    Are there any three-bedrooms available, or are you more likely to find a decent-sized two-bedroom?

    Two-bedrooms are still more common and are trading today in the neighborhood of $1 million. A two-bedroom rental in a full-service building will run about $3,500.

    What is the market like right now in Harlem? What are your projections for the future?

    It is still very much a strong upmarket, so sellers are holding the cards. Properly priced homes go into contract quickly. Harlem has one of the shortest absorption rates of any neighborhood, and sales have been very swift so far in 2016.

    What’s your best piece of advice for families looking to buy in the city for the first time? How about city families looking to sell and upgrade?

    For buyers…get pre-approvals done first and keep it updated. Complete all supporting documentation required to submit with any offer. When you see something you love, go for it. Do not lowball sellers in this market. For sellers, hire an experienced agent to help craft a pricing strategy that will get the highest price the market will bear.

    UPPER WEST SIDE

    Hero_393WestEndAve low res

    393 West End Avenue

    Michael S. Lubin, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales, LLC

    What makes families favor the Upper West Side over other areas?

    The West Side stands apart from other neighborhoods on several levels: Two subway lines, historic architecture, and proximity to parks (both Riverside Park and Central Park are within a 15-minute walk from any UWS location between 60th and 110th streets). Much of the West Side’s original building stock has been preserved, and there are large swaths of independently-owned cafes and shops that lend a personal, charming feel.

    What’s the rough pricing for an average three-bedroom in a good full-service building to buy, and to rent?

    Three-bedrooms in full-service buildings tend to start around $9,000 per month. To purchase, true three-bedrooms in pre-war buildings generally are priced from the high $2 millions. Many buyers of classic 6 apartments—pre-war apartments with a formal living room, dining room, two bedrooms, kitchen and staff room—convert them to three bedroom homes. Modern condominium three-bedroom homes are priced from the mid $3 millions and up.

    What is the market like right now on the Upper West Side? What are your projections for the future?

    The Upper West Side endures as the first-choice location for many buyers… Even with the addition of new units being built in new buildings, or conversion of older rental buildings, demand does not meet the supply, and it remains a seller’s market when the home shows well and is priced correctly.

    What’s your best piece of advice for families looking to buy in the city for the first time?

    If you have never lived in the neighborhood, it is a good idea to rent first to determine where you would like to put down more permanent roots, and isolate your priorities (light, view, space, original detail, amenities). When you are ready to buy, hire someone to work with you to have an advocate to guide you through finding the home, securing financing, and getting approved by the board.

    UPPER EAST SIDE

    Stacey Froelich, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Compass

    What makes families favor the Upper East Side over other areas?    

    The Upper East Side is what I consider a suburb within Manhattan. As an UES parent, I have experienced the support of this amazing community. Other draws are the many parks, playgrounds, a variety of both public and private schools to choose from, and every convenience within a block including restaurants, supermarkets, and dry cleaners… You also get more space for your money here. Prices are less expensive as compared to other neighborhoods as there are more residential buildings.

    Are there any three-bedrooms available, or are you more likely to find a decent-size two bedroom?

    Current available three-bedroom homes in doorman buildings for sale range from $995,000 to $29 million, and three-bedrooms for rent currently range from $11,000-18,500 per month. The two-bedroom market can be challenging as inventory is limited and demand is high.

    What is the market like right now on the Upper East Side? What are your projections for the future?

    We are in a transitioning market. We expect inventory
    to remain in short supply and mortgage rates to remain relatively low, however, the global economy is in flux. The sales pace of the ultra-luxury has slowed. We will continue to watch if this trend continues and how it will affect the rest of the market. Twenty-sixteen brings opportunities
    for both buyers and sellers.

    What’s the best piece of advice for families looking to buy in the city for the first time? How about city families looking to sell and upgrade?

    It is crucial that a buyer have a professional shepherd them through the many stages of purchasing… For sellers, listing with the right agent will fetch them a higher sales price in a shorter period of time to a more qualified buyer.

    MURRAY HILL/GRAMERCY PARK

    Rebecca Buchanan, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Corcoran

    What makes families favor Murray Hill/Gramercy Park over other areas?

    Gramercy is a nice blend of beautiful tree-lined residential streets, with restaurants and small commercial spaces…  The buildings directly surrounding the coveted Gramercy Park come with the possibility of your own private key to the park. It’s convenient to transportation, has easy access to Midtown and the Financial District, and yet you’re not in the midst of a corporate environment.

    Are there any three-bedrooms available, or are you more likely to find a decent-size two bedroom?

    Three-bedrooms in condos start around $3.5 million. In co-ops, they range from $2-2.5 million. In rentals, new condos command $12-15,000 per month for a three-bedroom. Spacious full-floor apartments in townhouse buildings go for $8,000-9,000 per month. Searching for three-bedrooms doesn’t leave many options, but combining two smaller apartments can be a good alternative with about the same overall price per square foot.

    What is the market like right now in Murray Hill/Gramercy Park? What are projections for the future?

    It’s a strong seller’s market for three-bedroom apartments due to lack of inventory. Many of the larger buildings are established co-ops that were originally comprised of mostly smaller apartments. Three-bedroom apartments in these buildings are the result of combining apartments, and are few and far between. With so much condo inventory in construction, buyers have a lot to choose from.

    What’s the best piece of advice for families looking to buy in the city for the first time? How about city families looking to sell and upgrade?

    Be prepared to move quickly if the right opportunity comes up. Look at a variety of buildings. Do you love pre-war buildings with higher ceilings, or prefer floor to ceiling glass with sleek finishes? Don’t feel intimidated by multiple offers; beware of buying something no one else wants. For families looking to sell, consider whether you’re comfortable living in your apartment while it’s on the market or can carry two apartments temporarily.

    WEST VILLAGE/SOHO

    Leslie Mason, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Douglas Elliman

    What makes families favor the West Village/SoHo over other areas?

    The historic feeling of the Village is very important to buyers—the human scale of the houses, the charm, beauty, streetscape, community of preservation and respect for the past. Hudson River Park has also been a fabulous addition.

    What are the most common kinds of housing that a
    family with one or two children is likely to find in the West Village or SoHo? 

    In the Village, [you’ll find] wonderful old houses and older apartment buildings, and a few luxurious new developments with fabulous finishes. In SoHo, [you’ll find] a great combination of fabulous older artist lofts and a few new developments as well. Because both the Village and SoHo have many blocks that are landmarked, the height restrictions help to protect the areas from becoming overbuilt.

    What’s the rough pricing for an average three-bedroom to buy or rent in a new full-service building and an older building?

    The range is great: For a classic older apartment on Lower 5th Avenue, $4.5 million. For a new development, $6-10 million. For a townhouse, $15-35 million.

    What’s the average size of a loft, and an average price range? 

    For a three-bedroom loft, $6 million, and 2,500 square feet.

    What’s your sense of the market right now, particularly
    in this area?  

    456 Washington St_Living S. Frances

    456 Washington

    Always busy and in demand for quality real estate.

    What’s one of your favorite pieces of advice for families looking to buy in the city for the first-time? What about for city families looking to sell and upgrade?

    Buy something that will make you happy. I have lived in my house since 2001, and I am happy each and every day to be living there.

    FINANCIAL DISTRICT/SEAPORT

    Melissa True, Managing Director, TOWN Flatiron

    What makes families favor the Financial District/Seaport over other areas?

    Even with its current renaissance, it feels like a best-kept secret neighborhood with surrounding parks, (both well-known like Battery Park City and hidden gems like the Elevated Acre), the Seaport’s emerging food scene, and a brand-new school.

    What’s the rough pricing for an average three-bedroom
    in a good full-service building to buy, and to rent?

    The average price for a three-bedroom, including the new development currently available (50 West, 30 Park, 100 Barclay), is just over $6 million. Current available three-bedrooms rent for an average of $7,750.

    Are there any three-bedrooms available, or are you more likely to find a decent-size two bedroom?

    Three-bedroom inventory to rent is extremely low, but there are more two-bedrooms, averaging just under $6,000. For buyers, the current average price of two-bedrooms on the market is $2.75 million.

    What is the market like right now in the Financial District/Seaport? What are your projections for the future?

    The area is still undervalued. We have prominent developers betting big on downtown, and buyers still have an opportunity to get into the area and rise with the tide. Sellers are certainly performing well, but we are not fully realized in terms of value.

    What’s your best piece of advice for families looking to buy in the city for the first-time? How about city families looking to sell and upgrade?

    Explore every part of the neighborhood, well beyond your own four walls. Identify buildings you love, amenities offered, and if you can see yourself becoming part of that community. Work with someone who understands your needs, knows the neighborhood, and will roll up their sleeves with your same level of excitement.

    To see our new building hot list, click HERE!

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