New York City Luxury Rental Blog Archives for March 2012

Wall Street Branching Out as Landlords

Wall Street Landlords Manhattan Real EstateUnder the current state of the Manhattan luxury rentals market, more and more investors are taking advantage of the prosperous opportunities and becoming landlords. And when it comes to savviness in investment opportunities, few sectors are as synonymous as Wall Street. According to the Wall Street Journal, several Wall Street firms have been bidding and successfully purchasing foreclosed properties and with the plans of converting them into short-term rentals. While many of these up-and-coming rentals may not come with concierge service or a rooftop terrace, the revenues they generate have the potentials to support and expand new residential developments in Manhattan.

8 Spruce Street Rentals Reach Sky-High Rates

8 Spruce StreetWithin the next six to eight weeks, some of Manhattan’s most expensive apartment rentals will become available, as the Financial District penthouses of New York by Gehry are to be listed on the market. The three units are expected to cost renters $40,000-60,000 a month, a yearly price point that can be equated to a down payment on any luxury condominium in New York City.

The Storied History of Sheffield 57

When Sheffield 57, Sheffield 57 on 57th Streeta luxury Manhattan apartment building on 57th Street, was originally built in 1979, it was a colossal building, standing 58 stories tall and holding 845 New York apartments for rent that tended towards the small; it was a building for lower-income families who wouldn’t mind the cramped living conditions if it meant they could live in the Clinton neighborhood.

Fast forward to 2005, when real estate investor Kent Swig bought the building for a then-unheard of $418 million, with an eye towards consolidating the apartments for rent and turning them into luxury condos for sale. But the purchase and subsequent plans for renovation sparked a battle between the developer and the tenants who already lived there. Renters wondered what would happen to their apartments, whether they’d be able to stay, and if they’d be able to put the rent they’d already paid towards a purchase.

Avenues School Looks to Transform West Chelsea

Avenues: The World School will transform West ChelseaStarting in the fall of 2012, a world-class K-12 school will take root in West Chelsea, the first of its kind in this up-and-coming neighborhood. Apartment renters near the Avenues School, a “global school” that aims to build an international network of 20 schools all over the world, will find themselves next to one of the most innovative and forward-thinking New York City schools in recent memory. West Chelsea has already undergone a revolution of sorts thanks to the High Line Parknew construction of high-end luxury rental apartments has flourished in the past half-dozen years – but the Avenues School will usher in the next phase of transforming West Chelsea into a full-fledged neighborhood.

Landlords Continue to Push Rents Higher and Higher

Rents for luxury rental apartments in Manhattan on the riseIt’s time to throw traditional conceptions about the winter rental market in Manhattan out the window. With ideal conditions for raising rents in luxury apartments in Manhattan – high demand, restricted inventory, and low vacancy rates - landlords have spent the past 6 months doing exactly that, which is why the average Manhattan rent in February was just $18 off its all-time high. Even in the best of times, winter is traditionally known for concessions, high vacancy rates, and lower rents, but the exact opposite has happened this year, which is why many buildings are opting to switch from condos to rentals. And in the absence of the usual ebb in market activity, spring and summer will likely push the average Manhattan rent even higher, especially in new apartment developments. Overall, the Manhattan rental market has risen 14% since its nadir in 2009, largely because many wealthy Manhattan residents are reluctant to buy luxury apartments out of fear that they will depreciate in value, creating a large pool of potential renters of luxury apartments in Manhattan who aren’t hesitating to forgo concessions and pay higher rents.

Housing Market Index Promising For National and Manhattan Rental Market

The National AssociNew construction in Manhattanation of Home Builders, in conjunction with Wells Fargo, released their monthly Housing Market Index last month, and the report, which gauges builder confidence in the housing market nationwide, provided some promising new information. Nationally, builder confidence in new construction is higher than it has been since before the market crash, and while the index number is still relatively low—standing in February at 29—it is on a consistently upward trajectory, and is now the highest it has been since May 2007. While the report does not touch on individual markets, it does imply good news for builders and renters of apartments in Manhattan.

Cheap Rents Can Still Be Found in NYC

Rental apartments in New York City are cheaper than you thinkBelieve it or not, there are 13 other cities in America where 2-bedroom apartments are more expensive than in New York City. So, in theory, if you moved to Honolulu, San Francisco, or even Long Island to rent a 2-bedroom apartment, you would have to pay more. These stats were compiled by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition using “fair market” rents – basically that means that they included rent-controlled and rent-stabilized apartments – and this methodology certainly brought NYC’s ranking down. After all, no other city in America has as many rent-regulated apartments as New York City, not by a long shot. However, this study is far from nuanced, especially since it doesn’t break down average rents for 2-bedrooms by borough. Still, the report highlights an important point: if you want an affordable 2-bedroom in New York City, you might want to look north of 96th Street in Manhattan.

New Restaurants Transform Battery Park City

Blue Smoke in Manhattan's Battery Park CityWhile Battery Park City has always been known for being safe, quiet, and green, one thing it has never been is hip. Combine that with the fact that the neighborhood has always been associated with condo sales and not luxury rentals, and it’s no wonder that rental apartments in Batttery Park City have not garnered as much attention as rental apartments in other downtown Manhattan neighborhoods. It’s officially time for Manhattan renters to take a closer look at BPC however, because the neighborhood is changing rapidly, and right now there’s a unique window of opportunity to find great deals. BPC's reputation for being a little too remote, a little too dull, and a little too suburban for younger Manhattan renters is changing; a flurry of restaurant openings is making BPC much like the rest of downtown Manhattan, and right now the rents have yet to catch up to the times, especially for luxury 1-bedroom apartments.

Warm February Weather Creates an Even Warmer Market

Warm temps bolsterd the Manhattan rental apartment marketFebruary is traditionally the slowest month of the year in Manhattan real estate, a month known for giving renters a chance to find deals. In Februaries past, landlords offered more concessions in order to stimulate demand. This year, the opposite happened. Even given the context of low inventory, few new apartments coming on the market, and high demand, February still exceeded expectations for apartments in every Manhattan neighborhood. Landlords cut back on concessions and raised rents, and the high temperatures brought out far more renters than expected; the high volume of activity far surpassed traditional winter levels. If this is any indication, rents for apartments in Manhattan will keep rising in the spring, the busiest season of the year.

Is Rent-Control Unconstitutional? Supreme Court May Decide Soon

James Harmon's luxury rental on West 76th StreetJames and Jeanne Harmon are nothing if not persistent. The couple, landlords who own a Beaux-arts style townhouse on West 76th Street on Manhattan's Upper West Side, have been attempting to overturn New York City rent-regulations in federal courts for the past 4 years, and their efforts are beginning to pay off. Despite the fact that the couple’s lawsuit lost in the U.S. District Court and the Second U.S. Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court is interested in taking it. In an unprecedented move, the justices are asking both New York City and State to file a formal response to the couple’s suit by this Monday. So thanks to the efforts of one couple, the constitutionality of rent-regulation in New York City is being called into question for the first time in history, and the implications for Manhattan real estate are impossible to overstate.