At The Core | Now Is The Time To Engage Your Broker

Last month in this section, we strongly advised against betting on NYC, articulating the transition we see occurring in the markets.  Based on the many conversations we’ve had since, this month we’re urging you to engage us if you are in any way considering entering the market as a buyer or seller over the coming months, especially as a seller.  With no further ado, our official headline is “Now is the time to engage your broker!”  There, we’ve said it quite explicitly.

“Why now?” you might ask. “I have plenty of time before the fall.”  It’s very funny for us to talk with clients as they tell us in a relaxed, sit-by-the-pool kind of voice, “we are more than 10 weeks away from Labor Day”, and have us respond in a pot-is-boiling-over voice “you are a mere 10 weeks away from Labor Day!”.  Same facts, different perspectives.

You see, our team believes in being prepared; we believe in doing our homework, being strategic, and doing everything in our power to hit the ground running successfully, selling your property of the highest price we can get you in the shortest period of time.  Doing so doesn’t happen in one week; being prepared takes time, research and planning.

The markets start significantly picking up with the pitter-patter (more often stampede) of buyer feet pounding the pavement, en masse.  We want to capitalize on that increased volume of demand to your advantage starting late-summer, early-fall, when prime listing season beings.  This means:

  • We need to begin talking to you about valuations and real-time trends and metrics we’re seeing.
  • We want to start creating tailored marketing plans that speak to your specific property, in your specific building, in your specific neighborhood.
  • We want an effective narrative that speaks to your target buyers, that’s relevant and impactful.
  • We need ample time to assess any repairs or requisite work that will, in turn, optimally position your property to achieve our objectives.

If you’re even considering upgrading a kitchen or updating flooring, this takes time.  You want to be in the market come fall, not working with contractors and running into the holiday season.

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity, and we like to think that we help our clients maximize their luck of finding “that all-cash buyer” who is looking to pull the trigger next week; or “that quirky family” who wanted that exact ratio of outdoor and indoor living space; or “those empty nesters” who really want that large living area for entertaining in their golden years and don’t care about the small bedroom size.  Real estate is made up of stories that seem anomalous, that seem like the stars all aligned in just the right way to make a deal happen; those lucky sellers!  We like to believe that we create our sellers’ “luck”, and are ghost-writers of such stories …  so long as we have the time and trust to do our jobs the best way that we know how – through hard work, research and preparation.

So let us help all of your stars be aligned and let’s have a conversation sooner than later about how to hit the fall listing season with a magical story of your own!

Apple Bites | We Scream For Ice Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for … hot soup!!   Just kidding, of course J  It’s that time of the year when temperatures rise, skin gets toasty and ice-cream melts in your mouth, not in your hand (wait, that was M&Ms).

We’ve put together a list of new and “hottest” ice cream shops to melt for:

  • 10Below Ice Cream: “New York’s original rolled ice cream” … we didn’t even realize it was a thing, but apparently this made-to-order, low-temp way of serving ice cream makes it, creamier and smoother with less fat. Hah!
  • Dominique Ansel Kitchen: who said that burrata is only for lunch? With their soft-serve ice cream, we can now enjoy our favorite cheese … sweetened and frozen!
  • Maman’s: so typical NY – there are only 50 ridiculously delicious “craft” ice cream sandwiches available and only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Go get’em!
  • Van Leeuwen: If you believe less is more, and that the simple creamy texture of a pure flavor is heaven, then walk through Van Leeuwen’s pearly gates.
  • Odd Fellows: However, if you want crazy ingredients, unique toppings and some courageous combos to wake up your taste buds, Odd Fellows will do the trick.

Still haven’t had your ice cream fill?  Then check out this list, as well!  If you happen to visit any of these, take a pic, send it over and let us know what you thought!  We’re happy to share our ice-cream critics’ picks next month, as there will still be plenty of time to share and enjoy!

Monthly Gem | The Bryant

Bryant Park … it’s one of the go-to destinations in NYC, and it’s no wonder.  Its European-style seating, its fountains, its programming and nibbles, they create a year-round draw to the area.  Its location only elevates this destination status, with the diverse shops, public spaces and transportation options that abound in its neighborhood.  It is why we were moved to name as our monthly gem the last available development space on the park and the first in NYC to be designed by the award-winning British architect, David Chipperfield.

Located at 16 West 40th, Street, The Bryant sits high above a new boutique hotel, with nearly every residence enjoying a panoramic city skyline or park views. This is true NY living at the literal center of it all: Grand Central and Times Square are steps away yet un-intrusive. Deceptive simplicity, representative of Chipperfield’s brand, abounds in this impressive new development marked by crisp frames, concealed storage and appliances, herringbone floors and full floor-to-ceiling windows.  The Bryant offers 57 units over 34 full-height stories soaring above the park, itself.  At an average of under $3,000/sq. ft., it’s no wonder that so many of the units are already in contract.  All in, this is one of the more spectacular monthly gems we’ve shared in some time!

Date Your City | New York Botanical Garden

New York City has some incredible green spaces scattered throughout the boroughs, but none beats our summer favorite of the New York Botanical Garden.  The various summer events make us want to set up a tent and just take it all in.

Let’s start with the Chihuly exhibit, with 20 installations spread out throughout the gardens and created by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly in his first show in 10 years.  It’s been described as a “sensory-filled” exhibition with breathtaking texture and light.

Then we move to Dig! Plant! Grow, where you can smell, taste and learn all about herbs and how to use them in all parts of our daily lives.  You can even bring home a pot of your very own to enjoy in the privacy of your home. Got your green thumb ready?

Next, and not to be missed, is the Summer Solstice celebration, filled with morning yoga, live music and poetry readings.  Bring out the artist in you for the modern glass-blowing workshop and demonstration.

And there’s more, from a Jazz concert series to a landmark tour, and more – but will let you discover the rest.  And if you didn’t know that NY residents get in for half the price on the grounds with proof of residency, now you know.  Enjoy!

Monthly Gem | The Chatsworth

Give me an E! Give me an X! Give me a C! Ok, it’s going to take too long to spell out “exclusive”, but we wanted to celebrate our team’s exclusive sales representation of The Chatsworth, our new development project!

Open for immediate occupancy, the Chatsworth was designed by Pembroke & Ives as a modern classic, at the intersection of old and new, with impeccable functionality and style. Nestled near Riverside Park, the building is located at 344 W. 72nd Street, in the prime of the Upper West Side. This majestic development boasts a landmark building status, brimming with historical elegance in a timeless way, on the inside and out.   State-of-the-art kitchens and Italian marble bathrooms meet stunning crown moldings and herringbone floors, across small and large apartment foot-prints, alike. Better yet, buyers get the stability of a co-op with the freedom that comes with condo rules. What can get better than that!

Give us a call to give you a personal tour of the Chatsworth, and everything that this unique property has to offer!

Ask The Experts | “How’s The Market”

When was the last time someone asked you “how are you doing?” and you answered back the auto-pilot response “good, thanks” … regardless whether “good” was an accurate answer?

That’s how we feel about the question of “how’s the market?” It’s very easy for most brokers to have a canned answer that projects conditions that incentivize the inquirer to either sell or buy. However, if you know us by now, you know what we’re going to say: “it’s not that easy, and the primary reason for this is that there is no one market. There are a gazillion ‘micro-markets’”:

  • Geographic: Tribeca, Dumbo, UWS, etc.
  • Stakeholder: Seller, investor, occupying owner, etc.
  • Property type: Co-op, condo, single family, etc.
  • Property size: Studio, 1-beds, 2-beds, etc.
  • Pricepoint: <$600, $2MM, $6MM, $10+MM, etc.

And these micro-markets are not stand-alone; they are matrixed, with many different possible combinations. Dumbo investment 1-bed condos <$2MM, UES owner occupied 3-bed co-ops > $4MM, LES investor studios <$800k … you get the gist.  NOW ask us how’s the market. It doesn’t make sense, right?

But you’ve done your research and are ready to get into a full-out debate with your broker on “the market” with a few handy and often sophisticated statistics up your sleeve. Great! Now the only issue is that the data you have, by definition, lags the market. It takes 2-3 months for a closed transaction to appear in public record, after 2-3 months of a closing process post signed contract. We’re talking 4-6 months or more of lag time, which is everything when it comes to having real-time, actionable, intelligent data at your fingertips. For as instantaneous data is, its currency is far from it.  It’s like Venmo: it looks like you just paid someone instantly but that’s a mirage; the payment doesn’t actually occur for 3-4 days. Do not mistake instantaneous access to data for instantaneous relevance of data.

This is where intelligent, observant brokers really make a difference. By being in the market each and every day, through anecdotal data about micro-markets, after understanding historical building data and trends from experience versus charts, brokers continue to be the best source of real-time information. The market is still “old school” in these ways and it takes someone who can put these pieces together to turn it to your advantage and translate all this data into wisdom.  After all, data is just that: pieces of information. You want to not just have the right data, but partner with someone who can harness its power to help you make the right decision at the right time.

At The Core | Don’t Bet Against NYC

Times of transition are always tricky: for families, organizations, politicians and real estate market participants, alike. This time is no different: the NYC real estate market is undergoing a transition and is still settling into a new norm of sustainability. The linear upward trajectory we experienced a few years ago is behind us, as we predicted, and the market is finding its new norm, a steadier norm.

That doesn’t mean that the process of transitioning itself is clear, immediate or readily visible while in its midst. This injects a level of uncertainty on behalf of buyers and sellers who don’t see the broader market trends that real estate professionals do, day in and day out. In the land of imperfect or incomplete information, worries abound, often unnecessarily. And this is where we find ourselves today. People are worried that the market shock of a decade ago may rear its ugly head again, but we’re here to tell you: don’t bet against NYC.

This is not just because NYC is always in the top two destination markets for world-wide investors and high-net-worth individuals. This is also not just because NYC’s employer landscape is more diversified than ever, less embedded in the Wall Street reality than ever before. This is also not just because the number of businesses starting up and migrating to the city is on the rise. If you put all that aside and look purely at the supply and demand dynamics behind the NYC market… they are healthy.

We are not seeing an oversupply of property, nor a lax lending environment, nor a lack of demand from property buyers nor a dramatically escalating interest rate environment. None of the fundamentals appear at risk, as we debrief with Jonathan Miller and follow the numbers.

Indeed, transactions in the $1-$5M range, along with studios and 1 bedrooms, remain robust. We are seeing movements across the full price spectrum, fueled by sellers who recognize the market transition.   What this means is that the market is flattening out in the immediate short-term as it looks to build a new foundation from which to grow. This is the stage for “the new up”. Not broker babble, just asset pricing 101.   Headlines get eyeballs and sell ads, but this doesn’t mean that they’re true. Each developer and seller has his own opinion of where the market is going, and may have motivations beyond market timing (think expiring loans, personal cash needs, etc.). That’s the beauty of a fluid and liquid market, after all. But rest assured: the sky is not falling, the markets aren’t crashing and deals are getting done, with happy buyers and sellers, alike. So if you’re in the market, stay in the market, and if you’re not – it may be a good time to jump in during this new foundation-settling environment.

Date Your City | It’s Rooftop Cinema Season

In most cities or towns, the idea of watching a movie outside, on top of some building, may seem ho-hum or strange. But in a place like NYC, graced by a world-renowned skyline that you can almost touch, it’s nothing short of magical. It’s one of those unique experiences that living in the city provides us, brings us together, and helps us celebrate summer.

That’s why we’re showcasing the Rooftop Cinema Club, with rooftops in mid-town and Williamsburg. Add some popcorn, bubbly, and wireless headphones and get ready to relax in a deckchair while watching classics like Reservoir Dogs, and note-worthy newcomers like La-La-Land.

Don’t wait too long, however, as the mid-town showings are selling out quickly. Romance, relaxation and fun, all in one!


Apple Bites | Eat Your Heart Out NYC

Mmmm … brunch. Our favorite meal of the week! If the snow or rain was your excuse for skipping brunch as a staple weekend experience, it’s time to bring it back into the fold.

  • Let’s start with Augustine: This Fidi brunch spot is the latest addition to Keith McNally’s food empire, and it does not disappoint. People are already smacking their lips over the brunch items on its menu: from its Egg-in-a-Hole with Smoked Salmon and Heirloom Beet Tartine, to its Huckleberry topped Ricotta Pancakes and its bounty of a bread and pastry basket (who else has canelés and Nutella madeleines in there?).   Its hangover drinks are a perfect remedy for a long Saturday night out.
  • Moving on to De Maria: Too trendy for most of us, mortals, this Nolita restaurant has some truly unique picks, which you can savor on its patio. From its Toast with Avocado and lavender salt-cured salmon and its Chocolate-chestnut Waffle, to its House-made Tahini yogurt with sumac and apricot (yum) and Rooster Bowl (grains, seaweed, cured fish, and vegetables), its All-Day-Breakfast menu lives up to its name.
  • Closing out with Sunday in Brooklyn: This Williamsburg all-day restaurant is already making headlines with its hedonistic brunch options. Its Malted Pancakes are sheer decadence with hazel maple praline and brown butter, while its Egg & Sausage sandwich is lavished with gochujang aioli and cheddar on a brioche. Its drinks are also to die for, particularly its Sunday, Bloody Sunday Mezcal Bloody Mary and Sambal mix (and no…that is not a typo).

These are at least three good reasons to wake up a little earlier on Sunday mornings, even though they might warrant an indulgent nap thereafter.

At The Core | A Second-Half Year

The Q1 2017 sales market reports are in and it’s time to dive in and get a sense of the NYC real estate market. Overall, the market is in a rebuilding phase based on the pricing readjustment we’ve written about over the past few months. While median sales prices have dipped slightly, sales volume managed to inch up, as sellers finally adjusted to market realities and priced accordingly. Further, much evidence points to a release of pent-up demand in the resale market, which accumulated before the U.S. election last November as uncertainty loomed.   That’s what accounts for some of the transaction pop we’re seeing, the impact of which actually overpowered the rise in inventory.

In terms of prices, as we look to a year on year comparison, last year’s numbers were excessively weighted in favor of new development closings, which skewed prices upward based on their ultra-luxury bias. The fact that prices have not dropped more significantly bodes well for what’s to come. The average sales price continues to sit above the $3M mark in condominiums and above the $1.2M mark for co-ops.

New developments are especially good at skewing data, as contracts are signed a good 1-2 years prior to close, meaning the timing attribution of those numbers is way off. As an example, new development legacy contracts cased median luxury prices to hit a record high at $6.95M this quarter. This same data shows roughly 2/3 of new development sales closing at list price. However, these are lagging sales … way lagging. The reality on the ground now is different, with marketing time and inventory both rising sharply as developers are looking to offload their goods before they become stale.

Indeed, and as we predicted last year, we believe that 2017 will be a “second-half year”. We are seeing significant pick-up across the board and are gearing up for a very strong Q3 and Q4. Of note, reports are always lagging indicators by 6-9 months. We mention this because we don’t anticipate seeing the full evidence of this market strength until the end of this year or the beginning of next year. This makes for a very dynamic market in which it’s easy to anchor to current (old) data. Make sure you talk to people on-the-ground to position yourself effectively, whether as buyer or seller.