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Long Island City Apartments Luring Families

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A Manhattan View From Long Island City

A Manhattan View From Long Island City

NEW YORKLong Island City, a Queens neighborhood just one subway stop from Manhattan, has been seeing something of a housing boom lately.

As families abandon the suburbs in favor of city living and larger apartments over single-family homes, Long Island City has benefitted from its proximity to Midtown via the Queensborough Bridge, the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and the E, F, M and 7 subway lines.

Another reason to look on the other side of the East River is more bang for your buck. Two- and three-bedroom apartments, as I’ve noted before, are increasingly in demand, and the area has a growing supply. (An open house I attended recently boasted stunning views of the city skyline from one of the new condo towers.)

The New York Times writes: “Among the new buildings, the 122-unit L Haus, at 11-02 49th Avenue, offers three-bedroom condos as big as 1,800 square feet, along with a 10,000-square-foot yard; it is over 60 percent sold. A 157-unit rental complex at 17-19 27th Street, scheduled to open later this year, will have a playroom.”

Long Island City today is a far cry from the neighborhood that received its first residential condo tower in 1997 with the completion of the Citylights building.

If you know someone thinking about buying, selling or renting property anywhere in New York, please let me know.

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Warren Buffett: I’d Buy ‘A Couple Hundred Thousand’ Homes

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Warren Buffett – Creative Commons Image By Mark Hirschey

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett calls housing "cheap."

Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor known as “The Oracle of Omaha,” made a resounding statement Monday in support of buying a home.

“If I had a way of buying a couple hundred thousand single-family homes and had a way of managing — the management is really the problem because they’re one by one, they’re not like apartment houses — I would load up on them, and I would take out mortgages out at very, very low rates.

“If anybody is thinking of buying buying homes, five years ago they couldn’t buy them fast enough because they thought they were going to go up. But now they don’t buy them because they’re going to go down, and interest rates are far lower. It’s a way, in effect, to short the dollar because you can take a 30-year mortgage. If it turns out your interest rate’s too high, next week you refinance lower, and if it turns out it’s too low, the other guy’s is stuck with it for 30 years.

“It’s a very attractive asset class now,” he said.

Buffett, who leads investment company Berkshire Hathaway, appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

Asked what he would advise a young investor trying to choose between buying stocks or purchasing a home, Buffett didn’t miss a beat.

“If I knew where I was going to want to live the next five to 10 years, I would buy a home and I’d finance it with a 30-year mortgage,” he said. “It’s a terrific deal.”

It seems like plenty of folks with a down payment have picked up on what a historic opportunity now exists with 30-year mortgages near all-time lows.

“Economists polled by Reuters had expected signed contracts, which lead existing home sales by a month or two, to rebound 1.0 percent after a previously reported 3.5 percent fall. Contracts signed were up 8.0 percent in the 12 months to January,” a Reuters story said.

While I don’t compare myself to Buffett, for the past several months I have been telling anyone who will listen that it was a great time to buy.

As always, if you are thinking about buying, selling or renting property anywhere in New York, or know someone who is, please let me know.

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New York City Vs. Suburbs: A New Trend Emerges

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New York City Vs. Suburbs: A New Trend

New York City Vs. Suburbs: A New Trend

Many experts believe that these large apartments, whether in new full service high-rises or a rare historic townhouse, are the most coveted at the moment and could soon hit stratospheric prices. —  “Manhattan Families Forsake Suburbs for Sprawling Apartments,”, Feb. 2, 2012.

NEW YORK — As real estate professionals, we spend a lot of time tracking trends and patterns.

Inventory goes up in the spring, the rental market is at its height over the summer and luxury properties tend to spend less time on the market than do studios or one-bedrooms. But one pattern that has changed over the years is that families are no longer choosing the suburbs over the city in the same numbers as they used to.

In the past, and for as long as I can remember, singles rented small apartments, moved into larger spaces when they became a couple and then packed up the car and headed to Westchester or Long Island as soon as it was time to start a family.

No longer.

These days, we are seeing more and more families opting to purchase larger apartments in lieu of heading to the ‘burbs. In reaction to this change, we are seeing a larger percentage of new construction being devoted to 3- and 4-bedroom units. This is especially true in new buildings on the Upper West Side and Upper East Side.

Below is an article that discusses this to a greater degree. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

And, as always, if you or someone you know is thinking about buying, selling or renting property anywhere in New York, please let me know. “Manhattan Families Forsake Suburbs for Sprawling Apartments

NYC Apartment Agent In New York Magazine

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New York magazine features NYC Apartment Agent Bruno Navarro.

New York Magazine features NYC Apartment Agent Bruno Navarro.

NEW YORK — Even better than loving your job is being recognized for it.

Last week, New York Magazine published a feature on first-time home buyers titled “The Starter Apartment.”

The article, with a headline similar to my previous post, “Find Your Starter Apartment Deal,” followed actual apartment hunters in their search of the perfect New York City home.

I smiled when I saw the subheading, “The moment for first-time buyers may be right now.” It was an assessment just like one I had made a few months ago.

The multi-part article by S. Jhoanna Robledo included Amelia, one of my clients looking to buy, and a two-bedroom apartment in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn that we went to see a couple of times.

Under the heading, “The Homestead Calculator: Live where the numbers lead you,” a mortgage broker went through Amelia’s financial information to come up with an educated estimate as to how much apartment she could afford, as well as information about the apartment we saw, which was described as such:

“What they found: A bright, renovated two-bedroom in an income-restricted co-op, between the L stop at Bedford Avenue and the J/M/Z.”

Having been a first-time home buyer some time ago, I understand all too well what goes through one’s mind when looking to make such an investment, and have been happy to help guide that process for several first-timers  over the past few months.

In another interview that has yet to be published, I noted that more first-time buyers have been looking for apartments in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens than one might expect. But then the housing values, inventories and mortgage rates have been so good lately.

As always, if you know anyone looking to buy, sell or rent a home in New York, please let me know.

Thanks to Anne W., a wonderful editor and esteemed former colleague, for the photo.


An Affordable Apartment In SoHo?

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An Affordable Apartment In SoHo?

An Affordable Apartment In SoHo?

NEW YORK — If you’ve ever thought about living in SoHo on the cheap, now might be the time.

It’s not that prices have suddenly plummeted.

Quite the opposite, in fact, if you’re looking at rentals. The average rent in Manhattan climbed to a near-record high of $3,309 at the end of 2011, while vacancy rates in the neighborhood dropped to well below 1 percent.

No, the affordable aspect of the real estate market in one of New York’s most popular areas was due to the historically low average rate on a 30-year mortgage — a mere 3.88 percent.

It’s that factor that makes a charming studio at 150 Sullivan Street, with maintenance of $645, just a little more than $1,700 per month to own. The description is as follows:

Divine studio in A-plus location. Nestled in the heart of Soho, this top floor walk-up features high ceilings, an abundance of natural light and an updated kitchen with room for a dishwasher. Features include exposed brick and recently re-stained dark walnut floors. A thoughtfully laid out floor plan makes great use of this residence. Liberal board allows pieds-a-terre, guarantors, parents buying for children and subletting. Investors welcome.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

As always, if you know of anyone looking to buy, sell or rent a home in New York, please let me know.


Written by Bruno J. Navarro

2012.01.25 at 21:33

Mortgage Rates Hit All-Time Low — Again

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Mortgage Rates Hit All-Time Low ... Again

Mortgage Rates Hit All-Time Low — Again

NEW YORK — The average rate for 30-year mortgages hit an all-time low today of 3.88 percent, breaking last week’s rock-bottom rate and making home ownership more affordable than ever.

The average rate for a fixed-rate mortgage marked the seventh consecutive week under 4 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

Last week, the average was 3.89 percent.

The average rate on 15-year fixed mortgages rose slightly to 3.17 percent from 3.16 percent, which USA Today called a record low.

It was just September that mortgage rates at 4.12 percent were considered a historic low.

One of the things I love about this trend is that it puts home ownership within reach of more people, a trend that’s even stronger in New York City than elsewhere in the country.

It’s a bit of a perfect storm if you’re able to buy, especially with Manhattan rents within $1 of record highs and vacancy rates below 1 percent.

What that means in real terms, for instance, is that you could own a studio in Chelsea priced at $299,000 for under $1,800 per month. Meanwhile, a comparable apartment in the same neighborhood would cost you $2,332 in rent.

Although I posed the question back in June as to whether it was time to buy, the answer now is much more definitive: Absolutely.

Benefits of an Experienced Real Estate Agent

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Benefits of an Experienced Real Estate Agent

Benefits of an Experienced Real Estate Agent

“I’ve definitely been seeing a more mature group entering the business,” said Michael Signet, executive director of sales for Bond New York. “It’s been a boon for us. Older brokers come with a work ethic that you don’t get from 20-year-olds.” — “Brokers get grayer: NYC firms see unexpected benefits from older agent pool,” The Real Deal,  Dec. 28, 2011

NEW YORK — The real estate industry is a business of trends and cycles.

We actually spend very little time in a “buyer’s market” or a “seller’s market,” most of the time we are on our way from one to the other. Mortgage interest rates are also cyclical bouncing around based on the perceptions of how Wall Street is fending.

One trend that has gone mostly unnoticed until now is that the average age of a real estate broker in New York is getting older. Due in large part to corporations having to downsize during the economic meltdown, there are a large number of new sales agents entering the real estate business bringing with them many years of experience and a strong work ethic learned in Corporate America.

The article below discusses this phenomenon in further detail. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. And, as always, if you or someone you know is thinking about buying, selling or renting property in New York, please let me know.

Thinking About Your Home Over the Holidays

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Showing & Selling Your Home Over the Holidays

Showing & Selling Your Home Over the Holidays: You Don't Need Santa's Help

NEW YORK — As hard as it is to believe, the holidays are almost upon us.

The stores are loaded with merchandise, catalogs fill our mailboxes, plans for travel and family commitments occupy much of our time. I don’t know about you, but while this is all going on I try to maintain my normal day-to-day routines and carry out business as usual.

In the residential real estate business there really is no “slow time.” We do deals 12 months out of the year. I have actually heard of apartments being sold on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.

If your home is currently on the market, or if you are thinking about getting ready to list it, here are some helpful tips to get you and your home through the holiday season.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very happy, healthy and prosperous holiday season and New Year. And, as always, if you or someone you know is thinking about buying, selling or renting an apartment in New York, please let me know.

Written by Bruno J. Navarro

2011.12.01 at 12:00

New York Bucks U.S. Housing Trend

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NYC Apartment Agent: New York Bucks U.S. Housing Trend

NYC Apartment Agent: New York Bucks U.S. Housing Trend

NEW YORK — A new report this week found that home sale prices nationwide dropped for the second month in a row and were down from last year.

“Even with low interest rates, demand for houses remains muted. Home sales are down in September and the inventory of homes for sale remains elevated,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.

But not in New York.

For single-family homes in the area, which include New York City, White Plains, N.Y., and Wayne, N.J., prices actually rose 2.9 percent. Taking into account the sale of distressed sales, prices were still up 2.2 percent.

Those might not seem like great gains, but in light of negative growth, the New York market shows it is well-positioned to capitalize on a strengthening economy.

Also, the report supports the trend of serious New York buyers remaining undeterred in forging ahead, especially as interest rates are low and still feeling downward pressure.

The full report is available for download from research firm CoreLogic.

Housing prices rise in NYC area even as they fall nationwide

Housing prices rise in NYC area even as they fall nationwide.

Economic Outlook Emboldens NYC Buyers

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NYC Apartment Agent: Economic Outlook Emboldens NYC Buyers

NYC Apartment Agent: Economic Outlook Emboldens NYC Buyers

While September was characterized by fear over the economic fluctuations, brokers said, buyers in the last few weeks have started to make decisions faster (although foreign buyers reeling from the debt crisis continue to wait on the sidelines). Brokers also noted that lowball offers gained little traction and bidding wars started anew at some properties. — “Volatile, shmolatile: Serious buyers not deterred by market’s ups and downs,” The Real Deal, Nov. 1, 2011

NEW YORK — First of all, many of us are still dealing with the remains of the Nor’easter that hit the East Coast this Halloween weekend, and I wish you all the best and hope you are warm and safe.

As we all know, the real estate market is a moving target reacting to the perception that buyers and sellers have of the economy. When the evening news talks about the S&P downgrade and the jobless reports shows little growth, there is a sense on the street that now is not the time to buy. When sales get slow, rentals get busy.

So, in August and September, this negative news meant that the rental market sizzled.

Since then, the news from Wall Street has been positive, the markets are up, October was a strong month for stocks, interest rates are still at historic lows and the perception on the street is that now is a good time to buy.

For us at Bond New York, October was a strong month for our sales division, and we remain highly optimistic of continued growth in November.

Below is an interesting article speaking more about the perception of buyers and sellers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

And, as always, if you or anyone you know is thinking about buying, selling or renting property in New York, please let me know.


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