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New York’s ‘Insane’ Real Estate Market

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View of Manhattan's skyline from the 7 train. (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro.)

Activity in New York’s real estate market has increased since the first quarter of 2012. (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro.)

NEW YORK — The real estate market in Manhattan, as well as in Brooklyn, is now firing on all cylinders and nearing pre-recession levels, according to a couple of recent reports.

“It’s really remarkable because January and February was just really crazy,” Streeteasy Vice President of Research  Sofia Song told New York Magazine’s S. Jhoanna Robledo. “That’s insane. This is the highest number of contracts in the first quarter and the second highest of any quarter since the meltdown of 2008.”

Properties that went into contract in the first quarter of 2013 jumped by 15 percent compared to the same period last year, according to Streeteasy.

Song called 2013 the “Year of the Frustrated Buyer.”

Anyone who has attended an open house in Manhattan, Brooklyn and parts of Queens would likely agree.

Also gone are the days of the low-ball offer.

One real estate agent told The Real Deal that bidding also had gotten “absolutely insane,” with three buyers making offers within the same open house.

A fellow agent at my firm, Bill Bone of BOND New York, was also quoted saying that his buyer lost out on a Williamsburg condo. “We had to compete with 45 other offers.”

(That’s why it pays, more than ever, for buyers to use an experienced real estate agent.)

Meanwhile, the median price of a Manhattan apartment rose 5.9 percent from the first quarter of 2012 to $820,555. The average price rose to $1.354 million, according to real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

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‘A Great Time to Buy,’ Real Estate Mogul Corcoran Says

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Real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran says it's 'a great time to buy.'

Real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran says it’s ‘a great time to buy.’

NEW YORK — It’s so thrilling to hear an expert back up what you’ve been saying all along. In this case, it’s real estate mogul and reality TV star Barbara Corcoran weighing it on why it’s a great time to buy.

Appreciation in property values, she said Wednesday on CNBC, would be stronger than the numbers are suggesting.

“It’s going to go much higher than people anticipate,” she said.

Sure enough, the Case-Shiller home-price index has shown consistent growth over the past several months and an increase of 3 percent from last year — and that’s in a soft economy.

The Case-Shiller index is backward-looking, data-heavy and conservative gauge of what home prices have already done, so it’s not subject prone to wild speculation.

With mortgage rates this week around 3.4 percent for a 30-year loan and 2.84 percent for a 15-year, Corcoran is the latest expert to suggest buying real estate, joining the likes of billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Billy Procida, Donald Trump’s original apprentice.

In her interview, Corcoran was asked whether prospective buyers who are able to borrow should borrow as much as they can. She agreed.

“You have 30 percent reduction in sale price. You have cheap money around,” she said, adding that in nine out of 10 real estate markets, buyers are likely to be outbid on a housing purchase at least once.

Corcoran, who built a $5 billion New York real estate business with $1,000 and now stars in ABC’s “Shark Tank,” also said that homeowners looking to upgrade should take notice.

“Right now, if you’re upgrading to a bigger house, even if you’re selling at 10 percent off, you buy your new house at a 10 percent off,” she said.

Addressing the popularity of multi-family housing, Corcoran said buyers would do well to look at another segment of the market.

“I would first go out and buy a beachfront property,” she said. “Go out and buy a second home. It’s the last piece of the real estate market that has yet to hit bottom.”

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It Takes Know-How to Win a Bidding War

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It Takes Know-How to Win a Bidding War

It Takes Know-How to Win a Bidding War

NEW YORK — The 2012 Olympics are in full swing in London and the frenzied pitch of the New York City market brings to mind its competitive spirit (not including badminton).

Buyers are feeling a sense of urgency as multiple bids and bidding wars are becoming increasingly common. Inventory is dwindling as the number of reported transactions soar.

Although mortgage rates remain at historic lows, home prices are beginning to rise.

In a heated market such as we currently find ourselves in, the slightest error can mean the difference between gold and going home. Using an experienced sales agent is more important than ever, and having all your paperwork in order may help catapult you to the top of the buyer’s line when putting in an offer.

There is no instant replay, do-over, or second chances when it comes to negotiating for that perfect home. Be smart and make sure you have the best representation there is.

A true Olympian never stops training for the gold and seasoned real estate professionals never stop perfecting their negotiating skills. The link below will give you a list of negotiating errors that buyers and their inexperienced brokers make.

Don’t let this happen to you.

When you are ready to buy or sell a property in the New York area, reach out to me and we can win gold together.

BrickUnderground: Top negotiating mistakes of buyers, and their brokers

Bidding Wars Make a Comeback

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Bidding Wars Make a Comeback (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

Bidding Wars Make a Comeback (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

NEW YORK — Signs of a rebound in the real estate market were plentiful this week, but another element spoke volumes about how real it was: The return of the bidding war.

It was this detail in a Time magazine story, titled “Why This May Be the Ideal Time to Buy Real Estate,” that led me to reblog it almost immediately after reading it.

The blog entry covered much of the same ground I addressed in recent posts.

“If you were thinking about making a move on a piece of property, right now is possibly the best time. You can still take advantage of low prices in most places around the country, and mortgage rates are at once-in-a-lifetime record lows: 30- and 15-year fixed mortgages are around 4% and 3%, respectively,” wrote Martha C. White.

What caught my attention, however, is to see reporting on something that has been happening with increasing regularity.

“Many would-be homebuyers are surprised to find that one fixture of the bubble era is back: the bidding war,” according to White.

In Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, my colleagues and I have been seeing this often enough in condo and co-op sales — so much so that it isn’t surprising anymore.

Sales of investment properties and vacation homes have also been on the rise, which correspond to more affordable mortgage rates and a sense of confidence in the economy.

“For Americans who either have cash to buy or a credit score good enough to obtain a mortgage, there’s still time to get a killer deal on real estate, but that window may be closing,” the article concludes. “If your finances can support it, now appears to be a great time to buy.”

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

Written by Bruno

2012.05.23 at 23:35

Brooklyn’s Allure: The Possibility Of $625 Rent In NYC

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NYC Apartment Agent - A View of Manhattan From Brooklyn (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

NYC Apartment Agent – A View of Manhattan From Brooklyn   (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

NEW YORK — As rents climb in Manhattan to all-time highs and the costs of Brooklyn apartments are also on the rise, one woman manages to keep her payment around $600 per month.

Sophia Cosmadopoulos, an art therapist, was featured in The New York Times for her ability to keep her rent affordable, embarking on an ever-elusive quest throughout the great New York City county of Kings, better known to the world as Brooklyn.

“They’re not glossy, and they’re kind of falling apart,” she told the Times. “But I’ve always valued what I could get out of New York, more than where I lived.”

After recounting a surprise that followed the partial collapse of the bathroom ceiling in her current apartment, Cosmadopoulos took a positive spin on her situation.

“It’s nice to live in an apartment where you have stories,” she said.

A little optimism is a great thing, maybe more so if you’re a New Yorker.

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Written by Bruno

2012.05.01 at 16:13

NYC Rent Hits An All-Time High

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Downtown Manhattan. Photo by Bruno J. Navarro

Downtown Manhattan.  (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

NEW YORK — It finally happened.

After a recent upward trend over the past several months, the average rent in Manhattan hit a record $3,418 — surpassing the previous high, set in 2007.

Writes The New York Times:

“The last time rents shot up in a similar fashion, they were tied to a strong economy, low unemployment and booming business on Wall Street.

“But this spring, Manhattan rental prices seem to be divorced from the larger economic picture. While the city has added jobs in recent months and growth in businesses like technology has helped make up for losses in the financial sector, much of country is still struggling.”

Brooklyn rents are a similar state, too.

In case you were wondering, that’s about six shares of Apple stock.

It’s no wonder more people who are able to do so are looking to buy.

If you decide to look for a new place to live, take a moment to look over tips for avoiding Craigslist apartment rental scams.

Or use a reputable broker.

Please feel free to share your feedback on how you’re coping with the rental rates in the comments below.

Written by Bruno

2012.04.23 at 02:07

Should I Buy Or Should I Rent?

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Should I Buy Or Should I Rent? Photo by Bruno J. Navarro

Should I Buy Or Should I Rent? (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

NEW YORK — The question almost sounds like the title of a Clash song: Should I buy or should I rent?

The results of a new study make it clear. Buying is the better option.

A confluence of factors are the cause, from low mortgage rates to rising rents.

CNN Money writes: “In 98 of the top 100 housing markets, buying a home is more affordable than renting, according to the online real estate company Trulia. Only Honolulu and San Francisco buck the trend.”

Of course, such rankings do little to paint a complete picture.

The article also adds, “Housing markets, even within a single metro area, typically have local submarkets. Take New York City, for example. Renting in Manhattan is more affordable than buying. But in suburban Westchester County just miles to the north, buying is the more affordable option.”

If you decide to rent, there are a few steps you can take to avoid Craigslist apartment scams. Feel free to share any other helpful tips in the comments, too.

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

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CNN Money: “Home buying much cheaper than renting

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