March 7th, 2014
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on March 7th, 2014
Today the Euro is trading around 1.39 to the dollar and the pound about 1.67, making New York increasingly ‘cheaper’ for the global rich who have grown in numbers over the last year as the world’s economies expand. Those Ultra High Net Worth Individuals whose combined assets exceed $30 million grew by over 3% in 2013 to roughly 168,000 members: their combined assets are worth over $20 TRILLION. HNWI individuals love real estate, and average 2.4 homes per ‘member’….. 30% of their wealth is dedicated to real estate on average.
Monaco, Hong Kong, London, Singapore, Geneva and New York remain among the world’s highest-priced luxury-home markets. While caution among the superrich—invoked by the half-decade-long financial crisis—continued to ease, their money continued to grow. Most significant price gains occurred in the Far East in 2013, although one has to wonder if the huge signed contracts that did not close in 2013 were weighed into this equation. In the US, Los Angeles pricing soared by 14% possibly explaining why New York companies including Douglas Elliman and Nestseekers have recently opened offices there: The Mega-star of TV’s ‘Million Dollar Listing’ Ryan Serhant seems to be spending lots of time in Los Angeles, the first BI-coastal super-broker in New York…..or is he hoping for a huge Hollywood contract of another kind?
March 6th, 2014
Perfectly positioned in the heart of the West Chelsea Arts District, yet moments from The Meatpacking District, the Highline and Hudson River Parks, this chic, loft-like duplex is virtually brand new, perched in the distinctive Cary Tamarkin-designed 1920′s-artists-studio-inspired brick and steel windowed building that is both contextual and modern.
The entry gallery leads to the impressive living/entertaining space that features soaring double-height ceilings and an impressive wall of windows that flood the entire apartment with a wash of Northern artist’s light. Ultra-wide-plank white oak flooring features throughout, setting the tone for this contemporary interior that acts as the perfect backdrop to your life. A dining alcove abuts the functional, yet superbly detailed kitchen with Miele and Subzero appliances, Corian counters and backslashes and sleek Vola fixtures. There is a bedroom and full bathroom on this level. Upstairs is the graciously proportioned master suite that faces south over the quiet rear courtyard of the building. An en suite marble bathroom features modern fixtures and teak accents.
The polished concrete floors of the sleek lobby that greet you are reminiscent of a contemporary art gallery. Constructed in 2009 to the very highest standards, this LEED-certified boutique condominium building offers a 24-hour doorman, on-site superintendent and private basement storage. The owners of 456 West 19th Street benefit fully by being in the epicenter of New York’s most vibrant neighborhood with its world class galleries, boutiques, restaurants, an Equinox, Chelsea Market, and the lush Highline Park connecting you to the Meatpacking District and the New Whitney Museum which is expected to be completed within the year.
Please note photos are from unit 4/5A, new photos will be taken when the current tenant moves out June 2014.
March 6th, 2014
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on March 6th, 2014
Rumors swirling that AVENUES SCHOOL has been sold to the Fisher Family (THE GAP)? And they are adding space!
March 6th, 2014
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on March 6th, 2014
The Art Shows are in town and the next few days in Manhattan will be verrrrry art-focused. As always, the art crowd at the Armory Show were quite ‘arty’, mostly adorned from head-to-toe in black with seriously serious conversation the order of the day. I enjoy looking at art to see what our wealthy clients will be displaying in their homes. Marketers and developers have long used the art market as a lure for prospective buyers, naming their buildings even to draw in art collectors.
Michael Shvo was one of the first to designate a building specifically for art collectors, 650 Sixth Avenue. ”With 650 Sixth Avenue, we’re bringing an important lifestyle to the neighborhood: a less-is-more sensibility that is articulated through quality, texture and depth but with a single color that embodies minimalism,” said the maestro. The sales gallery was set up to emulate an art gallery and an exhibit was titled “White Space, a Global Address”. The building was marketed as ‘private galleries celebrating light and openness’. The spaces were pretty good, although what was delivered had several shades of white, some cream, and, well, the end result was slightly different than the dream….
Marketers and brokers use the words ‘curated gallery lobbies’, ’art collectors dream’, etc, etc on a regular basis. What appeals to serious art collectors? I have found the list below defines what truly appeals to collectors:
1) The size and volume of wall space is important, but also very dependent on the style and scale of art. Who needs large walls for small art? Most contemporary art requires large wall space.
2) Lack of direct light. Light is not good for artwork or fine furniture: a sun-flooded space is not highly desirable for quality artwork. Northern light is most desirable.
3) Re-inforced walls: most regular sheetrock walls are unable to support the weight of some art pieces. At Adam Gordon’s 560 West 24th Street, a new building we represent in West Chelsea across from Gagosian, the walls are re-enforced with plywood.
4) Illumination: most apartments designed for art collectors take little consideration as to how these works are to be illuminated.
5) Canvas-like space: for some collectors the more simple and neutral the finish out of the apartment, the better. Although most New York homes do not show like bare minimalist galleries at all.
6) Ceiling height. Ceilings below 9ft are problematic for most art collectors. Then again, art comes in many shapes and sizes. Some collectors need ceiling heights above 12ft.
7) Security: Sometimes we see art on the walls that costs much more than the property housing it. Having top security is important. Mostly this is left to a private security company to install. Although I have found many serious collectors prefer a doorman, I have seen some significant collections housed in nondescript buildings where no-one would suspect a serious collection.
West Chelsea certainly provides an inspiring setting for living and appreciating the arts. Buildings going up in the area should pay attention to the needs of collectors before promising something that won’t be delivered.
March 4th, 2014
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on March 4th, 2014
If you thought every block in New York was experiencing construction, you are right: the word on HOUSING PERMITS is in and it indicates a return to pre-recessionary construction levels. The combined number of New York City housing construction permits jumped 71% last year, even though the total number of units planned still hasn’t reached the pre-downturn levels. Between 2005 and 2008, the Department of Buildings issued an average of 30,000 permits per year: last year ‘only’ 18,095 were issued.
Brooklyn had the most permit numbers with 6,140 units, — almost doubling from 3,353 in 2012— while Manhattan permits doubled to 4,956 units, up from 2,492 in 2012. Queens jumped 107% from 1,529 units in 2012 to 3,161 in 2013, mostly because of two affordable housing towers at Hunters Point South. Staten Island jumped 78% to 1,200 units in 2013 from 673 in 2012. The Bronx rose to 2,638 from 2,552.
Based on my calculations, there is about $35 billion of residential construction in the pipeline for New York City, a daunting figure by any standards, yet divided over 3-4 years its possibly manageable. Some areas are beginning to look a bit frothy though…. That is the figure without commercial or institutional construction. All these new buildings will generate massive real estate taxes, something Mayor De Blasio is probably weighing into his future budget plans: Construction and real estate in general will represent a critically important employer and tax revenue generator for the City. We have officially entered the CONSTRUCTION BOOM YEARS of 2014-2017.
March 3rd, 2014
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on March 3rd, 2014
The World has finally caught onto what I have been talking about for years – LUXOFLATION – the excessive inflation on luxury products, including real estate.
In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, an article addresses the subject specifically related to retail. Despite expanding into new markets, the luxury-retail business has been relying on price increases to drive sales. Now, even the very wealthy are nearing the limits of what they are willing to spend. The price increases far outpace inflation and contrast with the middle and lower end of the retail market, where even small increases can turn off shoppers. Is this a message to real estate developers not to raise pricing arbitrarily to the point of rejection?
In the past 5 years, the price of a Chanel quilted handbag has increased 70% to $4,900. Cartier’s Trinity gold bracelet now sells for $16,300, 48% more than in 2009. And the price of Piaget’s ultrathin Altiplano watch is now $19,000, up $6,000 from 2011.
In New York real estate land, the same is true. While many talk about how pricing has just recovered from the GREAT RECESSION, there are several areas where pricing has soared in the past 5 years, well beyond any pre-recessionary levels. The same is true in the art and collector car markets.
I guess the explanation is that all pricing is a direct result of demand in our free market system: with the significantly expanding wealthy class, demand has far outpaced supply. Is all of this about to change as $30+ billion worth of real estate comes to market? Lets do the maths. 1.8 million people joined the ranks of the world’s millionaires in 2013 alone. If the average apartment coming to market sells for around $ 3million, this translates to a need for 10,000 buyers. Over a 3 year period that seems realistic IF things continue as they are.
After all, what is the definition of LUXURY? Isn’t it that thing you can almost not afford, but MUST have?
March 1st, 2014
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on March 1st, 2014
Here are some crazy double standards to ponder…..
1) NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden has sought refuge in Russia (the world’s shining bastion for human rights) from the abusive horrors of the US spying on its citizens…..while Mr. Putin boasted during the Sochi Olympics that every e-mail, text and phone call would be monitored in Russia……for security reasons of course!
2) Arizona wanted to give the right to its citizens to decline providing services to gays because of their religious beliefs: why did they not include in this legislation the right for gays everywhere to decline Arizonians the right to receive gay-earned Federal tax dollars? Arizona gets $ 1.19 back from the Federal government for every dollar they send to the tax coffers….
3) Politicians keep touting the value of THE AMERICAN FAMILY, yet real estate brokerage law forbids us from mentioning anything about familial matters……no, we cannot say whether a building has families living in them, nor can we advertise ‘family’ rooms…..the American family has to thrive, but where and how they live is a SECRET your broker may not reveal….. shhhh…
4) BUILD AFFORDABLE HOUSING!!!!!….. That’s the cry from all in New York: but how do you build it when the unionized labor, land, materials and financing are so incredibly un-affordable? (see this month’s LUXURYLETTER: http://www.luxuryloft.com/luxuryletter.php )
5) The IRS charges a 1% MANSION tax for all properties sold for $1 million or more: HAS ANYONE SEEN A MANSION ANYWHERE CLOSE TO NEW YORK FOR $1 MILLION???? Maybe we should re-name it the “thank-you- foreign-buyers-for-buying-expensive-New-York-apartments” tax.
I end on a less cynical note with the words of Warren Buffet (who revealed today that his company’s 2013 profits rose to just shy of $19.48 billion) that should be encouraging to us all:
“Though we invest abroad as well, the mother lode of opportunity resides in America.”
February 28th, 2014
Located in the heart of West Chelsea, moments from the Meatpacking District, Chelsea Piers, The Hudson River and Highline Parks and so much more, The Chelsea Modern Condominium has the luxury of a 24-hour attended lobby, private fitness center, bike room, landscaped roof deck and cold storage for fresh grocery deliveries. Spacious and expansive, this apartment has the largest living room in the building and a grand master bedroom with a windowed master bathroom overlooking the courtyard garden. This residence features large windows, ceiling heights over 9 feet, maple hardwood floors, a washer/dryer, advanced heating and cooling system, and custom kitchen and bathrooms designed by Audrey Matlock. The large gourmet kitchen, with terrazzo floors, stainless steel and glass cabinetry, and polished quartzite countertops,features appliances by Viking, Miele and Sub-Zero. An oversized free-standing Duravit soaking tub by Philippe Starck is the centerpiece for the spa-like five fixture master bathroom with limestone floors and Bianco Sivic marble slab counter-tops. This apartment affords all the advantages of buying in a brand new building without the aggravation of the teething toubles or the wait….or the price: at a little over $1,700/sf this opportunity will soon be extinct.
February 27th, 2014
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on February 27th, 2014
We have all complained about the condition of our New York roads before, but at times we may have felt we were whining: we were not. Its really that bad according to a new report released by TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based national transportation organization. Have you ever driven down Eleventh Avenue at 27th Street? Its akin to a war zone. Yet where are those Federal tax dollars that are supposed to pay for these roads? The Federal government spends only 72 cents for every tax dollar New Yorkers generate. Here are some facts TRIP claims for you to ponder in your next cabride:
- Unsafe and congested roadways cost New York motorists a total of $20.3 billion annually statewide, and approximately $2,300 per driver in the New York City area.
- investment in transportation at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve conditions, increase safety and support long-term economic growth in New York.
- Bad roads add expense to the maintenance of cars, and the delays they cause cost businesses time and money.
- 74% of major roads in New York City are in either poor or mediocre condition.
- Traffic congestion causes 59hours of delays annually for the average city driver.
- Nearly 28% of New York’s state-operated bridges are in need of replacement, reconstruction or rehabilitation.
- 34.5% of state-maintained bridges in the New York City area need replacement, reconstruction or rehabilitation.
- The Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs.
- Traffic accidents in New York killed 5,924 people between 2008 and 2012. New York’s 0.91 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.13. However the traffic fatality rate on New York’s non-Interstate rural roads was more than two-and-a-half times higher than the 0.68 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel on all other roads in the state.
- The Federal Highway Trust Fund is predicted to run out of money and go below $1 billion next year.
- whether it’s raise gas taxes, start a [vehicles miles traveled tax], or get money from the general federal funds to help improve these conditions.
- The average Highway construction worker earns $ 19.46/hour in New York State
- On Wednesday, President Barack Obama proposed a $302 billion, four-year transportation reauthorization bill that aims to avoid the Highway Trust Fund’s impending insolvency. It aims to deliver on some of the infrastructure improvements he promised during the 2013 State of the Union address. It includes $206 billion in highway investment, with $199 billion in highway funding and $7 billion in highway safety improvements. The $199 billion represents a 22% increase in annual funding over the current bill. The funding would address the insolvency of the fund for at least 4 years, according to the White House.
In all fairness, lets not forget that many TRIP members would be the primary fiscal beneficiaries of major Federally funded road construction projects: TRIP is sponsored by insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers, businesses involved in highway and transit engineering and construction, labor unions, and organizations concerned with an efficient and safe surface transportation network. Some would argue that there are rampant abuses within this industry when it comes to billing for Federal funding and it seems that many road projects are delayed with huge cost over-runs. So is this report designed to benefit a few at the expense of all by sounding a bit extreme, or is it factual and un-biased? A trip through Manhattan may answer this question.