January 24th, 2015

Posted by Leonard Steinberg, President of URBAN COMPASS, on January 24th, 2015

As the price of oil dips, word is out that some are hoarding large supplies of oil in anticipation of rising prices in the future. Recently I hear of chatter amongst the very wealthy how they are hoarding (very cheap) cash in anticipation of a market correction. The volume of these hoarders leads me to believe that if a correction were to take place, it could be cleaned up rather quickly.



January 18th, 2015

Posted by Leonard Steinberg of URBAN COMPASS on January 18th, 2015

Land is now selling for above $ 1,000/sf on a regular basis in Manhattan, a historic moment in our City’s history. When a developer buys land at these prices, its almost a certainty that he or she will have to sell the apartments built on this land for around $3,000/sf to make a profit. Anyone questioning why AFFORDABLE HOUSING is a scarcity needs to look at these soaring land costs, combined with the soaring costs of labor, combined with the soaring costs of materials. The combination can be deadly. Is the $1,000+/sf cost for land sustainable when this is a figure that has virtually doubled in the past 2 years? Is this a sign of hyper-inflation? A prime piece of land just sold in West Chelsea on the West Side Highway at 17th Street to HFZ Capital who plan to build a Hotel/condo on the site, about 17.5% higher than the price Victor Homes paid for a non-waterfront site located 10th Avenue and 24th Street: everyone was aghast over that price, and that was rather recent. How deep is the market for $3,000+/sf apartments in non-prime settings? Only time will tell.

With the US economy surging, New York continually improving, neighborhoods gentrifying, limited prime sites available, I think there is definitely a place for these high priced buildings……BUT: I do fear for those less-than-stellar sites with excess ambition. We are now in the pick-and-choose phase of the market for the very rich where at last they have some great choices in certain parts of the City. Irrational expectations need to be tempered by those with lesser sites in areas that have vast swaths of inventory in the works. Over the longterm all of this new inventory will be absorbed, but the pace at which this happens will slow.


January 17th, 2015

unnamedPosted by Leonard Steinberg, President of URBAN COMPASS on January 17th, 2015

A historic moment has arrived in NEW YORK CITY: The city’s first $100 million apartment has just sold, a duplex at One57 (157 West 57th Street). We at Urban Compass are extremely proud of our very own ROY KIM, head of Urban Compass New Developments, who was an integral part of creating and designing this iconic tower while he was Senior Vice President at Extell Development Company. For the past decade, Roy has worked on over $10 billion worth of luxury new developments in Manhattan, including such high profile projects as One57, the Carlton House, One Riverside Park, the Aldyn, the Lucida, 995 Fifth Avenue, the Park Hyatt and the International Gem Tower, to name a few. Roy also helped inaugurate the predevelopment group at Corcoran Sunshine.


January 16th, 2015

Posted by Leonard Steinberg of Urban Compass on January 16th, 2015

As New York City tax coffers swell to record-level surpluses, it was announced that real estate taxes are about to rise dramatically……of course with a characteristically un-American  sense of un-equalness that has become the hallmark of our messed up New York real estate tax structure. A hot real estate market has resulted in a 9% hike on assessed property values, which will likely raise real estate taxes for many.

  • The average property-tax increase for single-family homeowners could be $228
  • The average co-op property-tax bill could go up by $448.
  • The average Condo owners tax bill could shoot up by an average of $838….almost DOUBLE that of co-ops!
  • Co-op tax bills could go up by an average of $817
  • Condo owners could get an ­average $1,150 increase.
  • Single-family townhouses could see the biggest hike: $2,131.

New York City was ending the fiscal year 2014 with a $744 million surplus, about $639 million more than de Blasio initially predicted.

Mayor DeBlasio promised us over a year ago to address the gross disparity in real estate tax collection in New York, best highlighted by his own Brooklyn townhouse that has a real estate tax bill about a third of the size of similarly valued condominium apartments in Manhattan.

It is time for the citizens of New York to make their voice heard: this madness must end! its time for the city to fully re-evaluate its entire real estate tax system without further delay.

NEW LISTING! 545 West 20th St, PH6/7B

January 14th, 2015

140724_EJ_120_11th_ave_0005 copy545 WEST 20th STREET – THE PENTHOUSE Perched atop this historically significant loft building, the Lifesaver Lofts, in the heart of West Chelsea, nestled amongst the world’s leading art galleries, alongside the landmark David Zwirner Gallery across from Chelsea Piers, this spectacular penthouse reveals itself once the private, key-locked elevator door opens. After a brief walk down the entry gallery hallway, the sensational living room emerges with its extraordinary double height ceilings and walls of contemporary glass that flood the space with superb northern light all day long. A superb, sleek Bulthaup kitchen features Miele, Gaggenau and Sub Zero appliances and gracious stone counters. Doors lead out to the majestic garden-scaled terrace that measure roughly 1,900sf in size. This exceptionally landscaped terrace is appointed to perfection with trellised seating areas and an impressive niche that overlooks the Hudson River: A terrace of this scale is rare and collector-worthy. On this floor are a grand Master Suite with a walk-in closet and large en-suite bathroom and a powder room, plus a laundry room.

A glamorous stairway leads up to the second level of this ultra-duplex: A mezzanine lounge area leads to an additional bedroom that shares a large bathroom with a third bedroom. Finished to perfection, this move-in-ready penthouse is a rare find indeed, located in a building that features a discreet entry lobby monitored by a doorman that is stationed at a secondary entrance to the building.



January 10th, 2015

UberPosted by Leonard Steinberg on January 10th, 2015

UBER hit New York like a ton of bricks just a few short years ago, turning the whole industry upside down by actually making it easy and seamless to hire a car/limo within minutes, often less. UBER had been an inspiration to us at URBAN COMPASS in many ways. Now there are many complaints that the dirty, rude, uncomfortable, inexperienced, bad-driving cab rides are being replaced by……dirty, rude, uncomfortable, inexperienced, bad-driving UBER rides. LYFT is delivering a similar product. Disruption without strict quality standards can reverse fortunes.

This last week I had several cab driver complain that their business was sharply down: the sharp drop in cab medallion pricing (about 25%)probably reflects this trend. Oddly, cabs are a little cleaner than before. The drivers are friendlier. Competition works. The only way the cab industry can survive and thrive is if they initiate a STRICT quality control system, forcing cabs to get educated about driving skills, directions, keeping cabs spotless, only using cars that are comfortable and practical for human use and coming up with an alternative shift change system so that at peak hours of the day consumers are not left stranded on the streets of New York wondering if they have landed in a banana republic.

Personally I have been tempted to get a car with driver for years, and many of my colleagues have this as we brokers tend to schlepp around quite a bit. My conscience over-rides this desire: the thought of a car and driver sitting idle for hours at a time on the side of the road, further congesting the city and spewing fumes into our air truly offends me. In this modern world, the concept of shared vehicles is simply the only answer. Some of my very wealthiest billionaire clients who could afford hundreds of cars and drivers choose to use UBER or cabs instead. Now its time for UBER and the cab industry to be very careful…..if a third party were to step in and consistently deliver REALLY clean and comfortable cars and REALLY educated drivers, I know there is an audience, myself included, who would be happy paying the premium.


January 6th, 2015

liberaceonstageredwhitebluerollscarPosted by Leonard Steinberg, president of URBAN COMPASS, on January 6th, 2015

Is 2015 going to be the year of the AMERICAN Oligarch? Rolls-Royce Motor Cars reported more car deliveries in 2014 than ever before in its 111-year history, marking the fifth consecutive annual sales record for the ultra-luxury brand, according to Bloomberg. The company sold more cars costing at least $238,000 in 2014 than any other manufacturer, and their top market was not Russia, China or the Middle East: it was the good old USA!

Till recently everyone in New York only spoke of the billionaire buyers from Russia and China, yet the world is revealing just how potent the American buyer remains. And their wealth is growing by leaps and bounds. We have been saying for years now that the vast majority of big-bucks buyers in Manhattan are American.


January 6th, 2015

Posted by Leonard Steinberg on January 6th, 2015

I awoke this morning to hundreds of e-mails asking me about my lawsuit against my neighbor Nicole Kidman: today was the first time I heard anything about this suit.

Yes, it is true that there had been a leak that impacted my apartment about 2 years ago. This leak did cause damage to my apartment that required repairs. $46,000 is a lot of money, but in super-expensive Manhattan that is the cost of MINOR repairs…..the relative equivalent of a fender-bender. We all buy (expensive) insurance to cover incidents of this nature, which happen throughout the world in buildings every day of the year, every year. My insurance company has decided to sue to recoup its costs and today is the first time I am finding out about this.

For the first time in my life I am witnessing first hand how cruel and distorting the media can be: firstly, this is not much of a story. Secondly, many of the facts in print are inaccurate… West 24th Street really in the West Village like some have reported? This is an eye-opener for all not believe everything they read. Thirdly, just because you are famous this should not automatically give license to the world to broadcast every technical and minute detail of your life. I am truly sorry that my neighbor has to bear this ugly publicity today, and probably every day of her life, like so many other famous people do. Its embarrassing.

And to the media: surely there are more important stories to cover like the Kardashians possibly?


January 2nd, 2015

Eastdil-Secured’s-Doug-HarmonPosted by Leonard Steinberg of URBAN COMPASS on January 2nd, 2015

Congratulations to  investment broker Douglas Harmon of Eastdil, who with Adam Spies, marketed 50 New York City buildings that traded for $19 billion. Does this make him 2014’s #1 broker of the UNIVERSE?


December 31st, 2014

unnamedunnamed-1Posted by Leonard Steinberg, President of URBAN COMPASS on December 31st, 2014

2014 was monumental: making the leap to URBAN COMPASS in June was a daring move, yet looking back now after a mere seven months, I am certain it was the best move ever. Many felt this move was my midlife crisis – simply absurd – however now with the world talking about Urban Compass it is clearly apparent that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was a pivotal moment in my career and the industry: we proved the critics wrong. It was time for the the New York real estate paradigm to shift, and shift it did. The shift was seismic.

Being part of the company as it almost tripled in size in half a year, now with a superb Fifth Avenue megaplex head office, Uptown Park Avenue Lever House offices, and our expansion into Washington DC, has been exhilarating, exhausting and truly the best time of my life. I want to thank each and every one of you for your support, hard work, incomparable great attitude, and commitment to quality throughout this year.

A year ago I met with Robert Reffkin at a small breakfast at Cookshop in West Chelsea (I met Ori Allon at Soho House a few days later) and immediately I knew these guys were going to change our industry: I wanted to be a part of that change. It was an honor to join a group of dedicated, energized, brilliant people, all focused on building an exciting new future. Ori is quite simply a genius. I don’t say that easily. While brain power is his forte, equally impressive is his calm resolve and big-picture global thinking. Robert has been an inspiration: his focus, willpower, dedication and brilliance are apparent to all. Working closely with him, I have also learned about his kindness, marathon-level work ethic and his caring and forthright demeanor. It is a pleasure to learn from him daily as he repeats the same question: “How can we make it better?” This non-arrogant, innovative thinking permeates throughout the organization, where I have learned the value of treating brokers as our most valued clients. The quality and quantity of assistance in our collaborative efforts has opened my eyes to a wonderful new vision of real estate.

It has been a privilege working alongside some of the top brokers in our industry: this small group has expanded over the past few months to include some of the most recognizable and respected names in the industry. Thank you to each and everyone of you for your hard work and your commitment to the success of the company. As we enter 2015 with around $600 million in exclusive sales listings, $500,000 in monthly valuation rental listings and around $2 billion in new developments, it is very tempting to say we have arrived: this may be so, yet 2015 will be the year where we truly reveal the fruits of our labors. You are all instrumental in helping us build a company that we can be proud of.

Urban Compass represents about ONE QUARTER of ONE PERCENT of the over 50,000 licensed real estate brokers and salespeople in New York City, yet we have had the greatest impact on change in our industry since Barbara Corcoran fought to co-broke listings decades ago. Our technology-infused innovative style is changing the way even the most traditional Century-old industry icons are working and speaking today: this is indeed an extraordinary honor and accomplishment.

Let me repeat this: Urban Compass has made the biggest impact on the New York brokerage industry in decades. And we have only just begun!

Thanks again to all of you for your kindness and support.