Archive for January, 2011
Thursday, January 27th, 2011
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on January 27th, 2011
If you check your mailbox, you may find a lovely envelope from the New York City Department of Finance showing the new assessment on your property. One of my assessment notices showed that the market value of a property I own increased in value by over 60%…..in 2010! WOW! That’s facinating. Where on earth did our (CORRUPT?) Department of Finance come up with these figures? It seems every single report has shown that New York property values have remained flat, dropped, or risen VERY SLIGHTLY in 2010, yet the New York City Department of Finance says it’s UP BY OVER 60% on my property.
Which (corrupt?), incompetent idiots are running this thuggery?
As of next week, LUXURYBLURB will start highlighting the disparities between real estate tax assessments in Manhattan to showcase how selective and incomprehensibly inefficient the system is. We will start by selecting prominent governemt officials homes and see who exactly is the beneficiary of over-taxing some to benefit others….
Do you have a nightmare real estate tax story you wish to share? Join our fight to-day to end this outrageously unfair system IMMEDIATELY: register at www.nycDUPE.com to-day!
Monday, January 24th, 2011
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on January 24, 2011
Have you noticed how cars have become more cleverly integrated into architecture recently?
Two great examples: 1111 Lincoln Road in Miami beach designed by Herzog and de Meuron and developed by Robert Wennet…..and 200 Eleventh Avenue in New York City by Annabelle Selldorf, developed by Glauco Lolli Ghetti of Urban Muse and Young Woo & associates.
Whats next in CARCHITECTURE?
Sunday, January 23rd, 2011
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on January 23, 2011
Mayor Bloomberg we love you: you are the greatest mayor this town has had. BUT, we have a serious problem with the real estate taxes in this City, and you are avoiding the big issue. You recently said in the NEW YORK POST that you feel the pain we are all about to feel with rising real estate taxes on your own townhouse on the Upper East Side.
Currently you pay around $ 95,000/year. Thats a lot. BUT, its a lot less than some of us are paying. You are paying about $ 7,800 per month or roughly $ 0.62 per square foot per month (Your townhouse is about 12,500sf)
Did you know that most condominium owners pay about $ 1.00 or more per square foot for real estate taxes per month? Why do you and a select group of others pay so much less? Why are condo owners a lesser class in the eyes of the government, and why do they have to foot a larger burden of your budget?
PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME in light of the US constitution…..are we not all equal?
Thursday, January 20th, 2011
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on January 20, 2011
As New York real estate brokers, we have become the SCREEN SOCIETY, our faces confronted by a screen/monitor literally all day long, either via a desktop computer, a laptop computer, an I-pad or a Blackberry/I-phone/cellphone. ….and then there is the TV, the TV monitor on the treadmill, in the backseat of the cab or plane, the navigation device, and so on and so on…..We are looking at an illuminated screen almost all the time while awake.
It frightens me. Should we be frightened? Will the screen soon enter our heads? Is the next big Apple announcement the i-head? Oy vey!
Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on January 18, 2011
Co-op and condo owners are slated to pay much higher real estate taxes next year, under a preliminary assessment roll released on Friday by the Bloomberg administration. The city attributed the rises, due to take effect in July 2011, to higher market values placed on apartment buildings by tax assessors. Yet no-one is asking for their methodology, no-one is asking why co-op and condo taxes should rise by almost TRIPLE the mount of single family homes. CORRUPTION?
Did you know that New York property taxes have risen by 78% in the past 10 years? Of course, some have risen significantly less than this 78% and other significantly more……why? CORRUPTION?
Tax collections are expected to rise by 7.5% for co-op owners, and 9.6% for condo owners across the city, according to a summary report released by the Department of Finance, yet single-family homes would only pay 2.8% more. CORRUPTION? Is this because Mayor Bloomberg lives in a townhouse?
ALSO: No-one is questioning why some co-ops, condo’s and single family houses are taxed so extremely differently from one another, often in neighboring properties: When the assessors re-valued the entire city did they even look at or consider the disparity between properties? I doubt it. CORRUPTION?
Taxes on rental buildings will also increase significantly, the report said—by 9% for rent-regulated apartments and by 8.1% for unregulated apartments. Some of this tax increase is passed on to tenants.
This translates into an average tax increase of $384 for co-ops, $490 for condos, and $107 for single-family home owners. In Manhattan, the tax bill will go up an average of $594 to $9,351 for co-ops and by $970 to $11,348 for condos: How on earth is it possible to have this broad a range? CORRUPTION?
Finance Commissioner David M. Frankel denied that assessments were raised to increase tax collection, saying the department “performs a ministerial function valuing properties in accordance with state law and the best practices.” Oh, really! CORRUPTION?
The new assessments are not final. Taxpayers can ask the Department of Finance to make corrections, and can appeal their new assessments to the city Tax Commission. The deadline for appeals is March 15 for owners of one- to three-family homes, and March 1 for others. I strongly urge all property owners who are being unfairly assessed to rise up now and fight this corruption ONCE AND FOR ALL.
Owen Stone, a spokesman for the department, attributed about 30% of the increase in assessments on apartment buildings to improved earnings by the owners of rental buildings (in a market where rentals have dropped significantly over the past 24 months…..CORRUPTION?), and the rest due to technical factors, including a new, more accurate assessment methodology (PLEASE SHOW US THIS METHODOLOGY……PLEASE!), as well as lower interest rates on bonds, which are used in the calculation of market values.
Some of the increase in average tax assessments is due to new construction, renovation and expiring tax exemptions on individual properties.
Under state law, valuations of co-ops and condos are calculated as if they were similar rental buildings, though they are entitled to co-op and condo abatements, usually 17.5%.
Tax collections on office buildings were due to rise by 7.25%, according to the report. In total, city revenue was expected to rise by $900 million under the new assessments, Mr. Stone said. And what will we be using this $ 900 million for exactly? The MTA? The Sanitation workers bonuses? CORRUPTION?
Michael Slattery, senior vice president at the Real Estate Board of New York, said the steep increases were cause for concern and that he would be consulting with property owners.
“Some of the numbers look high, surprisingly so,” he said. “I can’t believe the market went up that much.” He says this after his OWN REPORT released just recently showed a slight improvement in pricing, but fails to mention that real estate taxes were never lowered when the property values declined.
The city also changed its assessment methodology for one- to three-family homes “to more accurately reflect sales prices,” resulting in some significant increases in market values of the most expensive homes in Manhattan. PLEASE SHOW US….WE SIMPLY DON’T BELIEVE YOU!
Market values of one-family homes in Manhattan went up by 16.3%, but because the assessment increases can only be phased in over many years, the assessed value for these homes rose far less, 7%. This translates into an average increase of $1,645 to an average tax bill of $33,132. PLEASE, PLEASE, someone, somewhere show us how one-family house values rose by 16,3% in the past year: WHAT PLANET ARE THESE IDIOTS LIVING ON?
In Queens, the city’s estimate of the market value of co-ops went up by 32.4%, with average tax bills to go up by 12.5%, or an average increase of $292.
So, dear taxpayers, if you believe everything our beloved City officials have spewed forth in this dumptruck of ‘facts’, go ahead and pay those taxes. If for some slight reason you question the legitimacy of these numbers, maybe now is the time to stand up to what I consider the MOST CORRUPT REAL ESTATE TAX SYSTEM IN THE WORLD.
Sunday, January 16th, 2011
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on Januaryt 16, 2011
Ashlee Dupree, Elliot Spitzer’s fling-thing gives relationship advice in the New York Post.
Reverend Al Sharpton speaks on MEET THE PRESS these days about keeping civil tones in political discussion.
Reality TV shows show us the ‘reality’ of life in all its forms from fashion to cooking to real estate: is J-Lo really a great talent scout? Is Iman an authority on fashion design? Is “Selling New York” really about what it takes to sell real estate in New York?
Sarah Palin speaks of FAMILY VALUES while her daughter is impregnated out of wedlock.
Barbara Corcoran tells us all about real estate on NBC, yet has only sold one or two apartments in her entire career and has not done so in over 2 decades.
Not only are we being flooded with information, but the quality of the information is often coming from sources we should all question. I think the turning point is approaching, if it has not already arrived, where us as the recipients of all this information rise up in anger at the mediocre qualifications of those spewing advice. Yes some of it is well researched (I think lots of Barbara Corcoran’s advice is good) and some of it is accurate, but how are we to determine this when so much of it is unreliable and simply bad?
From a real estate perspective, I am astounded at the inaccuracy of some of the information I receive. Often the sources are highly regarded, and by the very virtue of their status, they are considered believable. Bankers tell me what the market in Manhattan wants. Editors who write a story, call for quotes: if the quotes don’t fit their story, do they re-write the story? No! They look for someone who will fit the bill. Websites generalize and summarize and make sweeping, conclusive statements that are often inaccurate. But if you read or hear about it on CNN, FOX or the New York Times, should you believe it?
In an age where style trumps substance, where celebrity trumps ability, we should proceed with great caution.
Thursday, January 13th, 2011
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on January 13, 2011.
’Avenues: The World School’ a brand new private school is coming to Chelsea, New York, accomodating 1,600 pre-K through 12th grade students, reliable sources have confirmed…
The school will be located in an existing warehouse building that used to house the sets for ABC-TV soaps at 259 Tenth Avenue at 25th Street.
The developer wants to build a rooftop addition to house a gym and basketball court: That, along with the bulkhead, would bring the building’s height up to 159 feet, which is 34 feet taller than zoning allows. A waiver is required, and since the building is in the West Chelsea Historic District, the Landmarks Preservation Commission had the deciding vote, but we have heard it is all but certain to pass: commissioners were impressed with the restoration plan, drawn up by Perkins Eastman.
This is a MAJOR addition to the West Chelsea neighborhood: combined with the High Line Park, the substantial new development in the area as well as the Hudson Yards to the north and the # 7 train stop coming to 34th Street at 11th avenue, this all adds up to a NEIGHBORHOOD REVOLUTION.
Thursday, January 13th, 2011
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on January 13, 2011
After a 2 year hiatus, ‘New Development’, the darling of Manhattan high end real estate is coming back with a vengeance! We hear new buildings such as the Extell’s Park Hyatt building, Harry Macklowe’s Park Avenue tower, 250 West Street, the Rudin’s St.VIncent building are all moving forward aggressively. Almost completed buildings One Madison Park shows strong signs of life and 245 Tenth Avenue is back on track for a Spring launch.
Everywhere we hear chatter of brand new projects, old projects coming to life, and buildings in limbo being resurrected. Based on the dreadful supply of quality apartments, this is happening out of necessity. The big questions are:
1) How will the banks view financing these projects? What will interest rates be by the time they close?
2) How soon can they actually be delivered to prospective buyers: do buyers have the will or the guts to commit now to a property that may only be delivered 18 months to 30 months from now?
3) With the expiration of the 421-A tax abatement program, will those buildings that don’t have a tax abatement have monthly carrying costs so high they scare off buyers or are unfairly dis-advantaged next to those buildings that do have the abatement because they were secured before the program ended?
4) Will buyers be equipped to buy again from floorplans? (see previous post).
5) What kind of pricing can developers realistically expect? Lets face it, the record prices of 15 Central Park West were only achieved when buyers could physically tour the building, completed, up and running. The value of the finished product should not be under-estimated.
6) Some developers of new developments in New York were culprits of delivering buildings that fell far short of the promises made in their sales offices: have buyers of New York property forgotten this already? Or have developers been forgiven and has trust returned? With the power of the blogs, I believe those developers that screwed up in the past will have to provide much greater assurances and incentives to provide sufficient confidence in their ability to deliver a quality building. Those that did deliver quality, will be handsomely rewarded.
7) Pricing: Labor and materials and land all cost less now than at the peak: will these savings be passed on to the consumer for the first group of buyers to incentivize momentum? I see no way around this. Those who take the biggest risk should be rewarded for doing so.
8) Will the weak dollar save the day as foreign buyers view New York’s prices as ‘good buys’? Lets face it, in China the recession was a very brief moment…..these buyers are still quite used to buying off floorplans.
We believe the beginning will be tough, but will improve as buyers recognize the opportunity for buying a quality existing property is slim with the current limited supply.
Wednesday, January 12th, 2011
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on January 12, 2011
After 2008 showing prospective buyers of luxury property just the floorplans of a condominium with a model kitchen and bathroom virtually ceased. As construction and new projects ground to a halt in New York, the ‘new normal’ was all about showing a completed, furnished (staged) apartment to allow buyers to experience the full impact of the property they were considering.
I seriously doubt any sales would have happened in new buildings without these finished units to showcase, especially in the worst part of the recession.
Now, as the inventory of these new buildings dwindles, new projects will be faced with a new dilemna: Are buyers ready to look at just a floorplan again to make a substantial purchase? Will buyers, spoiled by lushly furnished apartments have the imagination or will to guess what the finished product will look like? As a re-sale broker I know how buyers often place most of their focus on furniture…..it took years to get them accustomed to looking at the space represented in a floorplan. How long will it take to re-educate them?
We shall only see in the next few months as new projects come to life…..stay tuned.
Sunday, January 9th, 2011
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on January 10, 2011
INSANE? The photo you above is just a mockup. But even with something just dreamed up in the mind of some crazed super yacht designer, you have to admit that it looks disturbingly appealing, in a Dubai-meets-Donald gawdy kind of way…..
This creation is called “The Streets of Monaco“, and is based off Monaco. Imiagine other versions based on your favourite part of the world: Capri, Manhattan, Rio, St Barth’s….. On the main four decks, you’ll find various pools, a swim-up bar, a jacuzzi, a replica of Casino Square, a courtyard and a large BBQ area. Oh, and a go kart circuit. The main boarding deck features a sauna, spa, manicure, gym, hairdresser, care and a relaxation lounge with indoor bar/pool.
Of course there is a cigar lounge, library, cinema wine cellar, casino, dining room and dance hall. Would Candy Spelling insist on the addition of a gift wrap room?
While it hasn’t been built (or even purchased), chances are someone, somewhere in the world is counting their oil profits (or Facebook over-valuation-profits) and seriously considering where they’d park this 155 meter (close to 500ft!)vessel. Maybe the most appealing aspect of a product like this would be it’s tax-free status? Those savings alone could easily pay for the entire product for the clientele this would appeal to.
Designed by Yacht Island Design in cooproration with BMT Nigel Gee. No price was mentioned but we expect it to be slightly higher than a penthouse at 15 Central Park West….