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.