You’ve been hearing the buzz that the NYC housing market is back. With a limited inventory, rising demand and competition from not only fellow city dwellers but also an increasingly international buyer pool, it was only a matter of time before bidding wars were back on. And on they are.
As a New York real estate attorney, I have not seen the bidding market this healthy in a while and the competition is only heating up as we enter a busy season. So here’s a few tips I have shared recently with many of my clients looking to secure and successfully close a deal in today’s market:
Although you would not know it by the temperature outside or the snow on the ground, Spring officially arrived last week. Personally, even though I don’t mind the winter and actually enjoy some snow from time to time, I can’t wait for warmer seasonal temperatures to arrive. I suppose Sandy sort of kicked off our winter months and it seems like we haven’t seen the sun since!
So despite the cold, the family and I headed down to the beach this weekend to put us in a summer frame of mind and to check out the Jersey Shore. Having not been down since Hurricane Sandy wreaked her havoc on our beloved shores, we were a little shocked by the devastation. It’s more surreal in person than seeing the footage and recovery updates on television. The experience of standing on the beach in Avon and looking south for miles without seeing any of our favorite beachside haunts or a plank of boardwalk in sight was simply sad.
Recently there has been much buzz about luxury real estate not only making a comeback, but driving the shift in today’s housing market from slumpsville to history-making heights. In fact, in the past year or so, industry headlines consistently report one trophy sale trumping another whether it’s the $88 million sale of a Manhattan penthouse or a nearly $120 million estate in Silicon Valley. From New York and LA to London, Miami and Hong Kong, chart-topping sales of high-end properties has become an international phenomenon. And, as the New York Times recently reported, the trend looks like it is here to stay.
While some celebrities prefer LA’s sprawling estates and outdoor pools over the Big Apple’s luxury high-rises and fast-pace, many stars choose to own homes in both locales giving them what some say is the best of both worlds. However, just like us common folk, even Hollywood’s A-listers can sometimes find today’s housing market challenging. But most celebrities, like most of us, do have a few priorities when it comes to home hunting.
Privacy is one of the top priorities for most celebs so whether it’s a gated mansion in the Hollywood Hills or a security-tight high rise in Manhattan, privacy tops the list.
Location, location, location. Again, a private location is a big must-have so neighborhoods on both coasts that offer a sense of security and great private schools are popular. Currently hot neighborhoods for famous faces in NYC are West Village, SoHo, Tribeca and Bowery. In LA, gated suburbs such as Hidden Hills and Calabasas offer security while Bel Air and Los Feliz still offer privacy with a closer proximity to downtown.
After the passing Ed Koch earlier this week, the city mourned one of New York’s greatest mayors. With a funeral that was choreographed and designed by the former mayor himself, New Yorkers and friends remembered his larger-than-life personality and celebrated his legacy. In fact, it has been reported by his former chief of staff that Ed Koch began talking about his death years ago and had made all of the appropriate arrangements and details much earlier in his life rather than wait until his final days. So in honor of a man who inspired a city and in his spirit of preparedness, here’s a few facts that we should all consider at some point in our lives and in light of recent estate legislation:
Wills and Living Wills
Everyone should have a will that is properly structured so that your assets pass in a tax-efficient manner to avoid unnecessary State estate taxes. In addition, healthcare proxies and directives should be clearly stated to ensure that your exact wishes are properly executed.
You’ve heard of trophy wives and perhaps trophy homes, but the newest trend in the trophy market is trophy rentals. There is an increasing number of people today who can afford to buy luxury homes in the upper stratosphere of the high-end market who are instead opting to rent uber-luxurious apartments, condos and homes. Why? That depends on the individual.
Some of these affluent renters want a temporary solution to their housing need. Renting gives them the flexibility to change their minds about neighborhood, building or apartment size. Others would rather invest their millions in the financial markets or business ventures than plunk it down on huge down payments and closing costs associated with purchases. Some are recent sellers of trophy homes who want to watch the market and wait to buy again when the market dips. In any case, these potential wealthy buyers are still able to have the lifestyle, amenities and address that they desire without tying up their fortunes in their primary residence.
If 2012 was the comeback year for the luxury-home market, what will 2013 bring? Well, according to industry insiders and real estate analysts, momentum at the high-end seems to be continuing in the new year, especially among affluent international buyers.
In NYC real estate, 2012 might best be remembered for it’s record-breaking sales of luxury real estate, beginning with the sale of former Citigroup chairman Sandy Weill’s 6,744-square foot penthouse at 15 Central Park West for $88 million to Russian fertilizer heiress Ekaterina Rybolovlev. Copycat deals with price tags ranging from $70 to $90 million soon followed at 50 Central Park South and One57. As foreign buyers looked for opportunities to invest their liquidity and domestic sellers competed for trophy properties and record-breaking deals, prices for luxury properties continued to climb.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal featured a trend in luxury campus living at universities across the nation. The article reported that as the number of college-bound students increases over the next decade, housing for these co-eds will become more and more in demand. And we’re not talking cinder-block bunk bed living. Co-eds these days look for amenities that are more inline with luxury apartment and condo properties, which are often not found on campus.
With millions of high school graduates each year expected to pursue higher educations, this off-campus building boom is likely to continue to grow. Expanding enrollment, low inventory and a demand for luxury living gives real estate developers and investors a relatively new growth opportunity.
In today’s world when every day seems to get smarter, faster and easier with technology, it is no wonder that finding a house online is as user friendly as Google-ing “house wanted.”
Not only does technology provide a seller with multiple platforms for marketing a home online, but it also allows buyers to preview listings and save countless hours of house hunting and pavement pounding by eliminating properties that don’t match their personal criteria.