Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fed Cuts Rates, Language Indicates Pause

The Federal Reserve today cut it's benchmark fed funds rate and the discount rate by 1/4 of a point each. While this action should help banks and many borrowers who are pegged to the prime rate, the statement that accompanied the rate reduction leaves much to be desired. While the Fed indicated that the action was taken to help "forestall" the consequences of a slowing economy, there was an indication that the Fed may pause from cutting rates further in the immediate term, as they noted that "the upside risks to inflation roughly balance the downside risks to growth". By indicating a potential pause in rate cuts, the Fed effectively mutes the impact of the 1/4 point that they cut, in that the expectation for lower rates sooner rather than later are diminished, and real interest rates are less likely to go down in the near term.
How does this impact the New York Housing Market? Lower rates are good news for any real estate market, so today's cut is a plus. A Fed statement that did not indicate a pause in rates would have been better. At the same time, a more dramatic cut or pessimistic statement could have spooked the market, which could have caused more harm than good. Lower rates also mean a lower return on dollar denominated assets, which in turn should mean a continuation of the trend for a cheaper and cheaper dollar-also a plus for the NY Market. All said, this cut is good for the NY Real Estate Market, it could have been better, but it could have been alot worse.Share B

Fed Cuts Rates 1/4 Point In Effort To Boost Housing

As expected, the Federal Reserve has cut it's benchmark federal funds rate by 1/4 point to 4.5% following the September cut of 1/2 of a point.
This move helps alleviate pressure on banks suffering from losses associated with the sub-prime lending crisis and should make the environment for new home buyers incrementally better.
This reduction in rates helps the New York real estate market more than most, as there have been far less issues stemming from the national housing correction. The reduction also increases the potential for a stock market rally, and hence helps the profit picture on Wall Street.
More soon....Share B

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Brompton Condo Topped, Windows + Brick Too!


Brompton Brick and Windows (10/29)


Brompton Topped (10/29)



Lucida- Check the thickness! (10/29)


Lucida- 3 stories and counting (10/29)


The race to the top is over and The Brompton Condo is the clear winner over The Lucida by a stunning 18 stories! I do have to give The Lucida extra points, however for clearly building something that is akin to a fortress. Not only are it's concrete floor slabs some of the thickest I've ever seen, the deep, deep multiple basement levels carved out of the bedrock would clearly survive the most dramatic of tragedies. The Brompton meanwhile seems to be fulfilling it's tagline of being "stylishly proper". The Robert A.M. Stern creation is an absolute classic. Every home owner in Yorkville will likely benefit from such a gorgeous building going up on the previously blighted corner of 86th and 3rd. Not only does the building vastly improve the area, the fact that it has been built on Third when it looks like it belongs on Park should positively impact values throughout the area. This building is clearly a home run, we'll see if The Lucida is up to match it. Stay tuned.
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Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Links

Countrywide Financial Shares Soar On Improved Outlook (CBS Marketwatch)
Funds Approved For 7 Train Extension To Javits (NY Times)
Interview With Robert A.M. Stern (NY Observer)
All Signs Pointing Up In Downtown Manhattan (NY Sun)
Visions For The Future Of Hudson Square (Curbed)Share B

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Upper West Side New Development Condos O Rama


The Avery (L), The Rushmore (R)


The Element (L), 10 West End (R)

Ariel East

Ariel West

The Harrison's Foundation

Linden 78 breaking ground

200 West End Avenue

Adagio Condo (West 60th)

The past couple of years have seen a growing selection of condos become available both on the Upper West Side and the area West of Time Warner Center in the 60's near the Hudson River. Although average prices are around $1400-$1500 per square foot, better prices can be found on units on lower floors or with lesser views. Amenities are in abundance in nearly every new condo in the area.
The area of the greatest growth most recently is in the upper 50's and low 60's just on and East of West End Avenue. What used to be parking lots and abandoned warehouse buildings is becoming a burgeoning luxury community. The Hudson Condos started the trend, but impressive luxury buildings like The Element Condominium and 10 West End Condos have put an exclamation point on the trend. A multi-building complex call the Adagio Condominiums is right across the street from 10 West End and Element between 60th and 61st Streets on and East of West End Avenue. While Adagio Condominium has not be publicized yet, construction is well under way (pictured) and from the look of the website it appears that it will be no exception from the multi-amenitied trend (think pool, etc, etc.).
Further up the Hudson on Riverside between 63rd and 65th Street, Extell has 2 distinguished buildings with Hudson River views in what they are terming the "Riverside South" area. On 65th Street stands the Avery Condo which is nearly completed and ready for year end move-ins, and next door, the slightly more expensive Rushmore Condo appears to be topped off and should be ready about one year later.
Further uptown in the heart of the Upper West Side are 2 desirable options, the Linden 78 Condo off 78th and Amsterdam, and Related's newest Robert A.M. Stern creation, The Harrison condo which is on 76th and Amsterdam. Linden is selling very well at top prices, while The Harrison has not yet begun Sales. Both buildings have broken ground, with the Harrison making nice progress on the foundation. The Harrison also has another appeal in that, unlike most new condos in the area, The Harrison will employ a more traditional design, setting it apart from the rest. Even though Robert A.M. Stern's creations now command the "Stern premium", initial price talk seems very reasonable (starting around $1300psf). 200 West End, A Clarrett development seems to be coming along nicely for those that prefer West End, and Avanova Condos are an option for those that may be more interested in a prewar building while enjoying the benefits of condo ownership.
Finally, if it is better pricing that you are looking for without sacrificing the amenities, on 99th Street and Broadway Ariel East Condo and Ariel West Condo provide family sized apartments, many with great views, at prices that are some of the best in the city, especially if you are looking for 4 or 5 bedrooms.
All things considered, selection on the Upper West Side has really broadened over the past couple of years, and only looks to get better. If you have questions about the area or need someone to make sense of all the options, as usual, I am at your service.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday Links

East River Esplanade For Couch Potatoes (Curbed)
Mortgage Applications Up As Rates Plunge (Reuters)
National New Home Sales Slide In September (WSJ)
Construction Begins On Silverstein 42nd Street Towers (NY Post)
Details On Moynihan Station Emerge (NY Sun)
Newark Hopes New Devils Home Sparks Growth (The Real Deal)Share B

Monday, October 22, 2007

Interest Rate Picture Gets Brighter- Bodes Well For Manhattan Market


(graphic by bankrate.com)

By Andrew Fine, October 22nd, 2007

Since the height of the spike in rates in early September, interest rates on conventional and jumbo 30 year fixed rate mortgages have continued a downward trend making owning a home far easier than just 7 weeks ago. The 30 year conventional rate has dipped back below 6%, and more significantly, the 30 year fixed rate jumbo is back down to under 6.625%. Remember, just 7 weeks ago, several large institutions had upped jumbo rates as high as 8% and beyond, so recent movement is both significant and indicative of a stabilizing mortgage market. As I discussed back on September 7th, risk premiums, not real rates had jumped. I consider "risk premium" as the difference between the 10 year treasury yield and the 30 year jumbo rate. Prior to the peak of the crunch, the risk premium was 1.5%. It jumped to 2.6% on average at the peak of the crunch (early-September), and it is now down to 2.25%.
The outlook for rates is still very bullish for the New York Market. Two dynamics are at work. First, real rates continue to trend down. Considering the weak national economy and a federal reserve inclined to cut rates further, this trend seems established and likely to continue. Second, as lenders are taking a more conservative approach, the "risk premium" continues to shrink. Ideally, it would shrink back to 1.5%, which would bring jumbo rates under 6% and conventional mortgages below 5.5%. While this is unlikely to happen entirely overnight, the aggregate of these trends would lead one to believe that at a minimum rates are moving in the right direction.
Lower rates mean a more affordable mortgage, and the ability to afford a higher priced apartment. The current market may still have obstacles in front of it, but fortunately, one of the biggest, interest rates, will be a friend and not a foe over the near term. Of course, the weak dollar continues to be another major positive, and considering the interest rate picture, the cheap dollar will also continue to be a positive contributing factor to the stability and growth of the New York real estate market.Share B

Monday Links

Architects Shifting From Glass Back To Limestone? (NY Times)
Swig Selling Off 92nd And 93rd St. Properties After Sheffield Conversion Nightmare (Curbed)
Krugman And Greenspan: Mortgage Bailout Fund Bad Idea (NY Times)
New Loans See Lower Default Rates (Wall Street Journal)Share B

Friday, October 19, 2007

Rabid Raccoons Tormenting Hunters Point Residents?


Raccoons are roaming the streets and tormenting Hunters Point residents. One has even tested positive for rabies after being caught near a local school according to a Hunters Point resident (unconfirmed). This report could not be verified through the City's Animal Care and Control office. The office did confirm that Raccoon sightings in LIC were on the rise as they have been all over the city. Apparently the problem area is primarily from 2nd Street to Vernon Blvd between 50th Avenue on The South to the Anabel Basin in the North. The city will not come out and capture a Raccoon unless it appears bewildered, confused and suspected of carrying rabies. Be on the lookout LIC, according to the city skunks and possums are also on the rise.
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NYCEDC: Queens West South Renamed Hunters Point South + More Details On Plan


The former Olympic Village, known as Queens West South has been renamed Hunters Point South. The announcement and greater detail on the "affordable" housing project were divulged last night at a meeting between local residents and The NYC Economic Development Corporation last night. The meeting was less contentious than one might expect from such an affair with many locals praising the city's attention to community concerns, while few still had major unresolved issues. Highlights of the city's most recent plan:

1- Up to 5000 housing units will be built on the 30 acre site with 60% going to middle income residents (defined as a family of 4 with income of $50,000 to $145,000). The units will be primarily rentals run by a non-profit comprised of several developers.
2- Rents would be set at 30% of the renter's income (ex: $50k income=$1250/mo. rent).
3- The site plan calls for 4-7 story low rise buildings along 2nd Street, and Six 28-40 story buildings closer to the water.
4- 10 acres, primarily on the coast and flood plain will be reserved for park space. Additionally, all streets will have continuous tree pits to seamlessly merge towards the park space. Sidewalks on the extension of Center Blvd will be a pedestrian friendly 15' wide.
5- The existing street grid will be extended into the project to preserve site lines and views.
6- A 150,000 sf school will be built to service grades 6-12.
7- Parking for 2000 vehicles will be ground level and "wrapped" by large buildings.
8- The project's cost is estimated at around $300 Million. The cost will include funding of a library that should have already been built and has been promised time and again according to local residents.
9- A dedicated bike bath will circle the project.
10- Existing topography, namely the hill at the South end will be preserved (the hill is 30' above sea level.
11- Aside from possible extension of existing bus routes or establishment of new ones, the city has no real plan to ease crowding at the Vernon/Jackson 7 train station.
12- The privately owned 7.5 acre parcel now occupied by the Budweiser plant due East of Hunters Point South on the Newtown Creek is integrated into the overall infrastructure plan and may include contiguous park space along the creek. A buyer for that parcel has not yet surfaced and the city has no plans to acquire it. The lots is being marketed aggressively according to the city and could contain another 1500 free market rentals or condos.
Issues and concerns
1- With limited park space, a local resident pointed out that the plan had one or two too many high rise structures for the size of the lot. Hunters Point is in dire need of park and recreational space, and the city may be blowing a major opportunity to provide it. The resident had a great point, and if you look at the site plan the last square block on the South end would provide a spectacular setting for additional green space.
2- Where is the library already? That's what residents want to know and an issue that the city had no real clear answer on. Apparently the funds have been dedicated, but the land has not been purchased. City action on this issue would go a long way with local residents.
3- Why does affordable housing have to be rental housing? The president of Citylights made a very good point about how home ownership adds a greater deal of stability to the neighborhood. The City had no specific answers on the percentage of units that would be available for sale, but it was clear that their intentions are largely for rental housing. The overwhelming majority of those attending the meeting disagreed and every time a case was made for coops or condos on the site the crowd broke out into applause. Pride of ownership goes a long way in the building of a community, and enriches the middle class rather than promoting subsistence. Community requests for low income senior and artist's housing could also be addressed through ownership. The City should clearly revisit this issue.
In summary, The City appears to be doing a great job of reaching out to the community and a decent job of actually listening. The City has a monumental opportunity to make Hunters Point South a truly great community. A little less density and more attention to community facilities would likely do the trick.
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Thursday, October 18, 2007

In BPC: The Visionaire Gets Glassed and Terra Cotta, Too!




The Visionaire Condo, by Albanese Development, is growing and now glowing with it's first sheets of glass and some terra cotta too! It seems the terra cotta has something to do with "optimizing thermal performance" of the ultra-green building. Albanese has achieved platinum status for his LEED certified building, which means clean, green living and a 35% reduction in your energy bill to boot. The Pelli designed building is sleek and modern. The curved Western side juts out on the North and South side in a manner that quite brilliantly affords those on the corners views of the East Side Hudson River and Statue of Liberty Views. The building includes a wide array of amenities including 50' pool, green roof with built in grills, and expansive fitness and playroom space. Average prices are around $1300psf, but if you are looking for a bargain, East facing units go as low as under $1000psf and have a much better view than the majority of higher priced comparables on Wall Street. The apartments themselves are handsomely outfitted with Wolf and Sub-Zero kitchen, wide oak floors, and a top of the line master bath which is also included with the 1 bedroom units. The pricing is very competitive with it's neighbor to the North, The RiverHouse Condo. So, if you haven't been to BPC lately, this vision is well worth a look.



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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wednesday PM Links

Mayor Mike Warns On NYC Real Estate Prices (NY Post)
The Robert A.M. Stern Effect (The Real Deal)
Curbed Coverage Of The B of A Accident (Curbed)
More On The Hudson Yards (NY Observer)
City Rents On The Increase (The Real Deal)Share B

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tuesday Morning Links

Miller: LIC Condos Raise Queens Condo Prices 22.9% (Curbed)
NYC Building Permits On Record Setting Pace (Crain's)
WTC Path Station Delayed Til 2012? (NY Post)
Senior Brokers Say Manhattan Holding It's Own (The Real Deal)
Rezoning Plan For 125th Street (NY Sun)
Home Insurers Cancelling In NY, Citing Katrina?!? (NY Times)Share B

Opportunities To Volunteer In Union Square This Weekend


Just wanted to pass along some info that I received from The Union Square Partnership (http://www.unionsquarenyc.org/) this week. There are 2 great opportunities to volunteer in the area this weekend.

"It's My Park Day", Saturday, Oct 20th, 10am-1pm. A chance to spend a few hours planting spring bulbs (5000 of them), mulching, and otherwise beautifying Union Square Park. All you need to do is bring yourself, all equipment is provided, great for kids too. Volunteers will meet at The George Washington Statue at 10 am.. RSVP by Thursday at info@unionsquarenyc.org.

"New York Cares Day", Saturday, Oct 20th, 9:30am-3:30pm. Join the Con Edison Team to clean and paint a brighter future at the Washington Irving High School. To register with the company team, go to http://www.newyorkcaresday.org/, click on the “Register Here” link, select “Join a Team,” then choose “Con Edison” from the drop-down menu.
It should be a beautiful day!
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Monday, October 15, 2007

Condo Boom In LeHa (Lower East Harlem)


( The Aura..............The Observatory)
LeHa, it's a new name for the area of Harlem South of 116th and East of Park. Why the new name? Well, if you've seen the condo boom that is bubbling in this area, it is quickly beginning to look like a whole new neighborhood. Vast and numerous lots are under construction in the area and it seems as if you cannot walk a block nowadays where there is not at least One condo on the rise. I was long skeptical of the area, but no longer. Take as evidence The Aura Condominium on East 109th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues. The Aura opened 2 weeks ago with average prices over $700 per square foot, 2 weeks later 16 of the 28 units are in contract. Simply put, this building is on fire! It would only stand to reason that The Observatory Condominium on 103rd and 1st Ave at $670 per square foot, with views and a doorman (unlike Aura) will also be a hit. In fact, if you search the databases, you will find that the area has sold very well over the past year with offerings like The Ivy, The Nina, Casa Brava, and Park Hill East, and prices have climbed by at least $100 per square foot in that time frame. The neighborhood does have alot to offer. For one, it's in Manhattan and with good mass transit, it is a fairly easy bus or train to Midtown and Harlem's future commercial core up on 125th. Second, shopping is improving daily. Aside from some serious Italian food on First and Pleasant Aves (home to the original Little Italy), Home Depot, Target and others are building off of the FDR drive at 116th Street (home to the former Washburn Wire factory which was long abandoned). The area is largely residential and has alot of the old New York charm in the form of townhouses and tenement structures that have stood for a century or longer. Even with the recent appreciation in prices, you are still paying up to 50% less for the same thing less than a mile to the South.
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Market Snap Shot- Happy Days Here Again?

I've talked to a lot of brokers lately, and the consensus was that September was one of the worst months in quite some time. From my perspective, it was slow, from others I heard terms used like "a disaster", and many brokers were saying it was the worst month in years. I think that talk was a little dramatic considering that the bookends for the first 4 weeks of fall were Labor Day and Columbus Day with 9/11 and 5 Jewish holidays in between. So, I don't put too much weight on September. Additionally, the peak of the credit panic and spike in rates started at the end of August and ran well into September. As I mentioned in my September 7th market update, I surmised that the Jumbo rates were out of whack, and likely to fall significantly. For a short period in late August many banks were suddenly upping jumbo rates to 8% and higher. Today the average jumbo rate (according to bankrate.com) is back to 6.75%- a huge difference!
As opposed to September, October is shaping up to be a much better month. Our web volume is the best it's been in months, and is now exceeding pre-credit crunch numbers. We are very busy, and people are buying. We are seeing some extraordinary buying interest not only in Manhattan, but Long Island City and Harlem as well. In LIC, The Hunters Point Condos drew large crowds, with some even waiting overnight to be the first to purchase, and it is reported that 40 condos went to contract on the first day. In Harlem, new developments like The Aura on 109th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues, we very well received. It is reported that more than half of the units had been sold in 2 weeks with an average price of over $700 per square foot. Even on the upper end in Manhattan, buildings like Related's The Brompton (with little advertising) sold over 50% with prices at $1500 per square foot and beyond.
In summary, it looks like the slowdown in August and September is behind us, and market activity has resumed a sense of normalcy. With rates still trending downward, those expecting a big shakeout are likely to be disappointed once again.Share B

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday Links






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Around Union Square: MacIntyre Building To Shine Again




This 1892, 12 story classic on the Northeast corner of 18th Street and Broadway has long been a favorite. For me, it has always been the amount of window area for the size of the building and the fact that irt was where I saw one of my first great lofts for rent back in 1990. For others it is that elaborate mix of Byzantine Columns, Romanesque Arches, and Gothic finials combined by architect, Robert H. Robertson.
Funniest about the building is that it was built for Ewen McIntyre (a well regarded druggist at the time), but it is called the MacIntyre Building due to a colossal typo in the tile mosaic just inside front hallway. Imagine his reaction when he saw that f*#k-up! Mr. McIntyre never lived in the building which were rented out as offices, then home to many in the china and textile business in the 30's, and eventually bought and co-op'd in the 70's by a group largely made up of artists and others in the creative fields. One of the first tenants paid $17,000. for an entire floor. It is no wonder then that the cash was available for a recent renovation which included a painstaking replacement of it's still wooden windows, and a complete refacing. The building is now restored to it's original grandeur, and the veil is about to be lifted on this New York beauty.
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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday Links






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Upper East Side Condos: Development-O-Rama!


The Laurel Condominium


255 East 74th Street


The Lucida



The Brompton

Miraval Living Condo


300 East 79th Condo

Doctor's Housing on 72nd + First Ave.
If it is high rise condo luxury that you are looking for, the Upper East Side is beginning to fill the void with a number of upscale offerings. The Brompton is looking great and nearly topped off- love the brick! Both The Lucida and 255 East 74th Street impressed me with the extra thickness of the concrete floors. The Laurel Condominium has very attractive Indiana Limestone base, and is rising so quickly, and so high! If it's glass you are looking for 300 East 79th or The doctor's housing on 72nd and 1st Ave. will fit the bill (although I guess you have to be a doctor with Cornell to qualify for 72nd Street). And finally at Miraval Living, looks like 3/4's of the outside work is done, and I'm told the elegant lobby will finally be finished at the end of the month.
As a whole they are a great looking bunch of condos, but mind you, Luxury and opulence on the UES does not come cheap, $1500 per square foot is the approximate median price, and you can go way above that on a high floor.
Stay tuned for individual condo reviews and an update on The Lucida vs. The Brompton series.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wednesday Links

Ground Shifting For New York Borrowers (The Real Deal)
57 Story Tower Planned For Leonard St., Tribeca (Curbed)
Office Building Boom In The Works For NYC (NY Post)
Places To Smoke In Manhattan (Gridskipper)
Draft Bloomberg 08' Appears Adrift (NY Times)
Stagehand Strike Looms On Broadway (NY Times)Share B

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tuesday A.M. Links

City's Construction Boom May Slow With Higher Costs (NY Sun)
Harlem Fears Loss of Small Business (AM NY)
New Yorkers Sneaking In Washer-Dryers (NY Magazine)
New York's Best Grilled Cheese (Gridskipper)
Drycleaner Sues Unhappy Customer (Gothamist)Share B

Monday, October 8, 2007

LIC Field Of Dreams (and Rockrose Condo) Take Shape


One day it's a liquor store, then a Duane Reade, and finally a supermarket, but now this...LIC has a field of dreams! I Walking the streets of LIC today scouting development parcels and not only was I impressed by the rapid growth of East Coast Phase 3 ( Rockrose's 20 Story 200 unit Condo, which now stands at 13 stories and counting), but the huge vacant space on the West side of 5th Street between 47 St and 46th St. has been covered in green! This space is part of the QueensWest plan and will be a ballpark and running track open to the public. When it opens, I'm not sure, but it's getting close. Word on East Coast, Phase 3 condos is that they will start above $1000 per square foot, and average $1150 sf. Now that's some green!
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Monday Morning Links

Acquisitive Craigslist Post Reddens Faces All Around (NY Times)
M.T.A. Says Congestion Pricing Will Cost $767 Million (NY Times)
Credit Crunch Has Macklowe On The Edge (The Real Deal)
Crunch Buster: Archstone Smith Buyout Complete (Reuters)
Hudson Square Condos To Replace Tunnel Garage (Curbed)
Mayor Koch Goes To Bat For St. Vincent's Expansion (The Villager)Share B

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Recipe For Higher Prices?

It was a long, shaky summer for the credit markets. The media seized on a crisis and redundantly played the story over and over and over as if smelling and selling to fear. The National market has hit the skids in a big way. New home sales numbers are dismal, so dismal in fact, some on Wall Street are calling it a bottom, just because they cannot conceive of any numbers that could be worse. Mortgage rates popped, especially for jumbo loans, only exacerbating the problem. Many have begun using the "R" word in reference to the national economy, many blaming the housing market as it's eventual cause. All the while, the New York, specifically the Manhattan market has held up, virtually untouched. For the past year many have wondered, can the New York market possibly weather this incredible national storm? Thus far it has. Not only has the NY market held up, in many ways it has gone in the complete opposite direction. Inventory, as tracked by Johnathan Miller Associates (quoted on Curbed.com) has dropped 31% year over year, while average prices in Manhattan have leaped to an all-time record $1,370,000.. Can we weather this storm? We have so far, and indications are getting clearer that we will. Here is part of my reasoning:
1- I might as well start with my whopper- Wall Street bonuses will be higher this year than last. This may go against conventional wisdom, but here is my thinking. Last year, Goldman Sachs accounted for 60% of all Wall Street bonuses ($16.5 Billion of the $23.9Billion total). Goldman Sachs is having a terrific year, above estimates every quarter, and year end earnings are expected to grow by at least 22%. Add 22% to last year's bonuses and you have over $20 Billion in bonuses for 2007 from Goldman alone. Therefore, if all four of the rest of the big 5 Wall Street firms were to cut bonuses in half, you still come up with a number over $24 Billion, higher than last year. I believe that there is upside to that number. As we all learned as 2006 turned to 2007, Wall Street bonus money is a huge stimulus to the real estate market, and I would expect little difference this time around.
2- The 30 year jumbo mortgage rate is trending down. After a pop to 7.25% in August, the average rate now stands at 6.875%. While the spread between jumbo rates and the 10 year t-bill has narrowed, there is still a long way to go. The Libor rate has dropped by 1/2 of a point in the same time frame, and commercial paper yields backed by mortgages have dropped 1%. With another fed cut likely before the end of the year, and a slowing national economy, it looks like this trend will hold, and 30 year Jumbo rates should drop to 6.5% and possibly less by January.
3- The dollar is still at historic lows and continues to draw overseas investors to NY real estate.
4- Inventory, as mentioned before, is very low, so there will be more money chasing fewer apartments.
So there you have it. Barring some extraordinary event or crisis, you have a solid recipe for price appreciation in the near term.Share B

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Condo Explosion in LIC North/Queens Plaza


Future Silver Cup West


Future "Star Tower" (dearchny.com)




Future Karl Fischer Project, "Queens Plaza" (kfarchitect.com)




Fr. left: Fusion, Future Star Tower, Future Tishman Office Tower


View 59 (Oct 2, 2007)



Crescent Club (Oct 2, 2007)


fr left: View 59, Unnamed rental, Crecent Club, Queens Plaza


The boom is officially on in the once neglected, yet incredibly convenient, Queens Plaza/ Long Island City North area one subway stop from 59th and Lex. The skyline, now just noticeably changing, will be unrecognizable by 2010. Up and Down Queens Boulevard and 2 blocks North and South from the East River to Jackson Avenue everything is changing, and the sky is clearly not the limit. Among the many projects in the area:
1- Queens Plaza Makeover- $28 Million dollars of Federal and City money has been dedicated to making the plaza park like and pedestrian friendly. The project is due to break ground imminently and will include a 1.5 acre park where a parking lot exists at the intersection of Jackson and Queens Boulevard.
2- The Fusion Condo- It's officially open and people are happily moving into the luxury condo at Hunter and Orchard. Prices for the remaining 5 units, fully decked out with Viking Kitchen and Spa baths start just under $700/ft..
3- View 59 Condo- At the foot of the 59th Street Bridge and Crescent Street, this 35 unit lux condo has a few units left starting in the mid-$600's per square foot and begin move-ins in early 2008.
4- Crescent Club Condo- I got a sneak peak at this gem yesterday. This Karl Fischer/Andres Escobar effort has virtually every amenity imaginable including 69' outdoor lap pool. Initial pricing (likely to be amended up soon) is just under $600psf. Crescent Club is across the street from View 59 on Crescent Street.
5- Unnamed rental building- Just North of View 59 and West of Crescent Club. Not much info on this one, it is about 10 stories and still growing. It looks like all units will have terraces and should be finished in 2008.
6- Queens Plaza Condo- Just North of Crescent Club, already open, this condo was first in this area, prices were around $600 psf.
7- Silver Cup West Project- On the South Side of the Bridge on the East River, this mammoth $1 Billion, 2.7 Million SF mixed use project winding it way through approvals. It will consist of 3 Towers ranging from 40-60 stories, will include 1000 condo apartments, office and retail space, as well as 8 new sound stages. If my numbers are off by a bit, forgive me, as there has not been much news on this project in the past year. Completion was originally scheduled for 2010.
8- Tishman Tower Site- On Jackson and Queens Plaza, currently the site of the biggest eyesore in the area, the municipal parking garage, Tishman is expected to erect a 40 story, "Class A" office building.
9- Star Tower- Demolition is to start soon on the former home of the Long Island Star Newspaper across Hunter Street from Fusion and the future Tishman Tower. This ultra-lux condo by the Roe Corporation will rise 25 stories and should begin marketing in early 2008.
10- "Queens Plaza", a 500,000 sf, 39 story hotel/condo combination just West of View 59 on Queens Plaza North. This Karl Fischer effort has broken ground and bears a faint resemblance to The Chrysler Building.
I'm sure that I haven't covered it all, and there are some attractive development parcels on the market that have not yet been spoken for, so, I assume that there is a lot more to come. If you have interest in buying a condo or development site in the area, as usual feel free to contact me, and stay tuned for updates.Share B