Old Westbury Gardens, a Gold Coast mansion also known as “the Gatsby House”, © Old Westbury Gardens
In recent years, the Manhattan real estate scene has had a major upswing in the amount of wealthy buyers from China, who feel that New York City condos and other properties are a safe place for their money. In fact, high-profile real estate firms are even tapping Chinese brokers to cater to this growing clientele. But now the trend is moving east, with Chinese buyers eyeing the stately mansions that make up the Gold Coast suburbs of Long Island. According to the Times, “Some Chinese buyers are parking money in what they see as a low-risk investment. Others are seeking a trophy home. Still others are intent on living in these places full time while their children attend the area’s high-performing schools.”
More details ahead
MNS has just released their 2014 report pointing to rental performance in the Manhattan and Brooklyn markets over past year. And as you’ve probably already guessed there are no surprises here—rents were up. Leading the charge in growth were Harlem where new luxury listings gave the area a major boost, and of course Brooklyn which continued see growth at remarkable rates, particularly with studio units which were up more than 20 percent in some nabes.
Find out more here
As the city’s war against Airbnb rages on, hotels and bed and breakfasts across the city continue to see their guest numbers drop. But the decrease isn’t necessarily due to the lower costs of Airbnb rentals (although we certainly wouldn’t discount it) but the fact that visitors to our fair city are looking for an authentic New York experience. DNA Info reports that new hotels across the city are looking to recreate the “real experience” of staying in New York by channelling a “more urban” atmosphere with cool perks—bars amongst them—that lure local residents within their towering walls to hang with their guests.
Mayor Bill de Blasio just wrapped up his State of the City address, and in addition to focusing in like a laser beam on affordable housing, the mayor also unveiled a number of additional improvements that certainly had us sitting up straight in our seats. In his address, De Blasio emphasized that his plan would look to creating denser, economically diverse affordable residential communities for not only low-income New Yorkers, but also for chronically homeless vets, seniors and artists. “While the state of our city is strong, we face a profound challenge,” de Blasio said during his speech. “If we fail to be a city for everyone, we risk losing what makes New York, New York…Nothing more clearly expresses the inequality gap—the opportunity gap—than the soaring cost of housing.” The mayor also spoke about the administration’s plan to raise minimum wage and expand public transit, which would include adding more Bus Rapid Transit lines to the outer boroughs, and, most notably, a brand new city-wide ferry system that would serve areas such as the Lower East Side, the Rockaways and Red Hook for the same cost as a subway ride. Keep reading for more highlights.
Highlights from de Blasio’s speech here
The Upper East Side, where the most $5 million + homes are located, via CityRealty
If you think that statistic is jaw-dropping, consider this, too–those 7,279 homes valued at more than $5 million amount to a total fair market value of $65.2 billion, according to data from the city’s Independent Budget Office. The Wall Street Journal requested the data to take a closer look at the proposal to impose higher property taxes on pied-à-terre owners, and the findings show that “the city’s most expensive homes would generate less money from a higher tax surcharge than what its advocates have suggested.”
More details here
Living in New York City you without doubt run into more than a handful of construction workers every day. But next time instead of scurrying past a construction site one of these days, maybe shoot the hard-hatted folks a smile. As it turns out, the building industry ranks #1 in happiest employees.
Find out why here
Image via Jason Farrar
It would be nice to think that developers added affordable housing to their projects out of the goodness of their hearts, but it probably has more to do with the construction bonuses and tax incentives afforded for up to 25 years to developers when they reserve at least 20 percent of a building’s units for poor and moderate-income tenants.
But this real estate tax break, known as the 421a abatement, is set to expire on June 15, lighting a fire under developers to break ground on new projects. The concern, though, is that some development sites receive 421a benefits as of right (meaning solely for putting up a new building), while others are required to include affordable housing. The difference is based on geographic location. For example, Manhattan between 14th and 96th Streets and the waterfronts of Brooklyn and Queens must include affordable housing. According to Crain’s, some housing advocates “want projects to get abatements only if they create affordable units—which are priced for renters who earn 60 percent or less of the area’s median income.”
What does this mean for the future of affordable housing?
Say goodbye to afternoon tea and hello to happy hour, via roboppy via photopin cc
You don’t have to tell us twice that the Upper East Side is trading its reputation as a stodgy, ladies-who-lunch spot for a younger, more hip vibe. Not only do we think it’s a hidden hot spot for artists, but we recently profiled the unofficial “new” Upper East Side, the high 80s and 90s, clustered between Park and 1st Avenues. And let’s not forget how the Second Avenue subway is already shaking things up.
But with a new generation of Upper East Siders gobbling up the surprisingly affordable real estate offerings, it’s no surprise that trendy commercial spots are also getting in on the action. Small, local shops and restaurants create little communities that you might expect to find in brownstone Brooklyn, and larger, big-name businesses like Warby Parker and Whole Foods promise to make it a neighborhood to rival Union Square or Chelsea.
More on the real estate trend ahead
Riverbank State Park. Image via Dattner Architects
In a city that moves so fast that the Sunday edition of the New York Times comes out on Saturday, it is not surprising that New Yorkers might overlook some interesting factoids. For instance, New York City is home seven state parks! So, instead of enjoying a day inside other state parks filled with the ubiquitous lush greenery and a plethora of activities that might surely mean a couple of hours of driving—cityside state parks are but a subway ride away or possibly a short walk to the likes of the East River State Park on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, the Clay Pit Ponds State Park in Staten Island and the Roberto Clemente State Park in the Bronx.
One of the most popular, with its grassy stretches of pastoral idyll against a spectacular backdrop, is the 28-acre Riverbank State Park near 143rd Street (seen in the two images above). A multi-level facility set 69 feet above the Hudson River on Riverside Drive, it opened in 1993. What’s more, this park is the only one of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. Inspired by Japan’s urban rooftop designs, it was created on top of a now-odorless sewage treatment facility on the Hudson.
Has the pendulum swung back to favoring life in the ‘burbs? A new poll conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reveals that millennials would rather buy a home in the suburbs than squeeze into a cramped condo in the city. The survey showed that 66 percent would prefer to live in the suburbs, 24 percent want to live in rural areas, and just 10 percent want to live in a city center. The NAHB used a sample of 1,506 people born since 1977 to come to their conclusions.
More from the study here