There’s been lots of chatter on the street and in the media on the subject of “poor doors” in new developments for those who have qualified for affordable housing. And though this subject has created quite a bit of controversy, it’s actually not quite what it seems. Rather than being outraged that our city allows real estate developers to “discriminate” against those who could never consider paying for the privilege of residing in their latest and greatest luxury building, naysayers should think about reading up on exactly what affordable housing is and isn’t—“rich” home seekers having an edge over the so-called “poor.”
real estate trends
Okay, we know homes are more often than not sold through real estate agents, but did you know that more than a few are sold under the radar? That somehow, there are always a handful of residences “secretly” up for sale, and try as he/she may, your broker will never come across them on an MLS—a place where just about everybody on earth can search for a specific building or neighborhood any day of the week. Here’s the lowdown: These homes are known as “pocket listings” and though there is a signed and perfectly legal agreement between the agent and seller, the listing is never entered into an MLS for the world to see. There’s no big open house shindig; no advertising—and obviously no press splash.
So, why would a seller risk more unsold days on the market instead of opting for an open listing, you ask?
In the mid-2000s, when the real estate market was red hot with new developments, home seekers gave nary a thought to making what can be described as the biggest decision of their lives: Buying something sight unseen.
For them, traipsing through model apartments, checking out pretty renderings, gawking at miniature models, stroking teensy squares of countertop finishes, thumbing through shiny marketing materials filled with information on everything but the kitchen sink to make an actual purchase was par for the course. (Oh, wait! They did include the kitchen sink.) But then all that changed by late 2007 when the stock market took a nosedive. Not a single potential buyer would even consider a new place to hang their hats without actually standing inside a frameless glass shower stall, checking out the size of a Sub-Zero refrigerator or getting high from real-time views seen through floor-to-ceiling window—and developers took note.
But that was then and this is now, and with an improving economy and increasing demand, the tides seem to have turned once again.
At any given hour when you turn on a home design television channel you have about a 50% chance of landing on a realty show about flipping houses. In real life, though, it’s not all hunky property brothers and fairy tale endings; trying to flip a house is a gamble, which is why oftentimes the most successful flippers are those on the inside, like real estate developers and seasoned brokers.
For anyone looking to make a flip, New York is ripe with opportunity thanks to low inventory and a constant race to be bigger and better. Within the city, Downtown Manhattan is the ripest fruit on the vine. Full of highly desirable, trendy neighborhoods, it’s a hot bed for investors. There’s no textbook definition of a flip, but it’s generally thought of as a three-year turnover. Downtown there have been 58 apartment swaps within the past three years. We take a look at some of the greatest hits.