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Can You Still Get New York City Bargain Real Estate?

October 16, 2011

in Home Buying Guide, Regional Real Estate Tips | Tagged ,

Always wondered what it would be like to live in a cozy apartment just blocks away from Central Park or in a townhouse close to ethnic eateries in the quaint East Village? Get looking. It’s always a good time to invest in New York real estate. But, if you are hunting for New York City bargain real estate, you may want to take your dollars elsewhere, says Fern Hamberger, senior associate broker at CitiHabitats.

new york city bargain real estate“We are back in business,” Hamberger said. “Two years ago, it was a slightly different story. But now the market is good, people are looking and banks are giving money.” There are no bargains in New York City, just like there are no foreclosures, she said. This despite recent reports that one in every five residents live in poverty in the city. What keeps New York City’s home price tags at an eye-popping range is its ability to attract billionaires from all over the world. A new measure of expensive properties show that homes of the uber elite rose by an average of 10 percent in value in the first six months of this year, according to Among the locations listed in the story is New York City, which is considered a real estate destination by the super rich. That’s what keeps home prices soaring in the city, despite economic downturns and stock market gyrations. “Bargains are in Miami and Florida,” Hamberger said. “The market here is very tight, and it’s an excellent market to invest.” Here are a few tips from Hamberger for buyers who are looking at New York real estate for sale now.

Hire a realtor®: Like in all parts of the country, you want an expert in your corner before venturing into the competitive Big Apple market. Doing your own Internet and other kind of research is good, but at the end of the day you need the help of a professional to help you navigate through the myriad options. In New York City, housing choices range from cooperatives and condominiums to townhouses and brownstones. “You can go for a fixer-upper at a good price, but if you don’t have a good architect it can get messed up,” Hamberger said. “It’s all about the broker. Every broker has a network of professionals that a buyer can tap into.”

Educate yourself on the different options: Although cooperatives are not new, they are more prevalent in New York City than any other part of the country. Of the apartments for sale in New York City, 85 percent are in cooperative buildings while 15 percent are in condominiums, according to You may not find what you would consider “bargain real estate,” but prices are more attractive for cooperatives, according to the website. Although, you may just own a share in the co-op, and the corporation pays the building’s mortgage.

Do your homework: If you are looking to buy into a co-op, do some research on the financials, says Hamberger. It’s important for you to know the financial health of the entity before buying your share. Most co-ops are like corporations and have their financial documents in order and they can be accessed easily. Also remember that the tenant owners have a right to reject you as a potential owner. Usually, a board of directors at the co-op interviews all potential tenants, and they take more than your financials into consideration.

Zero in on neighborhoods that suit your lifestyle: If you are a young professional and want the city life, look for a place in mid-town Manhattan, where it’s vibrant, loud and always happening. If you have a dog or a family, you might want to look into the suburbs such as Brooklyn and Queens or even upper Manhattan, preferably a place near a playground or a dog park.

Now may be a good time to buy: New condos are rare this fall, according to the New York Times. Projects bore the brunt of the economic downturn and global credit crunch. There are 1,111 new units that have opened or will open this year in Manhattan and south of Harlem, according to the Times, down from 1,767 the previous year. The scarcity means prices will be competitive in the future because of a lack of supply, ending concessions and putting developers and sellers at an advantage. If you are interested in a new unit, start looking before the prices shoot up again.

There’s one other piece of advice that Hamberger has. Any corner of Manhattan is a good buy, said Hamberger. But do your research while buying in such a way that if you have to, you can turn around and sell the property the next day. “If you can’t sell it, don’t buy it,” Hansberger said. “Because life happens and you don’t want to be stuck with a house you cannot sell.”

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