Real Es­tate


Hong Kong Tatler - - Con­tents -

When it comes to high-end hous­ing, it’s hard to beat the Big Ap­ple

Frank sina­tra, billy joel, Lou Reed, Snow Pa­trol, Jay-z and Ali­cia Keys are just some of the renowned mu­si­cians who have penned glow­ing odes to New York over the years. Now, more than ever, real es­tate buy­ers want to be a part of the city’s il­lus­tri­ous his­tory. “New York is the epi­cen­tre of the US lux­ury mar­ket—and no other city in the US is see­ing such strong de­mand in high­end hous­ing,” says Nikki Field, se­nior global real es­tate ad­viser at Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty. She adds, “Con­sumer con­fi­dence in both the US econ­omy and the dol­lar has con­trib­uted to new record-set­ting prices in the lux­ury seg­ment.”

Kirk Henck­els, vice-chair­man of Sav­ills’ New York af­fil­i­ate Stri­b­ling & As­so­ci­ates, agrees. “The world eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion and cur­rency po­si­tions made New York City a piggy bank for global buy­ers. Our mar­ket is rel­a­tively sta­ble year in and year out.”

Adds Laura Des­moine, se­nior vi­cepres­i­dent of bro­ker­age mar­ket­ing at En­gel & Völk­ers NYC, “New York’s real es­tate mar­ket is one of the safest to in­vest in, as the buy­ing and sell­ing process is trans­par­ent and the mar­ket is in a state of al­most per­pet­ual growth.” The global prop­erty agency re­cently opened its first of­fice in New York, a clear sign of its faith in the mar­ket. “En­gel & Völk­ers has al­ways had its sights set on New York and was wait­ing un­til the tim­ing was right, in terms of the global mar­ket­place and in­ter­est from our clients, to launch the busi­ness here,” says Des­moine. “Never has there been more in­ter­na­tional de­mand for New York than there is right now.”

Rel­a­tive to other global me­trop­o­lises, New York is “still good value,” says Henck­els. And, says Des­moine, “If you’re in­ter­ested in in­vest­ment prop­erty, New York is a great lo­ca­tion, be­cause you can achieve high rents and there is an abun­dant pool of ten­ants.”

For those seek­ing a New York prop­erty as a sec­ond—or third or fourth—home, there are also the el­e­ments of cul­ture and en­ter­tain­ment. “New York is a tremen­dously fun, ex­cit­ing and cut­ting-edge world cap­i­tal with fan­tas­tic shop­ping, the­atre, res­tau­rant and nightlife of­fer­ings,” says Henck­els.

De­spite ev­ery­thing that makes it so ap­peal­ing, New York is not the right mar­ket for buy­ers look­ing to make a quick buck. “I think there is a po­ten­tial down­side for spec­u­la­tors—peo­ple who want to buy on Mon­day, sell on Wed­nes­day and turn a profit,” says Des­moine. “It’s very hard to time the mar­ket and jump into the right build­ing at ex­actly the right mo­ment. Real es­tate in New York City is an as­set that makes a great hedge against in­fla­tion and his­tor­i­cally in­creases over time. Rapid spikes in pric­ing are not com­mon, and they’re not some­thing we should see in a healthy mar­ket­place.”

In ad­di­tion, prospec­tive own­ers should be care­ful what they buy—and who they

buy through. “The New York mar­ket is very com­pli­cated. It’s im­per­a­tive to have a well-es­tab­lished bro­ker who is known to be rep­utable, one who isn’t just out to make a sale,” says Henck­els. “There is an enor­mous se­lec­tion of prop­erty to choose from—from 90-storey con­do­mini­ums with views for­ever and ex­trav­a­gant ser­vices to pri­vate and quaint his­toric town­houses, or old-world co­op­er­a­tives with their grand ar­chi­tec­ture.”

Ac­cord­ing to Des­moine, for­eign buy­ers should be wary of co-ops. “The buy­ing process takes time, and re­quires a level of per­sonal and fi­nan­cial dis­clo­sure that over­seas buy­ers of­ten find too in­tru­sive. Co-op build­ings also have house rules that can limit the owner’s abil­ity to en­ter­tain, sub­let, ren­o­vate or even sell a unit.”

More at­trac­tive to for­eign buy­ers are con­do­mini­ums, which make up the vast ma­jor­ity of new de­vel­op­ments in New York, says Henck­els. These are, how­ever, roughly 20 per cent more ex­pen­sive than buy­ing into a co-op­er­a­tive. Town­houses don’t of­fer the ser­vices of a con­do­minium, but they’re less ex­pen­sive than con­dos or co-ops and de­liver to­tal pri­vacy, he says. Clearly there’s some­thing for everyone chas­ing the New York dream.

amer­i­can dream From left: Nat­u­ral light floods this liv­ing room at 10 Gra­cie Square on the East River; the view of Cen­tral Park from the pent­house at The Pierre

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