By Colin O'Leary
May 17th, 2022
The cost to construct new homes in America continues to rise. Faced with a combination of rising interest rates and shortage of listing inventory, the situation is only getting worse for home buyers. Rising mortgage costs hasn't put a damper on demand for new construction, at least not yet. The median sales price for a home in the United States continues to rise. The median sales price for a home in America is now $425,000 according to Redfin, up nearly 16% year-0ver-year. It's a challenging situation for home builders too, who are struggling to keep up with demand, while trying to turn a profit. Soaring inflation and supply chain issues hasn't helped the situation. The cost for building materials such as lumber, steel, and concrete continues to rise. According to a recent article from the National Association of Home Builders, the cost of building materials has risen 4.9% since the beginning of the year. Building materials prices are up nearly 20% year-over-year, and are up 35.6% since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
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May 11th, 2022
Guest blog post
Is this the year that you will be renovating or updating your new or existing home? Even if you love your home as it is, there’s always room for some updates and refreshers. Over time, paint gets nicked and dirty from city soot and grime, and styles change and evolve. We have been cooped up 24/7 in our apartments working from home for almost 2 years, which has created an increase in wear and tear.
At the same time, there have been some amazing technological advances in the energy efficiency space, so why not incorporate those in your next renovation?
Energy efficiency creates some very substantial long-term savings; maybe not enough for that retirement home on the beach that you have been dreaming about, but who would say “no” to more money in their pocket at the end of every month? Making your home energy efficient is also good for the environment. For those who live in a coop or condo, making your apartment energy efficient will also help improving that D that is posted at the building’s entrance. Read more about that here
Making your home energy efficient and reducing your carbon output will also make you a hero to many and may inspire others to do the same!
Here are the top 5 tips for an energy efficient home renovation from our friends at The Folson Group:
If you live in a single-family home, as opposed to a coop or condo, the options are even wider. Some of the additional single-family home Energy Efficiency options include:
We hope you found these tips useful and will help you make your home more energy efficient, save the planet, and maybe help you get that beach home!
If you are on your coop or condo board, feel free to reach out to The Folson Group directly as they always want to hear what boards and buildings are working on.
Their contact information is: www.thefolsongroup.com | email: firstname.lastname@example.org | (917) 648-8154
By Colin O'Leary
April 5th, 2022
If you are in the market to buy a home in NYC, there are a few things you should know before you start the home buying process. Unlike most parts of the country, New York City is dominated by the condo and co-op market. For this reason, it's important to understand the difference between the two. There are pros and cons for each. Both offer different forms of ownership. One may work better for you than the other depending on your lifestyle and goals.
First, if you are planning to buy in NYC as an investment property, then condos are typically the best way to go. Condos are best suited for investors. Co-ops on the other hand are better suited for end-users. This is because co-op buildings are much more restrictive with rules and regulations. For example, let's say you want to live in the unit you just purchased for a few years, and then rent it out down the road, then a condo might be a better option for you. If you purchase a co-op and then have to move for whatever reason, you might be forced to sell eventually because of the restrictive subletting policies.
Co-ops typically have a higher owner-occupancy rate compared to condos. Some people prefer to purchase in co-op buildings because the buildings are less transient, and you are more likely to know your neighbors. Most co-op buildings allow for some form of subletting, but typically only after a few years of living in the space, and then only temporarily. Some co-op buildings don't allow for subletting at all. Most co-ops don't allow any form of short-term subletting or AirBnB. If you purchase a condo, on the other hand, you can rent it out to anyone you like, for however long you prefer. You can rent it out for a week, month, or year. This is why condos are more suited for investors. Co-op buildings are also typically less pet friendly compared to condos, often coming with restrictions on cats and dogs.
Another difference between the two is that condos are typically more expensive. For example, a buyer might pay $900,000 for a one-bedroom condo in NYC, while a similar size unit in a co-op building could go for $700,000. One of the main reasons for this is because of the smaller pool of potential buyers in the co-op market. The condo market on the other hand is full of both investors and end-users. Co-ops typically require a larger down-payment of 20% or more. Condos can be purchased with a 10% down payment or less in some situations.
Another thing to know is that condos are typically quicker and easier resell. Co-op sales typically take longer because of the lengthy co-op board application. It also costs more to resell a co-op. For example, in addition to the typical broker, attorney, and transfer tax fees, most co-op buildings also charge sellers something known as a "flip tax," which is a percentage of the sale price, usual anywhere from 1-3% or more. Condos don't typically charge a flip tax when selling.
Another difference between the two is the ownership structure. Buying a co-op is sort of like buying stock in a corporation. The owners of co-op units are more like tenants or shareholders than owners of real property. Co-op owners are assigned a certain number of shares when purchasing in the building. The number of shares assigned depends on the particular unit purchased in the building. For example, a larger unit on a higher floor would have more shares assigned than a smaller unit on a lower floor. Co-ops typically require buyers to purchase as a primary residence or pied-a-terre, while condos have no such restriction.
Another major difference between a condo and a co-op in NYC is the application process. Co-op buildings have a much more extensive application process compared to condos. If you purchase in a co-op in NYC you will have to go through a tedious board approval process that requires an in-person interview with the co-op board (sometimes on Zoom now). This application process includes revealing extensive financial and personal information. Co-op boards hold tremendous power over unit owners and potential buyers. Condos have a somewhat similar purchase application, but it's much less extensive. When you purchase a condo, you are buying the actual space, and not shares in the building.
Another thing you should know about condos and co-ops in NYC is that you will be required to pay a monthly fee to help maintain the building. This is another cost in addition to the monthly mortgage cost. This monthly fee is used for things like ongoing building maintenance, employee salaries, gas, water, electricity, and insurance. Condo buildings typically refer to this monthly fee as the "common charge," while co-op buildings refer to this as the "maintenance fee." The monthly maintenance fee in a co-op building is determined by the number of shares assigned to each unit. Common charges in a condo building are calculated by taking each unit's percentage of common interests and multiplying it by the total operating costs of the building. One of the big differences between condos and co-ops is that property taxes are included in the monthly fee at co-op buildings, while condo owners pay property taxes directly to the government.
To conclude, its important to do your research before you start your home search. There are pros and cons to each property type. One may work better than the other for you depending on your particular situation. If you have any questions about buying or selling a co-op or condo in NYC, please email us at email@example.com or call 646-300-2012.
By Colin O'Leary
March 31st, 2022
The housing market in Queens is continuing its hot streak into 2022. Queens County, the second largest borough in NYC by population size, has a population of over 2,405,000 according to the 2020 census. That's up from around 2,200,000 people in 2010. Only Brooklyn (Kings County) has more people than Queens. To put things in perspective, if Queens were its own city, it would rank on the list of the top five largest cities in America.
Queens is one of the most culturally diverse places in the United States, with a foreign-born population of nearly 50%. With easy access to critical infrastructures such as highways, bridges, airports (JFK & LaGuardia), hospitals, schools, parks, beaches, and public transportation, it's no surprise people are choosing to live in Queens. The close proximity to Manhattan makes it a great place to live for the bridge & tunnel crowd. The property tax burden is also less for homeowners in Queens compared to nearby Nassau County making it a more affordable option.
The pandemic barely made a dent in the hot housing market in Queens. Many people escaped more densely populated areas of the city to find space in more suburban parts of Queens. Like most parts of the city, home prices in Queens have risen drastically over the past decade. For example, the typical value of a home in Queens was around $460,000 in April of 2012, according to Zillow Home Value Price Index. Today the typical value of a home in Queens is closer to $750,000. That's a sizable 38% increase over the past decade.
Queens is a large county that encompasses over 178 square miles. Homes tend to sell for more in the western part of the county which is closer to Manhattan. The architecture in Queens is just as diverse as the people. Queens has densely populated urban neighborhoods with large residential towers like Long Island City. It also has more suburban neighborhoods like Bayside and beachfront communities like the Rockaways.
Some of the hottest neighborhoods in Queens right now are Long Island City, Astoria, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Ridgewood, Forest Hills, and Flushing. The market shows no signs of slowing down in Queens, where supply continues to be outpaced by fierce demand for homes, often leading to bidding wars on properties. Will rising interest rates, inflation, and the war in Ukraine eventually put a damper on the demand for homes in Queens? Only time will tell.
By Colin O'Leary
March 29th, 2022
It was a long and cold winter but the springtime is finally here. Thankfully warmer days are ahead of us. There's no place like NYC in the springtime. It's is a time for renewal. A time for growth. It's when this city starts to come alive again. It's a time to explore the big city and all that it has to offer. There are a lot of fun places to explore in NYC in the springtime. We've put together a list for you of a few fun things to do during the springtime in NYC. Enjoy!