Talking Real Estate with J/R Luxe
By W.A. Muller
Jennifer Roberts and Randi Fisher of J/R Luxe, Manhattan's newest brokerage team, answer our burning questions about hunting for the perfect Manhattan apartment, the hottest amenities in new developments and where to find that perfect four-bedroom apartment.
What's hot in the new development sector of the market? What is new and noteworthy about town?
Jennifer Roberts: On the new development side, we are seeing some very compelling and rare family-sized inventory. 20 East End Avenue, which just launched sales, is a great example uptown. With the standard apartments over 2,000 square feet, and amenities such as a wine cellar and wine tasting room, the building sets a new bar for luxury on the Upper East Side. And in Tribeca the product offering on the condo side just gets more and more interesting. One building we love is The Sterling Mason which boasts large homes and a 92Y-designed playroom, and where original brick is juxtaposed with a modern aluminum clad façade. Buyers in this wheelhouse should act fast – the market is shifting, and new development is going in the other direction.
In what way?
Randi Fisher: There are incredible opportunities coming down the pike for smaller homes that are more attainably priced. Keep an eye out for new-to-market "attainable luxury" projects – it's going to be the theme for 2015! A gem to know about is 50 Clinton on the Lower East Side – a loft-like building with primarily one- and two-bedroom homes. It's hitting the market next year. Instead of a focus on huge footprints, these and many more buildings we've heard about will be focused on efficiency, and a lot of the 'living' will be done in the communal parts of the building, so look out for even more attention than ever focused on rooftops, lounges and the like. That type of product will surely be absorbed quickly and is sorely needed in the city. First-time homebuyers and investors looking for value should keep their ear to the ground; they will have a lot more exciting options in the coming 12 to 18 months.
What is different about buying or selling a home now opposed to a year ago?
Jennifer Roberts: It is definitely easier for those house hunting now than it was at this time last year but obviously that's not saying much. Buyers are still facing tough competition for the best apartments – those reasonably priced one-bedrooms as well as three- and four-bedrooms in the best areas of the city. Now is a great time to sell but, more importantly, it won't be this way for much longer so potential sellers should think about getting in the game before it's too late.
What are the challenges of apartment hunting these days?
Randi Fisher: We hear about taxes constantly. We aren't seeing tax abatements for new developments nearly as much, although there are the exceptions – buildings like The Adeline in Central Harlem – that are still being granted the rare 421a tax abatement by the city. For those that are willing to go slightly further north, they will reap the benefits of lower taxes and usually common charges not to mention the benefit of a beautiful neighborhood surrounded by three New York City parks. With condo values in Harlem surging, the neighborhood is becoming quite the investors' market lately.
What's a fantastic listing your team is marketing right now?
Randi Fisher: We have a one-of-a-kind listing at 195 Hudson Street, a beautiful boutique building in Tribeca with soaring 11-foot ceilings and a gorgeous master suite with a custom-built dressing room. The apartment comes with huge private storage space and, more importantly, a parking space.
Tell us about J/R Luxe. What makes you unique?
Jennifer Roberts: We are Coldwell Banker Previews International Property Specialists with Coldwell Banker Previews International, the luxury division of Coldwell Banker with offices in 52 countries. We provide our clients with a truly personal experience, evaluating each and every customer's unique needs to pair the perfect buyer with the perfect home. And, since Coldwell Banker is a sponsor of NBC's popular real estate show Open House NYC, we have unlimited access to the show. Plus, no brokerage holds a candle to Coldwell Banker in terms of international reach – our listings are instantly seen by investors and house hunters eager to own their own piece of New York City in cities like Dubai, Shanghai and Rio de Janeiro.
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