Throughout the years, we have befriended many quality real estate brokers around the country and other parts of the world. In our effort to always provide the best possible service to our clients, we have built professional relationships and friendships with the best of these brokers and touch base on a regular basis to discuss how our individual regions are changing while learning about new services and technologies they’ve implemented. This year, we will share a collection of articles co-written with some of these amazing professionals.
This month, we are featuring Lisa Vaamonde, a licensed associate real estate broker with Compass in New York City. Lisa has been advising clients in New York City for 17 years in a city where the process of buying and selling real estate is very different than anywhere else in the country. Lisa’s Mother, sister and family live in Seattle so she has a special connection to our city. She has spent a good amount of time here over the years and is a perfect source to compare how real estate is bought and sold in both cities.
We had the opportunity for a quick Q&A with Lisa found below.
First of all Lisa, you live in Chelsea, what do you love most about living in Chelsea and Manhattan?
I have lived in Chelsea for 20 years during which time I have seen many positive changes. Many of the art galleries left Soho in early 2000 and moved to Chelsea. With this movement came more services, restaurants, book stores, and small boutiques and a large infusion of culture.
The neighborhood changed in part due to the development of High Line Park, an elevated linear park and railway that was created on an old New York Central Railroad spur on the West Side of Manhattan. Opened in 2009, High Line Park extends from the Meatpacking District at 14th Street to Hudson Yards on 34th Street. The High Line has been a true testament of redeveloping obsolete structures as public spaces. The High Line has also spurred real estate development and increase in housing values with construction by prominent architects such as Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, Shigeru Ban, Neil Denari and Cary Tamarkin. And of course we have to mention the new Whitney Museum, designed by Renzo Piano which opened in 2015 at the southern end of the Highline.
The city has developed the waterfront to create parkland along the Hudson River. Hudson River Park extends from 59th Street to Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan. It is a wonderful sanctuary for people to escape to, with lawns for picnics, and bike paths, and children’s play areas.
The thing that makes New York special is the diversity of culture, it is a true melting pot. One can never be bored in this city with so many cultural opportunities, art, theatre, film, food, restaurants, etc.
Most are familiar with the main attractions in Manhattan, What are some of your favorite hidden gems people visiting Manhattan should know about?
One of my favorite staycations in the city is Governor’s Island. It is a 172 acre island in New York Harbor and is accessible by Ferry from the Financial District. When the Coast Guard base closed their base here was developed into a park which was fully completed in 2016 and is open to the public from May to October. Activities on the island include walking tours, provided by the National Park Service, bike riding, picnicking, art installations, fairs, drone races, festivals, and concerts and even a hammock park to relax. It is also home to the annual Governor’s Island Art Fair which takes place in the buildings along Colonel’s Row and Castle Williams, which were built in the early 1800’s. A ferry ride to Governor’s Island is a mini vacation without leaving Manhattan!
Marie’s Crisis Cafe, a below-ground piano bar, is another fun NY hidden treasure in the West Village – took my sister here when she was visiting in December and her comment was “only in NYC.”
How is buying and selling real estate different in Manhattan?
There is no MLS in Manhattan. The majority of real estate in Manhattan is actually rental buildings and units. Of the real estate sold, 70% are Coops. Cooperatives are about 25% less expensive in price than condominiums, however they come with stricter guidelines since you are essentially buying shares in a corporation. The remaining housing inventory is made up of condominiums and only 3% of the market is made up of townhouses or single family homes.
What do you predict your market will look like in the coming year?
It is a buyers market for the first time in years! Now is a great time to buy in New York City. Prices have softened and there is currently about 9 months worth of inventory. Inventory is up about 26% from last year. This gives buyers a lot of choice at the moment and therefore more negotiability. However, the amount of competition one will encounter is dependent on the price point. Properties under 1 Million remain very active. The 1 to 3 million range is stable and attractive for buyers right now. The price point of 4 million and over has softened. There is a lot of luxury Real Estate on the market right now and a lot of new construction that will add to the inventory.
What I would suggest if someone is interested in moving to NYC?
If one is not that familiar with the city and is not sure what area suits them best, wander around. Each neighborhood has its own distinct feel and flavor. Work with a broker who knows NYC, the neighborhood you are interested in and is familiar with the financial requirements for owners of the buildings in the area. Since 70% of the market consists of co-ops, it is important that you work with an experienced real estate adviser who knows the city and understands the nuances of properties in each particular neighborhood.
Thank you for being so kind to give us a little glimpse of life in Chelsea and Manhattan Lisa! You have always been so generous with your knowledge and referring to us as clients. You know who we call when one of our friends is looking for a home in your area!
Thank you for thinking of me Enrico. New York City has been my home for almost 40 years and I love sharing this wonderful, vibrant city with others.
We hope you enjoyed this new segment of our blog. Let us know when you are considering buying a vacation or investment property out of area or whether you are relocating. It would be a pleasure to connect you with quality professionals within our network so you will receive the same quality of service we provide locally in the Seattle region.
From the SeattlebyDesign Team: Enrico Pozzo, Barry Bergner & Chris Kallin