teeny-tiny apartments -&- steady residential market
Could apartments in New York City get any smaller? I guess so… Mayor Bloomberg recently announced a competition for architects to submit designs for mini-apartments measuring just 275 to 300 square feet (25.5 to 28 square meters or half the size of subway cars in Manhattan) to address the surge of demand for studio and one-bedroom rentals. As part of Bloomberg’s “New Housing Marketplace Plan,” a program to finance 165,000 new and renovated units of below-market affordable housing by the end of the 2014 fiscal year, the city is seeking to create an entire building of studio apartments, smaller than what is allowed under current regulations, at 335 East 27th Street, near First Avenue. Bloomberg will suspend zoning regulations to test the housing model at a city-owned site in the Kips Bay neighborhood. These micro apartments must have a window and a kitchen and are aimed at young professionals in the city while they start their careers. Design submissions are due by mid-September, and the apartment design is scheduled for approval in 2013. The apartments, once built, will be sold or rented on the open market. The city will not be subsidizing the project. If successful, this project could help usher in a loosening of the city’s zoning laws regarding minimum housing size. Could you live in a teeny-tiny apartment?
As for the rest of Manhattan, real estate prices and sales volume continued to hold relatively steady in the second quarter of 2012, due to a continued decline in inventory, low interest rates and increased foreign investment. Sales were more robust at the low end as entry-level buyers have the benefit of government-backed mortgages and the super high end as foreign buyers saw Manhattan real estate as a safer investment. According to StreetEasy.com, the median sale price for the second quarter was $840,000, up 2.4 percent from the same period in 2011. Inventory has declined to 14,254 apartments, a 5.9 percent decrease from the same period last year – if this trend persists with rising demand, prices could move higher. More than 3,400 listings went into contract in the quarter, a 20.7 percent increase from a year ago. Manhattan enthusiasm is expected to continue into the early part of summer.
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