Seniors See Their Home Equity Soar


Homes owned by seniors are seeing equity soar over their pre-recession peak. Seniors saw an estimated $140.2 billion increase in the aggregate value of their homes to a total of $5.83 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2015. That marks an all-time high, according to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association/RiskSpan Reverse Mortgage Market Index.

“Significant gains in senior home equity are adding stability to the traditionally three-legged retirement funding stool of savings, social security, and pensions,” says Peter Bell, NRMLA president and CEO. “For retirees leaving the workplace with a defined benefit plan, home equity is a fourth leg of the stool, available to tap when needed. For the millions of seniors without a pension, home equity is a valuable resource and can be an integral part of their retirement funding strategy.”

NRMLA’s index shows an increase of 8.1 percent year-over-year in equity among seniors in 2015. What’s more, the fourth quarter senior equity value also represents a 16 percent increase from the pre-recession peak. In the fourth quarter of 2006, senior equity levels reached an estimated $5.04 trillion.

Source: National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association

7 Real Estate Facts


There’s a ton of real estate intel on the interwebs. (Why, you’re looking at some of it right now!) But even if you consider yourself the most research-savvy digital consumer of all time, you may not know everything you need to make the wisest decisions when negotiating a real estate transaction.

Maybe you’re already familiar with real estate terms like “escrow” and “easement.” But we’re not just talking about a few words that test your real estate vocabulary. We’re talking about processing the bazillions of details you’ll deal with to buy or sell a home.

Here’s a quick list of things you may not already know that could put, or keep, money in your wallet while you’re in the real estate game.

1. Home ownership is an important way to build wealth. Home ownership isn’t for everybody. But those who step onto the home ownership ladder steadily build wealth over their lifetime. A typical homeowner’s net worth was $195,400, while that of the typical renter was $5,400, according to 2013 data from the Federal Reserve, the most recent available. New data is expected in 2016, and Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, predicts it will show $225,000 to $230,000 in median net worth for homeowners and around $5,000 for renters.

2. Owning real estate can save you hundreds in taxes. If sending a chunk of your hard-earned money to Uncle Sam or your local government makes you nuts, real estate is for you. When you own, you may be eligible for a slew of real estate tax deductions and credits, including state and local income and property taxes, and mortgage interest and mortgage insurance payments. At the average tax rate, real estate deductions helped taxpayers save roughly $100 billion in 2015, according to NAR analysis.

3. Buyers who tapped expert real estate advice were glad they did. When buyers who’ve recently worked with a real estate agent were asked why they teamed up with one, more than half said it was an important step in finding the right home, according to NAR’s “2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.” Nearly four out of five consumers, 78%, say their agent was a very useful source of information.

4. Sellers were just as happy they worked with a real estate pro. Your fellow consumers wholeheartedly believe it’s important to work with an agent when selling. Nearly nine out of 10 sellers, or 89%, did just that. They also reported a median gain on the sale of their home of $40,000 more than they paid for it, according to NAR’s “2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.”

5. Sellers who spruce up and declutter their home draw more interest. Staging a home makes a big difference in buyers’ ability to see its potential. Four out of five real estate agents who work exclusively with buyers say staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize themselves living in the staged home, according to NAR’s “2015 Profile of Home Staging.” Nearly half say staging will increase a home’s market value, and just under one-third say buyers are more willing to overlook a property’s faults when staging highlights its best features.

6. Sell-it-yourselfers are a dwindling crowd. The number of sellers who sold their home without a real estate pro has dropped to 8%, according to the buyer and seller study — the lowest share since this stat was first tracked in 1981.

7. Sellers who go it alone leave money on the table. The median price of homes sold without the expertise of a real estate agent was $210,000 in 2015. That’s $35,000 less than the median price of homes sold by sellers who worked with an agent, or $245,000, according to the buyer and seller study.

Flatiron condo with an address to impress sees $29M deal


A nighttime view of the roof of 212 Fifth Avenue. Right: A street view of the condo conversion at the building. (Image courtesy of

Last November, LLNYC reported that a new condo conversion at 212 Fifth Avenue, along Madison Square Park, was using two coveted symbols of the “true” Manhattanite – the 212 area code and the Fifth Avenue address — to drum up sales. Now, roughly six months later, the strategy seems to be paying off.

The priciest unit currently available in the building, the 19th floor, has just entered into contract for slightly less than $29 million, LLNYC has learned.

Even in these heady times, $29 million for a downtown condo is nothing to sneeze at. This isn’t a West Village townhouse mansion, or a new construction high rise like One Madison. It is a 1912 office building, one albeit that has a great street presence.

It is currently undergoing a meticulous gut renovation and work is scheduled to wrap up this summer. (A side note for history buffs: the renovation uncovered a swastika patterned tile floor from the era before the Third Reich adopted and forever destroyed that symbol.)

When completed, the 48-unit building will offer the typical panoply of high-end fixtures:
coffered ceilings, book-matched slabs of Statuary marble, solid hardwood floors “in an oversized version of the stylish Chevron pattern,” windows that are said to be “at least twice as large as any modern counterparts,” according to one press release. But still, it seems like it may be the address that is setting it apart.

Last year, Thor Equities’ Joseph Sitt, who is co-developing the building with Madison Equities’ Robert Gladstone, told the New York Daily News that, “Honestly, the address was 50 percent of the reason I bought the building.”

“It is the ultimate New York address. You can’t make that up. It has incredible appeal to it,” Shlomi Reuveni, managing director of TOWN New Development, who is marketing the project told LLNYC. “I can’t say that people buy because of the address, but it adds a certain cache.”

The penthouse unit has not yet been released, and mum’s the word on what it will be asking. However, it is sure to be asking for a hefty sum, partially because, beyond the finishes, the world’s appetite for emblems of New York prestige seems bottomless.

The waiting game: JDS, PMG will hold off launching sales at 111 West 57th Street

Developers may wait a year to market units at skinny supertall


Kevin Maloney, Michael Stern and the sales office for 111 West 57th Street

The slick sales office for 111 West 57th Street could be lying idle for quite a while.
JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group will wait about a year before launching sales at their Billionaires’ Row skyscraper, with PMG’s Kevin Maloney acknowledging that the current environment isn’t friendly to ultra-high-end projects.
“If the market were red-hot, people would be buying off plans, throwing checks down, and it’d be great,” Maloney told Bloomberg on Thursday. “But if you have a market where you think marketing would be ineffective for now, why would you launch and spend the money? Wait.”

The project had been widely expected to launch sales imminently. The glitzy sales office is already completed.
Market insiders told The Real Deal that they weren’t surprised by the developers’ decision to delay a sales push, given the concern of oversupply in the ultra-high-end condo market and the fact that they don’t yet have a product to flaunt. Construction on the 60-unit building is ongoing, with the superstructure well underway, sources said.
“This should not come as a shock,” said Andy Singer, CEO of the Singer & Bassuk

Organization TRData LogoTINY, who isn’t involved with 111 West 57th Street. “There is a pause in the market whether developers like it or not. It seems pretty clear that there are more units on the market than there appear to be prospective buyers.”
There are currently several developments along Billionaires’ Row wooing the same set of buyers that 111 West 57th Street would cater to, including Vornado Realty Trust’s 220 Central Park South and CIM Group and Macklowe Group’s 432 Park Avenue. Extell Development is also trying to sell the remaining units at One57, at 157 West 57th Street, and is looking for capital partners for Central Park Tower, another ultra-luxury project at 217 West 57th Street.

A spokesperson for JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group said only that it’s “an exceptional property, still in early stages of its development. It will be actively marketed when the time is right.”
JDS and PMG likely want to see sentiment in the luxury market improve and eventually entice buyers with apartments that have more immediate move-in dates. Buyers in choppy markets often don’t want to bet on projects that won’t be delivered for several years, said Jacqueline Urgo, president of new development marketing firm, the Marketing Directors.
The project won’t be delivered until early 2018.
“I would think that 12 to 15 months in advance of delivery is actually the appropriate lead time for marketing when the market is unsure,” Urgo said. “That way, you make sure you’re not leaving money on the table. The closer you get to delivery time, the stronger your sales are likely to be.”

Still, there’s no guarantee for JDS and PMG that the market will look much better in a year’s time, especially since the levels of high-end inventory in the market continue to rise. Roughly 14,500 units are expected to hit the market between 2015 and 2017, according to a recent analysis by Miller Samuel for The Real Deal. Assuming the current rate of sales, Manhattan will have 5 years of excess inventory by the end of 2017, according to the analysis.

“I’m not optimistic about sales,” Singer said. “So much inventory has been has already been created and we’re going to see a lot of product that does not sell over the next year.”
A spokesperson for AIG, the first mortgage lender to the tune of $400 million on the $1.45 billion project, was not immediately available for comment. Apollo Global Management, which provided the $325 million in mezzanine financing, declined to comment.
But Apollo previously defended its position in the project in response to questions from an analyst during a February earnings call for its mortgage REIT, Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance.

“I think they and we still feel very comfortable with the basis,” said Scott Weiner, the head of Apollo’s commercial real estate debt business. “There’s obviously plenty of sales that are in the press and other that are well in excess of certainly our basis and also the sponsors’ basis,” he responded. “I can’t speak to their strategy in terms of how they want to approach presales, but there’s certainly no — they don’t have to sell anything right now. If they choose to sell, they can.”
Tags: 111 West 57th Street, JDS Development, Property Markets Group

Akelius buys Clinton Hill multifamily complex for $57M

Six-building Mohawk Apartments was converted from a hotel in the 1980s


Akelius Real Estate Management picked up a six-building Clinton Hill multifamily complex known as Mohawk Apartments for $56.5 million, or roughly $500 per square foot, sources told The Real Deal.

The 113,900-square-foot complex, located on Washington Avenue and St. James Place, contains 86 apartments. Five of the contiguous brownstones are walk-ups, while one is an elevator building.

Abe Shnay, who now runs SK Development with his son Scott, bought the Mohawk Hotel from the city in 1984 and proceeded to convert it into apartments.

Although Marcus & Millichap recently marketed the complex as offering a “clear path to condominium,” Akelius Real Estate Management will likely not pursue that route. The fast-growing U.S. arm of Swedish investment giant Akelius specializes in long-term holds of multifamily properties.

Kunal Chothani, an executive at the firm, said the plan is to renovate the common areas and add amenity spaces in the basement.
Since launching in spring 2015, the Akelius offshoot has a portfolio of over 1,000 apartments.

Marcus & Millichap’s Peter Von Der Ahe, Shaun Riney and Joseph Koicim brokered the deal, which closed Wednesday.
“You’re seeing the institutional higher end of the multifamily market in the city slow down, but the middle market — $50 million to $70 million — is very active right now,” Koicim said.

The buildings, which have a 2.27 percent cap rate, are part of the Clinton Hill Historic District. In the early 1900s, they were constructed in the Romanesque Revival and Beaux Arts styles. The addresses include 369, 373 and 379 Washington Avenue and 76, 80 and 84 St. James Place, property records show.

The apartments are a mix of rent-stabilized and market-rate units, with market-rate rents ranging from $2,500 to $4,000 per month. The average apartment size is 1,000 square feet.

SK Development’s projects in the pipeline include a hotel at 626 Driggs Avenue and a condo building at 280 Metropolitan Avenue, both in Williamsburg. Abe Shnay recently paid $7 million for a co-op unit at 10 Bond Street, a Greenwich Village building he developed with the Chetrit Group and Ironstate Development.
Tags: Akelius, Clinton Hill, marcus millichap

South Florida roundup

Heritage Real Estate scores $60M loan for 23-story Harlem condo

Madison Realty Capital provides construction financing for 1399 Park Avenue1399-Park-Avenue-Heritage-Real-Estate-Partners-Terrace-on-the-Park-Goldstein-Hill-West-2-224x300

Jeremy Markowitz’s Heritage Real Estate Partners received a $60 million construction loan from Madison Realty Capital for its planned 23-story luxury condominium building in East Harlem.

Heritage’s glass-and-stone building at 1399 Park Avenue is slated to hold 72 condos as well as 19,000 square feet of community facility space on the lower floors, Madison Realty Capital said in a statement Thursday.

The developer has started foundation work at the property after two years spent assembling the site, located on the corner of East 104th Street. The planned residential building will feature a mix of units ranging from studios to four-bedroom apartments, with amenities including a fitness center and communal rooftop terrace.
The Corcoran Group is handling sales for the Goldstein, Hill & West Architects-designed project.
Heritage filed a “test the market” application with the state Attorney General’s office earlier this year, indicating that the developer was positioning 1399 Park Avenue to hold condos.

Previous plans for the property called for a 108-unit building spanning 94,000 square feet of residential space that was widely reported to hold rental units.
Markowitz’s firm acquired the East Harlem parcel for $12 million in late 2014. Markowitz declined to comment on the project and the construction financing. – Rey Mashayekhi

Tags: condo financing, Corcoran Group, East Harlem, financing, heritage real estate partners, madison realty capital, The Corcoran Group

Nashville-based series to premiere on DIY Network next month

A Nashville-based home renovation series will air on DIY beginning next month, according to a news release.
The new series, “Nashville Flipped,” will follow contractor Troy Dean Shafer and his design team as they rebuild homes in the city’s historic communities.


“Everybody knows Nashville has a rich music history, but just like every great song, every historic house has a story to tell,” Shafer said in the release. “I love to get to the heart of these homes and bring them back to life. I update them with modern materials, but I always stay true to the original design and character.”
The nine-episode series will premiere on April 13 and will feature the team renovating a 1904 Victorian-style home in Springfield.

L.A. buyer pays near record for Green Hills apartment project

The Village Green Hills Apartments have been sold to an L.A.-based buyer for $22.5 million.
The buyer — Champion Real Estate Co. — is no stranger to Nashville, where it owns six apartment projects, including East Nashville’s Amplify on Main, according to a news release.


The deal represents a purchase price of about $274,390 per unit, making it the second-highest per-unit price ever paid for a Nashville apartment project. The top spot still goes to the $287,000 per unit that The Connor Group paid almost two years ago for Midtown’s Elliston 23.
Village Green Hills Apartments, which has 82 units, is located at 2215 Abbott Martin Road.
The deal was brokered by Miller Harris, of the Kirkland Co.

Eric Snyder
Managing Editor
Nashville Business Journal

NYC DEVELOPMENT NEWS ‘Boutique’ Condos Replacing a Gramercy Church Hit the Market

Each of the development’s full-floor units will have a private outdoor space


Name/Address: 355 East 19th Street

Developer: Yosi Cohen

Architect: Brent M. Porter Architects

Size: seven full-floor condos

Prices: from $2.925 million

Sales & Marketing: The Corcoran Group’s Tamir Shemesh Team

The former home of the Christ Lutheran Church on East 19th Street has made the perhaps inevitable transition to a boutique condo development, with seven full-floor units that are billed as “affordable luxury.” (What that means: the apartments start at close to $3 million…so, affordable for the neighborhood, but maybe not for the average New Yorker.)

355 East 19th Street Dining

Unlike the red-brick townhouses that are found throughout much of the neighborhood, the building will be clad in beige Kolumba bricks imported from Denmark; the rest of the building, designed by Brent M. Porter Architects, has the usual luxury-condo amenities, including a roof deck, high ceilings throughout, and lovely finishes.

Each unit also comes with a private outdoor space, whether it’s a balcony on the smaller units, or full terraces on the penthouse. There’s also a 2,600-square-foot “townhouse-style” duplex on the ground floor, which has its own private backyard. (Because of course it does.) Asking prices begin at about $3 million for the smaller units, and go up to $4.1 million for that fancy duplex.

355 E 19th St facade1


After latest rejection, developer looks at scrapping Charlotte Avenue apartments

After seven months of work, and facing opposition that has not waned, it’s now starting to look like a Nashville developer may drop plans for a big apartment complex on Charlotte Avenue.
The twist comes in the wake of a March 24 vote by the Metro Planning Commission to indefinitely defer a proposal from developer Stonehenge Real Estate Group. The company has cut the number of proposed apartments by 45 percent, in an unsuccessful effort to win the backing of many Sylvan Park neighbors and their Metro councilwoman, Kathleen Murphy.


The planning commission vote, intended to allow more time for community discussion, surprised advocates and opponents alike. Why? The commission, in a fairly rare move, did not take the advice of Metro planning staff — who recommended approving the zoning change that Stonehenge is seeking to make its project possible.

The stalled project has emerged as the latest flashpoint of pushback to Nashville’s dizzying growth spurt, an increasingly prevalent point of contention as developers rush to meet demand generated by the city’s population growth and job gains. The debate about this project echoes one from last year in the same Sylvan Park neighborhood, where similar concerns about increased traffic and too much density (i.e., too many people and too much activity concentrated on one property) were among several factors that wound up leading noted chef Deb Paquette to abandon plans to open her next restaurant there.
“It’s now a question whether residential will be able to go on the property at all. The neighbors have been pretty vociferous about not wanting it to be a residential site,” said Tom Patten, who owns the property at 4101 Charlotte Ave.
“I thought, when we started this, that everybody would want to get rid of that industrial site on Charlotte, but that does not seem to be the case,” Patten said. “We just kind of got smacked last night, and we’re trying to regroup.”

Stonehenge’s latest plan calls for 295 apartments, 22 townhomes and five single-family homes, for a total of 322 residential units on a 7.1-acre property. That’s about double the zoning that Metro policy recommends, though that policy does allow for the discretion to approve more development.

Charlotte Avenue is a major corridor into downtown and one that’s long been eyed as a place where Metro could expand its mass transit options. As we’ve written, if you want to grasp the scale and significance of Charlotte Avenue’s budding revitalization, just study the block or so on which the Madison Mill site is located. The building would wrap around a small retail strip that opened about one year ago, featuring the popular restaurant Flip Burger. A single railroad spur separates the Madison Mill property from a $60 million mixed-use development by H.G. Hill Realty Co., a site where construction crews are building a 262-unit apartment building, townhomes and at least three announced restaurants. A short walk gets you to the L&L Restaurant Equipment Co., whose owner is proposing an overhaul.

Presently, the site in question is zoned for industrial uses. It’s home to a shuttered manufacturing facility most recently used by Madison Mill Inc.
Without the commission weighing in (either favorably or unfavorably), Metro Council, which has the authority to implement zoning changes, can’t vote on the matter.
“Seven months, and you don’t even have a planning commission recommendation. What does that tell anybody about trying to do this kind of thing in that area?” said Shawn Henry, an attorney who represents Stonehenge. “Sylvan Park doesn’t exactly have a welcome sign up for new development.”

Murphy, the councilwoman who represents the area, said Stonehenge’s latest plan is better than previous versions, which called for as many as 550 apartments. While she does not support the company’s latest plan, Murphy reiterated that she remains committed to continue working to find a plan that she and neighbors would support.

“It would be a little too speculative for me to talk about what we’re looking for moving forward, since we’re still so fresh off of this meeting,” Murphy said Friday.
“You’ve got to justify that extra density. I just didn’t feel like that plan had been fleshed out enough, and enough justification given, for such an increase in density,” Murphy said. “The community plan says you can be more flexible if it meets the intent and goals of that plan. And I don’t feel like it’s met enough of those. Work still needs to be done to get it down in density.”

Todd Jackovich, the founder of Stonehenge, confirmed he remains under contract to buy the land. He said he is “figuring out what alternatives could be put on the site, or if there is any room to negotiate with neighbors.”

Adam covers commercial real estate and manufacturing.