Understanding the Real Deal Behind Biden’s New Tax Plan on Real Estate

President Biden’s tax plan could be a triple threat to the real estate market as well as to investors. Biden’s tax plan would hit both residential and commercial real estate because of three big tax changes. On one hand, the wealthy are busy trying to anticipate Biden’s tax increases and on the other, clients are flooding financial advisors with calls trying to predict which of President Biden’s tax proposals might become law. Now that the coronavirus relief package has become law, President Joe Biden is eyeing the government’s first major federal tax hike since 1993 aimed at funding the long-term recovery programs.

First would be the elimination of the so-called 1021 exchange that allows property investors to roll their gains from one investment property or the sale of one property into another without having to pay any capital gains tax. Under Biden’s tax plan, they would owe a capital gains tax that leads to the second major change, which entails that the capital gains tax would jump from 20% to 39,6% and would apply to the sale of real estate for those making more than a million dollars in one year.

Finally, there’s the elimination of the step-up in basis that would hit inherited property. This means that when inheriting any property, you would be liable to pay a capital gains tax on the gain even if you don’t sell it. However, this would only apply if your gain or income for that year amounts to over a million dollars.

The real estate industry can already be seen juggling with these changes and are already out in force to fight these measures. A letter was addressed to Treasury Secretary- Janet Yellen by the National Association of Realtors saying, “…these proposals would reduce growth, shrink affordable housing and penalize many hardworking and enterprising Americans who have spent their lives saving and building equity in their property.”

Consequently, these changes have drawn great criticism in areas that will highly disadvantage certain groups of people. For example, it would be highly unfair for those families that have owned properties that have largely increased in value over generations to pay the highly increased value of tax that is being introduced.

In brief conclusion, due to the only congress having the power to tax and spend, Biden’s tax plan will require congressional approval before it can become law. Therefore, only time will tell whether or not these law changes play out their part in the distant future.

The Empty Office Spaces of New York City

One of the hardest hit areas by the pandemic was commercial real estate. Many New York hotels and office buildings have remained empty for more than over a year as the pandemic continued to keep tourists and workers out of the city. Companies were quick to shift their staff to remote work at the beginning of the pandemic. As a result, quiet lobbies, dark windows, and hushed halls were the sight to be seen for quite some time.

More than a year later, vacancies in office buildings are still at their peak.  Global real estate data showed that the Manhattan office vacancy rate reached a surprising percentage of 16.3% in the first quarter of 2021, the highest it has been since 1994. A year ago, the vacancy rate recorded was a mere 11,3% as compared to today.

Nonetheless, vaccines have acted as saviors for offices that were previously threatened with permanent remote work. Despite some companies still planning to keep their office staff remote to cut underlying costs from their balance sheet, a large number of companies are now calling their employees back to the office, keeping all guidelines in play.

Due to vaccination rates increasing, things are more likely to change for the better in the near future. Another report subsequently mentioned that the increase of vacancies had led to a substantial decrease in the asking prices for rent. Amongst the various reasons given for these decreased rents, analysts have also mentioned that these lower rents are not just a result of demand but rather depend on their situations.

In fact, an announcement was made last month by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, in which he mentioned the reopening of the city from the first of July.  This announcement brought along ease that there shall no longer be any curfew times and restrictions, and nor shall businesses have to adhere to any capacity limits. Once the reopening of normal city life begins, these large office vacancy numbers will soon be very different from what it is at the moment.

Due to the desperation for tenants in office buildings, landlords may also need to give tenants an upper hand and make certain adjustments to get agreements signed. Another factor that contributes to the official return for staff is the fact that CDC has advised that fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks when present indoors.

Although there might be a lot of waiting and seeing, the New York estate market might finally find that center stage of recovery that it desperately needs right now.

The Re-emergence of New York’s Real Estate Market

New York is finally breathing a sense of energy and relief. The previously silent atmosphere is now filled with the echoes of children running down the street. Meanwhile, the busiest streets of New York are finally returning to business with hordes of diners flocking to outdoor tables at the city’s restaurants. Walking up to any of these avenues, the sounds of laughter, music, and conversations are enough to bring a smile to anyone’s face.

Similarly, the city’s flourish has resulted in the revival of the real estate market, which has sprung to life with extraordinary vibrancy in recent months. Properties that withered for months on the market are now receiving offers. Competition for homes has resulted in potential buyers taking steps that were never taken before, such as relinquishing the inspection of houses before buying.

A plethora of factors has come along with this new change in business. One of the main challenges is that the supply of homes for sale continues to fall short in most parts of the country. This has, in turn, led to a great hike in prices in the market. The pent-up demand from pandemic shutdowns, as well as a lack of construction over the past decade, has played a major hand in this. A record-high median price for a single-family home rose about 18 percent in March to almost $335,000.

Correspondingly, homes that are listed for sale are selling rapidly, about half even selling within less than a week. Competition has led to buyers offering tens of thousands of dollars above the actual price as well as even agreeing to let sellers live rent-free in houses even months after the closing.

Buyers have now started sending notes to sellers in order to distinguish themselves from others competing for the same property. This is often discouraged by agents due to the letters revealing personal details about the buyer, such as family status and religion, which can, in turn, lead to sellers running afoul of fair-housing laws in their decision-making.

Additionally, another allowed practice, sometimes called ‘option’ money, is being used in which sellers are offered incentives outside of the purchase price by the buyers. Due to the fast pace at which the competitive market is running, all types of weird perks and practices are being used by both buyers as well as buyers to secure properties.

Not only are sales booming, but the rental market, which was dead during the fall of 2020, has now returned to life. New Yorkers are now upgrading and changing their locations and lifestyle. Whatever their preferences might be, New Yorkers are back, more committed than ever, and they are buying.

Living in New York City: Co-Ops vs Condos

You’ve finally decided to take a plunge and bid farewell to rent forever. The first thing that you are most likely to notice is that most NYC apartments fit into two major building types: co-ops or condos.

While balancing the pros and cons of either option, you might wonder why condos are more expensive than co-ops? And what exactly is a co-op, if not a fair-trade grocery store? Before you go crazy figuring out your future home-to-be options, read through for a clearer understanding of the differences between co-ops and condos in NYC.

In simpler words, when you buy a co-op, you don’t buy your apartment, rather you buy shares in a corporation that is your building. The bigger your unit, the more shares you own.

On the other hand, a condo is a private residence in which you own the unit.  In a condo, not only do residents own their individual apartments but also jointly own common areas like elevators and hallways that make up the rest of the building.

Additionally, the other differences between the two property types center around price points, varying down payment, approval process, financial requirements as well as restrictions for homeowners.

Moreover, condominium units command higher prices than co-op units. The reason behind this being that condos have more amenities is generally newer, and most importantly, more attractive to foreign buyers who often come with big pockets.

Additionally, co-ops have strict rules for residents, complicated approval processes, and leasing restrictions.

Another noticeable aspect is that there are almost three times as many co-ops as compared to condos, and nearly 74% of Manhattan’s apartments are co-ops while 24% are condos.

While local buyers opt to buy co-ops, international buyers prefer to go for condos as real estate can be used as a way to shelter money outside of their home country.

The condominium offers great flexibility and is generally known to be less strict than co-ops. For many buyers, amenities are becoming just as important as the unit itself.  Amenities such as spas, steam rooms, massage rooms, and fitness centers act as attraction centers for potential buyers.

To sum it up, the choice between co-ops or condos ultimately comes down to a personal decision based on what you’re looking for. If your main concern lies in the price per square foot, a co-op is the best option for you. However, if you’re concerned with having more amenities available, a condo is going to suit you best.

British Billionaire Reuben brothers making Big Changes in NYC

Setting foot into the real estate market, the Reuben brothers might not be widely known in the New York real estate circles yet, but that is soon about to change. Being born to Iraqi Jews in India and having immigrated to London when they were teenagers, the pair of UK-based billionaires have quietly been gathering around properties across New York City during the pandemic.

The Surrey Hotel, a 95-year-old icon of the Upper East Side that housed celebrity chef Daniel Boulud’s Café Boulud, was bought by the siblings for a whopping amount of $150 million in December.

Similarly, in May 2020, they paid SL Green $170 million for the retail condo at 609 Fifth Ave across the street from Saks Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Center.

During the time of plunging rents and occupancy faced by the Big Apple’s real estate market, the Reuben brothers were busy debt and equity spanning retail, hospitality, and offices. It was noted from a source close to the family that their US real-estate accretions added up to a total of more than $565 million.

Moreover, the brothers – David, 80, and Simon, 77 have also earned their title of Britain’s second-wealthiest family in the Sunday Times of London. Adding to their legacy, they have also been major donors to the UK’s Conservative Party.  Moreover, they have also been a part of Saudi Arabia prince Mohammad bin Salman’s failed bid last year to buy Premier League English soccer team Newcastle United.

Several US hotels, namely including the Park Lane, Time Hotel, the Chatwal as well as the dream Midtown Hotel in Manhattan, have been financed for more than $920 million by the Reubens.

Investments done by the brothers in New York had started before the pandemic, as can be seen by the $39.5 million purchase of the landmarked Union Square property at 14-16 E. 16th that took place in 2018. This space is scheduled for opening in 2023.

Likewise, the Surrey Hotel- situated at 20 E. 76th St.- is a 189-room hotel scheduled to reopen in 2023, which will be managed by interior designer Martin Brudnizki and shall entail a massive 97 rooms, 33 suites, five “signature suites,” and 12 luxury residences.

Additionally, a Miami-based hotel, restaurant, and private club, known as Casa Tua will act as Surrey’s food and beverage partner. Managed and operated by Corinthia Hotels, the surrey will also boast a private members club.

In conclusion, relocation plans for Café Boulud to be shifted to another of the Reuben brothers’ New York properties are also in action, as heard from sources reporting to Side Dish.

New York’s Residential Skyscraper Bagged its First Buyer

The famous residential skyscraper of New York City ‘200 Amsterdam’ has finally landed its first buyer. The deal for the 47th floor home comes a month after the court ruled in favor of the Upper West Side building, which had been indulged in a fight over its height. 200 Amsterdam sold its first-floor penthouse for a whopping amount of $17.5 million. The contract was signed on 19th April 2021, can be seen as the latest example of New York City’s luxury real estate market renaissance.

The sales director of Brown Harris Stevens Development Marketing, Jill Mangone previously stated that those people who had earlier left New York City due to the pandemic are now eagerly returning, ready to purchase a home and recommit to city life.

In addition to this, he also stated that the relationship that people previously had with their homes 18 months ago has now changed tremendously.  Previously, people were content with buying small apartments, but now they want larger apartments compared to what they were previously looking for. Similar to the trend seen across new developments, two buyers had also recently upgraded to larger apartments in the building itself.

The magnificent three-bedroom apartment occupies the entire 47th floor of the 52-story building. Moreover, it contains floor-to-ceiling windows and serves beautiful views of Central Park as well as accommodates two large balconies.

Spanning close to 4,000 square feet, the penthouse also has an open living and dining room with a gas fireplace, an eat-in kitchen overlooking the Hudson River, a study, and a sprawling primary bedroom suite with two walk-in closets. The positive ruling that took place in favor of the building resulted in the overturning of the order. It would have resulted in the demolishment of more than 20 or more floors from the top of the development, following complaints of the violation of local zoning rules, which were received due to the buildings’ height.

Due to the buyers being long-time renters on the Upper West Side for years, the thoughtful and expansive layout of the apartment perfectly suited their needs, and hence no modification was required.

Neither information nor final sale price regarding the buyers will be available until property records become accessible and the deal closes.

In addition to being unbeatable in terms of location, 200 Amsterdam is also beautifully equipped with a variety of amenities, including a saltwater pool, a dedicated spa as well as a private club. This building is going to be a treat for the eye and worth every bit of wait.

The Never-Ending Charm of New York City

The city has once again proved its ceaseless appeal a year since the pandemic changed life in the five boroughs, with luxury housing demand booming in every part. New York’s recovery is in full motion, with spring coming in all at once, bringing along blue skies and the jostling for outdoor tables at the coffee shop that lay around the corner.

Previously, around the same time back in 2020, the damaging effects of Covid- 19 were soaring throughout the city, and people had declared the ultimate demise of the city. However, despite all, almost a year later, New York is all set to bounce back.

Vaccinations are arriving faster; employees are being called back to offices, and at last, plans for reopening theatres and venues are underway. Furthermore, masked dog- walkers have now begun to stop and chat to each other instead of circling parks in silent meditation. These signs of life have restored the hope of experiencing the joy of old New York City once again in people.

These signs have also boosted home buyer confidence, and New York saw significant sales growth in the first quarter of 2021. Long-time residents are investing in more upscale neighborhoods or larger apartments, and even a growing number of high-end renters are committing to the city. Those that had simultaneously left due to the pandemic are now returning to the New York estate market.

According to the report published by Douglas Elliman, the number of sales in Manhattan rose 28.7% in the first quarter of 2021as compared to the final three months of 2020. For luxury sales, the top 10% of the market, transactions were up 30.4% in the same time period.

Concessions are being offered to buyers in the form of deal sweeteners that include covering closing costs, storage units, or even discounted parking spaces. Moreover, buyer requirements have also changed since the outbreak of the pandemic. People are now rushing for residences that have more space to offer, both indoors and out, in neighborhoods that are in close proximity to parks.

Another attraction point for buyers, in addition to the type of neighborhood, is the limited number of units in the building. Moreover, people are choosing to live in smaller self-contained buildings where they don’t need to deal with many neighbors. And as for those people, who had previously fled towards the suburbs have now realized that they appreciate a faster pace, hence desiring to get back to urban life.

Despite living through a lot, people still want to live in New York. People love the vibrancy and atmosphere of the city and are not ready to leave yet.


NYC: The Demand for Westchester’s Suburban House Persists

New York City is amongst one of the most competitive and expensive housing markets around the globe, and it has also been amongst the most badly hit by the pandemic. Is New York still New York when you can’t eat a gold-flaked donut while watching Yoko Ono scream gibberish?

Real Estate markets have experienced a great deal of turbulence over the past few months. Certain cities and states had put into effect strict coronavirus guidelines, which caused many to flee these areas due to the economic fallout and the personal infringement they felt these guidelines had, such as the forced closures of businesses. People are moving to the suburbs, bidding up those prices, while those that choose to hang around are more likely to find alternative options for less.

Similarly, the completed sales of single- and multifamily houses, co-ops, and condos totaled 2,489 in the first quarter, up 37% from a year earlier, appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate said in a report Thursday. With that, the deals pushed the supply of listings in the county down 17% to 2,533, the fewest since the end of 2001.

Moreover, it was also seen that purchases of single-family houses gained the most among all property types, surging 44% from a year earlier to 1,528. And in the luxury category, the top 10% of the market, starting at $1.6 million in the quarter sales jumped 43%.

Despite vaccinations bringing hope for safer city life and the reopening of offices in the future, people are still clamoring for space in the greener pastures north of Manhattan. Unlike before, people now want to have both a city apartment as well as a home outside the city.

This has in turn led to an increase in competition and prices amongst buyers, with the median for all Westchester homes climbing 11% from a year earlier to $565,000. Single-family houses sold for a median of $700,500, up 9.5%. Increased demand of selling properties has carved its way into the market, in which a mere 3.1 months is all that it’ll take to sell all the properties available on the market in the entire country.

New York’s battered office market shall be the one to suffer beneath all if workers prefer working from home rather than travelling into the city each day for work. Available space in Manhattan is now at the highest that it has been in at least 30 years. With hope and new changes taking place, all we can do is hope for a better future for New York.


New York: The Revival of Manhattan’s Office Buildings

Disrupting the future of work was something we expected the robots to do, but then Covid- 19 entered the party in style, sweeping everyone off their feet and becoming the talk of the town. At any other time, open-space offices are usually a sight filled with bustling and activity. But with employers urged to work from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, things are no longer the same.

The impact of the coronavirus outbreak was very sensibly dealt with by New York City, which in the very early stages of the pandemic had shifted their staff to remote work. Due to safety concerns and remote work, office buildings across the country have remained unoccupied for the past year, and Manhattan has been no anomaly. But things have gradually begun to change in New York City. According to commercial property data platform VTS, the number of new weekly requests from companies seeking out office space climbed 57% compared to the period of July of 2020 through November of 2020.

The driving demand due to lower rents has been on the rise. In February, average asking rents for Manhattan office buildings fell to $73.12 per square foot, the lowest level since March of 2018. Therefore, taking these into account, it is not at all astonishing that a few firms are attempting to capitalize on the chance to secure a Manhattan lease at a more appealing value point.

Companies are making full use of this opportunity in trying to lock in deals before prices climb and the selection of available space dwindles. Moreover, once vaccinations become more accessible and workers are called back to work, the scoring of New York leases on low prices will not be as simple as before.

Furthermore, a lot of office space needs are being reconsidered by companies. The requesting leases are looking at 10% less square footage, on average, compared to their pre-pandemic footprints. Also, plans that include Hybrid work models and keeping few workers remote on a long-term basis are being made by tech companies once the pandemic ends. Overall, leaving them with 31% less space in their Manhattan leases.

The pandemic has taken a serious hit on office building REITs (real estate investment trusts) where Manhattan’s largest office building landlord, SL Green Realty (NYSE: SLG), has seen its shares lose more than one-third of its value. This rise in leasing activity can act as a benefit to many similar REITs.

In conclusion, care needs to be taken while agreeing to discounted rents in the context of long-term leases due to the chances of Manhattan office buildings recovering once the pandemic comes to an end as problems in the underselling space could arise from a revenue standpoint. Despite everything going on at the moment, the fact that there’s an increase in interest is certainly encouraging and comforting to many.

NYC Residential Market: Queens enters the $600k Club

Covid-19 is not only a global health crisis, but it has also severely affected the global economy and the financial markets. The rapid spread of the virus has had a negative impact on the financial markets all over the world, causing further economic disruption. The real estate investors have suffered unprecedented levels of loss as coronavirus further brings more uncertainties into the global market. Just like that, New York is also one of the cities that got severely affected by the global pandemic, havocking its entire real estate and residential market. New York has been struggling in numerous sectors since the start of covid-19, negatively impacting its residential market. For this reason, many people fled to different boroughs with low rent.

According to PropertyShark’s survey, Queens was found to be the most stable real estate market in NYC in 2020. Despite the decline in home sales throughout 2020, the Queens real estate market fared better than all New York City boroughs and was declared as the most active real estate market in the past year. However, the first few months of the pandemic had clear significant impacts on its residential market as it saw 26 percent fewer deals made in the market compared to the previous year.

During the start, sales in the borough more than halved, falling by 54 percent year-over-year in April, with 552 sales, according to PropertyShark. Though sales bounced back up in the early summer, hitting a 29 percent year-over-year decrease in July, sales dropped back down by the fall. In September, “confidence [in the market] evaporated,” according to the report. Sales activity that month fell by 56 percent when compared to September 2019.

However, in October, the market bounced back when home sales doubled as more buyers returned to the market, and since then, the sales have not declined. The sales have remained consistent since October 2020, reaching a peak in December 2020, increasing the home sales to 3 percent compared to the year before, the report said. Moreover, according to PropertyShark the median prices kept increasing regardless of the low home sales.

Furthermore, in the past year, the median sales price in Queens hit or rose above $640,000 three times, the report said. Overall, the average price during the pandemic in the borough was $600,000, a 9 percent increase compared to the year prior.

Overall, the other boroughs experienced similar situations making Manhattan the only borough to suffer the most as its median sale price dropped 8%. However, little by little, we are witnessing the evolution of the residential market and hope that it bounces back.



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