Andrew Heiberger Shares Some Predictions for Manhattan Real Estate In 2012

2012 Predictions





Andrew Heiberger, Founder and CEO of Town Residential, shared some of his thoughts and predictions on the Manhattan real estate market for 2012. I think these points should be very helpful for buyers, sellers, investors and renters trying to navigate the Manhattan real estate market in the upcoming year.

 If I were renewing a lease right now I would try to extend for two years if given the choice

On the Manhattan Sales Front:

  • I believe that prices and price per foot in all parts of Tribeca, the far West Village, Noho, and west of Park Avenue on the Upper East Side will rise the most due to a lack of supply. The same is true for townhouses and other single family residences, where quality supply is also limited.
  • Overall I believe 2012 will see more sales transactions and slightly higher prices in Manhattan, with the market buoyed in part by interest rates remaining at historic lows during this upcoming election year.
  • People still have faith in home ownership, especially in Manhattan. Together with an abundance of international buyers as well as affluent buyers from around the United States, the demand has remained strong for Manhattan real estate.

New Development Sales Market:

  • I believe Gary Barnett’s One57 will be a grand slam and THE success story of 2012. Its success will also pave the way for other super-high end developments in and around the Plaza District to its east, including the much-anticipated development at the former Drake Hotel site.
  • On the Upper East Side above 57th Street there are at least six major luxury developments, both ground-up and conversions, expected to file offering plans in 2012. We expect prices for many of these properties to start at $2,500/sf and likely exceed $5,000/sf in some cases.
  • In Soho, the far west village, Noho, the Chelsea Highline area, and all parts of Tribeca, it will be the year of the boutique condominium. Many super high-end new construction projects and well-conceived conversions are proceeding and expected to come to market. I believe they will sell out very quickly with prices starting at $2,000/sf and ordinarily capping out at around $4,500/sf. In other parts of Manhattan such as Hudson Yards and the East 30’s to 50’s, it is more likely that we see most new developments built as rentals.

On the Manhattan Rental Front:

  • The vacancy rate will remain low, and rents are sure to rise starting around the 2nd quarter. If I were renewing a lease right now I would try to extend for two years if given the choice, because once employment numbers pick up rents will jump even further to record highs.
  • Low mortgage rates are keeping rents in check because the alternative of buying becomes feasible once you approach the $80/sf threshold for units under $1.5 million.

As the Manhattan real estate market is constantly changing, contact me if I can expand on these points. I also have many rentals available at varying budget levels on my listings page. Please feel free to give your comments below.

Why I Chose Town Residential And Why You Should, Too

Town Residential Real EstateIn NY there are a multitude of real estate brokerages for agents and clients to choose. For both agents and clients, there are many factors to consider. Most companies emphasize what they can do for the agent, but less so what they can allow you to do for the client.

TOWN is different. Everything at TOWN is focused on making the clients’ and agents’ experiences pleasurable. Care extends to both the agent AND the client. 

Everything at TOWN is focused on making the clients’ and agents’ experiences pleasurable

There are more well-known firms than the relatively new TOWN. But Only TOWN has all of the qualities I believe are necessary when evaluating brokerages which elevates it over other Manhattan brokers for me and for the buyers, landlords, renters, investors and sellers that I service.

My criteria is the following (not necessarily in this order):

  • Respected, experienced management with deep industry connections 
  • Client-focused orientation
  • Strong emphasis on education/expertise
  • Convenient office locations
  • Technological superiority
  • Integrity, accountability and responsiveness

Experienced Management with Deep Industry Connections

Many real estate brokerages are led by very successful sales agents, but lack the well-rounded experience, management skills, deep industry connections and resources that can benefit buyers, sellers, renters, landlords, investors and agents.

TOWN is led by Andrew Heiberger who started his real estate career at 16. He is both a licensed attorney and a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of New York. He founded the number one real estate rental firm in Manhattan, Citi Habitats, as well as founding the Buttonwood Development firm. At TOWN, he recruited an executive team of real estate veterans with expertise in different areas (luxury, rentals, marketing, development and beyond) that provide a network of industry experts for agents and clients that have unparalleled knowledge of the industry.

Another example is Paula Busch who previously served as Senior Managing Director at another leading NYC brokerage firm where she spent many years of her career and was responsible for catapulting sales in two high-profile East Side office locations. She most recently oversaw a team of approximately 350 agents, many of whom were ranked in the Top 1/2 Percent of real estate agents in the country by the Wall Street Journal. There are many more examples.

Even the most experienced agents need help at times and a strong network to navigate the intricacies and complications that sometimes arise in NY real estate. Well-rounded, experienced management with strong industry connections results in a memorable, better experience for all.

Client-Focused Emphasis

Most brokerages talk a lot about what they can do for the agent, but often it seems little or even no thought is given to the client which is seen as a transaction. TOWN strongly embodies a positive experience for both the agent and the client.  Consider the TOWN CONCIERGE service that they provide for all clients. The TOWN CONCIERGE, available to all clients, regardless of transaction price, provides arrangements for basically any need the client has. Need a hotel while previewing apartments? A ride?  Need a pet-sitter or child care? A restaurant reservation? Housekeeping services? The TOWN CONCIERGE will take care of the arrangements with no fee for the service. NY real estate can be stressful enough. TOWN uniquely understands this. It’s not just about properties, but the real people behind the real estate.

As one recent client wrote me:

“I will not forget your precious and incredible help!! I will recommend you to all of my clients. I felt totally secure which means you did the best!!

Technology alone cannot do that. Client-focused makes a difference.

Strong Emphasis On Education and Expertise

TOWN’s emphasis is on truly providing expert, real estate agents to its clients. The real estate industry and neighborhoods are constantly evolving, especially in New York. Whether someone has been in the business for 3 weeks or 30 years, there is always more to know. TOWN is committed to providing its agents with top experts that consistently provide knowledge of the latest legislation, investment, financing, neighborhood and real estate information. A more informed agent translates to a faster, better and more profitable experience for buyers, sellers, landlords, investors, renters and agents.

Convenient Locations For Clients

Some brokerages are simply not convenient for clients. Some have one office and some are primarily virtual offices. TOWN, in about seven months, already has four convenient, beautiful offices located throughout the city. This may not seem like an important consideration unless you or your buyer needs to sign papers or needs a meeting with various agency personnel. Strategically located, comfortable locations means a better real estate experience for all. Our offices are better than Starbucks. I guarantee it.

Technological Superiority

While TOWN realizes that real estate largely involves personal interaction, negotiation and the expertise that only a human can provide, it has made, and is making, sizable investments to provide the latest technology to its agents and clients to give them an edge in transactions. Some examples include technologically advanced offices, A VOW, fantastic, client conference facilities and the development of its proprietary listings database TOWNHOUSE with advanced search, reporting, marketing, social media and alert features.

TOWNHOUSE gives agents and clients access to all REBNY listings as well as in-house exclusives. If you’ve ever tried to search for real estate in NY and found it a confusing and frustrating experience wrought with “it just rented or sold”, you know how important this is. Better technology means less time spent, less frustration and better transactions.

Integrity, Accountability and Responsiveness

Brokers are often fairly and unfairly criticized for being less than honorable. Like every industry, there are honorable people and those that lack integrity. Everything I’ve witnessed at TOWN from the initial contact forward has been only people and principles that reflect honesty, high character, respect, responsiveness and class. TOWN preaches, teaches and practices ethical conduct like no other company I have experienced.

If you think all brokers and agents are the same, contact me and give me the chance to prove that there is a difference. Even if you don’t choose me, choose TOWN. I did. I guarantee that you’ll thank me that you did, too.