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The latest news on Real Estate from Business Insider

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    mg tommy and dee hilfiger

    It's the ultimate Tommy Hilfiger accessory: Tommy's own penthouse atop New York's Plaza Hotel.

    Tommy Hilfiger, the 62-year-old fashion tycoon, is listing his duplex at the Plaza Hotel for $80 million, making it one of the most exclusive condo listings in Manhattan. The apartment stretches over 6,000 square feet and includes the iconic dome atop the plaza, along with sweeping terraces overlooking Central Park and Fifth Avenue.

    If it sells at the asking price, the property would be second-most expensive condo ever to close in New York, according to Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel. The most expensive condo to close is believed to be a penthouse at 15 Central Park West sold by former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill in 2012.

    In an interview, Hilfiger—the founder and principal designer of Tommy Hilfiger—called the property a "castle in the sky." He purchased the property—two units that he combined into one—in 2008 for $25 million. He and his wife, Dee, spent more than $17 million on a renovation that took more than three years.

    He said he wanted to design the apartment in keeping with the Plaza's rich history.

    (Read more: Miami—the new Hamptons?)

    "I wanted to bring back the original vision of The Plaza," he said, "to what it was during Truman Capote's Black and White Ball ... that old-world charm, with the original detail and glamour."

    The apartment has four bedrooms, five baths and a grand staircase bathed in red carpet. One of the apartment's most glamorous features is its iconic dome, which is one of the Plaza's most famous features. Underneath the dome, Hilfiger built his own "Eloise Room," named for the famed children's-book character who famously wreaked havoc at the Plaza. The room is painted with murals by Hilary Knight, who illustrated the original "Eloise" books.

    Hilfiger said he is selling because he is spending more time in Greenwich, Conn., where he is completing a three-year renovation of a 22-acre estate. The estate is built on the highest point in Greenwich, he said, and overlooks Long Island Sound and New York City. He said Greenwich has become his "main residence" and that his younger children are now attending school there.

    He added, however, that it's a good time to sell in New York.

    "I think it may be the strongest market in the world right now," he said. "Everyone in the world, whether they're from Qatar or China, wants a luxury apartment in New York."

    Hilfiger's apartment is also filled with iconic art—including several important paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. But Hilfiger said the art is not for sale. He said much of the furniture and furnishings—including pieces once owned by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor—could be included in the sale under the right terms.

    (Read moreFor sale: Mansion, Bentley, toilet brushes included)

    While other developers are building giant glass condo towers nearby, with higher views and more modern styles, Hilfiger said they will never build another apartment like his.

    "They're never going to build a building in front of this view of Central Park," he said. "Or the view of Fifth Avenue. And they will never build another Plaza."

    (Read more: How the rich get a big real estate tax break)

    He said that when it comes to purchasing real estate, he has always operated under the same principal: "You start with location, location, location. And when you couple that with fabulous properties, you have it all."

    Hilfiger is listing his property with I. Dolly Lenz, the New York megabroker who recently founded her own real estate firm, Dolly Lenz Real Estate.

    Watch "Secret Lives of the Super Rich," an all-new series airing Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. |

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    Aparicio Living Dining.JPG

    The common stereotype of the dream bachelor pad is that it's decked out in loads of chrome and leather. 

    But three top-notch designers set loose in Walker Tower in New York City — the former home of The New York Telephone Company at 212 West 18th Street — are challenging that long held belief.

    Click here to go inside the dream bachelor pad >>

    As part of its seventh-annual Hearst Designer Visions event, each designer paired with a Hearst publication to create an apartment for a different ideal client. Carlos Aparicio worked with VERANDA Magazine to design a space for a bachelor making his mark in the big city.

    The Aparicio + Associates principal filled his apartment with tons of cool-toned Swedish and Danish art. He said his apartment design is "not stuffed with chrome and black and leather. It's a very different way of thinking how a man can be." 

    JDS Development Group worked with Property Markets Group to develop Walker Tower into 47 luxury condos, each starting at $4 million. They took the Art Deco building back to its "incredible bones," said Michael Stern, managing partner at JDS. The tower predates neighborhood height restrictions in Chelsea and offers views straight to the Statue of Liberty on a clear day.

    "Protected, unobstructed views is what New York City real estate is all about," Stern told Business Insider at the Hearst Designer Visions preview of Walker Tower. The building officially opens today.

    In her tenure as the Executive Director of Hearst Designer Visions, Alana Frumkes said she's seen plenty of apartments sold "as-is," right down to the designer clothes staged in the closets for the event.

    "We ask our designers in the beginning to keep a spread sheet of the cost of every design piece in the apartments," Frumkes told Business Insider, "Art is on a separate list, though, since some of that is borrowed and not necessarily for sale. We tell the developer the valuation of the designs to be added onto the cost of the apartment. Then the designer gets paid." 

    Walker Tower is 75% sold. But just in case you can't afford a $4 million apartment quite yet, check out what Aparicio did with this apartment in Walker Tower. 

    The apartment opens onto the living room flowing into the dining room, courtesy of a lack of interior load-bearing walls in Walker Tower.

    Blues, browns and creams dominate the color palette in the apartment.

    Aparicio employs lighting features that function as art objects throughout the apartment. This is above the dining room table.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Vanity Fair takes a peek behind the storied walls of 740 Park Avenue in the latest video in its "Eminent Domains" series on New York real estate.

    The Upper East Side building, which has been home to icons from industrial tycoon John D. Rockefeller to real estate developer William Lie Zeckendorf to fashion designer Vera Wang, is considered to the "the most powerful building in New York City."

    According to the video, apartment applicants allegedly must show $100 million in liquid net worth, or "cash on hand."

    SEE ALSO: Meet The Rich And Famous Residents Of 740 Park Avenue

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    tom brady gisele yankees

    Supermodel Gisele Bundchen and her New England Patriots quarterback hubby Tom Brady have bought a $14 million nest in the Related Companies and HFZ Capital’s One Madison (formerly One Madison Park).

    The couple are in contract for a three-bedroom, full-floor condominium on the 47th floor of the East 22nd Street tower, the New York Post reported. The listing touts a stunning view up Madison Avenue, the paper said.

    “It will allow Tom Brady to look down on Gotham like Batman,” a source quipped to the Post.

    The apartment, designed by Danish architect Thomas Juul-Hansen, also sports oak plank floors and oversize doors, as well as a master bathroom with a soaking tub, the Post said.

    One Madison has attracted attention from the likes of supermodel Kate Upton and designer Vera Wang, who recently checked out the building’s $50 million penthouse. [NYP] – Hiten Samtani

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    Hurricane Sandy building collapse

    When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, real estate watchers could hardly discern what kind of lasting impact it would have on the residential market.

    A year later, it’s clear that waterfront Manhattan sales and rentals bounced back quickly, while parts of the outer boroughs are still suffering from sluggish trades, according to a new report by real estate listings database StreetEasy.

    “For Manhattan buyers, Sandy was a blip,” said Sofia Song, head of research and communications at StreetEasy. “Residents and sellers may have been displaced temporarily, but the damages were done to the buildings, to lobbies and other common areas. The outer boroughs just had a much longer road ahead of them.”

    Immediately after Sandy struck on Oct. 29, 2012, the number of contracts signed for homes in the coastal neighborhoods of Manhattan plummeted 24 percent over the previous year, to 53 from 70 contracts, the report shows. However, by April, the “resilient” market rebounded, with 125 contracts signed, a 28 percent year-over-year increase, the report said.

    Some 353 sales closed in the borough in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 64 from 289 sales the previous quarter, the report shows. However, many experts attributed the spike in fourth quarter sales to fears about tax code changes on the eve of the fiscal cliff.

    Ariel Cohen, a broker at Douglas Elliman, told StreetEasy that he sent out four contracts for Financial District deals following the storm, and one buyer pulled out. “But November was followed by a period of insane activity,” he said.

    Prices also bounced back to almost pre-Sandy levels. Currently, the median closing price of a home in Manhattan’s flood zone 1 and 2, which cover the Financial District, Tribeca, the East Village, Chelsea and part of Harlem, among other areas, is $976,000, a 5 percent decline since Hurricane Sandy, the report said.

    However, although prices in areas like Tribeca continue to skyrocket, closings in the neighborhood are currently down by 30 percent year-over-year, to 107 closed sales in the third quarter of this year from 153 closed sales in the third quarter of 2012.

    That strength translated to the rental market as well. Median asking rents in the coastal areas of Manhattan dropped by just 2 percent year-over-year, to $3,298 per month in November 2011 from $3,248 per month following the storm.

    However, the bounce back in rental inventory will be the true determinant of whether the Downtown market has recovered, according to broker Ryan Serhant of Nest Seekers International. This past year, 9 percent fewer rental listings came on the market in the coastal areas of Manhattan, StreetEasy found, compared to a 16 percent increase in listings in the rest of the borough.

    “Inventory will tell the story,” Serhant told StreetEasy. “You saw a lot of rental properties come off the market. You saw all this delisting activity in the immediate aftermath because logistically it was difficult to move in the wake of the storm.”

    Meanwhile, residents in some parts of the outer boroughs are still struggling to rebuild homes and infrastructure; unsurprisingly, that has had an effect on the market.

    In Brooklyn, closings dropped 22 percent in the aftermath of the storm, to 226 in the fourth quarter of 2012 from 289 the previous quarter. In Queens, the drop off was sharper, to 101 closed sales in the fourth quarter of 2012 from 144 closed sales in the previous quarter, a decline of 30 percent, the report shows.

    And in hard-hit areas like Breezy Point, Queens — the site of a massive fire after Sandy — closing prices are down 29 percent compared to pre-Sandy figures, to $240,000 in the third quarter of this year from $339,000 in the prior year quarter. In flood zones 1 and 2 of Staten Island, the median closing price of a home is $267,000, a 24 percent decline since the storm, according to the report.

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    new york city apartment skyline black and white

    After the 2008 financial crisis, rattled New Yorkers pulled back on home-buying and started writing rent checks in force, while developers leased out condo units rather than selling them. Five years later, the rental market in the city is going strong, but for a different set of reasons.

    The pipeline of new rental units has massively shrunk in the past few years, part of the inventory shortage set in motion when new development across the city stalled during the recession.

    Since the late 1960s, Manhattan has seen an average of roughly 12,000 new development rental units hit the market each year, said Jesse Keenan, the research director at Columbia University’s Center for Urban Real Estate. But according to data from the brokerage Citi Habitats, only 15,723 new development rentals units came on the market from 2008 to 2012.

    The pipeline of new rentals is now beginning to recover from the recession. There are some 23,000 new development rental units slated to come on the market in Manhattan by the end of 2017, according to Citi Habitats. While that’s an improvement from the recession years, it’s still “pretty low in terms of historical trends,” Keenan said.

    And the supply of new rentals is not expected to swell anytime soon. With home prices sky-high and banks more open to construction lending, developers have started building condos again after several years of preferring to build rentals. And with land now so costly, many developers have determined that luxury condos are the best way to turn a profit.

    Because condo prices have “shot up so quickly,” said Andrew Barrocas, CEO of residential brokerage MNS, “there are very few rental projects being planned.”

    As a result, the few rental projects hitting the market now are seeing a frenzy of demand, with some generating waiting lists of up to 1,000 potential tenants, industry insiders said. And while most new rental developments on the market now are relatively small, many of the projects in the pipeline are massive, though the units themselves are smaller than in the past. Perhaps not surprisingly given the shortage of supply, rents for these new projects are on the rise.

    To get a handle on the construction of rentals in the city, The Real Deal compiled a list of the new rental developments in Manhattan and prime Brooklyn that have come on the market in the past year, and those currently in the pipeline.

    The waiting game

    In the last year, some 22 large new-construction rental buildings (those with 15 or more units) have hit the market in Manhattan and prime Brooklyn, according to data from real estate database CityRealty and permits filed with the Department of Buildings. That figure — which includes 10 projects in Manhattan and 12 in Brooklyn — is significantly lower than in most years, sources said.

    “If you really look, there’s not that many rental buildings in the city right now,” said Andrew Gerringer, the managing director of new business development at the Marketing Directors.

    He noted that large new rental projects that started leasing before or during the recession, such as the Beatrice at 105 West 29th Street and the Continental at 25 Third Avenue, have now been filled up.

    That’s contributed to new rental apartments coming on the market now getting snapped up at a never-before-seen pace.

    Until recently, leasing teams expected to collect a few hundred names of interested tenants before launching a new rental building, Gerringer said, although only around 20 percent of those typically actually sign a lease. But at LCOR’s 250 North 10th Street in Williamsburg, a 232-unit building where the Marketing Directors is handling leasing, he said he expects the waiting list to grow to nearly 1,000 potential tenants when the building hits the market in a few months.

    David Maundrell, founder of the Brooklyn-based brokerage, said the 229-unit rental 50 North 5th Street had a waiting list of around 1,000 names when it started leasing in August— something he said he’s never seen in his 11 years at the helm of the firm.

    There’s not much relief in sight.

    TRD identified 36 new rental projects planned to hit the market in Manhattan in the next few years, and 30 slated for Brooklyn. That relatively meager pipeline is a result of both rising land costs and shifting trends in construction financing, sources said. Immediately after the financial crisis, lenders were more willing to finance rentals than condos. But they’ve recently started warming up to condo lending again as market conditions have improved — new-construction condos now sell for upward of $2,200 per square foot, compared to $1,800 in 2006, according to Nancy Packes, founder of the eponymous marketing firm. That’s helped spur the construction of more for-sale residential units.

    Some major developers who have long focused on rentals are now turning their attention to condos.

    Sources cited Glenwood as a case in point. The Manhattan-based rental developer — responsible for buildings such as the 320-unit Regent at 45 West 60th Street, the 151-unit Tribeca Bridge Tower at 450 North End Avenue, and the 281-unit Stratford at 1385 York Avenue — is now reportedly building its first-ever condo, a 19-story project called 6 East 86. Glenwood, which is run by Howard and Steven Swarzman, the grandsons of founder Leonard Litwin, did not respond to requests for comment.

    “There’s a point where it no longer becomes feasible for a developer to do rental housing,” said Neil Helman, an investment sales broker at the commercial firm Avison Young. “Rents top out at a certain number, unlike condominium pricing, which just continues to escalate.”

    And if condo prices continue to increase, the leasing pipeline could shrink even more as projects slated to be rentals switch gears. That’s the reverse of what happened during the credit crisis, when failed condo projects started leasing out their units because buyers were scarce.

    “What I can see today,” Gerringer said, “is a building that was planned as rentals, because that’s was where the developer could get the financing at the time, now going condo because the condo market is so strong.”

    Keep reading and see a list of new projects in the pipeline at The Real Deal >

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    Megan Ellison

    Megan Ellison, movie producer and daughter of Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, has quietly sold three contemporary homes in L.A.'s ritzy The Birds neighborhood, according to real estate blogger The Real Estalker.

    The 27-year-old mogul reportedly bought the three homes for a combined $33 million between 2008 and 2011. 

    All in all, Ellison nets $14.15 million in the deals. 

    The Birds neighborhood — so called because of street names like Nightingale, Blue Jay, and Oriole — has long been a hotspot for celebrities looking for both glamour and privacy. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Aniston, and George Harrison have all lived there at some point in their careers. 

    The first of Ellison's Bird Street properties was sold for $21 million to Ted Waitt, Gateway computer billionaire, in August, according to Curbed. The other two went to billionaire heir Ashley Tabor for a combined $26.25 million. 

    exterior shot Nightingale9258 Nightingale9280 front nightingaleLa panorama nightingale

    SEE ALSO: HOUSE OF THE DAY: Elon Musk Scooped Up His Neighbor's Ranch For $6.75 Million

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    15 central park westLeroy Schecter, the chairman of steel manufacturer Marino-Ware Industries, has slashed the price on his 15 Central Park West apartment.

    After originally listing the combination unit for an ambitious $95 million — before reducing that to $85 million in April and briefly attempting to rent it for $125,000 a month — Schecter is now asking $70 million.

    Brown Harris Stevens’ Paula Del Nunzio is now marketing the 35th-floor, 6,000-square-foot condo. Schecter has newly renovated the unit, which features 75 feet of window frontage facing Central Park, 70 feet of Hudson River frontage and 60 feet of Columbus Circle views, according to the New York Observer.

    Last October, it was revealed that Schecter was the buyer of a six-story, 11,300-square-foot townhouse at 41 East 70th Street, between Park and Madison avenues. Paula Del Nunzio represented the seller on that deal. [NYO]

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    London's housing shortfall is running at more than 20,000 homes per year and too many of the properties under construction are aimed at wealthy buyers, according to research that warns of a growing affordability gap in the capital's new housing stock.

    A report by estate agency Savills warned that businesses could be forced out of London because their workforces cannot afford accommodation, while overcrowding forces young professionals to live longer with their parents.

    More than 50% of housing demand in London comes from households earning less than £50,000 year, according to Savills, but developers are instead focusing on high-end prime properties. These cost more than £2m to buy or £5,000 a month to rent, with many ending up in the hands of overseas investors.

    "Builders' focus on wealthier, equity rich and credit-worthy buyers since the credit crunch means that a disproportionate amount of stock is being delivered at what we call 'new prime' levels," Savills said.

    Opposition politicians accused the government of allowing useless homes to be built, while ordinary Londoners struggled to afford to stay in the capital.

    In the report, London Demand, Savills said 50,000 new homes were needed annually – almost double the 28,500 a year being built currently – to meet the needs of a growing population. The number of people in greater London increased by 14% between 2001 and 2011 to 8.2 million, and is set to grow by another million by 2021.

    Susan Emmett, Savills' residential research director, said that 60,000 new homes were built per year during the capital's last population peak, in the 1930s.

    "Today, the signs of overcrowding lie behind closed doors: the young professionals forced to live longer with their parents, the house sharers doubling up to meet rising rents and businesses moving out of London because they can't afford to house their workforce," she said.

    The latest Land Registry figures show house prices in London have risen by almost 10% over the past year– to £393,462 – and figures from mortgage lenders show that first-time buyers are having to borrow more than ever before to get on the property ladder.

    Meanwhile rents have hit record levels and some local authorities have resorted to moving homeless families out of the capital because of the high costs of housing them.

    The new prime market for wealthy buyers and renters accounts for just 6% of demand, which is currently being met with the creation of 3,000 properties a year. In contrast, there is a big supply gap in affordable homes, costing up to £280,000 to buy or £1,200 a month to rent. Here Savills said there was a need for 28,5000 new homes a year, but only around 13,500 were being built.

    The report said the biggest requirement was for homes to rent. It found that £12bn a year should be invested in private rented housing, compared to the £7bn currently invested.

    Currently £2bn a year is spent on prime rental properties, almost the same as on rental homes for those earning below £50,000 – when the figures should be £0.6bn and £5.4bn respectively.

    Emmett said: "Unless we are careful, the shortage of homes will start to impact on London's ability to compete. We will start to see businesses think twice about coming to a city where they can't afford to house their employees."

    Darren Johnson, a Green party member of the London assembly, said developers were building "too many expensive flats for super rich investors". He added: "The mayor thinks that people renting overpriced flats on insecure tenancies will be happy to see these luxury flats go up because it means more supply, but they're useless if they're not affordable."

    The shadow housing minister, Emma Reynolds, said the government had "failed to get a grip" on the housing crisis, and reiterated Labour's pledge to double housebuilding by 2020. "The country is facing the biggest housing crisis in a generation and it is at its worst in London. This chronic housing shortage means that the cost of buying or renting a home in London is fast becoming unaffordable for many Londoners," she said.

    "Unless the government acts now to ensure more affordable homes are built then soaring prices will put homeownership out of reach for young people and families in London and across the country."

    Roger Harding, director of policy and campaigns at the housing charity Shelter, called on the government and mayor to "take more decisive action to build the affordable homes London desperately needs".

    He added: "We hear from people every day who, despite working hard and earning a decent wage, are having to cut back on essentials in a bid to keep up with their rent each month. And, with demand for properties far out-stripping supply, the prospect of a home of their own continues to slip away for many young people and families."

    This article originally appeared on

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    A West 57th Street project by developer TF Cornerstone will be New York City’s largest apartment building when completed, with 1,189 units, according to city records.

    The environmental impact statement for the 40-story tower, at 606 West 57th Street between 11th and 12th avenues, proposes two scenarios, according to a report from New York YIMBY.

    The first calls for 1,189 residential units and 42,000 square feet of retail; the second cuts the number of units to 848 but calls for a 285-room hotel and over 60,000 square feet of retail space.

    To be sure, many residential complexes in the city, such as the massive Stuyvesant Town- Peter Cooper Village, have more apartment units, but the TF Cornerstone project would have the most units in a single building, according to New York YIMBY.

    The tower – designed as multiple cantilevering boxes — is slated to be completed in 2017, according to New York YIMBY, but the current proposals still have to pass the muster of the ULURP process. [NY YIMBY]

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    new york city brooklyn brownstone

    It’s no secret that Brooklyn has changed dramatically in recent years, with hot new restaurants and an NBA basketball team to boot. These changes have brought significant price increases for real estate, especially now that housing demand is surging in the wake of the real estate downturn.

    Indeed, as neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg and Dumbo lure more Manhattanites across the river, Kings County has set a number of new real estate records. This year in particular, the ongoing inventory shortage has pushed Brooklyn prices to new highs, brokers said.

    “Since last January, [Brooklyn] prices have certainly escalated because of the lack of product,” said Rhea Cohen, a broker in the Brooklyn Heights office of Brown Harris Stevens. “Most co-ops and condos have been having multiple offers, and are going for higher than their asking prices.”

    Of course, even Brooklyn’s record-high prices still represent a significant discount to Manhattan.

    And there are key differences between real estate in the two boroughs. In Manhattan, it is the homes near Central Park that command the highest prices, while in Brooklyn, waterfront homes fetch the greatest premium. In addition, the most expensive properties in Manhattan are condos — with some now asking more than $100 million — but historic townhouses are Brooklyn’s priciest housing type.

    “The demand for these [Brooklyn townhouse] properties is voracious,” said Doug Bowen, a CORE broker who has worked in Brooklyn for nearly 15 years.

    Along with some enclaves in Southern Brooklyn, the Brooklyn neighborhoods closest to Manhattan, like Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights, have historically seen the highest home prices. But as the borough’s popularity grows, emerging neighborhoods like Bedford-Stuyvesant and Clinton Hill are seeing new highs.

    “Brooklyn is going through something really interesting,” said Joseph Cohen of Manhattan-based developer East River Properties. “It has incredible demand coming from Manhattan [and] from the suburbs, but basically no supply to speak of, and very little coming on the market. There really is very limited availability.”

    This month, The Real Deal took a close-up look at the Brooklyn records that have recently been broken.

    Most expensive townhouse

    Brooklyn record: $12.5 million
    Manhattan record: $53 million

    Brooklyn’s highest-priced sales are generally townhouses, spurred by brownstone-loving buyers looking for original crown moldings and more space than they can afford in Manhattan. And with inventory so scarce these days, brokers said prices are climbing faster than usual in prime brownstone neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope.

    “The townhouse market is in an uncanny place right now,” Bowen said. “The velocity of price increases — it’s better than I’ve seen in my 15 years in real estate.”

    Last January, for example, a seven-bedroom townhouse at 212 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights sold for $11 million, setting a new record for the borough’s priciest home sale. The previous record was the 2009 sale of 2111 East Second Street in Gravesend for $10.26 million.

    But only a few months after the Brooklyn Heights sale, the record was shattered again by a townhouse around the corner, at 70 Willow Street. The house, where Truman Capote wrote “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” traded for $12.5 million in March 2012.

    There are already a number of listings that could break that new record. The Tracy Mansion at 105 Eighth Avenue in Park Slope is on the market for $15 million. The 50-foot-wide former school is being listed by Halstead Property’s Marc Wisotsky and Jackie Lew. Still, it initially hit the market a year ago priced at $25 million, and has seen two price chops since then.

    Also in Park Slope, a seven-bedroom townhouse at 45 Montgomery Place hit the market for $14 million in late September with Douglas Elliman super-broker Raphael De Niro. That’s more than double the $6.05 million sale price the house last traded for in 2006, according to the real estate listings website StreetEasy. Late last month, a six-bedroom townhouse at 177 Pacific Street in Cobble Hill was listed for $16 million, while a gated Mill Basin compound with two houses in it hit the market for $30 million.

    And down the block from the Capote house, a six-bedroom home at 104 Willow Street hit the market for $12 million in late August. Halstead’s Cohen, the listing agent, said the property has been shown a few times, but has no offers yet. But she’s hoping that a recent renovation of the historic home will push it into record-breaking territory.

    “It was built in 1826 and it still looks like it’s 1826,” she said, “but everything is fresh and new — the piping, the beams.”

    Another of the borough’s priciest listings, 2134 Ocean Parkway, hit the market in May 2012 for $14 million. The 10,000-square-foot Gravesend mansion was just price-chopped, however, to $8.9 million.

    These prices may be new territory for Brooklyn, but they’re still far below the Manhattan record for the priciest townhouse: The Harkness Mansion at 4 East 75th Street sold for $53 million in 2006.

    Most expensive condo

    Brooklyn record: $7.8 million
    Manhattan record: $88 million

    When it comes to condos, the Dumbo waterfront has recently been a hotbed of record-setting prices. Buyers are willing to pay a premium for Dumbo’s waterfront views and close proximity to Manhattan, said Halstead broker Charles Homet, who often works in the neighborhood.

    In Dumbo, “nearly every sale we’re doing is breaking records,” Homet said. “We’re all astonished at how the prices keep moving up. We’re still cheaper than Manhattan, but it’s startling to see things trading at $1,500, $1,600 per square foot, when two years ago it was $800, $900 per square foot.”

    Dumbo grabbed headlines in 2010, when a 14th-floor, 3,208-square-foot penthouse at new development condo 1 Main Street sold for $7.8 million, or $2,431 per square foot, becoming the highest-priced Brooklyn apartment ever sold.

    And right upstairs, 1 Main Street’s famed Clock Tower penthouse is now listed for $18 million, making it the highest-priced condo on the market in Brooklyn.

    Visible from the Manhattan Bridge, the three-bedroom triplex penthouse has massive circular windows, floating staircases and an elevator. The 7,000-square-foot apartment is nearly double the size of its record-breaking downstairs neighbor — and that doesn’t even take into account the roof cabana and deck.

    The unit has, however, undergone significant price chops since it was originally listed for $25 million three years ago. It’s been priced at $18 million for the last six months, listed by Corcoran’s Aaron Lemma, Frank Castelluccio and Nicholas Hovsepian, who did not respond to requests for comment.

    “Eventually, it’ll find the right price and it’ll find a buyer,” Homet said.

    However, that price is anyone’s guess.

    “The right price is what that right person who wants that triplex will pay,” he said. “It’s completely spectacular, and it’s difficult to value because there’s nothing to compare it to.”

    In general, high-end Brooklyn condos can be snapped up for less than Brooklyn townhouses, and far less than all their Manhattan counterparts. In 2011, for example, an $88 million condo deal at 15 Central Park West set the record for the highest-ever Manhattan home sale, and units reportedly in contract for more than $90 million at Extell Development’s One57 may soon usurp that title.

    Neighborhood records

    Old Prospect Hts. record: $3.3 million
    New Prospect Hts. record: $4.3 million

    Not surprisingly, many of Brooklyn’s emerging neighborhoods are also seeing record-breaking real estate trades.

    “People are being priced out of the more gentrified areas,” said Elliman broker Alex Maroni. “They’ll go from Brooklyn Heights into Prospect Heights into Crown Heights.”

    One area that’s seeing rapid price appreciation for that reason is Bedford-Stuyvesant. It’s now common for brownstones in the neighborhood to trade for seven figures, but brokers said the million-dollar mark was, until recently, a psychological barrier for apartment buyers in the area.

    But that changed in June, when the 1,559-square-foot penthouse at new construction condo 105 Lexington Avenue sold for $1.04 million — a neighborhood record, according to Maroni, the listing broker.

    Maroni attributed the high price to the apartment’s size. The three-bedroom penthouse, which has a roughly 650-square-foot terrace and 13-foot ceilings, is “the size of a small house,” he said, making it “a very good alternative” to a brownstone.

    He added that it was only a matter of time before a Bed-Stuy condo passed the million-dollar mark. “It was bound to happen — the market was already there,” he said, noting that in Bed-Stuy these days, “a brownstone is $1.5, even $2 million.”

    Another neighborhood that has broken records recently is Prospect Heights. In June, a townhouse at 206 Park Place sold for $4.3 million — the highest price ever paid for a house in the neighborhood. Broker Lynn Donawald of Park Slope-based Donawald Realty had the listing. The seller had owned the four-story house since 1976. According to the listing, the home has a two-level deck built out of Brazilian wood, a koi pond and a solarium.

    That deal follows on the heels of the May sale of 166 Prospect Place in Prospect Heights, a house that set a record for the neighborhood when it sold for $3.3 million.

    Prospect Heights is one of the few neighborhoods in Brooklyn where the highest-priced home sale on record is a condo, not a townhouse. A 3,524-square-foot penthouse at the Richard Meier-designed new condo 1 Grand Army Plaza sold last year for $5.1 million. The project, directly across from Prospect Park, is one of the few examples of “starchitecture” in Brooklyn.

    In Boerum Hill, too, prices are on the verge of never-before-reached heights. The neighborhood’s priciest townhouse sale took place in 2011, when 267 State Street — a new construction townhouse developed by Time Equities as part of its 14 Townhouses project — sold for $3.4 million.

    But that 2011 record is on its way to being broken again. Two other townhouse units at the project, 307 State Street and 303 State Street, are both listed for $3.65 million, and are in now in contract, according to the listing agent, the Corcoran Group’s James Cornell. He declined to reveal the sale prices, however.

    Meanwhile, an 8,000-square-foot, 26-foot-wide townhouse at 374 Pacific Street is currently listed at $7.25 million by Elliman’s Maroni.

    In 2010, the home was in such a state of disrepair that it sold at auction for just $1.335 million. But when it hit the market in June of this year, it had been extensively gut-renovated, with a glass skylight atrium and landscaped backyard.

    The property has been discounted from its initial asking price of $7.9 million. But Maroni said he’s already gotten several offers “in record-breaking territory,” though the seller hasn’t yet accepted one.

    The house “will definitely be a record-breaker when it sells,” he said. Since it’s “nearly twice as large as the average house, on a price-per-square-foot basis we’re actually not asking that much over average.”

    Keep reading at The Real Deal >

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    heath hall

    Just over a year ago, the home of late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri hit the market at a record-setting $484 million in London's Hyde Park neighborhood. 

    With such a hefty price tag, it's not too surprising that the property is still for sale. But London's luxury real estate market is booming. The city routinely has blockbuster property listings in the world, and recently ranked third on a list of the most expensive cities in terms of luxury real estate (New York came in eighth). 

    Take a look at the most expensive properties currently for sale in London (pounds have been converted to dollars).

    Meredith Galante contributed to this story.

    For $42.4 million, live in this detached Italian villa in Holland Park, London. The home has nine bedrooms and eight bathrooms.

    Click here to see more about the house >

    For $47.9 million, buy this 9-bedroom London home with an indoor pool.

    Click here to see more photos of the home >

    For $50.9 million, purchase a 6-bedroom penthouse apartment in Knightsbridge with views of Hyde Park.

    Click here to read more about the property >

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Cayan TowerThe sky's the limit for the people who live in these huge buildings. 

    Construction database Emporis recently compiled a list of the 10 tallest residential buildings in the world. With each of the buildings in the top ten soaring above 300 meters (984 feet), these skyscrapers take city living to a dizzying level. 

    Given Dubai's preference for over-the-top building projects, it should come as no surprise that it is home to seven of the top ten.  

    "Firstly, there are sufficient providers of capital for major projects of this kind," Emporis said in a press release. "And secondly, urban planning is not tied to preserving a distinctive existing skyline – meaning that such gigantic development projects can be given the green light." 

    #10 CAPITAL CITY MOSCOW TOWER: Russia's tallest residential building stands at an imposing 302 meters (991 feet).



    #9 ETIHAD TOWER 2: At a height of 305 meters (1,001 feet), the ninth-tallest residential building in the world is Abu Dhabi's second-tallest overall. The Etihad Towers community is made up of five super-tall buildings that boast stunning views and 12 luxury dining options.


    #8 CAYAN TOWER: Dubai's DNA-inspired tower, the tallest of its kind in the world, twists to a height of 307 meters (1,007 feet).


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Apthorp Model

    The new owners of Upper West Side landmark the Apthorp have been trying for some time to convince the City to allow them to build a four penthouse addition on top of the existing building.

    If last night’s public hearing at the Landmarks Preservation Commission is any indication, it looks like Area Property Partners will not be getting their wish, reports Hana R. Alberts at Curbed.

    Shortly after Area Property Partners made their pitch last night, a line of local officials, preservationists, building residents, and neighbors took turns criticizing the project.

    Most of the concern is that, despite the fact that the addition is hardly seen from the street, it would block light, destroy the design of the building’s courtyard, and require the altering of the open pergolas that many residents and community members feel is essential to the building’s design. 

    The new owners maintain that the new revenue from the addition is essential to performing necessary maintenance and preservation of the building. 

    While a similar protest occurred in September, last night there were also written statements opposing the project from four famous architects—Robert A.M. Stern, A. Eugene Kohn (of Kohn Pedersen Fox), Michael Graves, and David Childs (who designed 1WTC). 

    From David Childs:

    The Apthorpe is perhaps the best known exmaple of the turn of the century, full block apartment buildings in Manhattan, and is appropriately a treasured landmark. This proposal would dodamage to the design and set an unwanted precedent for similar cases in the future.

    From Michael Graves:

    The current proposal to connect [the existing penthouses] by a third larger volume is inappropriate and, in fact, damaging to the appearance of the building and its design intent.

    Residents of the building have been equally harsh on the proposed addition. 

    "It's an eyesore and an affront to the seminal design of the building,” one resident since 1974 said during a community board meeting in late September. 

    Another long-time resident was even more cutting: "The structure on the top just looks like a Holiday Inn plopped on the roof…”

    Below, you can see the current top of the building and the proposed add-on:

    Screen Shot 2013 11 13 at 12.57.47 PM

    Check out more photos and the full architects' letters at Curbed NY »

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    spike lee

    If you’re looking to own a Spike Lee joint, you’re in luck. The filmmaker and his wife are selling their Upper East Side townhouse, a.k.a. the Hatch House, for $32 million.

    The 8,292-square-foot mansion at 153 East 63rd Street near Lexington Avenue features a private central courtyard with a fountain, the New York Post reported.

    Lee, who grew up in Brooklyn, purchased it from artist Jasper Johns in 1998, thus joining a long list of famous former owners that also includes Broadway producer Charles B. Dillingham and stripper Gypsy Rose Lee.

    Frederick J. Sterner built it as a modern Spanish Revival-style property in the early 1900s.

    The Bedford-Stuyvesant townhouse featured prominently in Lee’s 1994 film “Crooklyn”sold for $1.7 million in June, as previously reported. [NYP] 

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    If you're looking for concrete evidence of the ever widening gap between America's rich and poor, here's a hint: check your zip code.

    Now more than ever, American neighborhoods tend to be segregated by income, according to a recent study by Cornell's Kendra Bischoff and Stanford's Sean F. Reardon.

    That means the rich are living near the rich and the poor are packed together in large sections of the country's biggest metropolitan areas, and that creates a vicious cycle for poor families.

    The latest findings confirm a Pew Research report from last year, which mapped the income segregation in America's biggest cities.

    Boston is the least segregated of the top 10. It saw pretty modest population gains over the last 30 years. [Red is low income. Blue is high income.]

    Boston earned a RISI score of 36. Pew's Residential Income Segregation Index (RISI) is calculated by adding the rate of lower-income households living in a majority lower-income tract and the rate of upper-income households living in a majority upper-income tract. The maximum score is 200.

    Atlanta stumped Pew with a record population growth and a relatively slow growth in economic segregation. "Atlanta is the main outlier," Pew says. [Red is low income. Blue is high income.]

    Atlanta earned a RISI score of 41. Pew's Residential Income Segregation Index (RISI) is calculated by adding the rate of lower-income households living in a majority lower-income tract and the rate of upper-income households living in a majority upper-income tract. The maximum score is 200.

    Chicago falls on the low end of economic segregation. Its relatively low population growth rate (17 percent in 30 years) might have something to do with it. [Red is low income. Blue is high income.]

    Chicago earned a RISI score of 41. Pew's Residential Income Segregation Index (RISI) is calculated by adding the rate of lower-income households living in a majority lower-income tract and the rate of upper-income households living in a majority upper-income tract. The maximum score is 200.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    In markets across the world, housing is back in a big way.

    But to the chagrin of those living in some of the globe's hottest cities, a booming housing market doesn't always mean that locals are the ones who can afford to buy.

    In many cities, foreign buyers — particularly Chinese and Russian investors — are buying up real estate like crazy and driving property prices to pre-financial crisis levels.

    Here are four markets being spurred by foreign investors.

    cyprus protest1. Cyprus

    Cyprus has its economic issues, but before March's harrowing economic shock, foreign buyers were heading to Cyprus' sunny shores en masse. As the Guardian's John Hooper reported in February, "The carnival will be a way of celebrating a most unusual boom in a country which, like others in southern Europe, has been stricken by the eurozone crisis. Property prices in Cyprus have fallen by around 15% since 2007. Yet an official survey published last month found that between last August and October more than 600 properties were sold to Chinese buyers, 90% of which were in Pafos"— a small Cypriot city.

    It will be interesting to see if foreign investors stick around in the beleaguered island nation.

    Brooklyn Brewery2. Brooklyn

    New York City's real estate market is red-hot in general, with low inventory juicing big-time bidding wars. But foreign buyers have been buying up townhouses in Brooklyn in particular, according to Brownstoner. From the report:

    We spoke to six real estate agents, four of whom said they had encountered investor groups buying houses to rent out. Some of the firms are European and Israeli, they said. One broker had high praise for one of the private European investment groups he had encountered, a boutique firm with local buyers that focused on buying high end properties with historic detail to rent. He also said that in the first quarter, the bulk of all-cash buyers he dealt with were families, not investors.

    One such outfit, operating under the name Newtown Jets, has purchased 24 properties in Brooklyn since March, including 12 in May, according to PropertyShark. The transactions were all over the map geographically and pricewise, from Park Slope ($2,675,000) and Carroll Gardens ($1,699,000) to Bushwick ($662,500 and $599,000).

    Few homes, rich buyers, sky-high prices. It's tough to find a place in Brooklyn.

    sydney australia3. Australia

    Australia eased some of its federal laws restricting foreign property ownership, and according to Paul Thornhill at, the change "has opened the door to a flood of interest from overseas purchasers."

    Buyers from Hong Kong, China, and Singapore have been buying up property on Sydney's north shore, Thornhill writes. He lists three reasons why Australian markets are prime for foreign investors:

    1. "Aussie real estate has proved a secure investment, while perennial favorites – think U.S. shares and European bonds – have been surprisingly volatile."

    2. "Wealthy families are investing part of their portfolio offshore because of concerns about political stability or the sometimes arbitrary actions of government officials."

    3. "Purchases are tied in with establishing a residency for a family member in a safe prosperous country like Australia."

     Dusk panoramic view of The London Parliament, the Big Ben and the Westminster Bridge viewed from across river Thames4. London

    Real estate price jumped 10% in October, and a new report from Deutsche Bank shows that much of that price growth has come from foreign investors. Russian and Eastern Europeans have lapped up some of the ultra-pricey homes — considered a "safer" investment than other assets.

    In fact, now that foreign buyers comprise 70% of all newly-built property sales in central London, Britain is considering a capital gains tax on foreign property investors.

    SEE ALSO: The 7 Bubbliest Streets In London's Blazing Hot Housing Market

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    sao paolo crane stadium construction

    Since the global financial crisis ended, construction spending has roared back.

    In the U.S., experts are debating whether the housing recovery has seen its top.

    In China, on the other hand, experts fear the country has been completely overbuilt with ghost cities, empty lots and half-finished construction projects seemingly everywhere.

    Calculated Risk's Bill McBride recently pointed to the "return of the cranes" in San Francisco.

    However, tower cranes are popping up all over the world.

    Since nobody is really sure where global construction is headed, perhaps it's best to tell this story in images.

    Toronto, Canada: Cranes may be a sign of a massive housing bubble.

    A construction worker at a condominium site in Toronto last year. Condo growth in Canada's bubbly housing market is scarily above historical averages. "In its July Monetary Policy Report, the Bank of Canada published a chart that sounded the alarm on overbuilding, showing condos were being constructed at a rate more than 200 deviations above the historical average," reports Business In Canada's Lucas Kawa.

    Sao Paulo, Brazil: Construction is booming in preparation for the World Cup.

    Construction at the Arena de Sao Paulo Stadium in Brazil, a 2014 World Cup venue (Brazil's other major upcoming sporting event). 

    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: The emerging country will also be hosting the Olympics.

    Pictured here is the construction site at the Olympic Village. Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 games, but has only spent a fraction of its infrastructure budget so far, Bloomberg reports. Officials are concerned if the Brazilian city will be ready without delays.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    sacramento 2

    U.S. homes are selling 30 days faster now than they were a year ago, according to a new report from Zillow.

    This September, home listings spent an average of 86 days on Zillow.

    Tight inventory was the main reason for this, according to Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries:

    "The inventory constraints we’re seeing are a big factor, which are caused by the imbalance of supply and demand between buyers wanting to enter the market to take advantage of low mortgage rates, and would-be sellers that are stuck underwater and unable to list their homes. Almost every market we track is seeing less inventory this year relative to last year.

    "New construction is also ramping up more slowly than demand because builders have largely consumed their ready-to-build parcels and are having to entitle new land which can be a lengthy process, particularly with fewer municipal staff in permitting and related offices than during the boom years."

    The best performing metros were Sacramento, Las Vegas, and San Antonio, where the number of days spent as a listing declined by 43, 44, and 37 days respectively.

    "Relative to peak levels, home values are still down more than 30% in Sacramento and down almost 50% from peak in Las Vegas," Humphries told Business Insider in an email. "Investor demand in Sacramento and Las Vegas has also driven up both prices and demand in these areas, helping homes to sell much faster than in markets where investors may be less attracted."

    San Antonio, on the other hand, is benefiting from a jump in employment and people moving in for jobs. The region's employment rate, at 6.4%, has been much lower than the national average. 

    The survey looked at the 30 largest metro areas covered by Zillow.

    SEE ALSO: SocGen: The Housing Market Will See A Handover From Investors To Homebuyers In The Final Stage Of The Recovery

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    Purple House 3

    A four-bedroom family home in Hillingdon, outside London, may look unassuming on the outside.

    But step inside, and it's a different story. The walls are painted lavender, with alcoves done in a deeper shade of purple. Matching plush carpets line the floors, even in the kitchen and bathroom, where purple carpeting climbs the side of the tub.

    The home just hit the market through the estate agent R Whitley & Co., which apparently didn't see the all-purple, all-the-time color scheme as a selling point. It instead opted to describe the property as a simple "family inspired design."

    This purple haze can be yours for the relatively affordable price of 400,000 pounds ($644,120). 

    This semi-detached family home in Hillingdon looks pretty normal from the outside.

    But step inside the kitchen, which has purple rugs on top of a purple carpet.

    Purple flowers accent the rooms.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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