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NY Times on Condo Envy

By May 5, 2008


This weekend the New York Times had an article on Coveting Thy Neighbor’s Condo:

Then there is New York City’s recent condominium boom: Its in-your-face ubiquity and fantasy-minded marketing have raised the bar for apartment seekers exposed to an excess of spa bathrooms, Zen gardens and Boffi kitchens. That’s fine for those willing to pay new-construction prices and wait up to a year or two for the keys.

But buyers lacking patience or money are finding their tastes have gotten more expensive, as apartments that might have thrilled them five years ago have come to resemble throwbacks to an age of portable CD players.

In other words, said one real estate agent frustrated by her frustrated clients, it can be hard to shop at Bloomingdale’s after visiting Barneys.

I know that when I first started looking for a condo two years ago I started looking for something similar to what my friend owned; an older 700 square foot condo in the low $200’s. A few new construction sale trips later I locked on a 750 square foot $345k place. A year later, before even moving in, I signed a purchase and sale for a new construction 880 square foot place for $460k. And neither of those places had many of the amenities mentioned in the New York Times article! I don’t have a spa bathroom, my kitchen can’t accommodate a 36″+ Wolf range and I don’t have a room service. So I can certainly relate to how easily one’s expectations can rise once they get a taste of something better.

A number of people have asked where I’m buying next. Olive 8 seems to be the choice of the agents I know who play the game of always having money down on a new construction project. Escala would be the project in “second place” amongst that same crowd. But on my radar are 1 Hotel & Residences and Stewart and Minor. However, these days I’m spending my money on “finishing” my Trace unit instead of saving for another 5% reservation deposit.

I own and manage Urban Living, a boutique Seattle and Bellevue real estate brokerage. I love lofts, floating homes, new construction, and mid-century moderns, but I will help you buy or sell just about anything!

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