The Market

NYC property values stabilize at 25% down; tax man still in denial

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By Teri Karush Rogers  |
January 5, 2010 - 12:28PM

Yesterday's fourth-quarter market reports brought some encouraging news to NYC homeowners: The decline in resale values seems to be leveling off, at least for now.

Average prices were only down 2.1% from the previous quarter, compared to 13% a year ago and 25% at their mid-2008 peak.

Links to the details and analysis follow, but what we want to know is whether assessed property values--due out in ten days--will finally reflect our scaled-back reality?

Probably not if you live in Manhattan.

“It’s a convoluted process that does not have a simple answer,” says Stan Russo of Sonnenschein Sherman & Deutsch, a real estate law firm that fights for property tax reductions on behalf of its co-op and condo clients.

He says that last year, assessed values for Sonnenschein's 500 co-op and condo clients rose around 7-8% in Manhattan on average, while those in Brooklyn rang in a 1-2% decrease.

This year, he says, Brooklyn will probably go down some more.  

As for Manhattan?  “We’re hoping for flat,” says Russo.

One reason, he says, is that the city relies in large part on comparisons to similar rent-stabilized units in similar buildings, and those rents are still climbing at about 5 percent a year, while properties in Brooklyn are renting slower.

“We’re hoping for a flat assessment pattern, but we still feel that a co-op or condo that gets a 5% increase is doing okay,” says Russo.

His opinon is probably not shared by co-op and condo owners whose homes are worth 25 percent less than they were two years ago.

Indeed, those conversant with the city's murky tax policy note that artificially high  assessed values not only line the city's coffers but serve a valuable public relations purpose:  To get out of its fiscal crisis by attracting investors, stores, and corporations, the city needs to appear valuable even in a recession.


Related posts:

Property tax increase less awful than expected, but maintenances rising 8%

Links to 4th quarter market coverage & reports:

Sales spur optimism in Manhattan real estate (NY Times)

The Manhattan bleeding slows (Curbed)

Manhattan residential market ends year on up note (Crain’s NY)

Manhattan co-op, condo sales climb at the end of the year (NY Daily News)

Will bonuses save the day for Manhattan Real Estate? (CNN

Today’s market reports reflect activity six months ago (UrbanDigs)

StreetEasy Q4 2009 Manhattan Market Report

Prudential Douglas Elliman/Miller Samuel Market Reports

Brown Harris Stevens Market Reports

Halstead Property Reports

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Teri Karush Rogers

Founder & Publisher

Founder and publisher Teri Karush Rogers launched Brick Underground in 2009. As a freelance journalist, she had previously covered New York City real estate for The New York Times. Teri has been featured as an expert on New York City residential real estate by The New York Times, New York Daily News, amNew York, NBC Nightly News, The Real Deal, Business Insider, the Huffington Post, and NY1 News, among others. Teri earned a BA in journalism and a law degree from New York University.

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