The Market

Sign up by Tuesday for new Manhattan affordable housing offering 'luxury for less'

By Lucy Cohen Blatter  | September 6, 2013 - 8:59AM
As NY1 shows and tells today, next Tuesday, Sept. 10 is the last day to apply for the lottery at The Park Clinton, an HDFC income-restricted luxury co-op building that’ll open at the beginning of next year at 535 West 52nd Street. 
Estimated prices for one-bedrooms range from $93,500 to $375,000 and two-bedroom units from $125,000-$480,000. That’s between $150 and $500 per square foot, depending on a buyer's income, which even at the high end is about half the price of a comparable market-rate apartment in the area.  There's a low 5% downpayment and an extra long 40-year tax abatement.   Amenities include a landscaped garden, a gym, part-time attended lobby, and bike storage.
With affordable housing so rare in these parts, competition for the 95 units will be stiff: A representative of the building told BrickUnderground that he expects to get about 3,500 applications.  Applications can be downloaded here; they must be postmarked by Sept. 10th.
To be considered, you'll need to fit into the building's income requirements. The minimum income for a single person looking to buy a one-bedroom is $34,148; the maximum is $134,160. The minimum income for a family of three or four looking for a two-bedroom is $46,560; the maximum is $167,505.  (In some cases, there are also caps on assets, which include bank accounts, 401ks, stocks and bonds, etc). Monthly maintenance varies based on the size of the unit, but it's estimated at $515-$591 for one-bedrooms and $719-$902 for two-bedrooms.
According to the NY1 report, preference will be given to certain groups, including those affected by Hurricane Sandy, people who live in the building's community board zone, city workers, and the physically and visually disabled.
For some tips on applying, we checked in with co-op and condo attorney Dean Roberts of Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, who represents income-restricted buildings across the city, including many Mitchell-Lamas.  Roberts says anyone interested in applying for an income-restricted co-op should a couple of things in mind:
Your income must STAY in the required range until you close on the apartment
“The long and short of it is making sure that your income stays in the area up until you close," Roberts says. "If you’re going to get a big bonus, you’ve got to be careful." Roberts says he's seen people defer their income for future years in order to quaify for these types of apartments.
This is not an investment property
"Applicants need to think about how long they’re going to live there," says Roberts. 'There are resale limitations--usually a certain amount of time you need to wait before you can sell your place."
Also, Roberts says, there are restrictions on how much you can sell your apartment for. "It's often either that you can sell your apartment for X, but can only get Y, or you'll have to pay a 40 percent flip tax," he says. 
Another thing to keep in mind is that when it's time to sell, your pool of potential buyers is smaller, as  "you normally have to sell to someone who fits the income guidelines," Roberts says.
Interested buyers should also note that at the Park Clinton, you can't sublet until the fourth year.  
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