Buy Curious

If you want a five-bedroom apartment in New York City, you may need to get creative

By Leah Hochbaum Rosner | September 10, 2015 - 9:30AM

Finding a five-bedroom in NYC for your Duggar-sized family won’t be easy, but it’s not impossible, either. Platinum Properties agent Constantinos “Gus” Katehis tells you where to look in this week’s Buy Curious.


Are there five-bedroom apartments in the city (non-townhouses please!) for a large family? 


Let’s face it, these days, anyone looking to raise a large family in NYC needs to either be raking in some seriously big bucks or have lucked into some kind rent-stabilized situation. Not only are five-bedroom apartments ridiculously expensive—the ones we found below range from nearly $3 million all the way up to a whopping $70 million—but they’re pretty rare, too. In fact, according to Jonathan Miller of real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel, five-bedrooms make up just 2.6 percent of all current listings in Manhattan and less than 1 percent—actually just 0.7 percent—of all closed sales in the borough since January 2009.

That may explain why real estate databases don't even have them as a usual search option. “You must click ‘or more’ [to get five-bedrooms in your search results]," says Platinum Properties’ Katehis. "If five-bedrooms were a common enough sized apartment, these sites would most likely cater to them more thoroughly.”

Not many units in apartment buildings are initially constructed as five-bedroom homes, “so much of the inventory that fits the category of a five-bedroom has been remodeled in some way,” says Katehis. Some five-bedrooms are loft conversions. Others combine two adjacent units. And many are four-bedroom apartments in which occupants erect a wall in a dining alcove to create a fifth bedroom.

“Clearly the latter is the most affordable route,” notes Katehis. “This type of creativity will help if keeping costs as low as possible is a priority.” Katehis adds that the Upper East Side tends to have more five-bedroom inventory than other areas in the city since the family-friendly neighborhood “is where the demand for these units usually lies.”

“After accurately framing how rare a five-bedroom apartment is, then the price tags attached to the available units make more sense,” says Katehis. “While things clearly get easier the more freedom you have with your price range, you can take one of the creative methods mentioned above to create more opportunities. If two apartments have the same square footage, but one has five bedrooms and the other has four, then carving out an extra bedroom makes perfect sense.”

Here are some five-bedrooms you might like:

Upper East Side four-bedroom/three-bathroom co-op, $2.995 million: Although this unit, which combines a three-bedroom with a junior-four, at 205 East 63rd Street between Second and Third Avenues is officially listed as a four-bedroom, at 2,687 square feet, there's more than enough space for a fifth by converting a dining room to another bedroom. There’s a washer-dryer, lots of closets and high ceilings. There are also three full bathrooms—the minimum number of bathrooms you should probably have in a five-bedroom. In addition, this is the most affordable apartment on this list. But the maintenance is pretty steep (as is often the case in combination apartments)—$6,092 a month.

Upper East Side five-bedroom/four-bathroom condo, $4.485 million: This high-floor apartment at 200 East 94th Street between Second and Third avenues has East River views from an 31-foot-plus-wide great room. There’s in-unit laundry, marble bathrooms and large closets. Building amenities include a 24/7 attended lobby, a three-lane swimming pool, a fitness center, a yoga center, a rooftop sun terrace and an entertainment lounge. Common charges are $2,789 a month and taxes are $2,963 a month.

DUMBO five-bedroom/four-bathroom condo, $10.49 million: This 4,187-square-foot five-bedroom at 90 Furman Street between Doughty and Pineapple Streets is located in a brand-new building in DUMBO. Amenities include a gym, pool and spa services. Common charges are $3,878 a month and taxes are $4,009 a month.

Brooklyn Heights six-bedroom/six-bathroom condo, $32 million: At 11,000 square feet, this penthouse at 360 Furman Street between Joralemon Street and Atlantic Avenue, is truly a sight to behold—and it's got an extra bedroom! There’s also an oversized living room, eat-in chef’s kitchen, den/office, formal dining room, screening room, wine cellar, plus a huge landscaped terrace and a private guest suite. Although the unit is technically listed as a six-bedroom, you can purchase it without the guest suite, making it a 9,000-square-foot five-bedroom. The home includes two deeded parking spaces. Common charges are $12,000 a month, but taxes are just $866 a month.

Chelsea five-bedroom/five-and-a-half-bathroom condo, $70 million: We just included this one for fun (and for fantasizing). Located at 212 West 18th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, this 5,955-square-foot five-bedroom has floor-to-ceiling windows, in-unit laundry, central a/c and three fireplaces. Common charges are $6,088 a month and taxes are $5,808 a month.  


Would you prefer 25 percent more apartment space or another bedroom?

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