Thursday, November 22, 2012


W57 residential building at 625 W 57 St by star architect Bjarke Ingels.  600 apartments in a ski-slope structure with a courtyard in the middle.  Will be one of Manhattan's coolest buildings.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Most expensive areas in Manhattan

The most expensive areas in Manhattan are generally West Village, Tribeca and Soho.  

However, as I always mention to clients, a good buy depends on location and building quality.  Just because a property is in the West Village doesn't mean it's hot, will appreciate tremendously etc.  "Most expensive" here refers to what you can get for a certain price point.  Or the amount of extra renovation you should still expect to put in despite already paying a very high price.  

For example, $1 million may only get an old 1-bedroom condo in the West Village.  But in another area, it may get a 1-bedroom in a nice luxury condo with amenities such as a pool, fitness center and nice courtyard.  To get a 1-bedroom in a luxury condo in the West Village, you may have to pay $2 million.  Hence West Village is "expensive."

Monday, November 12, 2012

U.S. to overtake Saudi Arabia as top oil producer by 2017

The New York Times reports that, according to the International Energy Agency, the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's top   oil producer by 2017 and will be a net oil exporter by 2030.  Increased oil and gas production and new energy efficient policies with new cars will make the United States "energy self sufficient."

The resurgence of oil and gas production is driven by unlocking reserves found in shale rock and new techniques such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Buying apartment in New York - insights, surprises, points of view

Buying an apartment in New York is an experience that ranges from scary for the first time international property investor to weekend shopping for a seasoned, high net worth, individual.  In both cases, the buyer is venturing into a different country.  The rules of the game are different, laws are different, you're wary on who can be trusted etc....

I've been on a writing spell the past week hence would like to share some insights from working with clients from all over the world when buying an apartment here in New York.

Townhouse walkthrough

Townhouse walkthrough this morning.  This is a brownstone building in excellent condition.  We even went back to have lunch within the same block of the property 1 hour later.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Manhattan after Hurricane Sandy

Manhattan has been relatively safe from Hurricane Sandy.  The crane at One57 (the $90 million penthouse) snapped and a tree fell on a low rise Chelsea building.  Overall, structures in Manhattan are fine  because (i) Manhattan island is well protected geographically (ii) structures in Manhattan are made of brick/concrete/steel.

Many buildings in Lower Manhattan have flooded basements, no power and some had to evacuate residents/employees post hurricane while building management fixes the problems.  This is incomparable to the damage seen in the news in parts of Queens, Long Island, Jersey.  Subway systems are still down but everything should be back to normal in a week.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Running a neighborhood

Learning a neighborhood can be done several ways - by car (least effective), by walking (most effective) and by running (which I often do).

Overseas investors buying property in USA

Overseas investors have been active in buying property in the U.S. especially in the last 2 years.   In Manhattan, my first interview by the media on the topic was with the New York Times in Aug'2011 in the article A Second Home For Affluent Chinese.  There has been numerous foreign investor articles since including Wall Street Journal's Foreigners Snap Up U.S. Properties and most recently AM New York's What International Buyers Want.

Most expensive cities in the world

CNN reports that according to Mercer Cost of Living 2012, Tokyo is the most expensive city in the world for Americans to work as an expat.  Singapore is #6 while Hong Kong is #9.  The study looked into cost of living items such as a movie ticket ($23 in Tokyo, ouch!), and a cup of coffee ($8.29 in Tokyo and $4 in Manhattan).