Five Types of New York City Real Estate You Should Buy Today

This post was originally featured on HuffingtonPost.com

Highly transparent and under-leveraged, the New York real estate market is one of the most stable in the world. If you are looking to make a savvy investment, now is a great time to beat rising property values — which are expected to increase by as much as 20 percent over the next three years — to secure real estate that will generate returns for years to come.

Traditionally, investors looked for opportunities in the affluent suburbs of Long Island and New Jersey, but growth in those areas has become stagnate. But today, we look to Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Hudson County, which are areas that are growing rapidly thanks to new job opportunities, especially in healthcare.

Healthcare jobs are growing by five percent per year — twice as fast as finance, the region’s primary economic and population driver — and account for 84 percent of New York City’s total population growth between 2015 and 2016. The rapid growth has increased New York’s population to a record high of 8,550,405 and shows no signs of slowing.

Here are the five most promising investment opportunities in the New York real estate sector to keep up with growth and changing demographics.

1. Apartment Buildings

As high home prices continue to rise and the city’s population continues to grow, a majority of New York residents are being driven into apartment building rentals located in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Hudson County. Therefore, apartment buildings purchased at the right price today can be a very lucrative investment.

Moreover, high proportions of immigrants — 40 percent in Hudson County and Brooklyn and 50 percent in Queens — create a large spread of incomes that create all kinds of opportunities for purchasing apartment buildings that cater to different income brackets.

2. Single-family Homes to be converted into Multiple Units

Because home prices are high compared to rents, pure single-family rentals are not likely to be lucrative investments, unless you’re looking to invest in a special area or are driven by other special circumstances. However, the high home prices that are driving people into renting can be lucrative if you’re able to purchase and refashion a single-family home into one featuring multiple units.

3. Retail Stores

Recent population increases in Brooklyn, and especially in Queens, have not been matched by the availability of new stores. In addition, the Bronx is underserved by new stores. Because healthcare jobs are growing and generating lower-, middle-, and higher-tier income across the city, retail stores are a reasonably safe investment.

4. Office Buildings

The same healthcare sector growth that is creating a need for new apartment buildings and stores, is also generating the need for new office space. Although millions of square feet of new office space are already under construction in Queens and Brooklyn, there is presently no indication that demand in those boroughs will slow even as the new planned office towers take shape. In fact, the office booms in these boroughs signal a healthy long-term future for New York’s overall economy.

Office space in Manhattan may also be a good investment, as Manhattan is still the center of the New York office world. Although 20 million additional square feet of office space are being constructed in Manhattan and are expected to be available by 2021, the number of new offices is insufficient to meet the demand from a booming economy. Nevertheless, reports have not accounted for additional space that is to be provided by new World Trade Center Towers, and the future absorption rate for new office space is unclear.

5. Mortgages and Construction Loans

Rising home prices will keep equity rising, too, making mortgages a sound investment. Although there is always some risk of default, that risk is just about average right now because rising home prices are in balance with incomes.

Alternatively, but in the same vein, construction loans will also go up with only an average risk of default, making them another prudent investment. Ingo Winzer, contributor to Forbes and president of Local Market Monitor — which has followed real estate dynamics since 1989 in over 300 communities — predicts 45,000 new houses and 70,000 apartments will be constructed in Queens over the next three years. Brooklyn will only see 40,000 new homes constructed, but 110,000 new apartments. The Bronx will likely experience modest new home construction but is expected to grow by 60,000 new apartments.

The idea that New York real estate is out-of-reach for those looking for sound investments may be closer to reach than many would think. The worst thing to do when thinking of buying real estate is to wait — especially in the ever-booming New York City.

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Study: New Yorkers Are Roughly 1 Paycheck Away From Homelessness

New York City is famous the world over for its glitz and glamour, featured in all sorts of popular entertainment from movies to television shows. Yet not all that glitters is gold. Life in paradise is much harder than one may think. In fact, many New Yorkers are one paycheck away from homelessness, forced into a monthly catch-22–a cycle causing of perpetual anxiety.

A recently published study from the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD) found that more than half of New Yorkers are without savings of any kind. Another study by theCenter for Economic Opportunity (CEO), reveals that nearly 25% of Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics are living below the federal poverty level, homeless, or both. That same CEO report shows that while there has been a steady improvement over the years, these numbers don’t lie. There is a continual indication that many New Yorkers are wading just above the poverty line, and minorities living within the five boroughs are suffering the most. In those communities, there is a distinct lack of emergency savings, employment, and pursuit towards or opportunities for higher education, especially in the neighborhoods of Harlem in Manhattan and Bushwick in Brooklyn, among just two minority-rich communities.

According to the Shelter Census Report from the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), the past five years have seen an explosive increase in shelter attendance. In 2011, there were just under 40,000 people. As of October 2016, there were 62,306 people in the shelter system, a marked increase of over 20,000, or just about fifty percent.

In a troubling turn of events, the vast majority of shelter attendees are families with children. In its October 2016 figures, the DHS reports that a combined total of 15,769 families (consisting of 47,668 children and adults), were housed in shelters each night.

At the national level, the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) from 2015, compiled by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, found that California and Florida also have a homeless population greater than six percent of their population. Other states which have significantly high homeless populations per capita include Texas and Massachusetts.

As with many large cities, New York City and its residents are not immune to economic or health factors that can cause homelessness. While numerous reports say that there are many families who bounce back quickly from being homeless, there are just as many who likely do not recover due to exigent circumstances. Some of the major causes of homelessness are a death in the family, (followed by the loss of the sole income in the household), or an unexpected financial debt that becomes too difficult to repay. Other major triggers for homelessness include hazardous housing conditions, job loss, overcrowding, eviction, and domestic violence.

Even in the best of times, life in New York City can be tough. And despite economic growth and an increase in jobs, these are far from the best of times. According to the Coalition for the Homeless,homelessness in New York City has reached levels not seen since the Great Depression. How can New Yorkers solve these problems? That’s up in the air, but a good start is de-stigmatizing homelessness and lobbying for increased affordable housing.

This article was originally published on DanNeiditch.org

6 Ways to Pay it Forward in Your New York Community

This post was originally featured on HuffingtonPost.com

There’s no place on Earth quite like New York City. Its energy and opportunity attract millions of people who want to be part of the Big Apple, and to those millions, the city gives so much. Actors, artists, businessmen, and professionals all benefit from everything New York has to offer.

The same people who thrive from the city’s many gifts are also the people who make New York a place who give back to others. With so many ways to give back, paying it forward is easier than you’d think.

Tutor with Masa

Masa, a Bronx-based organization dedicated to academic achievement, is seeking tutors for the spring 2017 term. Just two hours of tutoring a week can help students build a strong foundation in school by receiving homework help and growth as readers. Volunteer blocks are available between 6 and 8 PM, Monday through Thursday.

Coach Girls in Soccer

South Bronx United is seeking volunteer coaches for its two girls’ SBU competitive travel soccer teams. Coaches serve as more than mere play tacticians. They are mentors and role models who help the girls develop the values of teamwork, discipline, and respect as they form a love for the sport. The winter season kicks off in January and goes to early March. The spring season runs from mid-March to June. Schedules are flexible and will be built around your free time.

Food Bank for New York City

Food Bank for New York City had provided food to nearly one in five New Yorkers for over 30 years. To help its work in all five boroughs, FBNYC requires 800 volunteers a week to help package food, feed breakfast to seniors, or prepare meals for those who need them. FBNYC is open to individual or group volunteering opportunities, making it an excellent place for your business or organization to make an impact.

Help Your Local Park

New York City is full of dozens of green spaces big and small that provide peace and escape from the surrounding hustle and bustle of a major metropolis. There are a number of terrific ways to get involved with the city’s parks from volunteering to plant new plants and paint benches to working to restore natural green lands and tend to local wildlife.

Volunteer at the New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is seeking enthusiastic volunteers to help with library card sign-ups during the months of January, February, and March. Volunteers are asked to work 2–3 hour flexible shifts per month that are available in morning, noon, nighttime, and weekend hours. This campaign also provides information on a host of free services that the NYPL provides.

Become a Wish-granting Volunteer for Make-A-Wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation works with children all over New York. As a Wish-granting Volunteer, you will be part of a team that interviews children with life-threatening diseases to determine their deepest wish. Afterward, you will assist with granting the child’s wish by working with Make-A-Wish staff and your volunteer partner.

In a city with a population of nearly ten million, there are tens of thousands (if not more) ways to give back and make a difference in others’ lives as well as your own. I’ve never done something for someone that didn’t make me feel more grounded or appreciative of all the different people who live here. Though there are times when being cramped in the concrete jungle can feel by rote, when I find new ways to give back, I feel a kinship to New Yorkers. In a sense, that makes me more than just one in eight million people.

New York City Affecting Global Warming

The recent global warming and climate change that we are currently experiencing are largely a result of greenhouse gases that humans have emitted, and are continuing to emit at an alarming pace, into the atmosphere. Cities play a huge part in these emissions. With their consistently increasing population, number of cars of the road and buildings going up, cities are a large sources of greenhouse gasses. New York City is the most populous city in the United States and the 21st largest city in the world. The city is constantly growing in terms of population, infrastructure, cars and, as a result, greenhouse emissions. While the Atelier is working towards playing its part in reducing these emissions, other buildings aren’t necessarily doing so. Let’s take a look at how cities, specifically New York City, contributes to global warming and climate change.

Greenhouse gases are responsible for global warming. Humans emit them in a variety of ways. Most of these emissions come from the combustion of fossil fuels in cars, factories and electricity production, which there are many of in New York City. While greenhouse gasses also come from other sources such as agriculture and deforestation, according to reputable sources such as the United Nations, cities contribute seventy percent of the greenhouse gas emitted around the world.

As the population of New York City rises we see an increase in the amount of infrastructure needed to support these new people and the a rise in the amount of transportation that will be required to get them around, whether that be cars or public transportation. We need more buildings to house people, new supermarkets, office buildings, shopping centers, train stations, etc. Just the process of building these new buildings emits a significant amount of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. Then there’s the emissions that they will continue to produce while they are being used. Heating and cooling, lighting and appliances are all factors that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, buildings account for forty percent of total energy use, sixty-eight percent of total electricity consumption, and thirty-eight percent of the carbon dioxide emission just in the United States. While we are seeing an increase of buildings being LEED certified and taking the environment in mind, not everyone is being environmentally conscious when building in New York City. If we use energy efficient technologies we have the potential of reducing energy consumption by up to sixty percent. Even implementing a small change in how our cities are being built up and run can make a difference.

Stay tuned! This blog post is part two of three. The first post introduced us to global warming and climate change, looking at the causes of the problem and the effects of it. The next and final post in this series will explore how we can slow down and even stop global warming, using the Atelier in New York City as an example.

This article was originally published on DanielNeiditchRealEstate.com

What Proof That The Ozone Is Shrinking Means for Us

graphic image showing a view of the earth Background

Over forty years ago, scientists discovered the harmful effects of our use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) on the earth’s Ozone Layer. The Ozone Layer, which shields the earth from damaging ultraviolet rays, was said to have an expanding, thinning hole just above Antarctica. At that time, in 1974, experts began predicting the depletion of this stratospheric covering would be relatively rapid if ignored, to perpetually damaging results, even deadly. In response, a list of major countries around the world entered an agreement known as the Montreal Protocol to curb as well as eliminate the use of CFCs and substances causing such damage.

Now, nearly two years since the agreement, new research has emerged to show that the hole in the ozone layer is shrinking, or healing, according to some. Though the layer continued to grow thinner in the 1980s and 1990s, since 2000, it has shrunk by an estimated 1.7 million miles as of this year. This occurred despite the presence of a new hole in 2006 and interference attributed to volcanic activity in 2015, which showed the hole expanding.

What Does This Mean?

The Work Is Not In Vain

The good news in this is not merely bragging rights for scientists to say “I told you so,” not that anyone would. To be absolutely clear, science is deserving of accolades and credit for both the prescience to inspire such programs and the patience to see it through. Nevertheless,  it is a testament to our ability as inhabitants of this planet to take responsibility for our actions and to rectify the harm we’ve done. Though perceived as frivolous or even expensive, these results show that it is wholly rational to make efforts to protect the planet.

We’re Better Together

Furthermore, with many crediting the Montreal Protocol as the definitive action resulting in modern progress, it shows the need for unity and involvement from all parties. The original agreement happened between 20 countries. By 2015, 197 had showed support for this initiative, becoming the first treaty to receive universal ratifications in the United Nations’ history. It’s hard to imagine that the current healing process would be as successful or as immediate without international efforts to build awareness and reduce CDCs.

We Have More To Do

Even with this current update, there is work to be done toward changing this course. Scientists predict that at the current rate, by 2050 the hole will have reverted to 1980 levels, resulting in less danger for crops, animals and people. Additionally, Global Warming presents a major challenge in terms of climate and subsequent natural disasters. The more recent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, which set emissions targets for participating countries, are actively working toward that, but it has been slow.

Realizing the urgency of these matters, The Atelier has undergone renovations to be more environmentally friendly, as mentioned in a previous blog. New York City is just one of the places dear to us at risk of rising sea levels. Thus, continued action and change is necessary, and as we’ve seen with the Montreal Protocol, the time is now to make it happen.

This article was originally published on DanielNeiditchRealEstate.com

5 Customer Service Lessons We Can Learn From Ultra-Luxury Real Estate

This post was originally featured on HuffingtonPost.com

The biggest difference between luxury and standard real estate properties is not window treatments or fancy decor ― it’s customer service. When I say ‘customer service’, the first thing a lot of people think of is “Hi, can I help you?”or getting stuck on the phone with a credit card company. Sure, that’s one way of thinking about customer service. But in ultra-luxury real estate, if you want to excel at serving the customer, it means making your client, customer, renter, or buyer feel as though they are the exclusive focus of all your efforts.

This lesson applies to any business. You have to learn to be a little clairvoyant. The best way to do that? Prep like crazy:

1. Google is your first impression.

Before Google, a handshake and ‘Hi, my name is Dan’ was how you made your first impression. Now, your search results are the virtual handshake. So, never underestimate the power of branding and marketing ― especially free branding and marketing. Your website and social media feeds will speak for you, so make sure that they are up-to-date and create a positive impression. Though this may not seem like it should fall under customer service, it absolutely does, because you won’t be getting any customers if you look bad online.

Google goes both ways. If you’re expecting a meeting with a big client or buyer, Google them and find out everything you can about them. We research our clients and takes notes of what they like to eat, drink, and do before they walk through our doors.

The more you know about who your clients are and what they value, the more you can get a feel for what type of real estate will be a perfect match. Additionally, creating a personal connection will enhance their customer service experience and create higher levels of overall satisfaction.

2. Create a niche for yourself.

I’m a huge proponent of sustainability. As one of the few developers in NYC with solar panels on my properties (which is the tallest building in NYC to have solar panels and an outdoor skating rink), I know the value of standing out.

Carving a special place in an industry will help you become more memorable and differentiate your services from the masses, making it more likely that you’ll receive clients through word of mouth, targeted online searches, and good press.

If you’re in a niche, you better know your industry better than anyone else. You should able to speak comparatively and authoritatively about whatever space you want to dominate through great customer service. You need to know what your competitors are doing before you can seek to deliver customer service even better than theirs.

3. Perks Work.

As a long-time New Yorker, I’ve definitely had my fair share of good restaurant experiences ― and horrible ones. What are some things that give me a sense that I’m being taken care of in a restaurant? Complimentary amuse bouche (bite-sized hors d’œuvre). A signature cocktail while I’m waiting for a table. Entrees that come quickly after the appetizers are cleared. Even if a dish ends up being lackluster, what the diner remembers is how the dinner made them feel. Little things like timing, charm, and effort still work, because nothing is a little thing when it comes to customer service.

When I sold the penthouse apartment of the Atelier, I made sure the buyer would have a number of luxurious perks — a $1 million yacht, keys to two Rolls Royces, courtside seats to Nets’ games, and reservations at Daniel Boulud’s restaurant Daniel twice a month for a year. People like to feel like they’re being taken care of, and providing comfort and value through thoughtful perks will often do the trick.

4. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Do you know how James Cameron made all that money from Titanic? People watching the movie over and over again. The movie broke record box office records because of repeat fans. There is a reason this movie from 1997 still holds the third spot of all-time worldwide box office grossing films. If there is one thing we can learn from James Cameron ― and there are many ― it is that you need to be consistent and keep your loyal customers coming back. For our repeat customers, we make sure they have excellent, attentive service, and access to complimentary concert tickets and dinner.

Too many businesses get caught up in marketing themselves to the new customer, and though they are certainly important, you can’t afford to lose the ones you’ve already won over. Getting customers in the door is the easy-ish part, keeping them is the challenge. Do it by being consistent and paying attention to every single detail, again and again and again.

5. Devil’s in the Details.

You may have noticed that the recurring theme of this article is that details are important. Customer service exists in nailing the details. Paying attention to detail takes a bit of a Type A personality, and in my experience, most people who are superior at customer service are Type A. If you need to be a little compulsive to get better at delivering detailed and personalized customer service, so be it.

Excellent customer service isn’t difficult to spot. We all know what it looks like, or rather what it feels like. We also know when it’s done badly. When I receive great customer service, I take note of what that company, restaurant, store, etc. is doing that evokes that taken-care of feeling, then replicate it. There’s no rule that says you can’t take what you’ve learned from other people and do it better. Figuring out what works as a customer helps me the most to develop plans for how to accommodate my customers when the tables are turned.

Solar Energy Has Big Apple Potential But New York Real Estate Entrepreneurs Haven’t Seen the Light

New York developers have been reluctant to embrace solar, despite big cost savings and beautiful new designs. That creates opportunity for the bold.

This post was originally featured on Entrepreneur.com

I love New York. I can walk outside, look up and get a lesson in history just from looking at its buildings. Not only is it the birthplace of the American dream, its skyline is an icon of industry, capitalism and our intention to always go bigger and do better. As a local contributor to that skyline, it’s personal, but this home of mine is slower in keeping up with the sustainability Joneses than a city of 8.4 million people should. Meanwhile, smaller cities in California and Arizona are saving money big time by installing solar panels on large commercial buildings — something that NYC lacks.

Don’t get me wrong, New York State is one of the top 10 “solar states”, but when you break it down per city, per capita, medium-sized cities like Phoenix and Denver are ahead of NYC, and you can’t blame it on sunlight either. Indianapolis, which gets less sun than New York, ranks higher. In larger cities like NYC, the arguments against solar panels are starting to fall short, especially because solar panel installations have become “ridiculously cheap” according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and the price continues to decrease.

With Mayor Bill De Blasio’s ambitious goal for NYC to hit 80 percent renewal by 2050, why is New York still seemingly behind the times?

I have a couple of educated guesses:

The cost factor.

Currently, while there are a slew of federal incentives to promote sustainability, state-level credits vary dramatically. California gives an investment tax credit (ITC) that comprises 30 percent of the total system cost, on top of an existing 30 percent federal tax credit. New York isn’t quite there, but does offer a close 25 percent in tax credits.

Given that New York is a highly developed state with world-class economic, social and political institutions, it is surprising that it lags ever-so-slightly behind California. After all, not only is it easier and cheaper to install solar panels than ever before — it’s untapped money. Our West 42nd Street Atelier property, for example, recouped the installation cost of our solar panels within two years. Clearly, there isn’t just a “green” environmental dimension; there’s also a “green” financial one as well.

To complicate the discussion further, the outcome of the recent presidential election has thrown the future of the solar installation program into jeopardy. According to the analysts at S&P’s Global Plattsdivision, we could see a cut in the solar installation ITC under the Trump Presidency:

“Trump’s possible efforts to end incentives for alternative energy development would boost near-term demand for fossil fuels,” said a report by analysts at S&P Global Platts. “A potential cut in the Investment Tax Credit to 10 percent from the current 30 percent would slash solar installation demand by 60 percent.”

In other words, the cost factor, which wasn’t much of an issue in 2016, may become the decisive factor for developers in 2017. For now, it’s too early to tell, and developers don’t like the unknown.

The aesthetics factor.

The general consensus is that solar panels are ugly right? Wrong. The dynamic and unique thing about New York is that it is always frenetic, always modernizing which has its challenges when working within the infrastructure of established sacred ground. But New York is great at adapting, and beautifying solar is currently in a New York state of mind, especially for me when we were planning the installation of solar panels in our Atelier project.

We made sure the Atelier’s solar panels would add a complementary sleek and modern feel to the structure, adding instead of taking away from the aesthetic value of the original edifice.

Image Credit: The Real Deal

The “eyesores” of yesterday have gotten facelifts and are fast becoming the high-tech structures of now. Travel farther East and you’ll find the antithesis of the “solar is ugly” argument in Spain. Its Gemasolar Plant is extremely efficient and startlingly beautiful.

Image Credit: Wikipedia Germany

States Santiago Arias, technical director of Torresol Energy, the entity that runs the station: “[…] the plant produces 60 percent more energy than a station without storage capacity because it can work 6,400 hours a year compared to 1,200–2,000 hours for other solar power stations.” Continues Arias, “The amount of energy we produce a year is equal to the consumption of 30,000 Spanish households.”

In case you’re wondering, that breaks down to around 30,000 tons of CO2; and did I mention it runs 24/7?

Image Credit: TechCrunch

Then, there’s Tesla. No one combines tech and sustainable like Elon Musk. Musk’s announcement of Tesla’s new solar roof tiles and spare Powerwall 2 battery for homeowners may be the most effective means of taking the perception of solar panels from awkward to “good-looking”. And his beauty has some bite. According to Elon, Tesla’s materials — terracotta clay, slate tiles, and high impact resistant glass — will hold up to more than just sun and rain, or even hail. With this “fashion statement”, Elon Musk reveals his intrinsic understanding of the public: Build it, they will come. Make it beautiful on top of that, and they will flock.

Though this speaks more to the homeowner than the big project developer, I would consider the “solar panels are ugly and inefficient” theory properly debunked.

So why aren’t real estate developers moving in droves to install solar panels on all commercial properties in New York City? Even if Trump cuts the federal ITC for solar, state tax incentives will remain intact — still a very compelling incentive. But even in our ultra-modern city, those attached to the purse strings of these projects can play it a little safe. Best answer may be that it just hasn’t happened yet, and that more and more “safers” will come around.

Until then, I’ll continue to urge real estate developers and investors to do their part; they’ll have to if we plan on getting to 80 percent renewable by 2050 (which I have all the faith in the world we will). We are in plans to continue incorporating solar panels and other sustainable initiatives in our properties. I’m hoping that our success in saving and making revenue because we use solar panels will be the best form of convincing.