Commercial

Co-op / Condo Group Sets Rally to Support Tax-Fairness Bill

Tax Revolt 2012:  By Frank Lovece

It’s a rite of spring, but this year the composer is Stavisky, not Stravinsky. With the New York City Department of Finance issuing its annual property-tax assessments, State Senator Toby Anne Stavisky is again attempting to level the playing field for co-ops and condos. A Queens activist group has thrown its weight behind the measure — urging board members from all boroughs to join in supporting a law to treat co-ops and condos like residential property, and not, as now, higher-taxed commercial real estate.
March 30, 2012 — The value of your co-op or condo is flat compared to last year. It might even be down. In fact, unless yours is one of those multimillion-dollar apartments that always seem to flip for millions more, your place almost certainly hasn’t seen any great increase in its value.Which makes 20- to 50-percent increases, which Bob Friedrich of the Presidents Co-op & Condo Council (PCCC) says the New York City tax department is assessing several Queens co-ops / condos this year, all the more difficult to understand.Except, not really. But whether it’s fair or not is another story.

“It’s counterintuitive that a condo unit you bought for 10 percent more than you could sell it for today has gone up in value,” admits Dept. of Finance spokesman Owen Stone. “But if the rental market is moving up, you’re still going see an increase in the value of your home.”

When a Home Is Not a Home

By “home” he means “co-op or condo,” not single- and two-family homes and townhouses. That’s because under New York State’s Real Property Tax Law Section 581, co-ops and condos are assessed as if they were “comparable” income-producing commercial properties — i.e., rental buildings. And rents generally tend to go up, regardless of what the sales market does.

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Google Buys in Chelsea $1.8B

Bigger than the Empire State Building.<br /> (Bing Maps)  

Proving yet again that it is more than just a search engine, Google has now beat out some of the city’s top developers as it heads toward the largest real estate purchase of the year. Google signed a $1.8 billion contract for the 2.9 million-square-foot 111 Eighth Avenue yesterday, according to The Times.

That is less than the $2 billion the deal was expected to fetch in late October, but it’s still great news for the city, writes Charles Bagli:

The contract not only signals a rebounding real estate market, at least for office buildings full of high-profile tenants paying good rents, but also reflects a vote of confidence by an expanding technology firm in New York City.

Some tech watchers were skeptical that Google could purchase the building where it has its New York headquarters, but never underestimate the need for more scootering space.   mchaban@obsever.com

Time Coming For Commercial Mortgage Market To Stand On Its Own

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- The Federal Reserve on Friday will conduct the last round of purchases of existing commercial mortgages, marking the end of a government program designed to buoy markets and boost investor confidence in securities that have been battered since the financial crisis in 2008.

The end of this part of the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF, leaves a corner of the commercial mortgage market on its own, and investors won’t see new deals until later in the year, when regulators are expected to provide more clarity on securitization.

While the Fed’s role has been small relative to other programs–the central bank has granted only $11 billion in loan requests since last June–the impact has been much larger in a sector still in the throes of a painful correction.

“TALF provided psychological support for the market,” said Darrell Wheeler, head of commercial mortgages at Amherst Securities. “It served its purpose at the time it was needed.”

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By Prabha Natarajan Dow Jones Newswires