New York City is a city that is made up of five boroughs namely Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. If you are moving to New York City on an expatriate assignment for work it is quite likely that you will be based either in the borough of Manhattan or Brooklyn. That is not to say that expatriates do not live in the other boroughs of the city, but since Manhattan is home to Wall Street, the financial capital of the world, and the United Nations, it is known to host more expatriates than any of the other boroughs of New York City.
Before you move to New York City, the company which is transferring you may send you on a reconnaissance mission during which it is likely that you will be put in touch with a real estate agent who will help you in your search to find an apartment for your stay in New York City.
The Real Estate Market in New York City
New York City is characterized by a vibrant real estate market that features a wide assortment of rental and ownership properties. These properties take the form of both apartments and houses. Residential dwellings in the borough of Manhattan generally take the form of apartments while houses are more common in the outer boroughs. The real estate market in New York City along with real estate markets in other parts of the USA reached dizzying heights a couple of years ago. The availability of easy credit enabled both developers and buyers to interact energetically in the market place as a result of which as soon as homes appeared on the market they seemed to be snapped up by eager buyers. Foreign buyers also seemed to be participating enthusiastically in this market as the devaluation of the dollar in recent years had made New York City properties extremely attractive for foreign buyers who were looking for investment opportunities.
However, the current ongoing economic recession changed all that. This recession decimated in the housing markets all over the country as credit suddenly dried up and foreclosures became the norm. The real estate market in New York City at first seemed to be unaffected by the recession but by early 2008, the city also began to experience a few foreclosures (at first in Brooklyn, but these foreclosures have now spread to several areas of Manhattan as well) and the prices of apartments began to come down from their former astronomical levels. To give an example, a 1200 square foot two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in a desirable neighborhood of Manhattan used to be able to command a price which was in excess of a million dollars over a year ago but now that same apartment can be had for a price which is under a million dollars.
There are several factors that determine the price of an apartment in New York City, the first of which is location. There are certain neighborhoods in New York City which are highly coveted like the West Village, the Upper East Side, Chelsea, Tribeca, and the Upper West Side in Manhattan, Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, and Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Apartments that are located in these areas generally tend to be priced higher than elsewhere.
The second major factor that seems to affect the price of an apartment in New York City is its classification – if it is classified as a condominium or a co-operative. Apartments in New York City are largely divided into condominium apartments and co-operative apartments. As an ex-pat in New York City, it is likely that you will first rent an apartment for the duration of your stay and it is likely that this rented accommodation will be in a condominium apartment. See our Types of Accommodation section for more information.
Other factors include the condition and age of the structure, its amenities, (for example, if it has an elevator or a doorman), and its reputation.
A ‘Tight’ Market
New York City’s housing market is considered to be perennially ‘tight’ and often there are too many buyers or too many renters chasing the same apartments. As a foreigner who is moving to this city from overseas you might find this bewildering. As soon as you know of your move to New York City you should start doing your homework about where you want to stay during your stint as an ex-pat. Luckily thanks to the Internet, you now have a wealth of information about various New York City neighborhoods and apartments available at the click of a mouse. Moreover, it is likely that you will first rent an apartment for sometime before you buy an apartment in the city so it will make your task of landing an apartment easier if you are sure about what kind of apartment you want.
If your company already works with a certain New York City-based real estate broker who specializes in relocation then you should be asked to be put in touch with the broker as soon as possible as he or she will be able to start pre-screen listings on your behalf and will possibly have apartments to show you when you go to New York City on your reconnaissance visit.
Finding the perfect apartment for your stay in New York requires much homework and research on your part as well and if your company doesn’t work with any particular relocation expert then perhaps you should try to contact a few on your own through their websites which are almost always available on real estate listings that are published on websites like the that belongs to the New York Times Newspaper (http://www.nytimes.com). Ideally, you should start your search for a dwelling in New York City as soon as you are informed that you are going to be relocated to the ‘Big Apple’ as finding an apartment in New York City does take much time and effort.