USA – What are the main issues New Yorkers raised in 2010?
New Yorkers focus mainly on maintenance fees, the need to share costs and facades safety initiatives
USA: 2010 has just finished and thinking about the past year, property owners complain about the ever-rising maintenance fees whose rise was mainly due to taxes.
Maintenance costs increased by 11% in 2010 and they are expected to rise from 3 to 15% in 2011. From 1st January 2011 the tax rate is higher, consequently, tax bills have increased, too; indeed, they are assessed using property valuations that were applied during the 2007-2010 real estate market boom.
Despite the down financial situation of 2009 and 2010, real estate taxes have increased considerably. Experts say there will be some reductions in real estate taxes when high valuations are replaced by lower ones.
Rising property taxes are not the only problem homeowners have to tackle. They have to deal with rising utility costs and with the 3%-salary increase of doormen, janitors, porters and building superintendents.
New York residents raised another issue in 2010: in search of an affordable way to live in an unaffordable city, they have started to erect temporary walls to split an apartment in smaller spaces to share costs. Most conversions are illegal and sometimes they are not safe; on the contrary they are arranged in very dangerous ways; therefore, people looking for apartments for rent should pay attention to the market rate and compare the price to the actual value.
In 2010, New Yorkers focused also their attention on balconies. Several facade safety initiatives were undertaken to make faulty terraces and railings safe. According to a standard program, all buildings over six stories in New York must have their balconies and facades inspected every five years. Inspectors visited more than 800 buildings in New York and ordered to close the balconies that were found in bad conditions and that did not comply with the required safety measures.
This is expected to be a key issue in 2011, too, as proper future actions are needed in order to increase the level of security of New Yorkers.
A topic of interest in 2010 was represented by mortgages. They may seem alluring options, thanks to their relatively low rates, but the process required to obtain a loan is still as complicated as it was after the market crashed in 2008.
Real estate experts claim it may be even more difficult, now, due to the tougher guidelines drawn up by mortgage companies. Banks are still tough and there are more and more requirements to comply with. Banks have introduced a second credit check on buyers before closing the contract in order to search thoroughly for possible hidden debts.
Some buildings did not meet the insurance standards set by banks and it was necessary to make some changes. In other cases, buyers decided to look for lenders that did not have specific insurance requirements about buildings. Some analysts say that insurance guidelines might be what single-family houses need, but they do not make sense for Manhattan apartment towers.
Click on the following links to learn more about the real estate market of the USA:
- Luxury high-rise buildings in Battery Park City, Manhattan
- Foreign investors more and more present in New York
- Community gardens: A new way to make condos green
- Luxury properties come once again on stage in the property market of Manhattan
- Almost-new: a new market segment in the property market of the United States