Gregory J. Heym
Executive Vice President, Chief Economist
BY DAVID LOMBINO - Staff Reporter of the Sun
New Yorkers pay a premium to live, work, and play in what many consider to be the greatest city on earth. With real estate prices rising, albeit at a slower clip, inquisitive buyers have to wonder what the cost of a Manhattan studio could buy elsewhere - perhaps a more spacious, more luxurious home far from the city, even outside the nation's borders.
In a recent real estate market report, the Corcoran Group listed the average price for condos and co-op studios at about $413,000. A 350-square-foot studio on Jane Street, in the heart of the West Village and an enviable start-up pad by most standards, is now listed at $380,000, or nearly $1,000 a square foot.
On a cold and rainy January day, prices like these make it difficult not to daydream about what those stiff rents or mortgage payments might yield in locations further afield.
For the same price as the Jane Street studio, an emigre could buy a former 12th century chapel with mountain views in the Marche region of eastern Italy. The chapel, called Saint Eustachio, was enlarged and transformed into a farmhouse with a barn and stalls for livestock. The 2,800-square-foot stone house, in need of a complete renovation,is about a 40-minute drive from the Adriatic Sea.
Outdoor lovers could trade the studio for a new custom-built log cabin in a private resort community in the Laurentian Mountains of Canada, a short drive from Montreal, Quebec.The Cote Nord development includes a full-service spa facility, tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pools, and access to fishing, golf, hiking trails, and skiing at Mount Tremblant. The slope-side homes come standard with fine finishes, decks, and fireplaces.
In the southern hemisphere, which is now battling through the dog days of summer, the cost of the West Village studio would buy you a three-bedroom apartment on the 27th floor of a Rio De Janeiro high-rise, overlooking one of the city's famously attractive beaches. The apartment, minutes from downtown in the Leme neighborhood, comes with two maids rooms, a playground for children, a full-service doorman, and two indoor parking spaces.
While it would be a serious challenge to find a studio apartment for $215,000 in Manhattan, the same amount of money would get a buyer a two-story, three-bedroom, 3,750-square-foot home with a pool and a Jacuzzi south of the border in Cuernavaca, Mexico, about 45 minutes from Mexico City.The property includes a landscaped garden, living room, dining room, den, and library, and comes with a washer/dryer and subzero fridge.
Sotheby's International is now listing a four-bedroom, 4,305-square-foot country house in Languedoc, France, for $352,000. The stone house, built in 1840, is located in a small hamlet in southern France, about 15 minutes from the closest town and an hour from the Mediterranean Sea.
For about $250,000 and a five-hour door-to-door trip south, potential studio buyers could cash in their downpayment-in-waiting for a one-bedroom, fully furnished condominium in Eleuthra, the Bahamas. The Pineapple Fields development boasts 1,000 feet of beachfront along a 2-mile white sand strip and a beachside bistro. Management can rent out the one-bedroom for about $150 a day.
For the price of the Jane Street studio and an extra $120,000, a financial leap that might add a hundred square feet or so onto a Manhattan studio, adventurous buyers could get views of the Aegean Sea and ancient sun-bleached, hillside villages from a three-bedroom villa on the island of Lesbos in Greece. The 850-square-foot, pink-tinted house has two independent studio guesthouses should visitors drop by. It is selling for $499,000.
Despite these tempting alternatives, city studio apartments are still moving quickly off the market. The chief economist for Halstead, Gregory Heym, said that entry-level studio apartments have recently been one of the fastest growing segments of the city's real estate market, up 16% from a year ago.
Thursday, January 19, 2006