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Mentioned in this Article:
Stephen G. Kliegerman

Stephen G. Kliegerman
President of Development Marketing

Amelia S. Gewirtz

Amelia S. Gewirtz
West Side Office

Jill Sloane

Jill Sloane
West Side Office

New York Post

Stairway To Saving


WANT a deal on a penthouse apartment? Try getting one in a walk-up building, where penthouse is a euphemism for “a lot of steps.”

In walk-ups, good light and views come hand-in-hand with schlepping up the stairs. But as the going gets higher, the deals also get better.

How much better? We quizzed brokers to find out.

For studios and one-bedrooms, prices on identical apartments often go down $20,000 to $30,000 for every floor above the third, says Debra Hoffman, a broker with the Corcoran Group.

That means every stair you climb to get home can be worth $2,000 off the price of your apartment.

That’s something for Anika Altmann to think about during the hike to her apartment.

The 22-year-old just scored a 600-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in Hell’s Kitchen for $235,000. “It was a complete steal,” she says.

Altmann does not mind that her new pad is on the fourth floor. “It doesn’t bother me at all,” she says. “I got more space for my money.”


There is a limit to how much you can save, no matter how many flights of stairs you are willing to walk up: Because of city building codes, only a tiny handful of walk-ups in the city are taller than six floors.

Even in a walk-up, the first floor isn’t where the most valuable apartments are.

Unless a ground-floor apartment comes with a private yard, the second floor tends to be the most pricey because street level is often seen as less safe, brokers say.

“Besides, on the second floor you are looking at tree tops, instead of tree stumps on the first floor,” says Stephen Kliegerman, an executive sales director at Halstead Property.

Stumps notwithstanding, brokers say the first and third floors are next priciest— unless the higher floors come with extras like private roof decks.

For every floor above the third, prices tend to come down 5 to 10 percent, says Halstead broker Amelia Gewirtz.


For rentals, the difference between an apartment on the first, second or third floor and one on the fourth, fifth or sixth is usually $100 to $200 a month, says Andrew Heiberger, president and chief executive officer of Citi Habitats.

Alexis Kuchinsky, 28, says keeping an extra $100 a month is well worth climbing to her $1,450-a-month fourth-floor apartment on East 82nd Street, in spite of some hassles.

The biggest is laundry: Kuchinsky’s building, like most walk-ups, doesn’t have laundry on-site. Toting two weeks’ worth of clothes up and down is a nuisance, she allowed.

“Groceries are a pain, too,” she says. “I never buy more than $30 or $40 worth.”

Moving also costs more. The price of a move typically goes up 5 percent for every floor in a walk-up building because of the additional time involved, says Michael Federico Sr., president of Liberty Moving & Storage in Long Island City.

Such inconveniences make many unwilling to go up more than two flights, brokers say.

Usually, it’s single 20-somethings who are willing to live on the high floors of walk-ups.

“Couples are always talking about baby carriages,” notes Halstead’s Gewirtz.

Not even all real estate agents can market them. Jill Sloane, a Halstead agent, says she got an exclusive on a 10th Avenue place after the owner was unhappy with the previous broker.

The reason? “She was out of breath whenever she showed the apartment,” Sloane says.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

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