Exceptions to this rule are mostly confined to particularly beloved or transitional neighborhoods. In Williamsburg and Greenpoint, “40 percent come from the immediate vicinity,” says David Maundrell of AptsandLofts.com, which markets numerous buildings in both areas. A few projects surprise their builders, too. At 184 Thompson, sales agents expected lots of interest from parents of NYU students. Instead, they got lots of local tenants who were finally ready to own as well as overseas buyers drawn to the mystique of the Village.
BUYERS ARE YOUNGER.
The largest shift in buyer demographics is age. Today’s apartment- hunters are yesterday’s renters, those in their twenties and thirties. At 147 Waverly Place, a third of the buyers are between the ages of 27 and 35. At the Gantry in Long Island City, where prices are a little lower, 85 percent of buyers are 39 or under. At the Croft Building on 71 Nassau Street, it’s 69 percent, and at 255 Hudson, 55 percent. “Earning capacity has grown among young people” in the past twenty years, notes developer Edward J. Minskoff. (The median salary for a beginner lawyer at the top law firms in the city is $145,000, according to Brooklyn Law School.)
What’s behind the change? For starters, all those Suze Orman shows extolling the virtues of homeownership. (That mortgage money is still cheap, and interest rates still aren’t rising, helps too.) “It just seems like a lot more people my age are talking about buying a place,” says 30-year-old Nicole Manzi, who’s about to go into contract with her husband for a new one-bedroom in Harlem. Adds Corcoran’s Barrie Mandel, who represents a handful of projects downtown, including Bernard Tschumi’s Blue on Norfolk Street, “Real estate is seen as a 401(k).” And we all know what the financial gurus say about having a 401(k).
THEY’RE SINGLE WOMEN.
In the second season of Sex and the City, a then-babyless and boyfriendless Miranda Hobbes went apartment-hunting and was met with skepticism because she was a woman shopping alone for a big apartment.
Well, it’s seven years later, and Miranda’s not alone anymore. Highlyann Krasnow of the Developers Group, the firm charged with selling apartments at the Hudson on West 60th Street, says her sales team expected to see mostly Upper West Side family buyers. But young single women? “It’s not an intimidating thing for them anymore,” she suggests. Adds broker Samantha Kleier Forbes, “They don’t wait to get married to get a diamond ring, they don’t wait for a husband to have a baby, so why should they wait to get their own apartment?” If and when these women do couple up and move on, condos are less of a hassle to deal with. “Selling [a co-op] isn’t easy,” says Sabrina Kleier Morgenstern, Kleier Forbes’s sister and fellow broker. “If you meet a guy and want a bigger place, they’re hard to rent out, if at all. Some co-ops won’t even let you.”