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New York City Multifamily Sales Gain Ground In February

The number of multifamily buildings sold in New York City in February 2014 jumped 59 percent and the dollar volume of those trades soared 186 percent compared to February 2013, according to Ariel Property Advisors’ Multifamily Month in Review for February.

Multifamily Month In Review

February saw 97 multifamily buildings sell over 40 transactions for a total value of $679.96 million, compared to 32 multifamily transactions comprised of 61 buildings totaling $237.7 million in gross consideration in February 2013.

“New York City multifamily sales showed large year-over-year growth in February, continuing the impressive trend we saw at the start of the year,” said Shimon Shkury, president of Ariel Property Advisors. “Tight inventory, robust buyer demand, and inexpensive financing continued to steadily push prices upward.”

Month-to-month, the number of buildings sold increased a slight 2 percent and the dollar volume of the deals declined a modest 6 percent compared in February compared to January, which saw 95 buildings trade with a total dollar volume of $721 million.

The following is a breakdown of the February 2014 multifamily data by submarket:

Brooklyn was the most active in terms of transactions and building volume with 52 buildings trading across 18 sales, for a total of $343.5 million in gross consideration. Month-to-month building and dollar volume rose 30 percent and 43 percent, respectively, from January, and the borough’s activity greatly surpassed the activity of a year ago when there were nine transactions totaling $27.98 million. A significant chunk of that volume was accounted for by the sale of a multifamily portfolio by the Brooklyn Law School in Brooklyn Heights, and a 28-building package mostly in Crown Heights and Prospect Park South.

Manhattan’s dollar volume totaled $157.798 million in gross consideration across just six transactions and seven buildings. Transaction volume was flat year-over-year but dollar volume was propped up by the sale of The Grayson at 247 East 28th Street for just under $100 million, nearly double the $53 million paid for the same asset in 2012. At over $900 per foot, and reportedly under a 4.5 percent cap rate, this stands out as a significant market bellwether.

The Bronx saw steady sales on a month-to-month basis, but made huge leaps on a year-over-year basis. The borough saw 27 buildings trade for a total of $129.555 million, figures three times and five times greater than a year ago, respectively. A row of multifamily properties on Haviland Avenue accounted for eight of these buildings, averaging $105 per square foot, and $97,000 per unit.

Northern Manhattan was the one exception to the rule this month, showing declines both month-to-month and year-over-year with $37.575 million in gross consideration across four buildings. Pricing, however, is as strong as ever. Each transaction this month occurred at over $220 per square foot, continuing the pricing climb. The average price per foot in Northern Manhattan has been $237 over the last six months, compared to $174 a year ago.

Queens had a relatively light month, with just four transactions totaling $11.505 million. Despite the slow market, pricing remains strong for the borough, with cap rates around 5 percent along with prices per foot and prices per unit on par with metrics in Northern Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Trailing 6-Month Sales Averages: For the six months ended in February 2014, average monthly transaction volume dropped slightly to 60 transactions per month, but the six-month average dollar volume increased to $885 million.

The multifamily transactions included in the analysis occurred at a minimum sales price of $1 million, with a minimum gross area of 5,000 square feet, and with a minimum of 10 units.

More information is available from Mr. Shkury at 212-544-9500, ext. 11, or sshkury@arielpa.com. For a copy of the report, please see http://arielpa.com/newsroom/report-MFMIR-Feb-2014.

Our Observations For the Week

New York City gained 76,400 private sector jobs from March 2013 to March 2014, but the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to from 7.9 percent in February to 8 percent in March, according to the State Labor Department. New York State gained 108,200 private sector jobs during the same period and the state’s unemployment rate rose modestly from 6.8 percent in February to 6.9 percent in March. Year-over-year statewide, 41,200 jobs were created in educational and health services and 24,400 jobs were created in professional and business services, but 5,200 manufacturing jobs and 4,600 government jobs were lost.

Economic activity in the Federal Reserve’s New York district has rebounded since February, according to the Fed’s Beige Book. Demand for labor strengthened in all sectors, with hiring increasing in the financial sector. In addition, many businesses surveyed are planning to hire new workers, particularly in the service sector. New college grads are finding jobs in New York City and skilled workers, particularly in IT, are scarce. Banks reported demand for commercial mortgages, but lower demand for residential mortgages.

U.S. mortgage lending fell to $226 billion in the first quarter, which is the lowest level for a quarter since 1997, and less than one-third the 2006 average, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The decline in mortgage loans was attributed to rising home prices and interest rates that have been increasing since mid-2013. Also, more than 40 percent of home purchases are now all-cash deals.

Fewer 25- to 44-year-olds are living in Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties because more young people are opting to remain in New York City rather than return to their suburban roots, according to the NY Times. Some housing experts theorize that young people are being pushed out by the lack of affordable housing in the suburbs, while others say the trend is part of the re-urbanization that many cities are experiencing and that young people are staying in New York City because it’s safe, diverse, energetic, and close to local amenities.

The Brooklyn neighborhood of South Williamsburg, bordered by Grand Street, Union Avenue, the East River, and Division Avenue, is becoming as popular as North Williamsburg, according to a NY Times profile of the area. Warehouses have been converted into housing with the largest conversion, the Domino Sugar redevelopment on Kent Avenue, on the horizon. About 90 percent of the housing stock is rental, but condo projects are on the rise including the Oosten, a 216-condo development scheduled to open in 2016 on the former Schaefer beer plant site at Wythe Avenue and South Eighth Street.

Luxury developments along the Queens waterfront are challenging the borough’s working class image as depicted in two popular television shows — All in the Family and The King of Queens, according to a NY Times article. A two-bedroom penthouse at Five 27, a luxury development in Long Island City, recently sold for a record $1.58 million, and at the View at Hunters Point, a 1,842-square-foot condo is on the market for $3.58 million and a 2,100-square-foot, three-bedroom condo is listed for $5.388 million. Medium condo prices in Queens increased 17 percent in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same quarter last year.

Work has been completed on the exterior of a former elementary school at 213 E. 99th Street in East Harlem that developers Artspace and El Barrio’s Operation Fightback are converting into a 90-unit affordable housing complex, according to the WSJ. The developers broke ground in 2012 on the $52.2 million rehab of the building, which was designed in 1898. Artspace has 35 similar projects with more than 1,100 residential units nationwide. The organization selects income-qualified artists and local residents, allowing them to live in their affordable units in perpetuity.

The owner of The Bronx Borough Courthouse at 161st Street and 3rd Avenue, which has been vacant since 1977, is seeking a tenant such as a charter school or community group, the Daily News reports. Built between 1905 and 1914, the Beaux Arts-style building features 25-foot-tall ceilings, terrazzo floors, and spiral staircases. Owner Henry Weinstein has invested $5 million in electrical, plumbing, and elevator repairs in the 82,000-square-foot landmarked structure.

NYC Residential Sales Increase 4 Percent in the First Quarter

This week we’re highlighting the increase in New York City residential sales in the first quarter, the rise in local construction spending, and Manhattan and Brooklyn rental reports.

In the first quarter of 2014, New York City residential sales increased 4 percent to 10,391 and the total value of those deals increased 3 percent to $8.3 billion compared to the first quarter of 2013, according to a REBNY report. At $801,000, the average price of a NYC home remained flat because there were fewer sales in Manhattan.

In the Queens residential market, the average sales price increased 10.3 percent to $429,544 in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the first quarter of 2013, the Elliman Report shows. Year-over-year sales in the borough jumped 32.8 percent to 3,156, and listing inventory dropped 13.5 percent to 5,617.

In the Brooklyn residential market, the average sales price increased 7.3 percent to $681,182 in the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter of last year, according to the Elliman Report. The number of sales declined 2.2 percent to 1,572, and listing inventory fell 13.2 percent to 4,092, the lowest level in six years.

The majority of homebuyers in Brownstone Brooklyn, 52 percent, were between 31 and 40 years old, and 31 percent earned between $100,000 and $199,999 in the first quarter of 2014, according to a report by Ideal Properties Group. Most of the buyers, 23 percent, worked in the finance, accounting and sales sector, and 39 percent had lived in Brooklyn before purchasing their home followed by 17 percent from Manhattan. The top five neighborhoods attracting buyers were Park Slope (20 percent); Williamsburg (13 percent); Brooklyn Heights (11 percent); Cobble Hill (11 percent); and Prospect Heights (11 percent).

Overall construction spending in New York City increased 6 percent in 2013 to $29.3 billion up from $27.7 billion in 2012, the New York Building Congress reports. Of this total, residential construction spending reached its highest level in decades, increasing 36 percent in 2013 to $7.3 billion. A total of 18,095 new residential units were constructed in 2013, a 64 percent increase from the previous year and the highest level of dwelling unit production since 2008, when 33,170 units were produced on $5.9 billion in spending. Construction employment reached a five year high of 120,900 jobs in 2013, a 4 percent increase from 2012.

Average rents in Brooklyn jumped 9.5 percent to $3,254 this March compared to the same month last year, the Elliman Report shows. The number of new rentals soared 174.6 percent to 854, which is an indication that fewer tenants renewed their leases. Average rents in Manhattan rose a modest 1 percent to $3,968, and the listing inventory fell slightly to 5,422. The Manhattan vacancy rate stood at 1.68 percent in March.

In addition to filing a lawsuit to block the development of a 23-story rental building at 626 Flatbush Avenue in the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens section of Brooklyn, local residents are seeking to freeze all new development projects in the neighborhood until the area is rezoned and height restrictions are imposed. The project, which will create 254 units including 50 affordable units, is in compliance with current zoning laws.

“Immigration has helped to revitalize New York City by making communities safer, improving local housing wealth, increasing public revenue, and boosting the city’s population,” according to a report by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas that examined the years between 1975 and 2013. The study found that immigrants during this period revitalized pockets of the city that would have been lost to high vacancy rates and abandoned housing, increased the city’s housing wealth by $188 billion, and since 1980 contributed $500 billion in taxes.

U.S. Adds 192,000 Jobs in March

This week we’re highlighting the March jobs report, the jump in first quarter Manhattan co-op and condo sales, and proposed city landmark legislation.

The U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate remained 6.7 percent, the Labor Department reported. All of the gains were in the private sector, including increases in professional and business services and construction, which pushed private sector employment to a new high of 116.09 million jobs.

Manhattan had the highest first quarter co-op and condo sales in seven years, with sales jumping 34.6 percent to 3,307 compared to the first quarter of 2013, according to the Elliman Report. The average price per square foot set a 25-year-record, rising 23.6 percent year-over-year to $1,363. Median sales prices increased 18.5 percent to $972,428, while the average sales price increased 30.9 percent to $1,773,523 this quarter compared to the same period last year.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is seeking legislation that would require a 30-day public review by the Landmarks Preservation Commission whenever a developer files a permit to demolish a building older than 50 years. She also wants the commission to immediately review the remaining buildings on West 57th Street, where current development is taking place, to identify and landmark buildings if they have historical or aesthetic value.

The Hotel Trades Council wants a citywide permit created for hotel development, which would require proposed hotels to undergo a public review process by the City Council and Planning Commission before they can be built. Currently hotels must only comply with zoning laws. The union is trying to secure support for the initiative from local community boards and borough presidents.

Mayor Bill de Blasio named Michael Schlein, chief executive of the micro-lending firm Accion and former Citigroup executive, as the chairman of the city’s Economic Development Corporation. Mr. Schlein said the city needs to be more prudent in the way tax incentives are used to attract people and companies to New York City.

A California developer was selected as the new operator for Long Island College Hospital in downtown Brooklyn. Brooklyn Health Partners, which agreed to pay SUNY Downstate $250 million for the site, plans to operate a 300- to 400-bed hospital and develop 1,000 units of housing, 30 percent of them affordable. The developer will need to obtain a New York state hospital license, which requires proof of expertise, financial capability, and demand for the medical facility. If the deal doesn’t close, lower ranked bidders will be considered.

Of the $894 million development dollars invested in The Bronx last year, 67 percent was for housing, a report by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. shows. The projects included Signature Urban Properties’ $75.7 million investment in a 237-unit multifamily building at 1512 Boone Avenue, and Douglaston Development’s $80 million investment in the 136-unit Crossroads Plaza at 501 Southern Boulevard.

Prices for homes in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn are rising, but are still affordable compared to other neighborhoods in Brooklyn, according to a profile of the neighborhood in the NY Post. More new condos and rentals are being developed in the area and new bars and restaurants are opening along Franklin Avenue. Additionally a commercial office space is being developed at 1000 Dean Street that will feature a 9,000-square-foot beer hall and restaurant.

New York City Sees Net Gain in Population for Third Consecutive Year

This week we’re highlighting New York City’s population growth, the February jobs figures, new members appointed to the board overseeing rent regulated apartments, and a new study about redeveloping The Bronx waterfront.

New York City’s population increased by more than 61,000 in the year ending July 1, 2013, the third consecutive year the city has gained more residents than it lost, according to Census Bureau estimates. All five boroughs saw an increase in population due to the influx of new residents from other countries, young families remaining in the city to raise their families, and more births than deaths. For the first time, the city’s population has risen above 8.4 million.

New York City added 14,700 private sector jobs in February and the city’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 7.9 percent in February up from 7.8 percent in January. While jobs were added in the computer services and advertising sectors, jobs on Wall Street declined again in both February and year-over-year. There are more than 3.98 million jobs in New York City but about 140,000 more unemployed people than before the recession.

Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed five members to the nine-member Rent Guidelines Board. Cecilia M. Joza, housing counseling director at Mutual Housing Association of NY, and Steven Flax, VP for community reinvestment at M&T Bank, were named to the public seats. Sheila Garcia, a community organizer for the tenants’ group CASA, was appointed a tenant rep, and Harvey Epstein, an associate director of the Urban Justice Center, was reappointed as a tenant rep. Sarah Williams Willard, a senior project manager at the Hudson Companies, was appointed to the open property owners’ seat.

Redeveloping the Special Harlem River Waterfront District — located between East 138th and East 149th Streets — will bring no less than $500 million in new development to The Bronx, create more than 3,500 new jobs, and more than 1,500 new units of housing of all types, according to a report released by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The Special Harlem River Waterfront District has the potential to totally transform an underutilized section of The Bronx while also creating new waterfront recreation opportunities for the entire borough. This report outlines many of the ways this development could help our continued efforts to build the ‘New Bronx,’ and will spark even more interest in the future of our waterfront,” Borough President Diaz said

FreshDirect will move forward with plans to build a 500,000-square-foot headquarters in the South Bronx now that the New York State Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit seeking to block the relocation because of environmental concerns. FreshDirect is promising to create 1,000 new jobs in The Bronx over the next decade, and to convert its fleet of delivery trucks from diesel to electric power within five years of opening the facility.

The restoration of the High Bridge, which connects the Highbridge neighborhood in The Bronx with Washington Heights, is expected to be completed in 2014. The restored bridge will be open to pedestrians and cyclists.

Five new mixed-use office/retail buildings are under construction or being planned for the Meatpacking District, according to a WSJ profile of the area. The projects include 837 Washington Street, a 55,000-square-foot building, and 860 Washington Street, a 120,000-square-foot, 10-story glass tower next to the High Line. The neighborhood, bordered by Gansevoort Street, West 14th Street, Hudson Street, and the Hudson River, is currently zoned only for commercial use.

Dallas-based Neiman Marcus is negotiating with Related Cos. to open a multilevel store that could be as large as 200,000 square feet at Hudson Yards, according to the NY Post. The store would be the 107-year-old Dallas-based retailer’s first in New York City and would serve as the anchor for the development’s 1 million-square-foot-retail complex.

Hudson Yards Developer Agrees to ‘Living Wage’ Policy

This week we’re highlighting progress on developments around the city, the Fed’s latest policy announcement, and an analysis of the federally-funded housing programs.

In an agreement with the city, Hudson Yards developer Related Cos. has agreed to pay at least $11.75 per hour to about 1,650 engineers, security guards, janitors, customer service and marketing staff members that will work at the complex one day, including employees of Related’s affiliates such as restaurants. Most of Related’s employees are currently paid more than $11.75 and many are unionized, the WSJ reported.

Acting on positive economic news, the Fed plans to continue reducing its bond buying program by $10 billion to $55 billion a month. Policymakers, however, are still concerned about the health of the economy so plan to raise short-term rates gradually. As a result, short-term interest rates will remain near zero “for a considerable time” after the bond-buying program ends.

The City Planning Commission voted to approve the rezoning needed for TF Cornerstone to build a larger residential project at 606 West 57th Street. The 1.9-acre project will include 1,189 units of housing, of which 237 will be permanently affordable, and 42,000 square feet of commercial or community facility space. The Planning Commission has said that commercial space above the ground floor for offices or community facilities, not just residential space, will be used in calculations to grant developers permission to build larger structures in exchange for affordable housing.

The City Planning Commission also approved a zoning modification that would allow Brookfield Office Properties to build a pedestrian bridge over Dyre Avenue that will link the 16-story building it is renovating at 450 West 33rd Street with the five-acre complex it is developing between Ninth and Tenth Avenues and West 31st and West 33rd Streets. With the modification, the $4.5 million project will feature more than two acres of open space.

HPD is developing a 10-story building with 60 units of affordable housing on a vacant lot on the corner of 127th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard. The project will include a community facility for two organizations that provide services to children in foster care.

In New York City, Section 8 rental assistance is being given to about 2,300 fewer households this year because last year’s federal budget cuts forced NYCHA and HPD to stop issuing vouchers to new households, according to the NYC Independent Budget Office. While Federal dollars for affordable housing programs have returned or are somewhat higher than before the sequestration, HPD funding for supportive housing programs is expected to be less than half the $125 million it received four years ago.

In an effort to find funding for infrastructure improvements along the Hudson River, including $110 million to restore the 14-acre Pier 40 at Houston Street, the Hudson River Park Trust and community groups will meet with the City Planning Commission to discuss selling about 1.6 million square feet of air rights. The trust has been authorized to sell air rights, but current zoning laws prohibit the transfer of rights across a street.

The NY Times recounted the history of the 20-acre site along the southern side of Delancey Street on the Lower East Side that will be transformed by developers into a residential, retail, office, and cultural complex called Essex Crossing. In 1967, the city razed blocks of rundown apartment buildings, displacing 1,800 low-income families. The property was left vacant and undeveloped for nearly 50 years, but last year the city selected developers for the site.

January Multifamily Sales Show Strong Start To 2014

New York City multifamily transactions increased 76 percent in January 2014 from January 2013, and the dollar volume generated by those trades jumped 107 percent, according to Ariel Property Advisors’ Multifamily Month in Review for January.

Multifamily Month In Review

In January, New York City saw 58 transactions comprised of 93 buildings totaling $707.302 million in gross consideration, compared to January 2013, which saw 33 transactions comprised of 70 buildings totaling $341.097 million in gross consideration.

While January multifamily sales declined compared to the prior month of December—down 28 percent in transaction volume and 44 percent in dollar volume—that trend is a somewhat regular occurrence at the beginning of the year since many deals are pushed to close in December for tax purposes.

“The growth in January’s year-over-year numbers suggests that 2014 is going to be a robust year for New York City multifamily sales, in terms of both pricing and volume,” said Shimon Shkury, president of Ariel Property Advisors. “Contract signings and new listing activity we’ve seen during the first quarter back this up.”

The following is a breakdown of the January 2014 multifamily data by submarket:

Brooklyn was the most active in terms of transactions, building, and dollar volume with 22 sales taking place throughout the borough across 40 buildings. Brooklyn also showed positive gains month-over-month in dollar and building volume. All told, multifamily sales in the borough totaled $239.985 million in gross consideration, a large portion of which came from a four-building portfolio in Brighton Beach that traded for $70 million.

Manhattan trailed just behind Brooklyn in January in terms of dollar volume with $235.630 million in gross consideration over 11 transactions and 14 buildings. A single building that sold at 15 Cliff Street in the Financial District netted $95 million, which translates to just under $600 per foot. Also of note in Manhattan, the average cap rate for the six months ended in January fell to 3.95 percent, which is the first time the six-month average has fallen below 4 percent.

The Bronx realized huge increases over a lackluster January 2013, with dollar volume totaling $157.973 million across 14 transactions and 22 buildings. A family-owned portfolio on Pelham Parkway sold for $156 per foot, or over $52 million total.

Northern Manhattan saw eight sales take place, a slight increase both month-over-month and year-over-year, but only $55 million in dollar volume. Of the trades in the area, one stood out at 416 East 120th Street, a new construction rental building that sold for just over $400 per foot.

Queens had a relatively light month, with seven buildings trading at a total of $18.238 million. Pricing, however, remained strong on a long-term basis, with similar metrics to Northern Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Trailing 6-Month Sales Averages: For the six months ended in January 2014, the average monthly transaction volume dropped slightly to 64 transactions per month. The six-month average dollar volume also fell slightly to $852 million.

The multifamily transactions included in the analysis occurred at a minimum sales price of $1 million, with a minimum gross area of 5,000 square feet, and with a minimum of 10 units.

More information is available from Mr. Shkury at 212-544-9500, ext. 11, or sshkury@arielpa.com. For a copy of the report, please see http://arielpa.com/newsroom/report-MFMIR-Jan-2014.

Our Observations For the Week

City agencies are collaborating to find temporary housing for residents displaced by the explosion in East Harlem. The Real Estate Board of New York identified 15 apartments on the East Side for residents to use for up to three months, and is working with city housing agencies to find long-term arrangements. The NY State Association for Affordable Housing also is working to find temporary and long-term housing for those affected by the tragedy.

Nationwide, the construction industry started nearly one million new residential units last year, of which about one in three was a rental unit in a multifamily building. About two-thirds of the housing starts were single-family homes, down from the 1993 peak of 87 percent. The demand for rental units is increasing because as the job market improves, young people are seeking their own apartments but they aren’t buying homes because mortgage credit remains tight, wages aren’t rising, and many are burdened with student debt.

More than 3 million households in NY State pay housing costs that are at or above the affordability level of 30 percent of household income, according to a report by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The percentage of households with rents above the affordability level increased from 40.5 percent in 2000 to 50.6 percent in 2012, while the percentage of homeowners above the affordability level rose from 26.4 in 2000 to 33.9 percent in 2012. As of 2012, nearly 28 percent of the state’s renters and 15 percent of homeowners paid housing costs that were at least half of their household income.

As early as this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio could appoint five new members of the Rent Guidelines Board, while the other four new members would be appointed in December. The mayor is “seeking balanced candidates who understand the needs of low- and moderate-income tenants,” an aide said. The board is scheduled to hold its first meeting on March 27 and vote on rents in June. The mayor promised during his campaign that he would freeze rents if elected.

In February, Brooklyn’s median rents increased 11.6 percent year-over-year to $2,890, and rose 2.1 percent from January, according to the Elliman Report. It was the ninth consecutive monthly increase for the borough. Median rental prices in Manhattan in February fell 2.8 percent year-over-year to $3,100, and declined a slight 0.4 percent from the previous month. It was the sixth consecutive month that Manhattan’s median rental price was lower than the previous year.

More than 70 construction projects are taking place in Lower Manhattan, including 24 apartment buildings with 3,100 units, 14 hotels with 3,000 rooms, commercial spaces, and waterfront revitalization. More than $30 billion in public and private funds have been invested in downtown since 9-11. One of these projects, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, is scheduled to open in 2015.

Ten new luxury rental or condo developments, which will provide more than 1,000 units of affordable and market-rate housing, are underway in the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens section of Brooklyn, according to a NY Times article about the area. The projects include a 133-unit residential rental at 33 Lincoln Road that is slated to open in 2015, and a 23-story, 254-unit rental planned for 626 Flatbush Avenue.

Several hip-hop pioneers have announced a proposal to open an interactive museum inside the Kingsbridge National Ice Center in The Bronx that would explore the historical and cultural roots of hip-hop. An advisory committee has been created to help raise funds for the Universal Hip-Hop Museum, which has the potential to become a tourist destination. The group hopes to open the museum by 2017.

Forty to sixty businesses located in Willets Point next to Citi Field in Queens have signed a lease to move to a former warehouse at 1080 Leggett Avenue in the Hunts Point section of The Bronx. The businesses, which include auto repair shops and salvage yards, are moving to make way for a mixed-use complex that will include retail space, a hotel, and 2,500 residential units.

Reports Show Job Growth in the City, State, and Nation

This week we’re highlighting the positive jobs reports, 2013 residential building permit figures, the contribution the city’s real estate industry makes to the local economy, and a report on maximizing unused air rights.

The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in February, and the unemployment rate increased slightly to 6.7 percent from 6.6 percent the previous month, the Labor Department reported. Employment increased in professional and business services and in wholesale trade but declined in information, which includes motion picture and sound recording. For the last 12 months, job growth in the country has averaged 189,000 per month.

The number of private sector jobs created in New York City increased 2.8 percent to 94,800 from January 2013 to January 2014, which is higher than the national average of 2.1 percent. New York State added 5,400 private sector jobs in January 2014, bringing the state’s private sector job count to 7,529,200, an all-time high. The January 2014 jobless rate was 6.8 percent for the state and 7.8 percent for New York City.

The NYC Department of Buildings authorized the construction of 18,095 residential units in 1,383 buildings in 2013, which is a 71 percent increase from the 10,599 permits issued in 2012, according to a New York Building Congress report. Residential permits are still far below the boom years between 2005 and 2008, however, when they averaged around 30,000 units annually, peaking in 2008 with permits for 33,911 units in 2,434 buildings. To accommodate household growth, replace antiquated buildings, and maintain adequate housing options, NYC needs to add approximately 20,000 residential units annually.

The NYU Furman Center issued a report highlighting how the city could produce more affordable housing by changing its transferable development rights program to capture unused air rights. There are more than 33 million square feet of unused development rights above landmarked buildings south of Central Park, which is equal to 12 Empire State Buildings and roughly 33,000 apartments, the report said. “Given New York City’s severe shortage of affordable housing, city officials must consider innovative strategies for producing more units,” Jessica Yager, co-author of the report said.

New York City’s real estate industry generated $15.4 billion in taxes in 2012, or 38 percent of the city’s tax revenue, a Real Estate Board of NY commissioned report shows. The economic impact translates to $106.2 billion in jobs, wages and output, about 13 percent of the Gross City Product, and the industry supported nearly 519,000 jobs, which represented 11 percent of the jobs in the City and $33 billion in annual wages. Taxes from revenue-generating properties—office and residential rental buildings, hotels, retail stores, and utility properties—were enough to pay for $13.1 billion in payroll expenses for teachers, police officers, fire fighters, sanitation workers and correction officers and still have $2.3 billion left to fund other city services.

Bad weather slowed economic activity in the Federal Reserve’s New York District in the first weeks of the year, but businesses remained optimistic about the near-term outlook, according to the Fed’s Beige Book. Manufacturing firms reported a slight pickup in activity, while the service sector reported a slight decline because of inclement weather. Small to medium-sized banks reported a further decrease in the demand for consumer loans, residential mortgages, and refinancings, but no change in demand for commercial mortgages and commercial & industrial loans.

The City Planning Commission approved the Domino Sugar Refinery redevelopment project in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. In the final proposal, the developer, Two Trees, agreed to increase the number of affordable units from 660 to 700. The 3 million-square-foot development on the waterfront will include a total of 2,300 residential units, about 480,000 square feet of office space, 110,000 square feet of retail space, 4.8 acres of open space, and 143,000 square feet of community space, which will include a school.

Although it’s called the Garment District, non-fashion businesses began outnumbering fashion businesses beginning in 2012 in the area bordered by Fifth Avenue, Eighth Avenue, 34th Street, and 42nd Street, according to a WSJ profile of the area. The district is now home to architectural firms, tech companies, and hotels. In addition to the smaller, quaint businesses opening in the district, Whole Foods plans to open a two-story, 32,000-square-foot store at Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street.

BRP Companies plans to build a $225 million residential tower on a development site at the corner of Sutphin Boulevard and Archer Avenue near the Jamaica station in Queens. The project will include 400 rental units, of which 100 will be affordable. In addition, the site will include 80,000 square feet of retail space. The Greater Jamaica Development Corporation assembled the development site and is selling the property.