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New York state law restricts condo conversions

The State of New York just enacted a new law (on June 14, 2019) requiring that 51% of existing tenants agree to buy their apartments before a building can be converted into a condominium or a cooperative. There was previously no requirement for anyone to buy in order for a conversion to take place. Tenants who chose not to buy, could simply remain in the building as a renter.

Supposedly, the real estate industry believes this new requirement will be a largely impossible threshold to meet, meaning that condo/co-op conversions could now be dead in NYC. There’s also an argument that conversions have historically helped many middle class New Yorkers buy a home since they sometimes (usually?) had the chance to buy their apartment below market at the time of a conversion.

I’m not familiar enough with this space to be able to opine on the merits of these arguments, so I won’t. Perhaps some of you will in the comment section below. Instead, I will leave you all with a chart showing the median condo sale price in Manhattan over the last ~30 years (taken from the same WSJ article). I like seeing long(er) term charts. Maybe you do too.

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