Remember back in September when 48 Hills sorted through a bunch of condo sales data to determine that some 39 percent of new condos in the last 14 years had been sold as second homes, many to people with addresses elsewhere in the Bay Area? Well, now the New York Times is looking at the similar though far larger problem of absentee owners in Manhattan, where a great many condos are either kept as pied-a-terres for wealthy foreigners who breeze through town a few weeks a year, or they're held as investments by people who bought their first apartments and then moved out of the city as they decided to start a family.
The figures when you're talking about Manhattan real estate are also kind of insane, still, compared to SF where here you get quickly into the multi-millions when you're purchasing a single-family home, there you can spend $5 million on a two-bedroom condo with a view, easily. New luxury buildings in Manhattan, like CitySpire, at 150 West 56th, is 60-percent owned by absentees.
SPUR put out a report in October, shortly after the 48 Hills piece, noting that SF trailed New York and Miami when it came to the percentage of non-primary residences using census data they estimate that only 2.4 percent of units in SF are owned by absentee owners, while that figure is closer to 8 percent in Miami and 4.4 percent in Manhattan. (The NYT says, via the New York City Independent Budget Office, that almost 25 percent of units in the city as a whole are not used as primary residences.) As the Business Times notes, SPUR also did an informal survey of luxury condo buildings in SF with concierge services and found that only 47 percent of those residents surveyed said they lived there full time.
Numbers of pied-a-terres are expected to rise as the number of small luxury units rises in SF, and this will lead to more bemoaning of the fact that the city isn't what it used to be. And, obviously, there's the problem of people from the outside driving prices up, which probably can never be helped so long as we're a pretty city filled with fun things to do.
New York State is contemplating a pied-a-terre tax on properties that are worth $5 million or more and are not primary residences, and reportedly SF Supe Eric Mar is mulling a similar tax for our city.