Pied-a-terres for foreign buyers have historically almost always taken the form of condos or, in fewer cases, co-ops, for obvious reasons—who wants to maintain an entire townhouse that you're only living in part time? The answer to that seemingly rhetorical question is, apparently, lots and lots of wealthy foreign buyers, according to a report from the Journal.
Townhouse pied-a-terres, if the city's brokers are to be believed, are a sudden but not altogether inexplicably trend. One Halstead broker claims that the shift began this summer, which makes sense, since that was when the Brooklyn townhouse market went completely out of control. The reasons, surprisingly, seem to have less to do with prestige and more to do with saving money. Apparently, it's cheaper to hire a property manager or part-time super than it is to pay maintenance costs in a condo. (Psst, foreign millionaires, if you need someone to housesit, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Crazy savings!) There's also the luxury of not having to deal with condo boards, which are becoming increasingly more stringent in terms of reviewing buyers' financials. All of this basically sounds like the setup for a Jeff Foxworthy-esque comedy routine. If you've ever found yourself saying, Well, it was just easier to buy a brownstone in the West Village. Who wants to have to jump through all those hoops? I can just hire enough people to make my new townhouse function as if it were a full-service condo ... you might be a Swiss tech magnate. Just keep doing you, foreign millionaires. Sounds like you've got it all figured out.
· The New Taste for New York Townhouses [WSJ]
· Lifestyles of the Rich and Richer [Curbed]
Photo by Vivienne Gucwa