REBNY tries to stem neighborhood confusion with map

By Jane C. Timm | June 04, 2008 01:54PM

Sang Oh, Platinum Properties’ director of sales and marketing, firmly believes that Tribeca ends at Chambers Street. 

But Oh says that to him and his buyers’ frustration, other brokers sometimes label Fulton Street as Tribeca and needlessly bend the truth about what neighborhoods developments are located in.

“Issues like this are why so many people have negative feelings towards brokers,” Oh said. “After seeing buildings in the Financial District, they go out with an agent that promises to show Tribeca, only to find that they intended on showing the same buildings that were already shown in the Financial District.”

The Real Estate Board of New York, which used to use community boards’ borders to differentiate Manhattan neighborhoods, has tried to assist brokers and buyers with a new online map that it recently posted on its Website. With it, buyers can search in one of 21 neighborhoods, from Inwood to Battery Park City, that are far more recognizable than their 12 community board counterparts. 

REBNY senior vice president Michael Slattery said that “neighborhoods are more recognizable.”

REBNY is trying to provide a service, Slattery said, by organizing a buyer’s searches by neighborhoods. REBNY looked at a number of different city maps when preparing its own.

“There’s always going to be differences of opinions as to what constitutes neighborhoods,” Slattery said. “We can’t say that definitively one way or another.”  

REBNY hopes to re-draw Brooklyn’s map, too, based on neighborhoods rather than community boards. Buyers don’t really know what area a community board covers, Slattery said, and they aren’t even sure which community board covers which neighborhoods.

But Jessica Armstead, vice president at Corcoran, says that such a map isn’t what buyers need.

“From the buyers’ perspective, they’re looking for where are the nearest train stations and restaurants,” she said. “I personally wouldn’t have any need for this map.”

Armstead added that buyers aren’t as focused on specific neighborhoods as they used to be. Instead of looking for a home in a certain kind of neighborhood, she said, consumers are more interested in finding a certain kind of home in many neighborhoods.

“The loyalty to neighborhoods is not as strong as before,” she said, “people are looking for quality of life at the lowest price.” 

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