Manhattan neighborhoods seem empty thanks to increase in investor purchases

July 07, 2011 10:09AM

An increasing number of Manhattan neighborhoods are feeling empty, residents said, because of a jump in the number of wealthy out-of-towners buying pieds-à-terre and unused investment properties in the city, the New York Times reported.
Since 2000, Manhattan apartments occupied by absentee owners and renters have increased by more than 70 percent, the Times said, to nearly 34,000, from 19,000.

A large area on the East Side bounded by Fifth and Park Avenues and East 49th and 70th Streets sees about 30 percent of more than 5,000 apartments routinely vacant more than 10 months a year, according to the Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey.

In one section of that stretch, between East 53rd and 59th Streets, more than 50 percent of units are occupied for two months or less, a higher proportion than in holiday resort communities like Aspen Colo. and Palm Beach, Fla..

“My block is like a ghost town,” said author Gay Talese, who has lived in the area for more than 50 years.

As previously reported, homeowners who consider their city apartments to be pieds-à-terre are going to have to prove their part-time status on their tax forms this year or else face city income taxes just like their full-time neighbors. [NYT]