The Real Deal New York

NYC buyers continue to convert multi-unit buildings into single-family homes

Average price per square foot last year was $2,137
April 04, 2016 10:12AM


From left: 79 Horatio Street and 58 Morton Street in the West Village

Buyers are getting creative when it comes to getting the home they want — they are converting buildings with many units into single-family homes.

With sale prices higher than the last boom cycle, for some buyers it makes more sense to get the space they want by converting an apartment building, condominium or multifamily townhome.

But the conversion is not without headaches. Nick Stern bought a four-unit apartment building in the West Village.

Stern, the son of architect Robert A.M. Stern and the head of general contracting firm, did work on the building for a year and a half with tenants still there, and another year and a half completing the work while living there with his family, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“I put the tenants through hell, and then I put my family through hell,” he told the Journal.

But the result is a roughly 6,000-square-foot, six-story townhome, the newspaper reported.

Such homes have higher average price per square foot than two-family and three-to five family homes. Last year, the average price per square foot for single-family homes in Manhattan was $2,137 while it was $1,584 for or a two-family home, and $1,371 for a three- to five-family home, according to Jonathan Miller of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

In 2015, the median sales price for townhouses in Manhattan broke a 10-year record, jumping to $5.3 million — 28 percent greater than the median in 2014, according to a sales report by Douglas Elliman. Miller told The Real Deal in February the price increase was partially attributed to the well-established trend of multi-family homes being purchased for conversion into single-family homes. [WSJ]Dusica Sue Malesevic