What you liked in 2012

A massive hurricane that brought the city to its knees notwithstanding, 2012 was a pretty good year for New York City real estate. The strong market compared to years past is reflected in our annual most-read stories list below.

Indeed, 2012 was a year in which the luxury home market was white hot, fueled by foreign currencies from Russian rubles to Brazilian reals, and where the rental market was incredibly tight. It was also a year where the amount of new condo development grew — even if blockbuster commercial deals were few and far between and the lending spigot was hardly wide open.

Whether 2013 will continue on this path remains to be seen.

In”What’s ahead in 2013,” we look at some of the big issues that will be at play in the New Year. They include what the real estate fallout will be if the nation goes over the so-called fiscal cliff — which could happen if Congress doesn’t hammer out a deal on a number of tax and spending policies — and the potential election of a less real estate-friendly mayor (which looks like a given at this point).

In 2013, we’ll also see whether some of the excitement surrounding the überluxury market was just hype. That’s because closings will finally begin at the new condo project One57, which reportedly scored a record $90 million sale this year. In addition, several trophy office towers with asking prices of more than $1 billion are on the block, and if they fetch those sticker prices they’ll be bellwethers for the commercial market.

We’ll also see the impact of thousands of fashionistas descending on Lower Manhattan when Condé Nast opens up offices at One World Trade, which could quickly transform the less-than-exciting area into something more dynamic.

And of course, we’ll see the net effect of Hurricane Sandy going forward — the havoc it has wreaked in certain areas of the city versus the boon to the real estate industry that rebuilding and broad infrastructure overhaul could provide (see “A storm’s silver lining?“).

For a moment, though, let’s look back at 2012.

Topping our list of most read stories in 2012 was “NYC’s new condo wave,” a look at new residential development on the drawing board in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The topic of that story was a welcomed change compared to 2010, when our two most-viewed stories were about foreclosures at new condo developments and stalled projects. (The most-viewed list in 2011 showed a market on much better footing.)

Other stories on the list this year include several first-ever reports.

Deputy web editor Leigh Kamping-Carder did a first-ever look at the best residential firms to work for, as well as an in-depth study on the monthly cost of renting versus owning in different neighborhoods.

Senior reporter Adam Pincus, who is continually devising new and novel ways to examine the market, looked at tax records to figure out the Manhattan commercial landlords whose portfolios are throwing off the most cash in “NYC’s skyscraper kings.” (In this issue, check out his story “2012’s biggest money makers” on the building owners who sold for the biggest equity returns this year.)

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Meanwhile, reporter C.J. Hughes wrote our first-ever in-depth look at executive pay in nearly all areas of New York City real estate in “Paycheck Confidential.”

Finally, a story on Jeff Blau, who was recently named CEO of the Related Companies, was our most read profile of 2012. The 44-year-old is part of a group of fortysomethings taking the reins at the top of the profession — the selection of Rob Speyer as head of REBNY, the industry’s leading trade group, is another example of this trend.

The only story from last year to stay on the top-read list this year was “Moguls in the Making,” which also highlighted young gunslingers on the rise. So if you liked those two pieces, make sure to check out “The start-up generation” about residential brokerage heads who are building the firms of tomorrow. You never know, they could be establishing the next Corcoran or Elliman.


Here are the most viewed magazine stories of 2012:

1. NYC’s new condo wave (July) 

2. The best brokerage firms to work for (September)

3. Renting vs. owning: Breaking down the monthly nut (May)

4. NYC’s skyscraper kings (June)

5. Related’s Jeff Blau: The ‘development’ of a CEO (October)

6. Manhattan’s top residential firms (June)

7. Paycheck confidential (June)

8. Moguls in the making (April 2011)

9. Burkle’s billions (May)

10. Lutnick’s big hedge (March)