57f01ffd 0730 4beb b729 7fd368ed8061
The Great Outdoors: Tranquility in a Crazy City
All Articles > The Great Outdoors: Tranquility in a Crazy City

The Great Outdoors: Tranquility in a Crazy City

The Great Outdoors: Tranquility in a Crazy City


May 06, 2015 | By Dan Bamberger & Aaron Gordon


Summer is around the corner, and I can’t help but smile as I think about some of the perks of spending the hot season in the city. Shady strolls through the park, riverside runs, roof deck cookouts, and, for the not-so-privileged—a late night hang out on the fire escape (just be careful out there).

 

Last year, The Bamberger Report did a thorough analysis on the social and financial ins-and-outs of apartment building roof decks. This month, we’ll be exploring the different kinds of outdoor space to which New Yorkers have access, from balconies to courtyards and everything between.

 

"A terrace is one of the greatest amenities that a New York Apartment can possess….especially if it happens to have a great view,” says 7 Park Avenue resident John Chadwick.

 

“It is my private refuge on Saturday and Sunday morning to have my coffee and to read the New York Times. As so few folks have a terrace in the city, it is a wonderful spot for summer cocktail parties to allow others to enjoy [its] pleasures."

 

As John points out, private outdoor spaces can serve many purposes. Some see it as a social tool, a convincing way to lure friends over with the promise of a sunset over the Hudson, a cool breeze, or a view of the Chrysler building. Others want the simple pleasure of a cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal on a small terrace high above the busy streets- and maybe a beautiful Instagram shot to boot. And for the discerning few with these kinds of perks, it’s an alternative way to take in the energetic, fast-paced city.

 

Regardless of your personal motivations, having your own square footage up in the air definitely has financial potential. We set out to answer how much your private outdoor space is really worth.

 

The Six Most Common Types of Outdoor Space- A Breakdown

(Average prices of apartments with different types of outdoor space between 0 and 3 million)

 

1.  Private Backyard

More commonly found on the first floors of townhouses, the private backyard may be the most impressive type of residential outdoor space. True to its name, these jewels can infuse a sense of suburban life into the heart of Manhattan madness. Dreams of a hot tub come true. Backyard bbqs in the blink of an afternoon. Private backyards can range in sizes, but some are very special. A guaranteed way to attract loads of friends very quickly.

 

2. Private Balcony

 

Intended for those looking for just a bit of peace and quiet—or a moment to sip a latte—balconies serve a purpose in their own right. Connected to private apartments and always suspended from the sides of buildings, balconies are perfect for those New Yorkers who want to spend some time outdoors on their own.

 

3.  Private Terrace

 

The latin-root, terra, means ground, and as opposed to balconies, your apartment’s terrace will always be built on a raised flat surface, and can be usually be found on the higher levels of your building’s structure. Also unlike balconies, terraces are usually shared among many residents, and provide more space to move around and mingle- and put in some comfortable recliners.

 

4.  Roof Deck

 

Call it the height of New York high-rise luxury (pun intended). Roof decks usually come equipped with tables for picnics and space to lie down and soak up the sun- and not to mention 360 views of the island and the boroughs. A very lucky group of New Yorkers get to take it all in while doing their daily laps in swimming pools.

 

5.  The Fire Escape

While not as glamorous as their terrace/roofdeck counterparts, fire escapes can add the perfect finishing touch of charm to a walk-up. They may have become an integral and instantly recognizable part of downtown building architecture, the city requires that these spaces remain clear in order to ensure easy resident evacuation in case of fire.

But that hasn’t stopped fire-escape dwellers from making the most of their tiny, iron outdoor space, whether it be to dangle above the sidewalk with a beer or grab a quick smoke during the winter months- or even cultivate a personal garden filled with pots and plants.

 

All in the Value: How much is private outdoor space worth?

 

One article written by well known appraiser Jonathan Miller concludes that there’s a relational value between an apartment’s value and its outdoor space, regardless of type (except your fire escape).

In other words, the higher the apartment value, the more expensive the outdoor space. In general, he adds, the price per square foot value of the balconies, terraces, etc. is worth 25% to 50% of the price per square foot of the apartment themselves. It’s also important to take into account the desirability of the balcony’s location (is it a 2nd floor space over a busy avenue or 34th floor space on a quiet street?), the privacy of the balcony/terrace, and the depth of the space.

Though it would be easy to conclude that an apartment with some outdoor space will always be more expensive than one without, there have certainly been cases to the contrary.

Take the case of a 700-unit rental building on 34th Street and 1st Avenue.

 

Though the premium for apartments with balconies over non-balconies is at 4.8% this year and 4.4% last, it was actually cheaper to rent an apartment with a balcony in 2013 by about 1%. Several reasons can contribute to this including the fact that non-balcony apartments (in this building) tend to be larger on average and residents value larger space over balcony space or possibly a mispricing.

 

Bottom Line it for me, Bamberger!

You got it.  The premium of private outdoor spaces can vary dramatically and depends on the time in the market, local competition, and the overall usability. It’s possible in rare cases that an apartment with outdoor space actually retrieves no premium over one without- but these are rare cases. Be prepared to pay extra and make sure to discuss your needs with a knowledgeable real estate broker.

On sunny May days like these, a drink with friends overlooking the 7 PM sunset sound worth it to me.

 

Neighbors of The Month

 

Maria Bella

Resident, East 36th Street

 

Nutritionist Maria A. Bella brings her clients at Top Balance Nutrition an international perspective on healthy eating. Raised in Moscow, Athens and the UK, Maria moved to New York in 1996. She lives- and works locally. She loves her early morning walk to the Top Balance offices on 34th and 5th, and begins her mornings with a cup of coffee on her wrap-around terrace. 

 

 

Stephen Lasser

245 East 35th Street, Resident

 

Murray Hill resident by way of Rockaway Beach, real estate attorney  Stephen Lasser runs his firm right out of the neighborhood. He loves the neighborhood's small town vibe and its moments of solitude and tranquility while also having easy access to midtown's hustle and bustle.

Get in Touch

Have questions about living, buying or selling in Murray Hill? Let's get in touch. It's free and there's no obligation.

X

Thin close

View Details

Required by state law, be sure to verify our one-time confirmation e-mail for more details on this apartment. Your information will be kept confidential. Enter your e‑mail below to get started.

Thin close

Get in Touch

Whether you're looking to buy, sell, or learn more, we know how to help.

Dan photo
Call 917-903-7237 or
send us a message below.
Thin close

Contact Agent



Dan photo
Dan Bamberger
Licensed Real Estate Broker
Thin close

Meet Your Local Real Estate Expert

Dan photo

Dan Bamberger

Licensed Real Estate Broker + founder

(917) 903-7237

If you're thinking about buying or selling, let's discuss your situation. It's completely free and there's absolutely no obligation.
  • Ranked among the top 1% of all realtors nationwide in 2013 in NRT
  • Real Estate Broker for 10 years

Thin close

Contact Dan Bamberger

Dan photo

Licensed Real Estate Broker

(917) 903-7237

If you're thinking about buying or selling in New York , let's discuss your situation. It's completely free and there's absolutely no obligation.

Thin close

Meet Your Local Real Estate Expert

Aaron gordon new photo

Aaron Gordon

Licensed Real Estate Agent

(646) 598-6428

If you're thinking about buying or selling in New York , let's discuss your situation. It's completely free and there's absolutely no obligation.

Thin close

Request a Free, No-Obligation Consultation

Meet with Dan Bamberger and get your no-obligation consultation on selling your home. Up to date market information, selling advice and more.

Dan photo
Call 917-903-7237 or
send us a message below.
Thin close

Confirmation

Thanks for getting in touch. We received your message and you’ll hear from us within an hour.

Got it