Relocation Guide: Understanding (and loving) Manhattan

Real Estate Agent


Before you come to love Manhattan, you must understand our peculiar housing market. Manhattan is a unique place in the real estate universe. Not only does it have a large rental market (75% of the available housing units vs. about 5 - 10% in other markets), but it has ownership and other important differences that are often puzzling to newcomers.

70% of Home ownership in Manhattan is in coop apartments. The rest are condos, condops and townhouses. Most new construction developments are condos. Most pre-war apartments are co-ops. Manhattan apartments are either pre-war (WWII) or post -war (modern.) Most Townhouses or Brownstones were built in the 19th century.

Showings normally 9 - 5 p.m. (7p.m. the latest)

Most co-ops have restrictions on showing times that vary widely, but must be adhered to. Some buildings do not even allow weekend showings.

Sunday Open Houses are the way to go

Condos and some co-ops will allow public open houses on Sunday afternoons. That means that Sundays can be a good day to see a lot of properties, If you're not with your agent and you are working with an agent let the listing agent know that you have an agent to avoid conflicts. I always pre register my customers with the listing agent prior to the Open House.

Co-op ownership requires submitting a comprehensive Board application (called a Board Package), being interviewed by the Board, and being approved.

Co-op ownership means that you must decide not only whether you like the apartment, but also the building must decide if they will be willing to accept you. Passing a co-op board adds at least 6 - 8 weeks to the purchase process. A major part of my job is helping buyers prepare their packages.

Wear comfortable shoes and leave the car at home or park it for a few hours.

Shopping for a New York apartment is good exercise, so wear comfortable shoes and learn about the neighborhood at the same time. Taxis are hailed for longer destinations.

Manhattan Relocation Package:

Neighborhood Relocation Guides:

Courtesy of:

  • ©Mitchell Hall 2006-2009
Posted by

©Mitchell Hall 2022

All content/images, unless noted, are the property of Mitchell Hall & may not be used without permission. 

nyc BLOG estate

          Call Mitchell Hall @ 917-312-0924

Comments (15)

Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Mitchell.  Good info. 

Any time I get a call from someone asking about co-ops here, I can accurately predict that they are from NY.  We have few co-ops here. 

Feb 16, 2008 07:20 AM
Brian Block
RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President - McLean, VA
Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate
Mitchell, you certainly work in a unique and interesting real estate world, there in Manhattan.  As Lenn mentions above, there are very few co-ops here in Virginia and D.C.  The few that we do have are not very popular places to buy.
Feb 16, 2008 07:33 AM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Philip, Many people start out renting and then buy. Manhattan has (roughly) 800,000 housing units, 600,000 rental units and 200,000 condo and coop units. About 4% of condos and coops turn over yearly plus new construction is about 10,000 units per year sell.

Lenn, Thank you. The reason we have so many coops is because they were rental buildings that converted to coop ownership. Most new construction since the 90's has been condos.

Feb 16, 2008 07:42 AM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
Hey Brian, Manhattan coops are a unique form of ownership. There are pros and cons it all depends on the buyers lifestyle and financials.
Feb 16, 2008 07:58 AM
Adam Waldman
Westcott Group Real Estate Company - Hauppauge, NY
Realtor - Long Island
MITCH - It's interesting how different it is in Manhattan.  Most people think of co-ops as a lower form of ownership, but in Manhattan it is the norm, although I was no fan of the co-op boards.  It may be a good idea to discuss the process of buying a co-op in your relocation package.  Great stuff as usual, Mitch.
Feb 16, 2008 09:31 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
Mitchell, I have to go check your website just to see what's available; I have always wanted to live for just one year in New York City.  Your posts are filled with information about it and even though I'm there often, I didn't know many of the things you write about.
Feb 16, 2008 10:06 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital
Mitchell, reading your posts always makes me want to move!  Next time I'm in the city, I'm going to try to be there over the weekend to check out opens - and I'll tell them Mitch is my agent!
Feb 16, 2008 10:17 AM
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON


Great info for anyone looking in looks like you're the man to see if thinking of buying in NYC.


Feb 16, 2008 10:27 AM
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
I don't know how you explained it all so well it's so...complicated there lol  At least for this Cleveland gal :-)  One thing surprises me, NYC is such a night owl place, surprised showings are not later I would not have expected that.  It's good, just surprised me!
Feb 16, 2008 10:44 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

There are a few very nice co-ops in MD.  The Pramanade in Bethesda is classy and very convenient. 

And then, there is the famous Greenbelt Homes, a wonderful co-op community in Greenbelt that was built right after WWII to put men to work when they returned from the war.  The community and the homes were all built, roads and all completely by hand.  The idea was to maximize labor and put as many men to work as possible.  There are 1600 homes and they are managed very well.  The grounds are lovely.  There's a co-op grocery store, gas station, and a great community center with pool. 

A lot of the homes in Liesure World are co-ops too.  Liesure World is a fantastic Over 55 community with about 8000 plus residents.  This is probably the most popular and complete seniors community in the entire area. 

There are some very nice co-ops in MD.  I don't know about VA.


Feb 16, 2008 10:53 AM
Linda Davis
RE/MAX Home Team - Gales Ferry, CT

Fascinating stuff.  I always enjoy reading about your market.

P.S.  Junior's is coming to Ledyard CT.  First store outside NY.  I will forever think of you when eating cheesecake.

Feb 16, 2008 10:58 AM
Kristal Kraft
Novella Real Estate - Denver, CO
Selling Metro Denver Real Estate - 303-589-2022

Hi Mitchell,

Thanks for reminding us that real estate is local. Your market is a perfect example of how we can't assume anything is the same as "back home!"

I so enjoying meeting you and having you show me around your city.  It was not only fun, but a memorable experience for me.  You are SO RIGHT wear comfortable shoes!


Feb 16, 2008 12:29 PM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Adam, Thanks. Coop boards are much better when you're on one then being interviewed by one. The link to coops vs. condos post explains pros and cons and the entire coop buying process. I'll revamp it for my relo package.

Carole, Thank you. You should try it for a year but you might not ever leave.

Patricia, You're here often enough, it's time to get you a pied-a-terre. I'll give you a list of Open Houses.

Jo -Anne, Thanks I try to stay on top of the market.

Carole, Many showings are between 6pm - 7 pm when buyers get out of work.

Lenn, Greenbelt Homes sound wonderful. Coops can offer "quality of life" for some residents that they couldn't get in a condo - but that's another blog.

Linda, Thank You, Juniors Cheescake opening in Ledyard Wow! 

Kristal, I really enjoyed meeting you. I'm glad you got to see how we do brokers Open Houses. Now you know what I mean when I ask buyers "Do you mind walking"?

Feb 16, 2008 01:06 PM
Patrice Estess
PB APPRAISALS - Kerhonkson, NY

Interesting Mitchell,

I always say, Manhattan (and the boroughs) are much more fun if you are not reliant on is a great place to be but is extremely frustrating in in traffic ( which happens too often )... gotta love the energy tho!!

Mar 12, 2008 03:35 AM