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Co-op and condo fees going through the roof
Sunday, February 22nd 2009, 9:15 PM
It's another wallop in the wallet for worried New Yorkers: soaring monthly charges at co-ops and condos citywide.
"I think it's terrible," Helen Tyrrell, 85, a retired public-school teacher and former actress, told the Daily News. "I'm on a fixed income."
Tyrrell gets socked with a maintenance fee of more than $1,000 a month for her one-bedroom co-op at Lincoln Towers. That's 40% more than she paid when she first bought her place at the West End Ave. apartment complex a decade ago.
Citywide, monthly co-op fees are rising at more than double the rate of recent years, Crain's New York Business is reporting in this week's issue.
Big hikes in real estate taxes are the main culprit, said experts cited by Crain's. Higher operating costs like water, sewage and labor add to the pain.
At Lincoln Towers, monthly maintenance charges are as much as 13% higher than those of last year.
"This is by far the largest general increase we've had since 1987, when we became a co-op," Andrew Cooper of Residence Resource, a brokerage that handles Lincoln Towers apartment sales, told Crain's.
Fees at Manhattan co-ops and condos managed by another firm, Cooper Square Realty, are up 7% to 12% this year instead of the usual increases of 3% to 5%, Crain's is reporting. Co-ops run by Halstead Property Management are getting hit with maintenance increases of as much as 14%.
Co-ops and condos alike are pinched by dwindling revenues due to growing vacancies in their buildings' retail spaces. And co-ops that take a cut of the profits from apartment resales through so-called flip taxes are seeing that source of income diminish.
"It's the perfect storm," Richard Nassau, 55, told The News. He considers himself lucky because maintenance charges at the building where he lives in Lincoln Towers were increased just 2% to 3% this year.
Nassau, whose monthly maintenance tab is more than $1,200 for a one-bedroom apartment, understands why co-op boards at many other buildings got antsy and decided to go for much bigger price hikes.
"The economy has tanked - people are losing jobs or having their hours cut back," said Nassau, who's in sales. "The perception of fear does not help the situation."