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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)


Amsterdam Avenue market next to the American Museum of Natural History (CityRealty) Amsterdam Avenue market next to the American Museum of Natural History (CityRealty)
New York City has long been a magnet for the young, but in the 21st century, it has also become a magnet for the old. Between 2007 and 2017, the number of residents over 65 increased in all five boroughs. In Manhattan, the trend has been especially notable. According to a 2019 study carried out by the Center for an Urban Future, there are now more residents ages 65 and above in Manhattan than there are people under the age of 19.
New York City’s graying profile primarily reflects two factors. First, most people born during the post-World War II baby boom are now over 65, and second, New Yorkers, like people around the world, are living longer than ever before. However, the city’s graying profile also reflects one more surprising trend—people are increasingly choosing to retire in the city.
The decision to retire in New York City rather than upstate New York, Palm Springs, or Miami may seem surprising, but there is growing evidence that retiring in the city, especially in a high-density neighborhood, can help extend one’s years of independent living. First, living in a full-service elevator building is generally much easier than living in a home in a rural or remote area. After all, in a doorman building, you’ll never have to worry about shoveling the steps, raking leaves, or warding off unwanted visitors. City life also offers a host of services that can help older adults remain independent well into their 90s. These services include access to public transportation, medical specialists, and 24/7 delivery options. But if retiring in New York City is the right choice, should retirees buy or rent?
Central-Park-04 Central Park near the Jackie O Reservoir
'...there is growing evidence that retiring in the city, especially in a high-density neighborhood, can help extend one’s years of independent living.'

Stately residential buildings along bucolic Riverside Drive (CityRealty)

The Pros and Cons of Buying as a Retiree in New York City

If you’re lucky enough to be in a position to buy in New York City, there are many reasons to do so. First, buying as a retiree comes with the same benefits that buying offers at any other stage of life—more security, stability, and equity. In other words, you won’t need to deal with sudden rental increases, negligent landlords, or any of the other problems that can accompany life as a renter.
Second, if you can afford to buy in New York City, you may find your net worth growing rather than depleting after you retire. As Market Insight’s data on Manhattan co-ops and condos reveals, over the past 16 years, Manhattan properties have seen price increases between 100% and 121.8%. Few retirement investment funds can match such returns. So, at least on the surface, investing in New York City real estate may be the very best way to grow one’s equity after retirement. Whether one plans to tap into the equity later or wants to leave a bit more for their children or grandchildren, this is a good thing. But there is one thing retirees must consider.
Prior to the current administration’s overhaul of federal tax laws, it was possible to deduct state and local taxes, including property taxes. Naturally, people living in regions of the country with high housing taxes, such as New York City, had the most to gain from this specific tax break. With state and local taxes (SALT) no longer deductible, owning versus renting has become considerably less attractive, especially for retirees on fixed incomes.
The-Golden-Girls-03 More seniors are deciding not to move to slow-paced, warmer climates. The Golden Girls Source: NBC

The Pros and Cons of Renting as a Retiree in New York City

If you’ve owned a home for decades, renting may seem counter-intuitive. Still, renting in New York City may make more sense than buying under some circumstances .
As a rule of thumb, buying in New York City is a stable investment likely to yield a return, but only if you plan to hold your property for at least twelve years. While New York City properties are unlikely to deplete in value over the course of a decade, the process of buying in New York City is an investment itself. Broker and legal fees are higher than they are in most other regions of the country. Also, if you purchase a property worth more than $1 million, which is likely if you’re buying in Manhattan, you’ll pay a mansion tax . As a result, unless you’re thinking long term (holding your property for over a decade), renting is generally a smarter financial move.
Another potential reason to rent rather than buy has to do with convenience and flexibility. Renting can bring its own hassles, but if you’re renting in a full-service building from a reliable management company, you should be able to take some things for granted. To begin, you’ll never need to worry about footing the bill for expensive repairs or appliance replacements. Also, if and when your circumstances change, you’ll be free to move into a new apartment or different type of living arrangement with little lead-up time.
The Olmstead-04 This one-bedroom with a den in The Olmsted on Central Park West is renting for $3,950/month. (Compass)
The Olmstead-04 Floor plan (Compass)
The bottom line is that the decision to buy versus rent in New York City as a retiree is a decision that can only be made by carefully weighing key factors. First, it is important to consider how long you intend to live in New York City. Second, It is also important to consider how much money you can bring to a potential purchase. In fact, if you are over 60, many lenders will not even consider 80% financing on a property. If you can purchase, other factors, including your tax liability, also need to be taken into account.
One growing option attractive to seniors who prefer to rent in Manhattan is senior living communities. While these facilities have long existed, several more high-end developments are opening in desirable sections of Manhattan. These buildings often provide a full suite of amenities, concierge services, and trained staff attuned to senior care.
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One such development nearing completion on the Upper East Side is Inspir Carnegie Hill. Developed by Maplewood Senior Living, the building will offer 15,000 square feet of amenity spaces like a farm-to-table restaurant, a 16th-floor “sky park,” a swimming pool, fitness center, a library and other common areas for residents to mingle. The official leasing website says Inspir Carnegie Hill intends to draw energy from the surrounding neighborhoods, and the residences are energized by nature—making ample use of organic materials, green spaces, and sunlight. Below are several new senior living options to open in Manhattan.

Rendering of Inspir Carnegie Hill Rendering of Inspir Carnegie Hill (Handel Architects)

Inspir Carnegie Hill

Neighborhood: Upper East Side

Building Type: Senior Living Community

Finishing construction at 1802 Second Avenue and 93rd Street, Inspir Carnegie Hill will offer a full suite of convenient and luxurious amenities for seniors. Designed by Handel Architects, the building rises 23 stories and holds 215 residences. The Connecticut-based senior living company already has 13 facilities in suburban areas but this Upper East Side project will be their first urban development.

The resident units are designed to maximize natural light and will include floor-to-ceiling windows, specially selected finishes, and features like built-in kitchenettes, wardrobes, marble bathrooms, and natural wood floors. A signature amenity will be the “sky park,” a landscaped terrace perched 150 feet above street level. It will feature trees reaching 20 feet tall and views overlooking the East River.

Sunrise East 56th Street Sunrise East 56th Street (Hines/Welltower)

Sunrise East 56th Street

Neighborhood: Midtown East

Building Type: Senior Living Community

Nearing completion at 685 Lexington Avenue, Sunrise at East 56th is a new community designed for Manhattan seniors brought to market by Hines with real-estate investment trust Welltower Inc. The building will provide attentive, trained staff, personalized assisted living and memory care in an impeccably detailed environment. One- and two-bedroom residences are set to arrive by year-end 2019.

2330 Broadway

Neighborhood: Upper West Side

Building Type: Senior Living Community

Situated at the southeast corner of West 85th Street and Broadway on the Upper West Side, Hines/Welltower is developing a state-of-the-art 140,170-square-foot, 17-story senior living, and memory care community. Designed by SLCE Architects, the building will contain 162 units and amenities such as a spa, a homeopathic care center, a rooftop garden, and a “bistro,” where residents can retreat for refreshment and communal activities.

1622-York-Avenue-04 1622 York Avenue

1622 York Avenue

Neighborhood: Yorkville

Building Type: Senior Living Community

Engel Burman Group is building a 132-unit senior assisted living facility at 1622-1632 York Avenue in the Yorkville neighborhood of the Upper East Side.Sited just one block from Carl Schurz Park and two avenues away from the newly refurbished 86th Street subway station, the building will house a treatment center, fitness room, beauty salon, and dining space. There will also be common spaces and offices on each floor. H2M Architects + Engineers are the architects for the project.

Ingersoll Senior Residences Ingersoll Senior Residences (Marvel Architects)

Ingersoll Senior Residences

Neighborhood: Fort Greene

Building Type: Affordable Senior Community

A partnership between BFC Partners and SAGE Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders is at the helm of Ingersoll Senior Residences, New York’s first LGBT-friendly senior housing project at 112 Edwards Street in Fort Greene. Amenities will include a state-of-the art senior center with a cyber lounge, culturally-oriented services, and community-building activities for all tenants operated by SAGE (Services & Advocacy for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Elders). The elevator-serviced building will also feature laundry facilities, a communal lounge, shared outdoor terraces, and an on-site resident manager. Find out how to apply here.

Additional Info About the Building

Contributing Writer Cait Etherington Cait Etherington has over twenty years of experience working as a journalist and communications consultant. Her articles and reviews have been published in newspapers and magazines across the United States and internationally. An experienced financial writer, Cait is committed to exposing the human side of stories about contemporary business, banking and workplace relations. She also enjoys writing about trends, lifestyles and real estate in New York City where she lives with her family in a cozy apartment on the twentieth floor of a Manhattan high rise.
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