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Common roof deck at Lexi Condos in Murray Hill Common roof deck at Lexi Condos in Murray Hill
Saving up for a New York City apartment is a lofty goal—CityRealty listings show that the median asking price of a Manhattan condo is $2.475 million—and the down payment is just the beginning. Even if a person is lucky enough to buy their new condo outright and avoid some surprise charges, they must still pay common charges and real estate taxes, the combined total of which can rival some mortgage payments, the entire time they're living in the apartment.

Just as we did with their cooperative counterparts, CityRealty takes a look at how the price of common charges is determined, what they cover, and how to avoid making excessively high monthly payments.

What Common Charges Cover

In condos, tenants pay common charges, which cover many of these same things as co-op fees (e.g., maintenance of common areas such as the lobby and hallways, pest control, trash, and snow removal, etc.). But there is one notable difference—common charges don’t cover property taxes. As a result, common charges are often lower than co-op fees. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that one ends up paying lower fees in a condo. Once the taxes are taken into account, one’s combined taxes and common charges can be much higher than one’s co-op fees. Of course, it depends on the building and the building’s range of amenities.

How Common Charges Are Set

Common charges are set based on the size (and in some cases, also the location) of one’s unit. In essence, the condo unit’s “percentage of common interest” (a variable usually based solely on square footage) is multiplied by the cost of the included operating costs. Therefore, the bigger the unit, the higher the fees.

Common charges are also subject to change over time. Higher fuel costs, major repairs to common areas in the building, and new services will all impact one’s fees. Like co-op boards, condo boards may also levy assessments to cover the cost of major projects, including façade repairs.

Negotiating Common Charges

If your common charges spike, there is not much you can do. In fact, even if you purchased in a new building and were led to believe the common charges would be considerably lower than they are, you may have little or no way to take action. What’s clear is that failure to pay your common charges is never a good idea. Condo boards are empowered to take legal action to ensure they can collect any common charges in arrears. Again, if a condo owner who believes their building’s common charges are too high, the best line of defense is to get involved in the building by running for the condo board.


While there is rarely much one can do to lower their common charges, condo owners have one recourse that co-ops don't: From time to time, tax abatements can help. The most common abatement is the 421-a tax abatement. The program, which dates back to the early 1970s, was created as an incentive to motivate developers to use underused land. In return, developers were given tax cuts, which were, in turn, passed along to owners.

Most 421-a tax abatements lasted for ten years, but a 2006 initiative offered some developers a 20-year abatement, only if they also agreed to add affordable units to their development. For this reason, although the 421-a tax abatement program technically no longer exists, there are still a few buildings in New York City where prospective buyers can take advantage of the abatement.

via BHS
From the Listing: 422 West 49th Street is a beautifully designed 8 unit boutique condominium in Hell's Kitchen. With thoughtful open layouts and private outdoor space for most residences, 422 West 49th offers a virtual doorman, private storage for all units, common roof deck, and part-time building superintendent.

Residence 4A features:

- Three spacious bedrooms
- Wide engineered white oak floors with light brushing throughout
- Highly thermally insulated double glazed oversized windows
- Energy efficient, individually controlled multi-zone heating and cooling system
- Bosch washer / dryer
- Key-locked elevator access
- Primary suite with walk-in closet
- Juliette balcony

See floor plan and full details here.

805-Ninth Avenue-03
From the Listing: Private keyed elevator entry into your beautiful, new three bedroom home. This well-appointed home features white oak floors, solid core doors, a plethora of marble stone in the kitchen and bathrooms, a Miele Washer and Dryer and Central Air-Conditioning. The building has a virtual doorman, private storage room and bike room.

This prized home has a large patio to the west side of the apartment. Folding glass doors open on from both bedrooms open onto the spacious outdoor space that offers electric, water and gas outlets. These days, outdoor space is essential to the Manhattan lifestyle, grab this special home before its gone!
See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Residence 4B is an Eastern facing 2 bed, 2 bath home that stuns with natural light in every room and features walls of floor to ceiling windows throughout. This home is equipped to accommodate modern-day living with an open entertaining space, state-of-the-art kitchen and ample storage, including a gracious walk-in closet in the master bedroom.

VU's light and airy interiors are carefully crafted by renowned interior designer Paris Forino to complement soaring ceilings and panoramic city and East River views. Living spaces in soothing neutral tones with handsome accents create a sophisticated aesthetic. Kitchens at VU imbue a feeling of comfort and convenience. Appointed in a sophisticated and light palette of natu
See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: F Introducing 208 Delancey, a one-of-a-kind building whose curved exterior, rounded corner windows, and spacious balconies bring light, air, and views to everyday life. Designed by award-winning architect ODA New York, this urban sanctuary offers a collection of 85 residences ranging from studios to three-bedroom condominiums, along with a collection of distinctive Penthouses.

Residence 6D is a 1,010-square-foot 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom home with western-facing views. It features a winged layout with the living area in the center and the two bedrooms on opposite sides of the unit to maximize privacy. The open kitchen layout leads directly to the living/dining area which directly faces a sea of windows and can easily fit a large dining table perfect for entertaining.
See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Meet Maverick: a natural addition to Chelsea, rising at the crossroads of the city's most exciting neighborhoods. Impeccably designed by DXA studio and complemented by 12,000+ Sq Ft across three levels of exceptional indoor and outdoor amenities including a 60' indoor pool, steam & sauna, Himalayan salt wall meditation room, state-of-the-art fitness center, rooftop lounge and more.

Immaculately designed, this 1,115 square foot split two-bedroom, two-bathroom residence features Northeastern exposures with oversized tilt-and-turn windows, and seven-inch-wide white European oak flooring throughout.
See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Residence 11HD is an 1123 square foot two-bedroom, two bathroom, with an open gourmet kitchen and breakfast bar. This spacious corner residence faces North East and South East with expansive Midtown, East River, and Manhattan Bridge views. Warm, modern interiors are brought to life by the renowned design team at Meyer Davis Studio. This residence features imported stone and custom finishes, premium Miele appliance package, 5” wide stained oak flooring, master bath with custom wood cabinetry, marble tile walls and mosaic floors with radiant heat, under-mount Wetstyle sink with glass vanity top and Dornbracht polished chrome faucets, and a washer and dryer. See floor plan and full details here.

(Credit: Michael Kleinberg)
From the Listing: Residence 8F is a two bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom home with approximately 10 foot ceilings and oversized arched windows. Interior finishes include wide-plank white oak flooring and oil-rubbed bronze fixtures custom-designed by Sir David Adjaye. The residence boasts an open kitchen with custom Pedini Italian textured blackened oak cabinetry, Salvatori Pietra Cardosa marble countertops and backsplash hand-selected from the Apuan Alps in Tuscany with a Salvatori Nero Marquina cantilever providing additional seating, and state-of-the-art appliances by Gaggenau, Bosch, and Thermador, including wine storage. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: A brand new Kips Bay condo with a pair of private outdoor spaces and an abundance of natural light, this inviting 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom home is an effortless blend of classic city elegance and contemporary design. Features of this 1,194 sq. ft. apartment include beautiful white oak floors, over-sized double pan windows, custom light fixtures, and a convenient in-unit Miele washer/dryer. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Spacious, Stylish, Smart. Near Everything. 5A Is 1,290 Sf, 2 bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, With An Open Living Area, Incredible Modern Kitchen with All The Desirable Appliances, Featuring A Large, Practical Eat At Counter. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: A light-filled residential oasis, located at 500 West 45th Street, surrounded by the best of Manhattan's New West Side.

Residence 509 is an East facing 1 bedroom layout with floor-to-ceiling, double-glazed windows with city views. This apartment exudes exceptional attention to detail with elevated finishes and superior design. The thoughtfully designed layout features an open-planned kitchen with a pass-through island, custom cabinetry, Caesarstone countertops with full-height marble backsplashes, Miele appliances, washer/dryer and beautiful wide-plank oak flooring throughout the apartment.
See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Envisioned by innovative Dutch design team Concrete, 547 West 47th Street takes inspiration from classic New York City factory lofts with open layouts, oak flooring, high ceilings and oversized windows. Residence 521 is a perfectly designed 670 sq. ft. 1-Bedroom residence with a West exposure. The entry foyer leads to the open kitchen featuring Calacatta marble countertops and backsplashes, custom cabinetry with ample storage, and appliances by Miele and Bosch. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the loft-like living space leads to the large primary bedroom through sliding cast-glass doors. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Designed by renowned architect Alvaro Siza with interiors by Gabellini Sheppard, residence 4F is a 699 SF west facing one bedroom with elegantly appointed modern finishes. Oversized windows provide ample sunlight while wide plank walnut floors embrace a neutral palette. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: High Floor 1 BR with expansive southern views. This 733 sf home has a gracious foyer, beautifully tiled bathroom with walk-in shower and a Washer/Dryer. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Enjoy the city skyline from this 720 square foot (66.9 square meter) North facing one bedroom. An East-facing window near the open kitchen with a breakfast bar enhances the living area with light and air. Floor to ceiling, sound-attenuated windows frame the views throughout. A Bosch stackable washer/dryer is located near the entry foyer and there are two closets for your storage needs.

Each residence is graced with 7" wide white oak plank flooring with a matte finish, satin nickel door hardware, 9' ceiling heights, and windows are pre-wired for electronic shades.
See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Residence 201at Hillrose28 is a south-facing 756 SF one bedroom and one bath. This home celebrates the historic classic New York-style living with refreshing modernity. The interiors feature wide plank, white oak flooring, solid wood doors, and oversized windows for a bright, airy, and open feeling, complemented by refined materials and modern details that bring a timeless element to Hillrose28. Residence 201 features an open plan kitchen custom-designed by Andres Escobar and produced by Scavolini, ideal for dining in or entertaining others. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Sitting at the heart of this authentic and historic New York neighborhood One Essex Crossing is the premier residential offering of the dynamic Essex Crossing masterplan. With timeless architecture and crisp interiors by CetraRuddy, the 83 residences are filled with natural light, gracious spaces, and design innovations to elevate daily life.

Residence 8L is a spacious 742 SF 1-bedroom, 1 bathroom home that features a large walk-in closet and delivers sweeping southeastern views. This residence features wide plank European Oak flooring with a warm custom stain, ceiling heights of up to 10 feet, and oversized windows which provide exceptional natural light and air.
See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Residence 37A is a one-bedroom, one-bathroom residence overlooking the East River. Designed by Richard Meier & Partners Architects, the residence interiors are a striking contrast to the black glass exterior, reflecting a white color palette. Living spaces are immersed in natural light radiating through the floor-to-ceiling windows. White oak floors are found in all residences and open kitchens boast white Calacatta Lincoln marble counters, Dornbracht fixtures, and Gaggenau appliances clad in custom-crafted Italian white lacquer. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: This sophisticated 793 square foot, one-bedroom, the one-bath residence features 9-11" ceilings with herringbone oak flooring throughout, articulating classic elegance and gracious, functional living. The formal entry foyer opens to a gorgeous great room and kitchen with west exposures. Adjacent to the dining room is a lavish custom-designed open kitchen featuring white lacquered cabinetry complimented by Taj Mahal quartzite countertops and backsplash, including an island. The kitchen is fully equipped with state-of-the-art integrated Gaggenau appliances, including a 5-burner stainless steel cooktop, refrigerator, freezer and dishwasher. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Residence 8A is a masterfully designed one bedroom, one bathroom home at 212W93, a brand new development designed by Eran Chen of renowned architecture firm ODA, with interiors by Grade New York. This 828 square foot home boasts a chef's kitchen that opens to a 16' x 20' south-facing living-dining room with over 10' ceiling heights, and 10 oversized north-facing wood-clad Josko windows. See floor plan and full details here.

From the Listing: Introducing Residence 3C: an oversized 1-bedroom, 1 and 1 half-bathroom residence with Western exposures and stunning 5" white making flooring throughout. Oversized tilt-and-turn windows pre-wired for window treatments offer enhanced noise reduction for this almost 900 SQFT home. See floor plan and full details here.

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