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What Constitutes “New” for New Development in NYC?

NYC new development

If you are searching for an apartment in NYC, then you know that there are seemingly endless options. Should you buy a condo or a co-op? What neighborhood is best for you? And should you buy an older unit, or a new development?

New developments come with a ton of perks; everything is brand new, and new developments tend to have the best and most cutting edge amenities. But what qualifies as “new” when we talk about new developments? On this page, we will go through the distinctions in types of new developments, as well as why these distinctions should matter to you.

Different Types of New Development in NYC

There are a few different types of new development that you can find in NYC. Developers–also known as sponsors–have incentives to not only build new, ground-up constructions, but also to renovate and alter existing properties. Here are the different types of new devs of which to be aware as you look at New York City real estate.

Ground Up Constructions

Ground-up constructions are the most straightforward, obvious form of NYC new development. These buildings are built from (as the name implies) the ground up. Developers construct ground-up new developments on already empty lots or after completely demolishing any existing structures on the property. They install a new foundation, and construction proceeds from there.

Ground-up constructions are great in that they provide the largest amount of flexibility for architects, designers, and developers. Everything about the building can be tailored to fit the sponsor’s needs. This can help developers ensure high quality construction from the beginning of the project, and avoid unforeseen setbacks like poor foundations or plumbing issues.

Renovations and Alterations

Renovations or alterations to a structure can sometimes be so significant that the building can be considered “new.” According to the New York Department of Building’s rules, an older building can be counted as a new building as long as its floorspace is increased or replaced by 110%.
This means that either the size of the building must be increased, or the entire floor space inside of the building must be removed and replaced. Practically, this means that buildings that have been completely gutted–so that only the exterior walls and foundation remains–are counted as new developments once renovations are complete.

If the developer does not replace or expand the floor space enough to meet the 110% threshold, then the renovation will merely be considered an “alteration.” Developers may find alterations appealing because it exempts them from meeting certain building standards. Altered buildings can be grandfathered into compliance with things like environmental laws and zoning policies without having to bring the building up to modern standards.

On the other hand, gutted and completely renovated buildings must meet all current building standards, or face the same penalties as any other “new” development that fails to comply. This can get expensive.

Why Choose a New Development? Pros of New Dev in NYC

Now that you know what qualifies as a new development in NYC, you can evaluate whether a new dev apartment is right for you. Here at New Dev Rev, we obviously love new developments, but it is important to understand all of the pros and cons of new developments before you buy. Here are some factors to consider as you shop for an NYC apartment.

More and Better Amenities

In general, new developments have more and better amenities than their older counterparts. Each year, developers offer more and more over the top amenities–from pet spas to personal training, private dining to full sized basketball courts. If you can imagine it, chances are good that a developer has, too. Take a look at some of the more luxurious amenities offered by buildings in NYC here.

High Quality and New Materials

Developers of luxury new developments tend to use high quality materials and brands to help their properties stand out in the crowded market. Shining fixtures, real wood floors, and imported stone are very popular in new developments around the city.

With an older building, you may have cracks or stains on your marble countertops, or the appliances will be outdated and unreliable. If you purchase a unit in a new development, on the other hand, you can trust that your home will be move-in ready from day one. This can save you money on expensive renovations and minimize the stress that inevitably comes with a move.

Eco-friendly Design and Construction

Environmentally conscious New Yorkers may find new developments particularly appealing. NYC has passed a number of environmental building laws in recent years, updating energy and water usage standards and imposing penalties for buildings that fail to meet benchmarks. More regulations–like limits on greenhouse gas emissions–are going into effect soon.

Developers have to make sure that their buildings meet these standards, and many try to exceed them. Older buildings are sometimes exempt from certain laws, or are willing to pay fines instead of undergoing extensive renovations to fix the issues.

More Likely to Be a Sponsor Unit

New developments are more likely than older buildings to offer “sponsor units.” These are apartments that have never been on the market before, and they are usually exclusive to new developments. Sponsor units are appealing for a couple of reasons. Here are the perks of sponsor units:

  • Sponsor units tend to have lower initial down payments.
  • Everything is freshly built and never used before.
  • You can do a final walkthrough before construction is finished, allowing you to address issues or make suggestions before closing.

Drawbacks of sponsor units include the following:

  • Sponsor units can come with higher than normal closing costs–such as requiring the buyer to pay the real estate transfer tax. In some cases, this can be renegotiated.
  • Move in may be delayed depending on unexpected issues in construction.

Finding a New Development in NYC

If you think a new development unit is right for you, then it is time to start looking for your future home. Here are NewDevRev’s tips and tricks for finding the perfect NYC apartment.

Talk with a NYC New Development Real Estate Expert

Talking to a real estate expert is a great place to start your home search. Real estate professionals are a wealth of helpful information, and can help you do everything from deciding on a neighborhood to putting down an offer. You can also find some helpful resources on our website, including a mortgage calculator and budgeting tools.

Learn What You Like

From the beginning of your home search, you should start thinking seriously about what you want to prioritize and what you can do without. For some New Yorkers, location is everything, and for others, luxury living trumps all. Do an inventory of your “must haves,” “would be nice to haves,” and “don’t needs.” In particular, think about your preferences regarding the following factors:

  • Budget
  • Neighborhood
  • Proximity to key locations (parks, transport, work, etc)
  • Size of the building
  • Amenities
  • Common charges you are willing (or not) to pay
  • Architectural style
  • Interior design
  • Purely residential vs mixed use
  • Condo vs co-op
  • And more

If you aren’t sure where you stand, then our website has a ton of great resources and articles to peruse. Take a look at our coverage to get a better sense of the NYC real estate market and all that is available for buyers like you.

Secure Financing

As you search for an apartment, it is a good idea to secure financing as soon as possible. Getting pre-approved for a home loan is the best way to show sellers that you are a serious buyer, and also helps you get a better understanding of your workable budget.

Applying for pre-approval is relatively easy and is non-binding, so there is no harm in applying very early in the process. To learn more about the process of securing financing to buy a home, you can contact your preferred lender or speak with a NewDevRev real estate expert.

Reach Out Today to Get Started on Your Apartment Search

The sooner you start looking, the sooner you can find and own your dream home. At NewDevRev, we are committed to connecting interested buyers with the resources they need to make a smart real estate purchase. Reach out to us today to begin the conversation.