New York

Ridgewood Savings Bank is offering eligible Bronx, N.Y. residents free tax preparation assistance this tax season with services provided by the non-profit organization, Ariva
Ridgewood Savings Bank is offering eligible Bronx, N.Y. residents free tax preparation assistance this tax season with services provided by the non-profit organization, Ariva. Residents are eligible for tax preparation assistance if they are single with no dependents and earn less than $30,000, or file with dependents and earn less than $54,000.
On Feb. 11 and Feb. 12, Ridgewood’s Jerome Avenue Branch hosted the first events of the season where over 118 tax returns were completed.
In addition to the Jerome Avenue branch, Ridgewood Savings Bank will host two additional dates at the following convenient Bronx locations:
►Saturday, March 11 from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., hosted by the White Plains Road branch, held at Community Board 12, 4101 White Plains Road at 229th Street.
►Saturday, March 18 from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., hosted by the Allerton Avenue branch, 711 Allerton Avenue.
“This is a service that we feel is very important to the members of the community that we serve,” said Domenico Ciaccio, AVP, Community Relations at Ridgewood Savings Bank. “Everyone needs to prepare their taxes, and we hope that the rest of the community can see how helpful this service is to those in need.”
Ariva helps Bronx residents access their refunds and save on commercial fees so that they may begin the process of building savings for their families. In previous years, Ariva has filed more than 70,000 free tax returns, returning more than $110 million in total refunds to neighborhoods such as the South Bronx.
“Ariva is grateful to Ridgewood Savings Bank for its long-time sponsorship of these tax days,” said Irene Baldwin, executive director of Ariva. “Neighborhood residents know Ridgewood is a trusted partner and they return year after year to the bank to have their taxes done.”

A nonprofit research group has issued a report stating that New York City can alleviate its housing shortage by introducing a program to enable the conversion of approximately 38,000 basements in local single-family residences into new housing units.


According to a report on the 6SqFt blog, the study by Citizens Housing and Planning Council (CHPC) concluded that “a basement conversion program in New York City would be an ecient and exciting way to add residential density and expand housing choices in our expensive and highly constrained urban market.” The majority of the basements targeted for conversion are located in the eastern section of the Bronx, southeast Brooklyn, and throughout Queens and Staten Island.


Nonetheless, the CHPC study noted there were a few potential problems, including the need for homeowners to provide parking spaces for new basement-dwelling tenants and the possibility that these new underground apartments would be rented at New York’s pricey market rates rather than an affordable rental level. New York’s Department of Buildings and City Planning and the New York Fire Department have expressed concerned on the safety aspects of basement apartments, and Mayor Bill De Blasio has not embraced similar proposals that were floated earlier in his administration.

Motto Mortgage has announced that its offering of mortgage brokerage franchise opportunities is now effective in New York. The addition of the Empire State brings the number of states in which Motto Mortgage franchises are actively being sold to more than 43.
“Motto Mortgage connects real estate brokerages with autonomous franchised mortgage brokerages,” said Motto Mortgage President Ward Morrison. “We’ll streamline the barriers of entry to the mortgage lending industry for New York real estate brokers, ultimately providing more mortgage options to home buyers and refinancers in the state.”
Motto Mortgage officially launched on Oct. 25, 2016, and is expected to bring more choice and a better experience for consumers. Its loan originators work with real estate agents to help homebuyers obtain the mortgage loans that best fit their individual needs.

The NRMLA Eastern Regional Meeting & Expo is scheduled for Monday-Tuesday, April 3-4, 2017 at the Intercontinental New York Times Square, 300 West 44th Street in New York, N.Y.

Click here for more information, call (202) 939-1783 or visit

In what might be something of a multifamily housing first, an underutilized NYPD parking lot is going to be transformed into a 450,000-square-foot mixed-use development featuring 350 affordable housing units.

According to a Curbed NY report, the NYPD garage in the Jamaica section of Queens will also include a community facility and a ground-floor retail space. The NYPD will still retain a presence at the site, with an underground parking space reserved for police vehicles.

The project is a collaboration between three municipal agencies—the Economic Development Corporation, the Housing Development Corporation, and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development—and is the first project in the $153 million Jamaica NOW Action Plan, which was created to revitalize the neighborhood. The development of the new project will be coordinated by Omni New York LLC, a firm that has already built and rehabilitated over 6,000 affordable units across new York City.

Mariah Carey’s credibility was not the only thing to take a tumble in New York City: The January 2017 New York City Rent Report from Apartment List Inc. found the Big Apple’s rent prices were down 0.1 percent this past month and were up year-over-year by a relatively scant 0.7 percent.

Still, the market is not reinventing itself as an affordable housing hub: one-bedroom apartments carry a median rent of $3,200, while two-bedrooms cost $4,400. The Midtown East section is the most expensive neighborhood for renters—one-bedroom apartments have a $3,520 median rent while two-bedrooms there cost $6,550. The Financial District is experiencing the greatest price spikes, with median rents up 6.9 percent on a year-over-year basis. A one-bedroom apartment in this increasingly trendy community carries a median rent of $3,340, while two-bedroom units cost $5,140.

However, New York’s renters appear to be mostly satisfied with their situation. Apartment List’s recent Renter Satisfaction Survey for this market recorded a B grade for overall satisfaction, with high grades going to public transit (A+), access to parks (A-) and career opportunities (B), but poor grades going to state and local taxes (D), quality of local schools (D), and affordability/cost of living (F).

The Manhattan sales market will hit the reset button in 2017, with price growth slowing throughout the borough after months of declines in the luxury segment. Brooklyn and Queens' sales markets will see slower paces of growth as well, with the Bronx projected to see sales prices decline in 2017.

As the sales market slows and rents continue to rise, more New Yorkers will become homeowners in the coming year. Transportation shake-ups are anticipated around New York City, including the temporary closure of the L-train and the long-awaited opening of the Second Avenue subway. These changes will transform neighborhoods' public transportation availability, playing an integral role in renters' and buyers' moving decisions over the next year.

"For Manhattan buyers, 2017 will be a year of increasingly slower price growth, as the market recalibrates after years of luxury inventory overload,” said Krishna Rao, StreetEasy economist. “On the rentals side, affordability will decline even further. We expect to see more people who have saved for a down payment–especially Millennials and other first-time buyers–taking advantage of a slowing sales market and moving quickly to buy a home in the face of an impending mortgage rate increase. Especially for those who plan to live in an apartment for more than a few years, the investment could pay off sooner than it has in the past.”

According to the StreetEasy Hot Market Index, Kingsbridge in the Bronx will be the hottest neighborhood of 2017, but Brooklyn neighborhoods dominate the rest of the list.

According to StreetEasy:

The Manhattan sales market will recalibrate. Manhattan's median resale price will have the slowest growth of all boroughs as oversupply in the luxury tier weighs down the market. The Bronx will be the only borough where resale prices will decline, falling 1.4 percent over the next 12 months.

Little relief for NYC renters. Median rents are expected to rise across all boroughs and continue to outpace income growth in the coming year. Shrinking tipping points–the number of years it takes for buying to make more financial sense than renting–and rising rents will drive prospective buyers to evaluate homeownership.

Transportation–or lack thereof–will transform neighborhoods. Neighborhoods where transit options are being added–like Yorkville and Hudson Yards–and neighborhoods where transit is temporarily halting–like Williamsburg's L-train–will receive an influx of interest as New Yorkers seek either a more convenient commute or a bargain.

Bronx's Kingsbridge tops StreetEasy's 2017 hottest neighborhoods list. According to the StreetEasy Hot Market Index, which ranks the city's neighborhoods using a series of key performance indicators, Kingsbridge came out on top. Brooklyn neighborhoods dominated the list, occupying six out of the 10 spots.

"Transportation will be top of mind for apartment hunters next year,” said Rao. “Expect heightened competition in previously less accessible areas of Manhattan, as neighborhoods such as Yorkville and Hudson Yards enter the spotlight. This year's list of hot neighborhoods is all about trade-offs New Yorkers are willing to make, whether that means extending your search by one neighborhood in exchange for a nearby park or waterfront views, or extending your commute to find a relatively affordable single-family home."

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has partnered with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on a program to distribute 5,000 new tablet computers connected to T-Mobile’s data network to 5,000 families living in public housing in the Bronx

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has partnered with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on a program to distribute 5,000 new tablet computers connected to T-Mobile’s data network to 5,000 families living in public housing in the Bronx.

The tablets, valued at $159 each, will be handed out next month under the auspices of the New York City Housing Authority, and the devices will be given to qualifying families with children under 19 years old. T-Mobile will provide free training for the devices and will also become a national stakeholder in the Obama Administration’s ConnectHome initiative—although it is unclear if that initiative will continue in the Trump Administration.

“The ConnectHome program is providing children and families the tools they need to stay competitive in this 21stcentury global economy,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “With this new commitment to ConnectHome, T-Mobile and the City of New York are making a meaningful impact to close the digital divide for thousands of New York public housing residents.”

A trio of real estate developers are being charged with coordinating an elaborate voter fraud scheme designed to help them push through a controversial residential property development in a small upstate New York village.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the developers—Shalom Lamm, Kenneth Nakdimen and Volvy Smilowitz—were each charged with one count of conspiracy to corrupt the electoral process. The men allegedly planned to swell the voting registration records for Bloomingburg, N.Y., with non-residents in order to artificially build support for a 396-unit townhouse project that would be marketed to Hasidic Jews. The development has been met with opposition from local leaders.

The federal charges state that Lamm paid an individual $500 for every fraudulent vote brought in, ultimately paying more than $30,000 in an effort to invent new electoral support for the project. The defendants are also accused of creating phony leases for the non-residents when the scheme was under investigation.

“When met with resistance, rather than seek to advance their real-estate development project through legitimate means, the defendants instead decided to corrupt the electoral process in Bloomingburg by falsely registering voters and paying bribes for voters who would help elect public officials favorable to their project,” the indictment said.

All three defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted, they each face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

For the first time, the average price for an apartment in Manhattan sailed above the $2 million mark

For the first time, the average price for an apartment in Manhattan sailed above the $2 million mark.

According to new data from CityRealty, the average apartment prices in the heart of New York City rose to $2.2 million this year, up from $1.9 million in 2015. This new record price represents a staggering 91 percent increase from 10 years ago. However, this XXL-sized price tag veered upward due to the sales of condominiums that were valued at $10 million or more.

However, CityRealty is forecasting that the average price of Manhattan condos will fall in 2017, which will be the first time in five years that this property type will experience a decline. This predicted decline would be the result of a slowdown in new luxury residential construction, according to CityRealty.