Most New Yorkers live a space and light deprived existence. Leaning out of the balconies of their crypt like homes and catching the tiniest sliver of the sky is considered high luxury. And these balconies that can barely accommodate two people at one time in it would probably be passed off by many as “outdoor space”.
So what happens if you come to the city with conventional ideas of what outdoor space should be like – big enough to have a landscaped garden where you can sit with your friends on a cool evening and share a couple of beers? In all likelihood you may have to come to terms with the reality of living in a place that offers birdcages for balconies or pay through your nose for the kind of space you are dreaming about.
A look through the listings of New York City will instantly reveal that an apartment that has a garden or terrace bigger than the apartment itself are something of a rarity and they usually appeal to a distinctive breed of buyers – ones that have a lot of disposable incomes lying around in their personal vault.
But not all outdoor space is valued in the same manner. Appraisers say that the value of the space depends, to a great extent, on its exclusivity as well as its appeal. For instance, in a neighborhood like Upper East Side, apartments with balconies don’t fetch a very high prices due to the presence of postwar buildings, which have many balconies. But, when you walk into a downtown loft and spot a substantial-sized terrace or balcony, you know it’s going to help up the price because it’s so unusual to see such space in this area.
Yet another factor that goes into fixing the value of a terrace or building in an apartment is its location. If your second floor balcony/terrace is in close proximity to a busy, noisy, and crowded street, marks will be deducted for that. Anything higher up in the building that gives you more privacy and fewer noise-induced headaches would be a lot more desirable.
Typically speaking, the outdoor space in any property is valued at 25-50% of the space inside. So, if an apartment commands $1,000 per square foot, the outdoor space would work out to anything between $250 and $500 for every square foot. However, there is a caveat here. In properties where the outdoor space is more than 50% of the size of the entire apartment, it is considered “excess space” which reduces its value considerably. After all, there’s only so much an average buyer would be willing to pay for a two-bedroom apartment, irrespective of the outdoor space it comes with.
The good news is that the demand for better quality outdoor space has propelled more and more developers to build apartments with semi-decent outdoor space; a lot better that what you would have seen ten years ago. In fact, statistics back this statement with suitable figures. In 2000 only 19% of the apartments sold in New York City had any kind of outdoor space. Ten years later, the number has shot up to 23%. It seems New Yorkers will not have to struggle so hard for their mouthful of sky after all!