« Rochester Blog

Apartments

America becoming a ‘Rentership Society’

August 8, 2011 by in Apartments, Rental Market Info
Comments (1)

Since the housing bubble burst in 2008, millions of homes have gone through foreclosure. But what happens to all the families caught up in the financial chaos? Apparently, millions of them have become renters. The trend towards renting has been so strong in the past few years that analysts from Morgan Stanley recently reported that the United states is quickly becoming a nation of renters.

Graph of US Home Ownership Rates 1965 to 2010

Graph of US Home Ownership Rates 1965 to 2010

In the August 5th CNN Money article, “Home ownership hits lowest level since 1965” Les Christie describes how the US home ownership rate has dropped from 69.2% in 2004 to only 59.2%. While the official numbers show the home ownership rate at 65.9%, the number drops to 59.2% when you factor in delinquent mortgage borrowers (the ones who are likely to lose their homes at some point).

Since Rochester has been fortunate to evade the worst of the housing crisis, and in the process rack up a number of top 10 placements for real estate investing and home ownership, our home ownership rates are quite a bit more steady. The rest of the nation’s real estate has not been so lucky. In fact, the average home price has declined 32% nationally. Despite the ridiculously low interest rates on mortgages, the market just can’t seem to generate buyers fast enough. The two biggest factors being the much more stringent lending practices and the overall decrease in employed people, ready to make a home purchase.

This bubble, and the consequent burst, were surprises to no one with a fundamental knowledge of economics (regardless of what the talking heads on the news have been saying for the past few years). Having been in a position where I could see this disaster coming, I have to confess that I don’t see anyone making the decisions at a national level that are necessary for us to turn this crisis around.

Perhaps the analysts at Morgan Stanley are right, America will be a much more mobile, renter-centric, society for the foreseeable future.

Using Crime Statistics and Sex Offender Mapping in your Housing Search

July 26, 2011 by
Comments (0)

What’s the most common question that Realtors can’t legally answer?  “Is this a safe neighborhood?”

 

Map of Crime and Sex Offenders in the City of Rochester NY

Map of Crime in the City of Rochester NY

The federal government put fair housing laws into place to protect home buyers and renters from a myriad of discriminatory practices.  As a result, landlords can no longer post statements like, “great Catholic neighborhood”, or “no children allowed in this unit”.  Restricting this kind of language is obviously a necessity to prevent certain protected classes from being discriminated against.  Sometimes, fair housing regulations leave Realtors in an awkward position, because answering a question the wrong way might get them in a lot of trouble.

When I’m showing apartments or homes to prospective movers, they always want to know if this is a safe neighborhood.  Unfortunately, I can’t legally answer that question because safety is a subjective term, and my opinions or biases may shape what I consider to be safe. For that reason, Realtors can only provide their client with tools to make that determination for themselves.  In today’s edition of the Democrat and Chronicle, the City of Rochester announced that they will be partnering with CrimeReports.com to begin mapping crime in the city of Rochester.  The site also maps the location of every registered sex offender in Monroe County. Now agents and individuals can search police reports on a slick Google map interface and make the determination of safety for themselves.

The CrimeReports website maps robberies, breaking and entering, assaults, thefts and sexual assaults.  For some reason, the Rochester Police Department has chosen not to provide the data to map rape or other sexual assaults.  I certainly hope that they reconsider that, considering every woman would want to know this information about their community. When using this site, bear in mind that the RPD is just about the only local police department reporting data to the website. As a result, the suburbs look spotless, but this is only because they don’t report any crime data.  It is also worth noting that you should completely avoid using their neighborhood layer, which is supposed to show you the different city neighborhoods. There isn’t a single neighborhood properly identified on the site. All in all, it’s a great tool to use if you’re looking to determine just how safe your next community is.

 

 

The Luxury Lofts of the Knowlton Building

May 7, 2011 by in Cascade District, Center City, City of Rochester, Cover, Featured, Featured New Digs, Rental Market Info, Rochester Metro Area
Comments (0)

Knowlton Building - Rochester NY Loft Apartments - Newdigs.com

Knowlton Building - Rochester NY Loft Apartments - Newdigs.com

The Knowlton Building is proof that high end loft living is alive and well in Rochester.    The Knowlton Building was privilege to a total overhaul in 1998, when the Loftus brothers, Jim and John, owners of the nearby Cascade Building, renovated it from top to bottom into luxury lofts and high-end commercial space.  Under the principals of what John Loftus calls “adaptive reuse,” the brothers took the unique space, with its high ceilings and panoramic city views, from its final days as underutilized manufacturing and warehouse space, to its present condition as some of the most attractive and popular lofts and offices in the city.

As you enter the Knowlton Building, you’ll pass through large lobby where you’ll be reminded of the building’s history as the former box factory of M.D. Knowlton Paper & Box Company.  The ceilings are barrel-vaulted brick, accented by the thick wooden beams that are characteristic of the building craftsmanship that was standard in 1895, when the Knowlton Building was established.  The huge metal sliding doors in the lobby denote the days when the space was used for much more industrial purposes than the current businesses that exist on the first, second, and third floors.  A newer elevator brings you to the residential lofts, located on the third and fourth floors.

Truly, no expense was spared in the renovation.  Each of the Knowlton Building’s fourteen residential units is meticulous in its details.  The sleek, modern fixtures add contrast to the beautifully refinished original hardwood floors.  The spacious kitchens come equipped with gas stoves, a delight to residents who are also foodies, since most loft buildings in Rochester offer electric stoves instead.  Even the kitchen cabinetry is a marvel: built by a local cabinet-maker, the drawers have the smooth, quiet, self-closing action that is indicative of a top-of-the-line kitchen.  The Knowlton Building features tankless hot water heaters, which heat water on demand, making them both more energy efficient, and better for anyone who wants to take a long shower, or fill a bathtub, without running out of hot water.  Windows stretch from hip height to the ceilings, which are 24 feet high in some units!  The closets are generously sized, with plenty of shelves and hanging space.  Laundry couldn’t be any more convenient; there is a washer and dryer in each unit.

In the same manner that you would expect from the gentlemen who took great care to convert the warehouse into such beautiful living spaces, the Loftus brothers demonstrate pride in their ownership of the Knowlton and Cascade Buildings by being present and available to tenants on a daily basis.

The building’s renovation from the defunct box factory to the dramatic apartment spaces that exist there today has helped to shape the Cascade District into the thriving residential and commercial center that it is.  “What they did in Soho in the 60’s and 70’s, we did here in the 90’s,” said John Loftus.  The Loftus brothers’ hard work has paid off for the Cascade District, which has been continuously improving since their 1985 renovation of the Cascade Building.  This April, Nothnagle Realty opened the doors of its own recently renovated warehouse building, relocating their headquarters from Brighton to the Center City. Today, there are only two remaining unrenovated warehouses in the neighborhood, both of which are currently undergoing renovations.  The Cascade Building is also undergoing some changes, with six additional units coming available this fall.  The new units will feature balconies, and have access to covered parking spaces.

Unlike the city’s other main loft district, the St. Paul Quarter, the businesses in the Cascade district are mostly offices functioning on the standard 9am-5pm work-week schedule, making for a quiet neighborhood in the evenings, and allowing much of the parking to be freed up by the time residents of the Knowlton & Cascade Buildings arrive home.  Not that parking is ever a concern for residents of the Knowlton Building and Cascade Building, since there is both covered parking, and ample space in a nearby surface lot owned by the Loftus brothers.  Residents of the Cascade District often find themselves saving a great deal on gas money, because of the convenient proximity to Rochester’s central business district, where one can conduct nearly their entire business and social lives without ever having to walk more than a mile.

Of course you must be wondering what one of these gorgeous and fabulous lofts costs to live in.  One bedroom units start at $1250/month, and two bedroom units start at $1600/month, plus utilities.  Fortunately, the Loftus brothers have thought of everything, and have added almost double the hard-foam insulation to the roof than is commonly used to create more energy efficiency in the lofts.  In addition to the insulation, the tankless hot water heaters make for very energy efficient units.  If you”d like your new digs to be in the Knowlton Building, contact their rental agent, Ben, at 585.415.6330 today, or check out our listing on Newdigs to see more information about pricing, amenities, and lease policies.