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I hear they are asking around $6.5M for 2 bedroom 2000 sq ft apartments. Anybody know anything about this? Are they high?
Looks as though prices are ranging from $6.0mm to $13.5mm, but they seem small to me, especially in comparison to 135 East 79th. Are people really going to pay that much for an older building when there is compararable new build that is better priced? (I'm comparing 7S from 150 E. 72nd with 3E in 135 E 79th.)
I just don't understand how these new condos price at so much more than AAA mint apartments in co-ops / condos. Spaciious 2,000sqft 3 bed co-ops on Lex in the 70s can go for $4MM or a maximum of $2,000 psft but more commonly at $1,500psft. Is it really worth paying $8MM for a property 4 blocks away because it has 10 ft ceilings vs. 9 foot ceilings and has a new gym or playroom or because the master bath has a double-vanity? Is it simply because people will know that you paid $8MM and you get to live with others who've also paid $8MM? Clearly, the market spoke on 135 East 79th - I guess I just don't see the value - mind you I don't have $8MM to throw at a 3 bed apartment.
Well lot of this condo premium is driven by massive foreign demand. If you check out the names of closing on a lot of luxury new condo developments you will see what I mean. Also good coops require upto 2-3x purchase price in liquid assets so that 4m coop you need 4-8m in cash.
The co-op I was talking about only required 30% down and reasonable liquid assets. This is Lex not Park or 5th.
Oxy - as a foreigner buying co-ops is essentially a non-starter for a bunch of reasons, not least of which is the fact that getting any financing is extremely hard. As I have mentioned elsewhere co-ops are also a ownership modality that is very archaic and smart people do not want to touch it. This is why if you come to Bburg or Dumbo where there are mostly condos you will find a disproportionate number of foreigners.
saying that co-ops are an ownership modality that is archaic because they don't happen to suit your particular circumstance is a specious argument. living together with shared services is always going to create disagreements with those in the minority angry with what appear to them to be arbitrary decisions. i think it is important to remember that despite a lot of grumbling that co-ops have served many, many new yorkers for successfully for many years and will continue to do so well into the future.
Ottawa, one interpretation of your little rant is that foreigners are smarter than Americans or New Yorkers. I can assure you that is not the case.
I'll bite HB. I would never suggest that, although if that is the conclusion you drew.... (Actually re-reading my post, I did seem to infer that - apologies. Meant that it has limitations, so all things being equal best to avoid.)
You need to appreciate that in the rest of the world co-ops are mostly low-income housing and is really rare. So a foreigner is going to have a high-level of discomfort with a modality of ownership, which for higher-income earners would only occur in Manhattan. So one strike.
Second, I was talking about the simple logistics of buying a co-op, which makes buying a co-op very difficult/unattractive for foreigners. Here OP was asking about why the premium on condos. THis is one of the reasons.
Third, it might still work in NYC, but does not mean that it is not a form of ownership that is out-dated. How many new co-ops are built? Are people changing condos to co-ops?
Here you have to imagine explaining a co-op to someone who has never experienced it: um, no you don't actually buy an apartment, but you do get shares and a right to occupy a unit that corresponds to your shares. And no you can't freely alienate your unit...
your presumption is that the number one goal is to appeal to foreigners?
Ottawa, it's amazing that one of the cruxes of your argument is that foreigners are myopic and unfamiliar with various aspects of NYC, and therefore NYC should change or that the old of NYC is no longer any good.
And while you are correct that new co-ops aren't being built, ask the well monied co-op owners of Park or 5th or CPW etc if they want to convert structures? Also you may want to note - and many articles have been written - that many condos, other than the actual ownership structure, have been converting their rules and vetting processes to be similar to those of a co-op. I believe you started the thread on telling a condo board to "shove it" because they wanted 18 different documents, 6 copies.
Co-ops exist and thrive for several reasons in New York. One doesn't simply live in the apartment, one is in business with one's neighbor in owning and running the building. The co-op system assures that purchasers can undeniably afford their apartments, are not overextended, and are able to be found and held responsible for their share of the building. The system also assures that one's neighbors will not make life annoying for other residents.
Guess what - public figures, people loaning or renting out their apartments, or oligarchs who might suddenly decide never to return to the country are all irritations for residents of a building. Unoccupied apartments by absentee owners are much more likely to have problems that can affect other residents - like a plumbing leak, and less likely to have someone there to notice instantly. That is another major reason co-ops do not like foreigners.
150 East 72 is an ungainly building with poor floor plans. Candela etc. did not really perfect gracious layouts until the 1920s, and this building is earlier. The new renovation with service entrances into the living room and vile tubs like the one Daphne Guinness kept overflowing doesn't help. It has what is considered a good location, and from the outside appears to be a prewar (and yes, a ten foot ceiling makes a huge difference over 9) which is in fact a huge factor for many purchasers. It especially appeals to socially and upwardly mobile individuals who got one reason or another cannot pass a co-op board. So those people will pay more because they are "undesirable" to better buildings.
HB - when did I say NY should change? I say specifically that it might work here, but does not mean it is out-dated.
Question was why is there a premium on condos and why attractive to foreigners. I gave lots of reasons to explain this: difficulty obtaining financing; unfamiliarity; limitations on rights of ownership; lack of real property (for security) and privacy rights.
In my case, I was annoyed at the unnecessary intrusiveness of my process of buying. I believe strongly in privacy rights and do not deem it necessary for condo boards to pry when all they have is a right of first refusal.
To get back to the question, one of the reasons that condos have a premium on price is that you are not supposed to deal with the annoying aspects inherent in co-ops. In my building an all cash purchase from a foreigner fell through because of the intrusiveness of the process. This in my view is a bad thing.
In any event, I understand why people like co-ops, but you need to realize that this is largely a NYC phenomena and perhaps question for one second why this form of ownership has basically gone away everywhere else.
There's a classic Frank Sinatra song about being able to make it in NYC, and by implication that not everyone can make it here.
Or they can make it just fine but they prefer to purchase a condo.
Not just NYC; Chicago and Washington also have quite a few co-ops.
There being so many co-ops in Manhattan has meant that they've differentiated themselves, some looser and some tighter, so there's something for everyone. Very few have gone so far as to convert to condo, since all it takes to be like one is agreement on some rule changes. As we've gotten away from the idea of an apartment as a speculative investment, most shareholders seem happy to both buy and sell for less.
As greensdale said, as the number of condos increases we'll see more of them becoming more co-op-like, to the extent they can.
>Or they can make it just fine but they prefer to purchase a condo
Doubt it. I've seen people come on to Streeteasy to say the opposite. For instance, there was a guy from Canada 9 months ago bitching about his privacy and the 18 documents including 4 references he needed to produce, 6 copies.
Just within the past hour I learned about an all cash paying foreigner who had a purchase fall through.
And those two examples aren't even in Manhattan.
What we are essentially saying then is that 2 buildings 3 blocks apart, one co-op, one condo, will have a price tag of $4MM and $8MM for essentially the same apartment. OK, you can ascribe $1MM of value for a new gym, playroom, 10 ft vs 9 ft ceilings, double-vanity but a huge gap nonetheless.
You're argument is that foreigners will prefer to buy the $8MM apartment because they're uncomofortable with the constraints of a co-op. I can understand that for some, co-ops won't be on their search.
I guess my point is that for non-foreigners simply looking to live in thy city, isn't the $4MM co-op a more rationale choice by far?
> I guess my point is that for non-foreigners simply looking to live in thy city, isn't the $4MM co-op a more rationale choice by far?
It may not be an option. A good co-op expects a net worth of higher than the purchase price, and many have even more financial requirements
A person (or family who needs space) could live in a condo that sells for more than four times their net worth - not so with a co-op. A purchaser with $2 million and a high paying job could theoretically buy that $8,000,000 apartment if he gets a huge mortgage. In a co-op he would be forced to look in the range of apartments worth less than $2,000,000 and probably less than $1,000,000.
HB: fell through because they refused to supply the documents which they thought was intrusive. Then purchased elsewhere. And I also bought. So how exactly is this not making it, if purchasing a home is your definition of making it.
Oxy: I was speaking more generally, not the specifics of that case. Your assumption though is that foreigners have the choice. I was pointing out that you often do not have the choice. First, if you don't have a credit history it is extremely difficult to get a loan. In my case I had to cobble together an alternative credit history from rent receipts and electricity bills. Then there is the usual difficulty associated with mortgages with co-ops, which relates to fact that you do not own real property, you own shares: see for example: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/realestate/mortgages-financing-for-small-co-op-units.html Then you would have to meet the requirements of the co-op, which might not one someone without ties to US...
So just to say that there are many hurdles for foreigners that often dictates that co-ops are simply not an option, in which case foreigners are dealing only with a sub-market consisting soley of condos. So need to compare apples...
Fell through because they didn't meet the criteria. One of the criteria is acceptable documentation.
I didn't define owning as making it.
HB: As stated: they declined to provide documents.Tthere are no criteria. It is a condo. All that exists is a right of first refusal. It was an all cash purchase.
This is my beef with condos acting like co-ops, is that they don't have teh same powers as co-ops, so a waste of everyone's time and devalues condos. If people like what co-ops offer then they can make that choice. Is problematic when they choose condo, but condo board thinks it is a co-op.
So they couldn't meet criteria that you are saying doesn't even exist? Sounds pathetic.
Yes, truly HB.
But the condo does the same powers, in a practical sense. Without the Waiver of Right of First Refusal, you can't close or move in. You can't get the waiver without submitting everything the board wants, and each request for more information "that the board may reasonably require" resets the 20- or 30-day jerk-you-around time the board has. Here's one nothing-special condo's requirements: http://www.ellimanpm.com/uncimages/2714/sales/1438%20Third%20Avenue%20-%20Sale%20Requirements%20-%20cover%20page.pdf
Best bet to avoid all that is buying from a sponsor, whether co-op or condo. A new-development sponsor will just want to make sure you can close before taking a place off the market, and that REBNY form might be sufficient for that.
NWT: Really not the same power. Issue is that condo boards (and more probably management companies) act as if they do.
In Co-op you are dealing with communitarian living and coop has a (virtual) unfettered right to choose who lives in its community.
Condo is not at all the same. What you are doing is reading out the word reasonable and ignoring what the purpose of the right of first refusal is. Also, Douglas can ask for whatever he wants, but does not make it reasonable. Right of first refusal is solely to provide the condo board with the ability to purchase the unit on same financial terms. It in no way has powers to approve of the purchaser. If you just keep asking for more info you are abusing a contractual right. Court would slap this down in a second.
So question is what is reasonable for the board to make its determination whether it wants to purchase the unit? I would think that they would need a copy of the contract, as that contains all the information it needs to determine whether it wants to exercise its right.
So in hypothetical, I could be a convicted rapist and you could know, but if I submitted my financial documents at end of thirty days board would have no recourse to block the sale and could only purchase the unit on same terms.
>. If you just keep asking for more info you are abusing a contractual right. Court would slap this down in a second.
You speak with a lot of bark but no bite.
And further to that point, we haven't seen anyone else with bite on the matter either. So for all intents and purposes, the condos will continue vetting their prospective owners in this manner.
Well they might continue to do it but it does not make it right and would open you up to unnecessary liability. You really think that a condo board could just continue asking for unecessary information in perpetuity?
The cited cases illustrate the bias of courts to strictly construe the bylaw provisions in order for a board to exer- cise its right of first refusal. In addition, a board must act in good faith when exercising its right of first refusal. In Extract v. Residential Board of Beaumont
Condominium,25 the seller submitted notice of his proposed sale to the board. The bylaws allowed the board to request further information with res- pect to the outside offeror and the sale agreement. The board argued that the time within which the holder of a right of first refusal must exercise that right is tolled upon the holder's request for additional information, where such request is not authorized by the agree- ment. The board sent a letter to the seller, which the board purported to be a request for further information. However, the court found that the letter was not a request for further information, but rather it was an imposition of conditions upon the proposed sale not authorized by the bylaws, and not made in good faith.
The court further found that the right of first refusal is not tolled upon the holder's request for additional informa- tion if the request is not authorized by the agreement.26
Feel free to sue.
Not in perpetuity, of course, but long enough to deter the unwanted buyer.
You really don't want to pay and wait to have a court decide what's reasonable, and then be cited in Stroock's next right-of-first-refusal memo.
All this might be covered in the usual Purchase Agreement, and some condos dictate the language of that contract. Another good reason to read everything first. Every word is there for a reason.
Buyers do continue to jump through the hoops.
You know, condos can also amend their by-laws to specificaly require this information, which would be a different circumstance than those cited in the 2002 memo where the test seems to have been if the requests for information were in keeping with the more simple ROFRs in place and their associated timetables.
Also, even in absence of a change to by-laws, as a specific board starts to require this paperwork of all parties, and the overall market of condo buidings starts to require this generally of purchasers, any given rejected or delayed purchaser will have an increasingly difficult time stating that he was unreasonably singled out.
Oxy, I do not understand the new condo premium over coop either. Foreign buyers can only explain so much. My calculation of premium for new condo over full renovated eqt coop apt with similar taxes and maintenance ( not saying where the market is):
10 percent to being a condo due to less restrictions
10 percent as building common facilities inc plumbing and facade have longer life
10 percent for more modern layout, slightly higher ceilings, and potentially better light due to bigger windows. No difference in view.
What do other sane people think?
>What do other sane people think?
Please, no comments from insane people. You know who you are
Also, do not forget to discount 10 percent from the new condo sq footage vs typical listed size for a coop.
>Also, do not forget to discount 10 percent from the new condo sq footage vs typical listed size for a coop.
Um, 300_mercer, we have rules here. No insane posts.
Well in the end it's demand/supply. If you search for luxury condos west of Lexington between 60th and 95t street, you will see a handful, 135 east 79th sold out, Philip House sold out, 737 Park Ave and this one vs gazillion coops. And foreigners have no other choices and people like me who have all their net worth tied up in illiquid assets such as real estate and private equity have no choice either, I mean who wants to carry 10 million dollars in cash while Ben is printing money. So that 10% premium is more like 50% I think for less restrictions.
Really, your first post since 2007 is to complain about Ben printing money?
and here we all thought you had changed.
Swa, Thanks for the insight about scarcity of condos on ues. Why not rent like nada rather than pay 50 percent premium? Or buy in an area with more condos unless you are saying that after adjusting for demand condos through out the city are in short supply relative to in the past when the condo premium was much smaller. Assume you would send your kids to private schools anyway if you are willing to pay 2k per sq ft. Not disagreeing with you, just trying to understand.
Nwt, what is your take?
Having said that yes I do think this building is overpriced compared to some of the other new developments in that area such as 200 East 79th, 737 Park, etc. I am not complaining since I made handsome profit on back of Ben printing money over the last 4 years (long gold, stock, real estates, short USD, etc etc)
300_mercer, I would rent but I do fear about being priced out of New York, I made 50% in my condo over the last 10 years in Manhattan and this was during financial crisis, with leverage I made almost 150% and lot of it was tax free. I am just trying to upgrade to a bigger place here (3 bdrm+) and finding it very difficult.
Let us say you rent for two years till the time you are more liquid and then buy coop. Even if price went up 10 percent in the next two years, you did not pay 40 percent extra unless you think condo premium will prevail. Or you can rent out your condo and rent till the time you are liquid to buy a coop.
Mercer - I do not think you understand the upper east side market. It is not a premium for a condo, it is a PENALTY for having to buy one.
Most purchasers at the upper end of that market want a fully renovated prewar apartment with central air, etc. The prewars have better construction and better locations. I do not know why you say the ceilings are higher in new condos - usually they are lower. Prewar buildings just have a different - and more sought after - feeling, from the lobby on up (or down to the proper service areas and logistics designed to facilitate living rather thn maximizing developer profits and square footage)
What they want:
Location - fifth avenue up to but not including third avenue
A residential feel (as opposed to corporate or boutique hotel)
Windows in bathrooms and kitchens
Layouts that allow for staff and service activities away from the main living spaces
Discreet, tasteful lobbies
Relatively small number of apartments
No unruly or objectionable neighbors
Private or shared elevator vestibules
Service elevators and service doors separate from apartment front doors so deliveries and renovations do not intrude
What they don't want:
Third Avenue. Second Avenue. First Avenue. 86th Street
Chain store or big box retail on the ground level
Cheap glassy buildings
Silly concierge desks in pretentious lobbies
Poor construction and cheap finishes. This includes drywall and stud walls without sound insulation
Anything other than fully integrated slot register central air
Washer dryers in closets, entry halls, or the kitchen. They want a maids room to make a laundry room.
Low ceilings with limited room to run mechanicals and electrical work
Service doors on the same hallway as front doors. They don't want a hallway at all - they want a vestibule
Windowless kitchens or bathrooms
Lack of service areas within the apartment
Huge expanses of glass that present shading problems and pose condition issues for art
Floorplans not conducive to furniture layouts and rooms with odd columns
Mystery neighbors or constantly changing characters staying in the building
Co-ops are not a bad deal.... for those who can afford them and are willing to play by the rules. There simply are not enough prewar co-ops to meet the demand, so people who want or need to live in the neighborhood - or require more space than they can afford in a co-op - have to be willing to pay more and compromise their standards to live in the newer condo buildings. I'm not saying this is the case for all of Manhattan, but on the upper east side I doubt there are many residents of new condos who deep down would not prefer to be living in one of the more prestigious prewar co-ops.
"Really, your first post since 2007 is to complain about Ben printing money?"
Indeed, he's been waiting too long. Everyone should be complaining about Bernanke every single day until the treasonous thief is booted from office.
Target--I think that this was a great post and you make excellent points about a certain kind of buyer. However, there are distinct kinds of buyers, even at the high-end of the market. While some things (private elevator landings, high ceilings) are universal, other people may want gold lobbies or large concierge desks. There is no accounting for taste. Finally, some residents would object to anyone not exactly like them, while others take a broader view of what would make an acceptable neighbor.
I wonder about your statement on the supply/demand for co-ops and the people who want to buy co-ops. Do you think that co-ops have had to raise or lower their standards? Certainly some have adopted more progressive policies in some areas (e.g., race, religion, profession), but they've also become more strict in other areas (e.g., financial requirements). So my point is that I think that this is a two-sided equation, where we shouldn't just focus on the demand for co-ops, but they ways in which boards are also controlling supply.
Boards do not control the supply - there is a fixed number of buildings that were built before the Second World War, and a finite number of blocks west of Third Avenue. As the population has increased, and outside demand for apartments from non-residents of New York grows (both foreign and domestic) the supply gets more scarce.
To get back to the original post, the prices are high at 150 East 72 because the structure is prewar (too early in my opinion to be gracious) and the location is desirable. In some ways, therefore, this building is trying to appeal to buyers who do not want the visuals or locations of newer buildings. A new, tacky lobby has been installed which seems to defeat some of the purpose, but no one ever suggested these developers have any taste.
The idea that co-op boards are still discriminating against buyers based on religion is simply outdated. Boards HAVE become much more strict about finances. Jobs are no longer considered the fixted guarantee they once were, so greater financial resources and balances are required to be sure other shareholders are not left holding the bag for a neighbor who has financial difficulties. Behavior can lead to a turn down - overly aggressive, litigious, or unlikely to be a quiet neighbor - but the reality is that boards today are mostly concerned with fiscal responsibility and a peaceful environment. For expensive apartments that is not an unrealistic position.
Personally I think the reason all of this rubs some people the wrong way is that all the numbers have gotten higher - numbers of people, real estate prices, net worth required, etc. The number of co-ops, particularly the more desirable ones, remains fixed, but there are more people wanting them, and wanting ever larger and more lavish apartments (tasteful or not). Co-ops are fiscally conservative, so many potential purchasers are finding they cannot afford to buy what they want. They then choose to participate in the sub-market of the new condos (to borrow a phrase from an earlier post). We live in a society where people do not like to save, or to be told no - and the condo market allows a way around that.
Wow, harsh, I love it.
Target, I do not disagree that prewar condos in general are at a premium to post war but we were trying to understand high premium of condos over coops even if they are substantially the same. For example, why is 150e more expensive per sq ft at say $2500 vs other fully finished prewar coops at 1500 per sq ft in similar location. Swastha provided some insight. What is your thought on 70 percent premium of 150 e over similar prewar coops?
Btw, many prewars do indeed only have 9 foot or lower ceiling. Most new condos are 9-10 feet.
http://streeteasy.com/nyc/sale/828132-coop-103-east-75th-street-upper-east-side-new-york. Target here is an example.
2200 sq ft at 1500 per sq ft.
No "good" prewar has a ceiling lower than 9 feet. Nine or nine and a half is standard, and anything above is considered a "high" ceiling. Another construction note on prewars - most were built with a rubble space between the separate floor and ceiling slabs of floors. This means that once the co-op board has finally allowed you to relocate plumbing fixtures you can do so without disturbing your neighbor below or necessitating a step up. A perfect illustration is the third full bathroom that has been slipped into a portion of what was originally a larger entrance hall at 103 East 75. Try doing that in a glassy new building with single slab construction...
For the sake of argument let's say these two apartments are the same ownership type. 150 East 72 would command a premium of approximately 2.5 million minimum.
150 East 72 advantages:
*B+ building (trying to be A minus) - add 1 million
*Better location: 72nd and Lex has two wide streets, and therefore more light and exposure on those sides. Also just a nicer position, with better neighboring buildings
*Private elevator vestibule
*Lump those into "general graciousness" and add $500,000
*Fully renovated apartment with central air - whether you like the renovation or not, it is worth 1 million easily
*Let's ignore the dreadful laundry in full view of the main entry and allow that the square kitchen of 150 is nicer looking than the one at 103 (although lacking in service areas or a place to sit outside of traffic patterns)
*We will also allow that the large open space of the entry/living/dining room appeals to some (at least until they go to furnish it and realize it gets small fast, or they try to live in it and realize it does not allow for separate activities at the same time within the apartment)
*Maybe a slight edge to the master suite at 150
103 East 75th downsides:
*B/B minus buiding
*Unfortunate long common hall upstairs with service entrances and service elevator off the same hall as front doors
*Less architecturally distinguished from the street, and lobby less appealing. (Space of lobby only - the new tricked out 150 Lobby is really foolish and embarrassing)
*Midblock location on an uninteresting block.
*More hemmed in building
*Across from a synagogue (Before you jump on me, it is not about the religion - it is the traffic and the children's daycare. Would be the same issue for a church or school)
Therefore even without the condo penalty, 150 East 72 is going to command a premium. The gut renovation of the apartment is worth a lot, even if one wants to make changes to correct obvious mistakes the developer made. Interestingly, the 6 million apartment first referred to is one of the least expensive in the building as it is on the third floor. The price differences would by definition rise for higher floors, particularly those that clear the low buildings to the south.
Now for the reasons 103 East 75th is a better buy, if less glamorous, more traditional apartment
*Layout is more gracious, especially for a family. Even a couple would likely appreciate the separate spaces, and the long sweep from dining room through foyer to the living room is a longer expanse than anything at 150, so if it were opened up it would feel larger and work better, especially for entertaining
*Proper entrance hall with closet that doesn't face the living/dining room
*Laundry located out of sight
*Clearing food from the dining room does not require waking past the front door of the apartment
*Breakfast area allows people to sit at a table (kids, staff, someone not cooking). The center island of 150 is limiting as it allows no place to leave stuff away from food preparation area.
*Bedroom wing is better organized, and able to be closed off. The third bedroom at 150 is off the entrance hall, and the bedroom hallway has no door to close it off
*Walkin closets at 103 are preferable to motel style closets in the bedrooms at 150
*Three full bathrooms as opposed to two and a half
And then the financial ownership differences between the two. Much as better mortgage rates go to those in the best financial positions, having a higher net worth allows one to live better in New York real estate. 103 East 75th requires 50% down minimum, and surely requires a net worth of more than the purchase price. Therefore to even consider buying that apartment one would need at least 4 million. At 150 East 72nd a purchaser would need a downpayment - say 1.2 million and a mortgage. Life in New York is expensive, and lots of families spend big: private schools, trophy wives, St. Barth's vacations, expensive restaurants and shopping sprees. In keeping up their lifestyles they may not be putting enough aside, so even making more than a million a year they blow through huge amounts of cash. Co-ops do not play that game.
In a nutshell, people who want to "live big" pay more for that. 103 East 75th is more conservative in many ways, and some purchasers just don't respond to that. Buildings like 150 East 72nd are converted to appeal to a flashier, spendier purchaser.
Target, Thanks a lot for the detailed insight into the pricing. While I may disagree with some of the premiums you mention, it is good to hear why some people may think the price difference is justified. I had not realized 50% down on 103 East.
Target: That was a very insightful post. I have a few questions, but the primary one is how you determine your scores for the buildings overall. What differentiates B+ from A-?
jsw: The teacher determines the score.
Parent-teacher meetings may be needed.
The best way to understand building rankings is from the top down. For example: 720, 740, 770 and 778 are all unquestionably A+ buildings. Architecture, location and prestige all contribute. The boards will be extremely strict. "A" buildings are very nice, just not as prestigious, perhaps with an address on a wide side street. Examples would be 730 and 760 Park, or 117 East 72. "A-" buildings are another step down - maybe lower key, less grand layouts, Lexington Avenue frontage. "A-" buildings can also get that rating due to a flaw, such as too many cut up apartments, poor layouts, lower ceilings. Any white brick building or postwar will not exceed an A-. On the Upper East Side a condo will not be an A by definition.
The B rankings are for apartments that are less ambitious (and there is nothing wrong with that). They will allow financing, and the boards are less strict. In its former incarnation 150 East 72 was a solid B+. There were very few other prewar rentals with largish apartments in that neighborhood. The mix of tenants was nice, with a mix of well heeled people who were renting for one reason or another, and old timers like Alice Mason and Arlene Dahl. Within the B subset the same rules apply. Better locations, ceilings, layouts etc. make a building a B+. Shared hallways, earlier buildings with less gracious layouts, mid block buildings with less polish are solid B buildings. Many family buildings are B, and they can be very friendly and relaxed. The minus gets added for any major problems or insurmountable issues - low ceilings, bad windows, location or unfortunate neighbors could all result in a downgrade to B-.
It is an unscientific, but easily grasped way of differentiating between buildings
You have neglected the condo factor - that alone adds 20%+ to prices. With your rationale,15CPW << Beresford.
I wasn't discussing prices - but building rankings. The Beresford is in fact more prestigious in my book simply because you cannot muscle your way in just because you have a ton of money. Prestige and price can go hand in hand or not... And condos simply do not have the cachet of co-ops. Buying an apartment in a prestigious co-op is a stamp of approval from the other residents in the building. Buying a condo is waving around your wallet