Here's where we present real world examples of the Zaniness that is the NYC real property assessment system. New York, the "real estate capital of the world", where incoherence is rampant, and privilege prevails. Join us, on a phantasmagorical trek.

Here are two examples, to show our basic methods and terms -- after that, we'll break off into categories. For a definition of terms, please click here.

57 Stone St./ 13 S. William St.

This three-story building has entrances on both of these streets, which are parallel to each other. It is in the concrete canyons of lower Manhattan -- our site is the lightened spot in the huge shadow, below.

The building and lot are 16 x 79 feet. The building, recently remodeled and in good repair, is being offered for sale for eight and a quarter million dollars.

The city, however, considers this parcel to be worth $665,000, of which the land accounts for $381,000. These figures are roughly consistent with those of the neighboring buildings, including the boarded-up one on the corner.

The realtor's ad, which touts the architectural features of the building and its good maintenance, seems to be marketing this "acquisition opportunity" for someone to use (not to tear down and develop). All the neighboring parcels have different owners. Perhaps a small, old building like this one has developed cachet -- because the block has lain underdeveloped (and undertaxed) for so long?

1488 Lexington Avenue

Here's your basic 6-story building, on a nice, deep corner lot, on top of a Subway station (96th & Lex). There are a few business rentals at the street level, but the upper five floors house nothing but pigeons.

Land value: $100,000 ($48.22 PSF)
Building value: $59,000

Current tax bill: $8,066
with 75% BR LVT: $8,824
with The Real Deal: $24,040

And guess what! The City says that the land under the high-rise apartment building next door is worth $917 per square foot. But that matters little, really: land in this neighborhood has been selling for at least $2,000 PSF, and often quite a bit more. This building is a prominent eyesore in a very upscale neighborhood -- but its owner is clearly in for the long haul. According to the assessment rolls, this building contains 18 units, 12 of them residential. One-bedroom apartments in this area currently rent for $2,500 - $3,000 per month, and storefront rentals are considerably higher, so the tax burden is not onerous.

You won't believe your eyes! Here is a spreadsheet listing 91 parcels in New York City. Each of them sold, since January of 2006, for over $10,000,000 -- and the city estimated of the market value of each of them at less than 5 per cent of their selling prices! (Click here to download the Excel file)

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