New York townhouse value: width matters, but not much, and narrow sells for more $/area

chris-pic-finalFrom Real Deal writer Adrienne Berard: "Not only is townhouse width a point of pride for homeowners, buyers and brokers in New York City, it is one of the most important attributes appraisers use in determining the sale price of a townhouse, said Jonathan Miller, president of appraisal firm Miller Samuel.  The wider the townhouse, the more flexibility a buyer perceives in the overall floor plan, said Miller. "But how much does width actually impact the price per square foot of a property?  A review of 214 Manhattan townhouse sales that closed between July 2010 and March 2013 shows that wider townhouses don’t necessarily sell for a higher price per square foot.  For example, the 50-foot-wide Harkness Mansion on E 75 St sold for $36.5 million in 2011, at a price of $1,682 per square foot.  Last year, a 12.5-foot-wide townhouse on E 78 St sold for $6.1 million, or $2,083 per square foot.  Instead, a better marker of value, the data sample shows, is how far a townhouse’s width deviates from the Manhattan average — 19.1 feet on the East Side and 19.7 feet on the West Side, according to the Douglass Elliman townhouse market report, prepared by Miller.

"While flexibility in layout is dependent on width, a poorly designed use of space will decrease any value gained from extra width, he explained.  He remembers appraising a 15-foot-wide townhouse on the Upper East Side in which the owner had installed an elevator.  The elevator took up nearly half the width of the floor plan and greatly decreased the value of the property, he said.  Indeed, the overall closing price of a home has more to do with location and layout than width, according to the data, compiled by StreetEasy.

"Just as buyers covet wide townhouses, there is also demand for the exclusivity of skinny townhouses.  Manhattan’s slimmest townhouse, at 9.5 feet wide, is on the market for $3.5 million, or $3,530 per square foot.  The 990-square-foot, four-story house on Bedford St includes a renovated basement, three bedrooms and two bathrooms."  Full article here.