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New York turns dark in lockdown

Blog | By James Fletcher | May 29, 2020

One really conspicuous sight in our neighbourhood in SoHo has been the significant number of empty flats, as evidenced by lights off for weeks. When the COVID outbreak struck, and scare stories were rampant, many fled to their families or second homes or third homes. NY typically has high residential occupancy (very few ghost buildings) on account of astronomical rents with substantial service charges (gym, doorman, roof terrace etc). Owners must pay annual ownership taxes - sometimes in the region of 2% of the property’s value - essentially the equivalent of Stamp Duty paid annually. It makes Council Tax look like the best bargain ever.