The Impact of a Doorman Felt on Cost and Value

The doorman: an invaluable amenity that comes at a hefty price.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article on the impact of having a doorman on the cost of units in a building in New York City. After comparing the sales prices of units in 100 luxury condos with doormen with 100 of those without doormen, CityRealty, the real estate data-site that ran the study, concluded that buildings with a doormen cost 65 percent more per square foot on average than those without. Accordingly, at the culmination of the third-quarter of 2014, the average price per square foot for luxury condos with a doorman was $2,958 against the $1,797 of luxury condos without a doorman.

The increased cost of having a doorman is even prevalent in rental buildings throughout Manhattan. According to a Miller Samuel report for 3Q 2014, the average difference in rental price for a doorman building was $1,645 more per month than for a non-doorman building in Manhattan during 3Q 2014. With the average doorman building rent approaching $5,000/month, the importance of having a doorman across buyers and renters is apparent.

However, the price that many are willing to pay for the service of a doorman is not surprising. It is especially expected in the ultra-luxury condos, such as One57 and the Time Warner Center, where many of the apartments serve as pied-a-terres. In the case of a pied-a-terre, the role of a doorman to look after an apartment is significant since the unit can be vacant for most of the year, which is especially common in the top-tier buildings. Even in apartments that are empty for most of the day, which is common given the busy lifestyle of New Yorkers, the doorman is key.

The presence of a doorman can even be crucial to the process prior to purchasing an apartment. Many buyers will consult with the doorman of a building they are interested in purchasing in in order to understand the culture of the building, the noise levels of the residents, etc. For example, Manhattan apartment renter Shirley McKnight wanted, "a building of decent, hardworking people," who were not loud and "rowdy." The doorman was a defining factor in her decision she explained, "...I would not have taken the apartment if I hadn't liked what the doorman told me."

The cost of having a doorman can be pricey, but the value that they serve to their residents is unparalleled.