Buying real estate in New York: expert advice

Bien Vivre aux États-Unis:
the 1st digital show for French people in the United States

BARNES New York & Westchester invites you to the conference dedicated to the New York real estate market, “Buying real estate in New York”, on the occasion of its participation in the online exhibition “Bien Vivre aux Etats-Unis”.

This digital event will take place on Monday, September 13 at 12.00 pm (EST time zone). The fair will then run throughout the week until September 17, presenting a series of conferences with expert speakers to support expats in the United States, whether you have been settled there for a long time or still dreaming of living there.

Yann Rousseau, Managing Partner of BARNES New York & Westchester, will join the discussion with Betty Benzakein of HSBC and Amélie Deschênes of OFX, addressing in particular:

  • The New York Acquisition and Leasing Process
  • Update on the state of the real estate market in New York & Westchester for Q3 2021
  • Settlement or “relocation” formalities
  • Preferred neighborhoods
  • The different real estate products available
  • The role of the real estate agent

Monday September 13 at 12.00 pm EST / 6.00 pm CEST

This event is sponsored by USAFrance Financials and organized by French Morning.

The New Manhattan – REAL ESTATE IN DEPTH

By Mary Prenon. Source:

Despite the recent uptick in Delta variant COVID cases in the New York metro area, New York City is essentially open for business. Most Broadway theaters are reopening in September, restaurants and bars are now allowing vaccinated patrons to dine indoors and the residential real estate market is back in full swing.

New developments are soaring—from Hudson Yards to Penn Station to Roosevelt Island—and both the sales and rental markets in Manhattan are experiencing an influx of young professionals, as well as empty nesters, who are ready to call the Big Apple their home.

Brian Tormey, President, TitleVest

Over the past year, Brian Tormey of TitleVest in Midtown Manhattan has had his hands on the pulse of the residential real estate market, hosting a series of “Be Your Best” webinars on “Getting the Deal Done”, sponsored by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors and OneKey MLS, throughout the length of the pandemic. Awarded the “Best Title Agency” by the New York Law Journal reader rankings since 2013, TitleVest and Tormey have been at the forefront of a topsy-turvey real estate market since March of 2020.

“I’ve been impressed with the resilience I’ve seen from real estate professionals throughout the New York area,” said Tormey. “The pandemic has proven again one of the strengths of our region—we know how to take care of one another.”

On September 9, Tormey will host another one of his popular webinars, this time with the topic of “The New Manhattan.” Tormey and a panel of real estate experts will discuss how the once seemingly abandoned “city that never sleeps” is making its official comeback from a harrowing year with streets teeming with moving vans barreling toward the suburbs.

Now, new civic and private developments seem to be fueling a newfound interest in New York City, and Manhattan, especially. “To quote a good friend and past panelist, Bruce Cohen, ‘for every sale, there is a purchase.’ Now we’re starting to see time on market shorten and prices rising—both indicators of a strengthening market,” said Tormey.

As a result of increased seller concessions, low interest rates and available inventory during the height of the pandemic, Tormey and his team began to see an interest from buyers who may not have ordinarily been able to afford Manhattan. “People from all walks of life have taken advantage of that to shift from renting to owning, upsizing, downsizing or, for the first time, snagging their own slice of the Manhattan pie,” he noted. “I believe that we will see a vibrant Manhattan again, and soon, but it may look and feel a bit different than before, with adjusted work schedules, new commuting patterns and a renewed appreciation of alfresco living.”

Brian Phillips of Douglas Elliman Real Estate in the Bronx agrees that New York City real estate is back. “I’m definitely seeing people moving back in and I’ve noticed a lot of younger people—especially those without children,” he said. “While the post-pandemic prices are lower, I think they’re going to start slowly creeping back up.”

Phillips, who lists and sells throughout the five boroughs, noted that studios and one-bedrooms are being snatched up very quickly. “I’m also finding that there’s a lot less loyalty to specific neighborhoods—people are looking in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens or wherever they can find good deals,” he added.

Some of his clients are traveling from as far away as Florida, while others tend to be from Westchester, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut. “People still want to be in New York City—offices are reopening, Broadway is coming back, and restaurants and bars are opening again. There’s definitely a new influx into the city.”

Currently, in upper Manhattan, one-bedroom co-ops are starting at about $300,000 for a walk-up building, where an elevator or doorman building starts at about $400,000. Two bedrooms are much higher, averaging $500,000. “The further north you go, the less expensive it gets, and the more space you have,” added Phillips.

A 3,436-square-foot, five bedroom, five-and-a-half bath two-family townhouse in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan, offered for sale by the Brian Phillips Team of Douglas Elliman for $2,450,000.

A lot of his clients are also requesting terrace space, as well as a washer and dryer located in the unit. “After COVID, I think everyone is more concerned about having their own personal laundry appliances rather than using a public laundry room in the building,” he said.

As for rentals, Phillips sees landlord concessions starting to fade away. “During the pandemic, a lot of landlords had been offering one month free on a one-year lease and two months free on two-year leases,” he explained. “Also, we’re starting to see the real estate fees being paid by the tenant again, as opposed to the landlord paying them.”

Because of Phillips’ diversified listings, he didn’t experience a downturn during the pandemic. He found properties under $500,000 were moving in all five boroughs. “Since last year, transactions are faster now as well,” he noted. “There are electronic signatures and other forms of technology that make the deals go much quicker and smoother.”

Magdalena Ferenc of Corcoran on Manhattan’s West Side has seen a huge jump in sales and rentals this summer. Handling rentals in 10 buildings in Morningside Heights, she credits returning Columbia University students with helping her business soar. “July has been the craziest month of my real estate career,” she revealed. “I rented over 50 apartments and it felt like I was working day and night due to the time differences in other countries.”

Many of her rental clients are returning college students from India and China, who often share larger apartments to keep the costs affordable. Ferenc expects to rent at least 200 apartments by the end of the year. “I’m basically playing catch up from 2020, when things were a lot slower,” she added.

Like Phillips, Ferenc has also experienced the trend of landlords now cutting back on incentives. In the Morningside Heights area, two-bedroom rentals can typically start at $2,200, while three bedrooms can fetch $2,700 or more and four-bedrooms, $3,000 and up.

On the sales side, she’s also witnessing a sort of Renaissance in Inwood and the Bronx with Origin North, a collection of nine restored affordable co-op buildings. All of the renovated units have new kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, electrical work, and the buildings also offer new lobbies and outdoor landscaping.

“People are starting to discover upper Manhattan or Bronx neighborhoods like Bedford Park, Norwood and University Heights,” she said. “They’re getting priced out of other areas and are beginning to realize the value of home ownership in good areas with generous space and easy commutes to Midtown Manhattan. One-bedroom units at some Origin North locations start at just $265,000.

Ferenc said the response has been great and she has completed almost 20 deals already. “When I’d hold open houses in these areas before, it was only curious neighbors who often showed up,” she said. “Now, it’s very encouraging to see a lot of people who are interested.”

A one-bedroom, one-bath co-op in Bedford Park, Bronx, listed for sale by Corcoran for $265,000.

Yann Rousseau, of BARNES New York in Midtown Manhattan, found that higher end rentals were hit the hardest during COVID times. “Business did start to pick up at the beginning of 2021 and right now, we’re starting to see rental prices that we haven’t seen in a couple of years,” he said.

For Rousseau’s team, the Financial District and Midtown were the most affected for sales and rentals, while Soho, Greenwich Village and parts of Brooklyn remained strong. In 2020, some landlords were offering up to four months free, but now, he said, there are hardly any concessions.

In Midtown, and Manhattan’s upper east and west sides, studio rentals can range from $2,000 to $4,000 per month, while one-bedrooms can demand monthly rentals of $3,000 to $5,000, depending on the neighborhoods and age of the buildings. The average starting sales price of a studio in these areas is $500,000.

“I think the market for rentals will always be there because New York City can be transient,” explained Rousseau. “People may come here for a while to work, then move to the suburbs when they’re ready to start a family.”

Many of his co-op and condo sales are to foreign investors who are looking for a home base when they travel to the U.S. Others are purchasing properties to rent out. Rousseau is also seeing an influx of young professionals as well as some empty nesters who want a secondary home in Manhattan. “New York will always be New York, so to say that the real estate market is finally coming back is a little overstated,” he said.

BARNES New York is also opening its first Westchester office in Larchmont to deal with its European clients seeking a second residence in the suburbs. “The French American School in Mamaroneck is a big attraction, along with proximity to New York City, added Rousseau. BARNES International Real Estate operates a third U.S. location in Miami and offers more than 100 locations in 20 countries worldwide, with more than 1,000 agents.

Read the article on REAL ESTATE IN DEPTH

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BARNES New York & Westchester, proud sponsor of FASNY Drive-in Movie Night

BARNES New York & Westchester had the incredible opportunity to sponsor the FASNY (French-American School of New York) drive-in movie night, that took place with great success on April 23rd, 2021. This great evening was the opportunity for FASNY to celebrate its 40th Birthday, enthusiastically following the famous Yellow Brick Road to Oz in the perfect location with yummy snacks and a lot of fun.

In an effort to reinforce its presence in the Upper New York state area, as well as supporting the French community in the Northern part of the state, BARNES New York will expand with a new agency opening very soon in the Westchester region. BARNES is at your disposal to support you in all your real estate projects, in New York City itself or throughout the metropolitan area. Do not hesitate to contact us.


The French-American School of New York (FASNY) is an international, independent, coeducational day school providing a global education to approximately 800 students in nursery through grade 12. FASNY is the only school in the New York metropolitan area accredited to offer both the International Baccalaureate and the French baccalaureate. FASNY is located in Westchester County, NY, with campus in Larchmont and Mamaroneck.

New BARNES Magazine International Edition Spring-Summer 2021

We are pleased to announce the release of BARNES MAGAZINE #29, fresh off the press. This International, Spring-Summer edition features Alain-Dominique Perrin, President of the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art. He welcomes us in his home in Verbier, a beautiful chalet overlooking the Swiss Alps valley, and recounts his extraordinary career, strongly marked and defined by the creativity in the world of luxury, a passion for Art and a sensitivity for great wines and heritage symbolized by the acquisition and renovation of the Château de Lagrézette, near Cahors.

Of course, this new edition will also allow you to be completely up to date with the latest news in the fields of design, discovering unique Architect Furniture, architecture, art, wine, eco-yachts, and events, whether you are interested in high French cuisine or golfing, as well as a sample of Real Estate properties from the trendiest locations.

BARNES continues its global adventure by expanding and presenting properties from new offices on Lake Como, in the Principality of Monaco and in Beaulieu-sur-Mer.

Ask your free copy and enjoy your reading!

New edition of the BARNES magazine with the main guest featured on the cover page, and various pictures in the background representing Art and real estate.

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Meet the Member: Yann Rousseau, Managing Partner, BARNES New York – the French American Chamber of Commerce

Meet the Member: Yann Rousseau, Managing Partner, BARNES New York

Interview by the French American Chamber of Commerce

Yann Rousseau, Managing partner at BARNES New York, had the privilege to be interviewed by the French American Chamber of commerce this week. Learn more about the man leading the BARNES agency in the Big Apple.

Originally from France, Yann grew up in Paris but now considers Bordeaux and Arcachon his home. He completed three masters degrees in environmental engineering, environmental economics, and wine and spirits management. He has lived in over a dozen cities across six countries and three continents (France, Seychelles, United Kingdom, Italy, Burkina Faso, United States).

After working for several years in the development and humanitarian arena (United Nations, French Government, Seychelles Government, private sector…), Yann decided to move to the U.S. and embrace a new career. Originally settling down in Miami, he started his career as a Real Estate consultant in 2013.

Yann has since been assisting clients from modest rentals to luxurious homes, new developments and profitable acquisitions for both cash-flow purposes and capital gain. For him, it is about supporting each and every client, regardless of his budget and intentions, to accomplish his Real Estate projects in full serenity and confidence. He believes in long-term relationships gradually moving from tenant, to owner, and investor.

FACC-NY: As an Engineer with a background in Economics and in the public and private sector spanning over 6 countries over 3 continents, what guided your decision to work in the realty industry with Barnes New York? 

It actually started out of luck when I moved to the US (Miami) to follow my wife, who is originally from South Florida. Her mother has a modest real estate portfolio and since I didn’t have a major career plan then, she asked me to take care of it while I was figuring things out. I enjoyed discovering a new industry and starting a new career in the US. I joined a boutique brokerage in Miami, and then quickly joined BARNES’ office. After a couple of years there, BARNES gave me the opportunity to revive the NY operation. So we moved north in late 2018 and I reopened BARNES NY alongside my partner Christophe Bourreau. Two years after, we recruited 12 agents and doubled the best year of business ever recorded for the office. And we are about to open a new agency, in Larchmont, covering the Westchester area.   

FACC-NY: How do you assess the present state of real estate in the Post-COVID period?

It is hard to define precisely because the situation remains fluid. Everyone has heard about an exodus from Manhattan, but when we look at Q3 and Q4 of 2020, the numbers are actually even better than what they were at the same time in 2019. There is of course a non-negligible “catching-up” effect, where the last two quarters tend to compensate for a very slow beginning of 2020. In a nutshell, real estate transactions still need to be made and most of it had just been pushed back to the end of the year. Now in 2021, we can witness a strong recovery on the resale side, though the market remains tense on the rental front. It is definitely a tenants’ market, and it somehow remains a buyers’ market though to fewer proportions compared with 2020. We assume a general 8% decrease in price (resale) across Manhattan, with some neighborhoods resisting better than others. New developments are suffering much more and we can easily attain 2-digit discounts. Rental-wise, Landlords have to leave on the table at least 2-months of free rent to find tenants.

FACC-NY: How hopeful is BARNES New York for economic recovery in NYC? 

Given the level of sufferance that is being seen all over the City, one has to remain modest. Although the industry representatives are striving for us to be categorized as essential workers, we are merely here to keep on assisting our clients in the safest way possible. People still have to move and find a place to live. In parallel, we keep on communicating highly about NYC and about the relevance of such a real estate investment, at a time where the news pretends that everyone is fleeing the City. New York will always be New York, and this shall remain one of the safest investments one can make in a such a volatile world.

FACC-NY: Are you generally seeing a lot of price reductions in the NYC realty scene due to the pandemic?

Indeed, as indicated prior, about 8% overall in Manhattan for resale and about 2-months of free rent for rentals. This is an average and certain property types, for instance, townhouses or high-luxury units, are suffering less and seem to be weathering the storm just fine. Also, the most sought-after neighborhoods (SoHo, Tribeca, prime UES…) did not take that much of a hit, if any, as opposed to those areas that heavily rely on the market forces. The “best” example being the Financial District and around major Universities (NYU / Columbia), where the lack of attendance definitely impacted the local market. On top of that, new developments are the most heavily impacted by the pandemic, because their deadlines (either regulatory or financial) press them to move their inventory at almost all cost. Discounts for this asset class can easily range over 20% which is absolutely unprecedented; margins of negotiations for new buildings tended to be close to zero in the past.  

FACC-NY: How do you go about choosing listings in the new normal? What are the features that make a place particularly appealing to buyers nowadays? 

As one can expect, anything that offers some sense of space, air, breathing, or green, stands a stronger advantage today. In the past, people didn’t seem to care too much for an obstructed view and were instead fine with a low floor on a dark street as long as the location was great and the amenities plenty. Now, buyers and tenants realize that they might have to spend much more time in their apartment, and during the day, so they need to be able to feel less claustrophobic. Townhouses are a must in that regard. And of course, “flex” arrangements are now a must. Units with additional spaces (dens, nooks, loggias…) that can be used for home offices are more attractive than ever. 

FACC-NY: What kinds of price ranges are you seeing the most movement in right now?

Everyone is looking for a deal but people still have to move and find a roof. Basically, we haven’t seen a large shift in the price points because, as much as the entry-price properties will always be sought after, the people that can acquire multi-million-dollar property are scattered all over the world. And they are the ones with a particular eye on the market now to see what opportunities are. On the other hand, we have slowly started seeing some price points that we hadn’t seen for quite some time in the City, such as condo units under $500k, or coops under $400k. The entry point is getting lower for sure and sells at a discount.

FACC-NY: What led you to join the FACC-NY community?

We are originally a French company, with strong roots in France where the bulk of the BARNES business takes place. It is only natural for us to be an active member of the French community wherever we have an office, and the Chamber of Commerce is often an excellent relay to that end. Besides, we are often the entry point for companies and individuals relocating to the City from France (or from French companies), so it makes absolute sense for us to be members of the Chamber. We service all interested parties but our core clientele remains closely tied to France.

Read the article on the FACC website

Editorial by Thibault de Saint-Vincent, President of BARNES

“Hope is a loan made to happiness.” Joseph Joubert

Over the last few weeks, the world has been experiencing a crisis on an unprecedented scale due to the exponential spread of COVID-19. One by one, countries have gone into lockdown and their economies have been brought to almost a standstill.

We would like to pay tribute to all of those involved in this combat: to the health care staff first and foremost, for their relentless fight and their courage and determination as they seek to stem the pandemic; and to all those working to provide essential services (pharmacists, shopkeepers, checkout assistants, lorry drivers, dustmen, security services, etc.). All of those undervalued occupations, without which our day-to-day lives would be unbearable. With regard to the real estate sector, we would also like to thank the notaries and banks that have stepped up their efforts recently to allow our clients to finalise their transactions. Lastly, we would like to extend a token of friendship to all of our teams, our partners and our clients to thank them for their loyalty and to assure them of our support. We would like to say those two simple words that are so often forgotten: thank you.

Many of you are questioning the future of the high-end property market in which BARNES has become a benchmark thanks to your trust. Staying true to our values of attentiveness and proximity, we have endeavoured to meet all of your needs and will continue to do so. The initial information available shows that luxury real estate will weather the storm. Although they have slowed, transactions are continuing. Cancellation and withdrawal rates are low, and downward pressures on prices remain limited to a small margin at all of our destinations.

At a time of great scepticism on the equity market, when liquidity seems risky, high-end real estate is asserting its status as a safe haven. Indeed, everyone can measure the precious benefit that owning a premium property brings during this period of lockdown. Both a sound and vital investment, bricks and mortar are proving to be an invaluable asset in these difficult times.

In this highly volatile situation, having a clear view of the market and its environment is of crucial importance. Thanks to its local knowledge, the quality of its expertise and the scope of its services, BARNES is able to provide a precise response to your needs when it comes to the art of living. Its extensive experience has seen it endure and overcome numerous crises. Its global vision that is constantly updated positions it as the guarantor of clear and immediate arbitration.

Both now and in the future, we will be by your side to support and guide you in your choices by remaining faithful to the values that unite us. Together, we will weather the storm and come out stronger.

Take care of yourselves and your families. And above all, don’t lose hope.

Because in the words of Joseph Joubert, hope is a loan made to happiness.” What could be more fitting and inspiring in these times than to have happiness as a creditor.

Thibault de SAINT VINCENT, President of the BARNES Group

Webinar – The impact of Covid-19 on the New York real estate market

Webinar BARNES New York
The impact of Covid-19 on the New York real estate market

In view of these troubled times and turbulent current events, on Friday 10 April at 3.30 pm (Paris time), 9.30 am (New York time), BARNES shared with you his vision of the current situation, the modifications in its internal organisation, in the way it communicates with its customers, and in its interaction with the markets in which the network is present, particularly the New York market. It is by understanding the present context, while remaining as factual as possible, with figures and data in support, that we will be able, with prudence and humility, to prepare for the future.

Within one month, the world as we know it has been profoundly impacted by a pandemic of rare violence, unparalleled and with many repercussions. In Europe, as in the main states of the United States, containment has become mandatory and many companies and independents dread the weeks and months to come. Many experts speak with certainty about the next steps, with the majority of these predictions being regularly challenged after a few days.

As such, BARNES New York has offered you a live virtual conference in French during which the following themes were discussed:

  • Introduction and overview of the main real estate markets in the world where BARNES is present. By Thibault de Saint Vincent, President of BARNES Group.
  • Focus New York. By Christophe Bourreau, Manager Partner BARNES New York.
    • The current new regulatory framework
    • Impact on transactions in progress
    • How have buyers and sellers reacted in the last two weeks?
    • What are the effects on the rental market?
    • Possible short- and long-term consequences
    • How is commercial real estate in New York and the US reacting? By Miriam Driot, Real Estate Agent and Commercial Expert BARNES New York
  • Financing: How are the banks reacting?

With the participation of Rachel Brunet –, Editor of the New York edition.

Contact us for more information

Conferences June 2019 – Investing or setting up in New York: how to take advantage of the opportunities of the current market

Throughout the month of June 2019, BARNES New York organized several conferences in New York, London, Paris, Geneva, Cannes, and Saint-Tropez. We would like to thank all the participants as well as all those who contributed to these events. A real success with more than 250 people registered, we hope that these conferences were at the same time informative, useful and pleasant; the primary objective of such meetings being to inform you about New York real estate, both from a process point of view and market information. Whatever your project (acquisition, investment, rental, sale, etc.) our team is at your disposal and will be happy to assist you.

Please don’t hesitate to ask us for more information on New York real estate.

June 4, 2019 – New York, on the rooftop of The Caledonia, in the heart of Chelsea. In collaboration with Betty Benzakein, Premier Mortgage Consultant at HSBC, Richard Ortoli, lawyer specializing in real estate law and international taxation, and French Morning.

June 18, 2019 – London, exceptional property showcasing a superb bespoke interior, a short walk from Buckingham Palace. In collaboration with BARNES London, Maître Richard Ortoli, and Guillaume Tardivat, account manager.

June 19, 2019 – Paris, in the heart of the Champs Elysées in an exceptional property with a 360-degree view of Paris. In collaboration with Master Richard Ortoli.

June 25, 2019 – Geneva, top floor of the Fédération des Entreprises Romandes, with a breathtaking view of the city. In partnership with BARNES Miami.

June 26, 2019 – Cannes, Villla Bressarello at Cap d’Antibes. In partnership with BARNES Miami and BARNES Yachts.

June 27, 2019 – Saint-Tropez, Villa aux Parcs de Saint-Tropez. In partnership with BARNES Saint-Tropez, BARNES Miami, and Guillaume Nicolau, head of the International Clientele Department at Up Notaries.

Stay informed of New York real estate news and our upcoming events by subscribing to our newsletter.

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An integrated international network for tailor-made solutions

An interview with Christophe Bourreau, director of Barnes New York.

A leader in international luxury real estate, BARNES has been supporting its clients in Florida since 2002. I joined BARNES in 2008 with the aim of promoting the American market in France. In June 2009, I became Director of BARNES office in Miami, a leading company in the international luxury real estate industry. BARNES has been in the Big Apple since 2009, New York being a priority market for our customers. I became director of BARNES NY in 2011. Since then, we have been advising buyers and sellers in their real estate projects, mainly in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

You and your company

Which services, which products, which activity?

BARNES assists you in all of your projects by offering all the services essential to the achievement of a perfect acquisition, from legal arrangement to final decoration, including financing, international formalities, domiciliation, insurance, rental management, etc.

What is the spirit, the culture of your company? What characterizes it?

Since its creation in 1995, BARNES has reinvented luxury real estate and offers an integrated international network in order to offer tailor-made solutions to its customers. From transaction to rental management, BARNES now deploys its expertise through more than 10 businesses.

BARNES brings together more than 800 employees, all experts and committed, in more than 15 countries and 85 offices. The promise of BARNES lies in the possession of fine real estate among the greatest international capitals and resorts.

A true family business, BARNES transmits to its employees its essential values of excellence, respect and its French know-how.

Why did you decide to settle in New York?

New York has always been a priority market considered by our customers, whether for a pied-à-terre or an investment. New York was simply the logical next step in the development of our BARNES office.

What advice would you give to those looking to move to New York?

Moving to New York is as exciting a life project as it can be difficult … My advice would be to always be accompanied by experts in every area related to an expatriation project: accountant, lawyer, real estate agent …

New York and you…

What do you like about New York?

New York is a land of opportunity. It is a constantly changing city where anything is possible when you have ambition and when you make the necessary efforts to achieve that ambition.

It is also the capital of the world where all types of cultures and profiles are present and contribute to making New York a city of incomparable richness.

What is your favorite neighborhood in or around NY City?

I really like Williamsburg, which has been able to redesign and completely rethink itself over the past 15 years.

The United States and you?

What do you like most about America?

What I like most about America is this culture of entrepreneurship and accepting others.

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