Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Condo Watch: Rising Tide Lifting All Boats, Pt. II

Yesterday we looked at the condo watch in Brooklyn's favorite neighborhoods.  And we saw the high prices pushing south & east, as they do.  Just how far will people go to get their slice of Brooklyn?  And just how high will the prices go?  East of Classon, heading towards Bed-Stuy (but decidely Clinton Hill by most accounts), 146 Clifton Place, #1B sells for $989K last month to buyers from Williamsburg.  Sure, it's almost a million for a 1BR condo that's almost in Bed-Stuy.  It's also extra large as 1BR's go with 1,300+ square feet.  It's also $700/sqft, which is a value compared to what we saw yesterday, and a far cry from the $1,200/sqft this same product would command in Williamsburg.  Buyers also put some $750K down on this purchase.  Yet another reason why people with $700K looking for that $2M townhouse in Clinton Hill don't have their pick of the litter.

This same price also gets you a much smaller 1BR unit with a yard in Prospect Heights.  272 St. Marks Avenue, #2R closed for $955K (over $1,000/sqft) on Halloween.  Just over 2 years ago, this same place was $575K.  And just read the snark dealt out by the peanut gallery back in 2011 when one on the 3rd floor listed for that price.  "$579k should get you two bedrooms at that location, not one," or "I do believe that this is one of the most awful places I have ever seen."  Can't please all the people all the time.  Or in Brooklyn, hardly any of them, ever.  In this case, a buyer from Soho did the deal.

Much further north in Bed-Stuy, east of Classon, a 1BR at 689 Myrtle Ave, #2A lists for $599K and closes for full asking price last month to a buyer from the East Village.  Far from a train and feels like no man's land to some, but $630/sqft is a comparative steal.  At the right price, another loft in this building would be a good pick-up too.  There are two Chocolate Factory condo conversions already, so we're still scratching our heads as to why would-be developers can't get their heads around the most obvious third.  Can't wait to see who pulls that down.

East of Classon again, on Bedford Avenue, the resales of 315 Gates Avenue are coming in higher and higher.  #6P closed this month for $710K after asking $769K.  A smallish 2/2 for $859/sqft in Bed-Stuy is just the only place this kind of money has to go given what else is going on around Brooklyn.

$850/sqft also shattered people's expectations nearby at the 252 Gates Avenue condos.  We told you "there goes the neighborhood" back when this house was commanding almost $1.5M in "Bed-Stuy" (just east of Classon) for something that ended up getting a gut.  Unheard of! - right?  Well, if you didn't like the fixer-upper at $1.45M, you're certainly not gonna like just one of the condos in contract now with an asking price of $1.899M...

Or maybe you prefer the one in contract with an asking price of $1.49M??  Or perhaps the floor-thru in contract with an asking price of $899K?

Or, if you're not feeling these, there are plenty of 4-story townhomes in Bed-Stuy now that want $2M or more.  This is why savvy investors are picking up multi-unit buildings with suppressed incomes for $250/sqft - $400/sqft in Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights.  Because now that the townhomes are $2M+ and less attainable for the folks with $350K or less down, the condo market becomes ripe for those who want to be on these blocks but can't afford a whole house.  Just like we saw yesterday.  And while some of you are still digesting the $2M townhouse in emerging neighborhoods, tomorrow we hope to take a look at a $3M...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Condo Watch: Rising Tide Lifting All Boats

In this hot Brooklyn real estate market, the town home prices have gotten so high that if you wanna stick to your favorite neighborhood or can't afford above a certain price point, then condos are the only way.  You know we think the multi-family is the move and has so much more to offer than an apartment.  But when the $1M houses in "the hood" from 2 years ago are selling for $2M today, it's no wonder more and more people concede to the condo.  So now condo prices are getting higher and higher too.  As always, let's keep in perspective that in Manhattan, there is a healthy $4M+ condo market, and almost half at that price point are "sold on plans alone"!  And over 500 apartments sold last year in Manhattan for $1.5M.  So try not to have your head explode as we keep an eye on the condo watch in Brooklyn...

One of the best value duplexes with private roof access in Clinton Hill sells for $750K at 355A Grand Avenue.  Generic condition, but not 100 years old, with laundry in the unit and a parking space, people!  When 4-stories of some 15' wide house across the street goes for over 3 times this price, a two-story 2BR under $800K is a bargain.

Why is 355A Grand Avenue such a good look at $750K?  'Cause look at what else is selling on the same block for basically twice that.  334 Grand Avenue #1, asking $1.29M, sells for $1.3M in September to Manhattan buyers.  Since that $1.5M Clinton Hill townhouse is more like $2.5M-$3.5M these days, the condos are commanding more accordingly.  We know, we know... you're too good for an apartment in Clinton Hill.  But Susan Sarandon isn't!  So, there's that.

That Cobble Hill 3BR apartment for over $1,200/sqft?  It's happening.  47 Dean Street, #3A came out asking $1.6M and closed for $1.63M last month to ballers nearby.  Condos in Williamsburg still go for more than this.  And more "grown-ups" want to be in Cobble Hill than Williamsburg.  52 Dean Street also had a sale this high.  And while $1.6M is a lot for an apartment, consider the neighborhood's drabbest fixer-uppers command over $3M, and a few places blocks from here are getting over $6M-$7M on and off market.  In 2011, many condos and townhomes over here were half what they are today.

Speaking of condos over $1.6M, you get way better bang for your buck ppsf in Fort Greene.  One of the penthouses in the "Greenhouse Condos" at 383 Carlton Avenue comes out for $1.65M and sells for full asking price last month.  No wonder we told you that the 3-Family with parking at 460 Carlton Ave was the best buy in all of Fort Greene for $1.65M.  If you want rental income over $4,000 from your other two units in a 3-Family instead of common charges & taxes of over $1,200/month on your condo... you'll know where to find us.  There are more Atlantic Commons 3-Fams available off-market and pre-market as we speak.

Did someone say condos for over $1.5M in Fort Greene?  Another big sale in 1 Hanson Place this summer at #12J which closed this summer for $1.525M, or over $1,100/sqft.  Half a million down on a condo for $1.5M+ in Brooklyn?  That's big news for our borough, but child's play for buyers from Soho who took it down.  And it's probably why $500K down doesn't open the doors for every house in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill anymore, the way it used to in 2009-2011.

Or for under $1.5M, head to south Slope where another one bites the dust in 162 16th Street.  #9A was asking $1.15M and closed last month for $1.09M to buyers from Manhattan.  Almost $1,000/sqft on the end of Park Slope certainly feels frothy to us.  But people will still take anything that smells like the Slope over the likes of Bed-Stuy & company.

At under $1,000/sqft, but still a ton of money for the south edge of Park Slope, 379 Prospect Avenue, #1B closed for $1.425M this summer.  Painfully generic, indeed, but a great little townhouse alternative set-up.  The asking price of $1.8M wasn't happening, but buyers from nearby 8th Street were able to take it down under $1.5M.

That's why this little place in the heart of Park Slope was a great comparative value.  This little 400 sqft 1BR at 190 Garfield Place, #5L came out asking $599K and closed for $640K on Halloween to buyers from Manhattan.  Super generic & tiny, but when you've got a duplex with a roof deck in the heart of Park Slope for under $700K, what's $1,600/sqft to a boss??  Note, this is the exact same price that the larger 2BR in Prospect Heights, closed to the park, at 649 Vanderbilt Ave, #2B closed for last week.  No wonder we coined that Brooklyn's most affordable apartment.

In this climate, the sub-million dollar apartments in Park Slope all seem like bargains.  130 St. Marks Place, #4R closed for $906K over the summer.  Railroady or not, this is relative value in the current market.  And it also has the additional half-bath, which makes a big difference in the 2BR condo market.

Or 100 Sterling Place, #2D closes over the summer as a 2/2 for $1.02M  Over $1,000/sqft and relatively low monthly fees.  Made sense for buyers from nearby in the neighb'.  Even if this looks like a generic low-ceiling UES building with chintzy parquet on the inside and a meh brick glob on the outside, it does have a roof deck, a garage, and a nice location going for it.

Also in Park Slope, $1,200/sqft pops up again at 309 2nd Street, #3A, which closed for $1.35M over the summer.  In 2008, the price per square foot was on average half this price.  But when ballers in the finance world (which is run of the mill in NYC) decide Park Slope is the place to be, and they find that $300K down doesn't get them a townhouse anymore, then these condo prices become their back-up plan.

Or how about a duplex in a limestone in Park Slope that lists for over $2M and goes over asking price?  392 3rd Street, #2 wanted $2.1M and closed this summer for $2.53M to buyers from nearby putting a million down.

All this is to say, guess what's gonna happen when $300K or more doesn't get you a townhouse anymore in Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights.  Ahem.... you take a guess.

Meanwhile, across Flatbush from Park Slope in Prospect Heights, the condos go for over a million too.  215 Park Place, #4 fetches $1.225M this summer from buyers nearby in Brooklyn.  Over $1,000/sqft, with the roof deck - don't get us wrong.  But it's adorable that would-be developer clowns were trying to tell us that condos over here aren't $1M per floor when deals like 218-220 Park Place were going down across the street.  And - don't look now - but 181 Park Place on the same block has a condo in contract with an asking price of $1.9M.  And that's with no pictures, just a frikkin' floor plan.

In Prospect Heights, $600K down used to get you a sweet house for $1.2M-$1.5M.  Now it gets you a condo in that range.  377 Sterling Place, #1 listed for $1.2M and sold for $1.36M this summer. 

Can Clinton Hill play ball on $1M condos?  Sure can!  320 Washington Avenue, #2B closes over the summer for $995K, after listing for $924K with cock-eyed pictures that don't quite do it justice.  (The flowers in the foreground are a nice though!)  Killer historic building and buyers from nearby who knew what they were getting into.  Almost $1,000/sqft in Clinton Hill is new to people's ears.

Or just up the street, a newer construction building at 545 Washington Avenue, #603 gets $1.1M for a 3BR/2 bath at just under $1,000/sqft too.  Buyers from nearby Prospect Heights making it happen.  Again, some $300K-$400K doesn't go as far as it used to in these neighborhoods, so many buyers opt for condos instead of venturing further east for townhomes.

So, along the same price per square foot lines, the smaller 2BR/1 bath apartments with parking around the corner, even if they feel half way to Crown Heights by some estimations, hold a relative value at the sub $800K price point.  So again, listed for $650K, 957 Pacific Street, #202 closed over the summer for $725K with over $400K down.  If this is the type of money it takes to take down condos, no wonder we constantly tell people with $200K-$500K in their pockets to keep it in their pants if they think the doors of Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights are going to open for million, or even 2 million brownstones.  Some buyers who can't even play ball with the condos think they'd be big fish in a small pond on the rowhouse game.  Please believe, you're not the only baller in town.

Did we say $1,000/sqft in one place means higher prices just a few block east??  We certainly hinted at it.  Tomorrow we'll take a look at what this pricing is spelling further east of the first and second tier Brooklyn brownstone neighborhoods.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Closings of Note: Bargain and Frothy Prices Still Co-Exist, Pt. II

Investors from the Upper West Side had no problem wrapping their heads around 605 Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights last year for $995K.  It didn't need a gut renovation this year on the retail market for buyers from the Upper East Side to close on it in September for $1.899M.  When buyers from one side of Central Park sell Brooklyn to buyers from the other side of Central Park for double, you know this borough is for the ballers.

Around the corner, just off Vanderbilt Avenue, remember when the market was so dull we had the luxury of hating on a dinky flip like 678 Dean Street?  Well, it's still 3-stories, and the bus stop is still directly in front of it, and they didn't wanna muddle the listing down with an exterior photo, and 680 Dean Street closes for $2.47M this month to buyers from London.  "Short yard", "meh kitchens", and all!

Over in Park Slope, deals just off the park aren't easy to come by.  On HomeCanvasr.com since August, 461 15th Street was a 3-Family with rents that Crown Heights houses do better than.  A ton of upside potential as-is.  In very good shape with some nice details, as estate-type sales go...

The deal was being worked off-market for some $2.35M and closed for $2.23M last month with a reasonable 30% down.

Also on HomeCanvasr.com first, 2 weeks before it hit StreetEasy for $25K more, prime Crown Heights piece 695 Sterling Place sold last week.  Just off of Franklin, extra deep lot, chopped up inside for the taste of many buyers, and closer to the $1.4M asking price than many people are ready to pay - but all it takes is one buyer.

Don't look now, it's that Crown Heights property for under a million you've been waiting for!  Or not... 233 Rogers Avenue is a dinky mixed-use property that traded for under $300K this year and buyers from nearby picked it last month for $880K.  Even at almost 300% mark-up on the flip, when you're "4 blocks from 2,3,4,5 lines Frabklin av estation" (sic), it's hard to go wrong.  Or, also under a million, 903 Eastern Parkway closed last month, just past Albany.

Or also under a million, deep in Bed-Stuy at 227A Malcolm X, this relatively new construction sells for $995K to buyers from Manhattan.

Also in Bed-Stuy, 1234 Bedford Avenue closes for $1.35M last month.  Not a bad price considering 1191 Bedford closed for $1.9M.  No wonder 1238 Bedford Avenue wants $1.89M after closing for $1.2M in June.  Rentals are looking for $1,800-$2,150 on these units.

Back in Park Slope, this "Exquisite Eight Unit Brownstone in need of updating" with 3 vacancies and 5 rent controlled tenants lists for $2.99M and sells for $2.75M last month.  178 St. Johns Place got a big number for a townhouse with that much rent control.  But what does an unencumbered townhouse go for in the Slope these days anyways?

Just up the block, 190 St. Johns Place wanted as much as $4.395M this year, and had a few price drops until closing for $3.45M last month.  4,000 sqft 2-Families in Park Slope are no joke.

Park Slope prices are still a fraction of the Upper West Side, even though it feels more and more like it every day.  Don't forget that 577 5th Street sold for $3.975M in July.  But if this house went for half that in Crown Heights, people would lose their minds (and are!).

All this makes 272 Berkeley Place, listed at $3.8M, look like a steal closing earlier this year for $3.025M to buyers from CT.

But Bed-Stuy still has relative bargains, people!  439 Halsey Street is a 4-story 3-Fam that listed for $1.2M without a huge broker.  A buyer from Manhattan closed on it last month for $1.085M with less than $300K down.  Not everything goes to all-cash buyers.

Also in Bed-Stuy, the finished products with fancy pictures and big brokers command numbers far away from the train that would-be buyers are still clutching for in Clinton Hill.  358 Gates Avenue was no man's land by most accounts as recently as last year.  But this year it closes for $1.84M to a buyer from the East Village putting $1M down.  Generic, but with a few nifty touches.  You don't have to be the best in breed anymore in Bed-Stuy to command over $1.5M.  Platinum Members passed on an even worse flip than this on the same block for 35% less this year, and on two great contract flips for 45% less than this.

Speaking of $1.5M....  Available pre-market and on Platinum Member radar before it came out, the typical way to get top dollar is let the masses inside and see what cream rises to the top.  The top Bed-Stuy locations are no-brainers now, so it's no wonder that 101 Macon Street listed for $1.39M and sold for $1.5M on Halloween, even though it needs everything.  Platinum Members are spying one just like it around the corner that wants this price or higher.  That one won't hit the market 'til New Years, and it might not have to.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Closings of Note: Bargain and Frothy Prices Still Co-Exist

We tried to tell 'em that 556 Dean Street was the best 8-Family buy & hold in all of Brooklyn.  Closed for $3.75M last month.  Manhattan money strikes again, on one of Prospect Heights' best plays near Barclays.

Asking $2.4M, this mixed-use building at 1191 Bedford Avenue in Bed-Stuy closed in September way under asking price.  However, $1.9M is still frothy by many accounts, even if it's in line with a handful of comps nearby, especially since it's delivered vacant.

Okay, so maybe $3.3M didn't come home to roost on 99 Butler Street in Boerum Hill, but last month's closing price of $3.087M from Manhattan is pretty good for a block away from the projects.  That's right, BoCoCa's still got projects, y'all.

314 Clermont Avenue joins its neighbors 306 & 308 in under-market transactions on this prime Fort Greene block.  314 closed for $1.9M last month to buyers from Manhattan.  Even chopped up and full of tenants, this is a great buy that's worth way more on the open market.

Also on the Fort Greene side of Vanderbilt, 394 Vanderbilt Avenue closed this week.  100 people at the open house when the asking price dropped to $2M, but Platinum Members were the last man standing with the contract at $1.8M cash.  A great buy especially compared to the house next door in contract with an asking price $500K higher.

When folks spending $7M+ for a development site a block away from this Vanderbilt house are saying, "There is a tremendous demand for residential in this area," you figure there's a larger trend going on than just a few frothy townhome prices, no?  On Platinum Member radar for almost two years, back when folks were surprised it'd be worth $4M, the gas station at 840 Fulton Street sells for $5.8M and air rights puts the total purchase over $7M, or $185/bbsf.  38 more units in Clinton Hill, here we come!  Ironically, half the people doing these transactions couldn't even tell you what brownstone a block away is worth or why.

But what's a week in Brooklyn closings without a tiny 3-story single-family townhouse in Park Slope for over $3M?  Buyers dropped a million and closed for $3.3M last month at 475A 1st Street.

No wonder 3-stories in Bed-Stuy go over asking price and still feel like a deal.  Proximity to Atlantic Avenue be darned, 5 Verona Place goes for $1.357M last month.  Buyers from LIC won the deal.

Brooklyn's pound-for-pound most affordable 2BR apartment closed today, for $640K cash at 649 Vanderbilt Avenue, #2B.  When it listed, we said, "We're taking any and all bets that this goes over asking price".  We did, and it did.  So many more closings in & around Vanderbilt that put this number in context.  Much more to come tomorrow...