Tuesday, October 25, 2011

State of Gentrification: 486 Warren Street

The New York Times has an article out about how housing projects aren't discouraging high-end buyers in Boerum Hill during real estate boom times like we're in now. We remember people discouraging us from picking up a $1.4M 3-Family on Warren Street just before the crash because it was "too close to the projects" in their book. Now this neighborhood has become even more bougie than we'd imagined when we rented there in 2008-2010, so you can only imagine how the old-timers who bought in the 1970's and 1980's feel. One woman on Warren Street who told the NYT, "I bought this house for $17,000 in 1972,” says, "I feel like I’ve sort of outlived my time on the block." Wowza.

As evidence of what the neighborhood's become, they offer up this 4-Family 486 Warren Street listed for $2.5M. "There goes the neighborhood", right? Wrong. What a terribly tone-deaf example of what's going on in the neighborhood, in our humble opinion. A $2M+ listing with slanted-angle camera phone pictures of a dated, unstaged interior aren't a measure of the local market as much as the audacity of the seller.

Jeez, all the buyers in this price range that we know tidy up the kitchen better than this before the cleaning lady comes over - let alone on the day they take the picture that tries to fetch $2.5M! At least they had the courtesy of making the bed. You might think a condo developer, of all people, would have gotten this memo. Especially when you look at the shiny pictures Corcoran took to sell his finished condos.

When you REALLY want to know the true state of the market, you look at what people have actually paid, not what people wish upon a star for. Case in point, the immaculate 3-Family a few blocks away, 239 Dean Street, listed for $2.549M in May 2011 and just closed for $2.31M on 10/11/2011.

As if we actually needed to give other examples of why this asking price on 486 Warren Street is borderline comical, who wouldn't rather purchase 329 Clinton Street for $2.5M? Or this much cheaper, in contract property also on Warren Street? Or 364 Union Street? Even this great listing on a far-superior stretch of Warren Street is over-priced, but way more justified. The list goes on. As we always tell buyers in this price range, there's a ton of product to choose from, so be picky!

We agree with the New York Times' point overall, though. We've seen before how housing projects can affect their neighbors, like on a stretch of St. James Place in Clinton Hill. Indeed, these very housing projects can often add a certain authenticity to the neighborhood for certain types of folks who romanticize local edginess in their privileged flee from gentrification & strollers - as Yeasayer admitted to us last year in Clinton Hill. But let's not let the sins of one listing speak for an entire neighborhood. A few great details to speak for here on 486 Warren Street, for sure, but if you wanna get hired for this $2.5M job, at least dress up for the interview, man! It's kind of a shame 'cause it's actually a great property in lots of ways. However, contact us for 20 better places than this, at this price or cheaper.

Pro's: 4-Family, 4 wood burning fireplaces, rental income potential, south-facing decks, great neighborhood (even with housing projects at the end of the block)

Con's: dated interior, only 40' deep, camera phone quality shots of the interior, better buys abound

Ideally: simply mis-priced and mis-marketed. We'd gladly take pictures of this place just as good as Corcoran would and get it sold for it's real market price, at half the cost to the seller that Corocoran would charge.