Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chasing the Unicorn: Park Slope Under $1.5M

Many readers looking for townhouses in Park Slope in the $1.5M range have lamented that their bids with $200K-$300K downpayment have been rejected in favor of lower offers with $500K down, or all-cash offers. As was the case when we were under-bid by a faux all-cash offer on 96 St. Marks Avenue.

Many of these are the same readers occasionally telling us what's overpriced by $200K or $300K, especially in Park Slope. It may be the case that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", but pricing's in the eye of the seller who sells it & the buyer who buys it - not those who scoff at prices from the sidelines. Just because you don't like Park Slope prices, doesn't mean they aren't what they are. And the new pay-to-play price is $400-$500K downpayment.

But don't take our word for it. Let's let the numbers speak for themselves. Setting South Slope aside for now....

36 residential townhouses closed & had their sale recorded in Park Slope proper in the past 6 months.

Of those 36, only 10 closed for $1.5M or less.

Of those 10, only 2 were purchased with less than a $500K downpayment.

Of those 2, one was a gut renovation & the other one was a 1,600 sqft 2-Family in the less-desirable PS 282 district, not the coveted PS 321. But let's take a closer look at all of these sub-$1.5M sales:

105 St. Marks Place was a 2,700 sqft 3-Family, purchased by an LLC for $1.375M all-cash, and in PS 282, not PS 321.

345 5th Street was a 15' wide estate sale that needed lots of work that closed for $1.4M with about $500K downpayment.

411 4th Street was a "bring your architect" that closed for $1.455M with about $500K downpayment.

362 6th Street was a dated, 1,700 sqft, 2-Family estate sale that needed lots of work, sold for $1.3M all-cash.

290 8th Street was a turnkey, 2,500 sqft 2-Family, closed for $1.445M with over $500K downpayment.

405 Douglass Street was a gut renovation that had an accepted offer within the first few weeks it was listed - in PS 282, not PS 321 - sold for $1.16M and needed over $300K in work.

396 Douglass Street was a tiny, 1,600 sqft 2-Family that was serviceable, but could use some renovations to update it, closed for $1.1M with a $220K downpayment - also in PS 282, not PS 321.

131 St. Johns Place was an SRO purchased for $999K all-cash, which takes 6 months & $50K in paperwork to convert the C of O just for the privilege of doing a ~$1M renovation with cash.

385 3rd Street was an estate sale purchased for $800K all-cash, bound to be a gut reno as well.

And all the buys just above $1.5M during the past 6 months were some of the best buys of the year, and still involved at least $400K downpayment in all of them. This includes the likes of 596 Carroll Street, 706 Degraw Street, and 158 Garfield Place (all-cash).

So, don't get us wrong; $200K-$300K is still a heck of a lot of money in the big picture. It just happens to not even move the needle in Park Slope proper. We're talking about a neighborhood where Anne Hathaway looks at $2.6M houses on Garfield Place, people. (She makes $8M a movie, btw, you think you're gonna outbid her?) We're talking about a neighborhood where even the bird houses are baller:

Wake up & smell the high net worth!


  1. Is there even any hope for sub 1.5M in South Slope?

    1. Yeah. For a shell, or an SRO, or an estate sale, or an under-marketed property - or some combination of those. But who in their right mind would sell you something for less than it's worth? "It is what it is." And it's a market. Why not go get a way better house in a different neighborhood? Who died and made Park Slope the only place in Brooklyn worth living?