Friday, June 15, 2012

Low-Ballers Need Not Apply: 10 St. Charles Place

Crown Heights is rapidly becoming the worst-kept secret in Brooklyn.  We guess people finally woke up and realized they can't chase "deals" in Park Slope anymore (as we've been screaming for seasons now) and that Park Slope isn't the only place where people built block-after-block of amazing houses ~100 years ago.  Well, if you thought you were the only one who this had dawned on and that it's time to make a steal in Crown Heights, we got news for ya.  That ship might've sailed too.  Just in the past few weeks, 653 St. Johns Place went above ask, 1332 Bergen Street went in under a week, 1377 Pacific Street went well above ask with multiple offers in under a week.  And none of those were listed by Corcoran (or anybody else you've even really heard of).  So guess who's next?  10 St. Charles Place is up for grabs for anybody willing to go about 10% above asking price of $920K.

We were even naive enough to think it was a little over-priced at the first open house a month ago.  You don't need to be a math whiz to tap the rental numbers of $1,100, $1,300, and $1,700/month into your calculator and see the place grosses under $50K/year as-is.  That means so-called "investors" would slap a price tag less than $750K on it and call it a day.  They'd also never end up with a property in this market with that strategy.  "30% off ask" was barely a strategy in the doldrums of 2009-2010; it certainly isn't one now.  When Corcoran gets involved with a shiny pic of the handsome exterior, a real listing, a real open house, and their second-to-none exposure, you know the people who'll pay up will see it and react accordingly.

Does the interior not wow you?  Us neither.  But this is what's happening.  "The house will easily be north of a million in a year or two," is what we nonchalantly told Platinum Members after walking out of it last month.  We also thought Apple would hit 400 by 2012, yet it touched that by July 2011.  Sometimes being right happens sooner than you were expecting.  Either way, the person who goes up another $25K-$50K (which isn't hard when leveraged 5:1 at 4% for 30 years), is the person who gets on this block...

And everyone else is just spectating.  So "get your popcorn ready."  Reports of "why Crown Heights is so popular among foodies and the culturally inclined" are not exaggerated at all.  If you don't know about Franklin Park, Dutch Boy, Barboncino, Chavela's, Pete Zazz, Bar Corvo, the Kim Chi Taco spot, etc. - you'd better ask somebody.  Before you get all Chicken Little about this above-ask phenomenon in Crown Heights, keep in mind all these pricepoints are still superior to $2M-$3M townhouses and what lots of condos are getting just a few blocks west.

Pro's:  curb appeal, top-notch location for Crown Heights, has a nice backyard (even if it's shallow & paved), 2/3/4/5 trains around the corner

Con's:  going way above ask, could use some work, interior hallway cuts through the middle of the floors, not a huge green backyard, not much by way of impressive original details inside

Ideally:  pay up for the name brand, or find opportunities on fewer people's radar

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