Sunday, March 10, 2013

Never Truly For Sale: 633 St. Johns Place

We can't imagine how little one would know about the times in New York if all they read was the New York Times.  Whether it's a million and a half dollar typo to the downside in an article on "Brooklyn's Gold Rush", or mistaking supply and demand for "buyer exuberance",  or when they broke the story last year that Prospect Heights is across the street from Park Slope and a great alternative to the UWS - the NYTimes is proud to package what's been going on all along as "news".  Now, they're all gassed up on how the 8 boudgie-approved neighborhoods in Brooklyn have expanded to as many as 12!  And, many generations in the making, this today is considered news?

Long before your grandma was a twinkle in your great-grandpa's eye, wealthy people were building mansions and living Downton Abbey style in macked-out 1 & 2 Families that were the 'burbs of Manhattan.  Back when O. Henry was a writer, not just a candy bar, ballers flocked to the hills of Brooklyn to avoid the bustle of the city.  Fast-forward 100 years, and many of these neighborhoods (once left for dead) are making people's jaws drop to see prices that are still not only a fraction of Manhattan prices, but a fraction of the prices just a few miles further west in Brooklyn.

The most populous borough in all of New York is just starting to catch up to the likes of Manhattan, and the whole world is struggling to understand it?  The New York Times quotes many "median real estate price[s]" for these neighb's that have little or nothing to do with the actual prices people face trying to participate in these markets.  Really, $675K is the median in Boerum Hill??  You can't even get a mediocre condo in Boerum Hill for that price.  They even quote Williamsburg's median price as higher than Grammercy's.  What in Grammercy can you actually get for $725K?

They'll tell you Crown Heights is up 13.1% this year to a median price of $425K, but you'll be lucky to find a condo there for that price.  Townhouse-wise, the rise feels more like 50%.  Just last year it was pulling teeth to get some millionaires to bid $900K on this straight-up castle in Crown Heights that was available off & on for months.  It was easy to see that price was a steal when, during its listing, the house across the street moved well over a million.  Now a house listed over $1.5M in Crown Heights hits the market in contract already.  And just a year ago some of you still thought it was time to chase this price in prime Park Slope.  That's right, 633 St. Johns Place is just off of the bustling Franklin Avenue, and was never really available to the public unless, perhaps, you were one of the pocket buyers of these brokers.  And who can blame them?  REBNY obligates them to at least pretend to market it.  But if you come to market in contract, the fix is pretty much in.  This isn't the first time we've seen Elliman do this.  A local legend's house was sold by a "friend" for $200K-$250K less than its market value.  We don't know anyone we call "friend" that takes a quarter millie out of our pocket, but who are we to judge?  Yes, if you're a buyer who's underwhelmed by the efforts of a buyer's broker, realize that's because this is a seller's market.  Buyers are a dime a dozen.  Just ask the listing agents for 102 Gates.   Brokers are chasing sellers.  And when they finally get one, do you think they wanna make $90K on a $1.5M deal or $45K?  You do the math.  To some of you big ballers who tell us you won't even roll out of bed for $250K in upside in a deal, an extra $45K might mean a snack to you, but it means a big deal to them.  [Some] listing brokers, who supposedly have a fiduciary responsibility to their seller, will go through pains to give advantages to buyers who aren't working with buyer's brokers because it makes the listing broker double the money.  They'll do everything from giving private showings before the open house, to steering offers, to not even picking up the phone from other brokers to intentionally avoid a bid they're obligated to present to their seller if they receive it.

Jeez, and you thought it was hard enough to find deals in this fractured marketplace, now you've gotta navigate this seedy underbelly of brokers out to double their commission?  Welcome to Brooklyn.

Pro's:  location, renovated owners duplex plus 2BR rental, even if you wanna play sour grapes comparing this pricepoint to last year - it's still the price of a condo in Manhattan

Con's:  gone already, never truly available to the masses, quirky half-bow front, pricepoint will make amateurs faint

Ideally:  if you still don't get the pricing, get with the times.  Oh, and get on the pocket buyer list of some of these brokers!

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