Monday, September 9, 2013

Topics: Couldn't Hurt to Ask

If you didn't like Fort Greene's 54 St. Felix Street for $1.65M from 2010 to 2012, then how about $3M in 2013?  Yes, sellers all around Brooklyn who could or couldn't find their price over the past few years, are asking higher and higher prices this year.  And why not?  Prices are soaring.  What was once an absurd asking price can become quite modest.  So sellers ostensibly want to keep up.

Did you miss the prime Park Slope stone beauty at 27 7th Avenue, when it dropped from just under $2M to just over $1.5M and closed last year?  Then we don't imagine their latest asking price of $3.8M is calling your name on the flip.

Nobody wanted to touch prime Prospect Heights' 181 Park Place for a penny over $1.275M in 2011-2012, until Elliman listed it for $2M and sold it at that effective number.  Couldn't hurt to ask when they came right back out for $3M+.

Prime Park Slope's 864 President Street wasn't that attractive for an end-user or investor at $2.7M in 2011-2012.  Wanna chase it for its latest list price of $4.5M?

"Why do some of these sellers even bother?" they ask us.  The answers are pretty simple:  First of all, it costs them nothing to ask a high price.  Second, sometimes outrageously high prices do set the tone for a listing and net the seller a high price that's still far below the asking price.  Third, sometimes it totally works & they meet or beat their expectation.  105 St. Marks Avenue couldn't get $2M as a fixer-upper, but then they cruised to over $3M this year.

If you've been getting altitude sickness from the high prices throughout Brooklyn, trust us, you're not the only one.  What passes for $2M+ in Brooklyn these days has shocked even the most bullish.  Yet there's still enough value left about for the NYTimes to flaunt in a piece with the headline "I'll Skip Manhattan":

"...there are still hefty discounts to be had in the other boroughs, despite all the drumbeating about how certain areas have recently achieved parity with Manhattan.  (Sorry, Brooklyn!)"

And yet all they could find in Brooklyn worth speaking about were condos, including one in Bed-Stuy for $657K, a price some buyers were reluctant to pay just 2-3 years ago for a renovated townhouse on that block.  And the Times headed over to Williamsburg to see a condo that went in contract for $1.329M, where they were told that even $1,200/sqft was hard to find in Manhattan, by the agent who happens to be named Overbye.

It's still all relative.  Even as interest rates climb back up off historically low levels (still lower than they were during the peak of the boom in 2006-2007), prices continue to climb too.  Even if Brooklyn is "the poor man's Manhattan", that man is still pretty darn rich.

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