Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Closings of Note: Where Do You Fit In?

The e-mails pile into BK to the Fullest on a daily basis from people who swear they'd invented the concept of real estate.  They want to buy some property, do something to it, and sell it for more.  What a concept!  As if the market wasn't already jam-packed with folks whose full-time job is doing just that.  Not just any folks are in this market either.  There are more experienced folks, more connected folks, folks with deeper pockets.  The impetus of novices, hobbyists, and dreamers who swear they're ready to run circles around proven developers - and do it in less time with less money - is simply adorable.  But the Brooklyn real estate market waits for no man - as we tried to tell you a few years ago.  Everyone thinks they can just name off a price, a location, and a scenario - and that there's a house just like that waiting to be bought by them and only them.  In actuality, why don't you sit back and see what's ACTUALLY HAPPENING in the market, then figure out if you're equipped to participate in it?  Can you afford $2M for a house in relatively generic, turnkey condition??  You used to think that happened only in Park Slope.  Then you woke up and realized it was happening in Fort Greene.  Then you thought you could do it in Clinton Hill.  Well, guess what??  It's come to Crown Heights now!  627 St. Marks Avenue lasts barely a week on the market before closing this month for its asking price of $1.9M.  The buyer??  A designer at Anthropologie coming from Park Slope.  While you still think you're too good for Crown Heights, ballers are buying these homes right out from under you.

Deep in Bed-Stuy and far from any Manhattan-bound train, 684 Greene Avenue couldn't get $799K last year.  Well, wake up, Rip Van Winkle, 'cause it just sold for $1.22M this month.  This is more than the average buyer thinks they need to pay and further into Bed-Stuy than they think they need to go.  Yet for some reason an Anthropology professor on Morningside Drive in Manhattan just bought it.  You wanna argue with reality?  Again, you think you're too good for Bed-Stuy, and people more baller than you are buying houses right out from under you.  From Anthropologie to Anthropology, there are no apologies in this high-stakes, winner-take-all real estate game.

Ah, now Fort Greene.  There's a one-square mile neighborhood near a park that even novices can get their heads around.  Long gone are the days of crack dens, the millionaires have been here for years.  Famous movie stars with money mere mortals couldn't dream of (and it's all-cash!) can't find what they're looking for in this little sliver of Brooklyn.  So it's no wonder the pricing here is reaching epic heights.  You don't have to pull teeth to get people to tell you they want to live on a block like 8 South Portland Avenue, but they better have the funds to back it.  Listed for $3.99M off & on since last year, this "23 foor wide brownstone" (sic. - 'cause who needs to spellcheck when you're collecting $150K+ in commission??) closed last month for $3.7M.  Platinum Members are currently scheming on a stunning, barely marketed 23' wide 5-Family over here for a fraction of this price.  Oh, Brooklyn!

Well over $3M for the second week in a row in Clinton Hill?  Come on down to 374 Washington Avenue where a Michelin-star chef coming from lower Manhattan picks up this house for full asking price of $3.75M.  And they still wanna ask us if we have off-market deals in Clinton Hill.  We sure do, but they're not necessarily cheap either.

A condo pushing $2M in Crown Heights?!?  Not for a finished townhome, not for a fixer-upper, not for a huge 8-Family income property.  Almost $2M for a condo in Crown Heights.  Is 225 Eastern Parkway not the building you were expecting to have condos fetch this much?

Well, Unit #5A just closed for over $1.925M.  While we state facts, people accuse us of being bullish.  Meanwhile, Brownstoner comes out and proclaims, "We’re bullish on Crown Heights in general so we’ll go out on a limb and say that we think they’ll end up getting pretty darn close to the asking price of $1,750,000."  Who knew less than 6 months ago that it would soar above that asking price?  No matter how you cut it, almost $2M for a condo or $950/sqft, Crown Heights can no longer be slept on.

Just before the shock of a $2M condo sets in, check out 76 Macdonough Street, #3.  A Bed-Stuy condo asking $599K sells for $625K this month!  That's over $800/sqft, for all those jokers who tried to tell us condos in buildings like 531 Bergen Street by Barclays couldn't fetch that much.  Boy, it seems like just yesterday people didn't wanna pay this much for a nifty 2BR in prime Boerum Hill like 89 Dean Street.  Now it's happening in Bed-Stuy, where buyers coming from Fort Greene pick up this stylish piece.  Dozens upon dozens of relatively-modestly well-to-do people in & around Brooklyn could afford a purchase like this.  Half of them will probably still tell you they don't wanna be in Bed-Stuy.  We know, you still think Bed-Stuy fixer-uppers are $600K or less, not the finished condos.  It's cool; you'll catch up.  Just remember, by the time Bed-Stuy looks the way you want it to look, it certainly won't cost what you want it to cost.

When Bed-Stuy condos are fetching almost as much as Brooklyn Heights, you know something's really going on.  A studio in Brooklyn Heights at 110 Livingston Street, #7N sells for $630K.  With an asking price of $650K, it was still a relative value, but small for most people's taste.  Buyers from Dubai said, "We'll take it."  No wonder a penthouse co-op we covered nearby at 85 Livingston Street is rumored to have a contract at full asking price of $389K, even while shooing away the big brokers.

We couldn't get people to pay $1.5M out on 10th Street between 4th and 5th Avenues after the crash.  Now they sail above $2M with ease.  336 10th Street listed for $2.29M and closed for $2.25M to a buy side from 5th Avenue in Manhattan.

We tried to tolja' about 419 Halsey Street before it hit the market last year.  The owners wanted $800K to get it done.  However, Platinum Members passed, and some wanna-be buyers played their hands pre-market without hitting the seller's number.  Buyers think they're shrewd when they beat up deals off-market with low offers, as if the seller's have no alternatives.  All the while Corcoran was in the seller's ear talking about $900K, and they weren't kidding.  It's all fun and games until the Corcoran open house, and the low-ballers no longer have a seat at the table.  The house listed for $899K and just closed for $935K.  When sizing up the market you're stepping into, do a little homework and figure out where you might actually fit in first.

Pick it up in an estate sale for $1.2M and immediately relist it for $1.85M?  That's how it's going down on 196 Hancock Street on one of Bed-Stuy's best blocks.  If you weren't there with cash when it was going down, why complain about the owner's cost basis now?  Oh, and if you think you can low-ball 'em anywhere under $1.85M now, you don't know what we know...


  1. "From Anthropologie to Anthropology, there are no apologies" - haha, nice Jonah.

    "They say hard work pays off/
    Well tell the Based God don't quit his day job."

  2. You are becoming hotter than brownstoner

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