Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Closings of Note: Condo Records Can Be Broken Too

Brooklyn, your $3M+ condo is here!  1 Grand Army Plaza, #12D sold for a paltry $2.5M in the doldrums of 2011, but now it lists for $3.4M and cruises to $35K over asking price.  No wonder people buy fixer-upper townhomes in Prospect Heights for over $2M on and off market.  Oh, and don't forget the common charges of almost $3,000/month on this condo!  The listing boasted, "This will be the Richard Meier Building's first important resale since its construction in 2006."  As if the people selling the other units for millions were all simply unimportant chump change transactions.  You gotta love Corcoran's spirit!

And just who's dropping this kind of coin on a condo in Brooklyn?  Why none other than folks from just down the hill in Prospect Heights who just sold their stunning corner home at 562 Bergen Street for well over asking price of $2.65M - that's who!

If you're keeping score at home, this is over $1,300/sqft for a condo.  Developers are glued to that price per square foot metric as if it's the only thing propelling the market.  As if condo buyers head out to open houses on the weekend saying to themselves, "Honey, I'd like to spend $818 a square foot on the condo we buy."  We tend to think buyers buy the best property they can get within their budget, so the whole-dollar price of the condo is much more important to them than its raw price per square foot.  But while over $800/sqft is happening for stylish condos in Bed-Stuy already, developers will still look at a development site there and say, "$200 per buildable square foot is too expensive, because I'll have to spend another $250-$350 a foot on the construction, then I can only sell them for $500 a foot."  Then once you convince them they'll sell 'em for over $800/ft, they'll tell you that millions of dollars in profit isn't enough for them.  Rough life.  Let's see what other price per square feet are happening for condos in our borough...

If you wanna live on a no-brainer block like South Portland overlooking Fort Greene park, it ain't gonna come cheap.  Brownstoner mused last year, "Wow, it’ll have to be some kind of record for Fort Greene if the top floor of the brownstone at 4 South Portland Avenue sells for the asking price of $1,059,000."  Hmmm, that's interesting.  Because it just sold for $1.175M.  Makes a duplex we're looking at around the corner for $1.2M look like a steal.  Generic renovation by many accounts, but that's our Brooklyn for ya.  $1,000+/sqft, it's not just for Manhattan and Williamsburg anymore!

Speaking of $1,000+/sqft, slide on over to 199 State Street, where the penthouse unit sold below asking price, but over $1.2M.  Even if you think this is a narrow little place for the price, we're still talking about downtown Brooklyn priced below what even the outskirts of Manhattan has to offer.

Or if you're not nuts about downtown, slide down to trendier Boerum Hill where 303 Warren Street, #3 also just sold for $1.2M, or over $1,000/sqft.  Never mind the cheesy new-construction exterior, this place has a roof deck!

If over $1,000/sqft is the new breed of condo pricing in the best parts of Brooklyn, is there value in finding a decent condo priced lower than that?  We'd say so.  35 St. Marks Avenue has been dying to duplicate the sales of 33 St. Marks Avenue for years now.  They spent time wanting just over $700K a few years ago, then finally got their offering plan & their act together, listed for $839K and closed for $850K on Unit #3.  Still not what 33 St. Marks pulled off, but this is no 33 St. Marks.  $818/sqft spells value to us for a 1,000+ square foot condo in Park Slope.  But it's the pricepoint rather than the price per square foot that buyers really pivot off of.

Of course ~$800/sqft is a good price in prime Park Slope, especially when it's happening near the highway in south Slope.  231 16th Street, #2A just sold for $710K, or $814/sqft.  Makes a whole house on the same block asking $1.5M pre-market sound like a deal to us.

Don't look now, here comes another $2M+ condo in Park Slope!  305 3rd Street, #4G couldn't quite get $2.2M, but it sold for $2.172M, almost a million more than it went for in 2005.  Whether you call it $936/sqft or "over two million dollars", that's a lot of money.  No wonder a Park Slope fixer-upper like 115 Lincoln Place would want well over $2M too.

If Park Slope is too pricey for you, head across the street to Prospect Heights.  Buyers from the Upper East Side sure did, picking up a unit in the 268-270 St. Marks Avenue condo project for just over $1.5M.  A relative steal at $878/sqft.  Buyers from Boerum Hill took down another unit in this development for over $1.5M this year, and buyers from Brooklyn Heights got a larger one here for $1.8M!  Still, not bad when your neighbors are spending over $3.4M for a condo in Grand Army Plaza!

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