Sunday, October 12, 2014

Closings of Note: The 4 Horsemen

With real estate headlines that include 86% price leaps in one year for townhomes in "emerging" Brooklyn neighborhoods, putting the "median sale price" at $1.85M, you can only imagine that the Chicken Littles are certain this is the next sign of the apocalypse.  Readers of such pieces continue to list their first wave explanations for how this pricing could be possible.  That's right, while we still get e-mails just this week from folks looking to purchase a house no further than 9th Street and east of 3rd Avenue in "Park Slope/Gowanus" for $1.5M with financing, the median sale price of homes in less-coveted areas from Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Lefferts, and Bushwick (let's call them the 4 horseman!) is supposedly $1.85M.  But instead of averages and medians in reports from Corcoran, or individual buyers pulling a number out of thin air for their favorite neighborhood, let's take a walk through some of these areas and see what the case-by-case numbers are really like...

Whoa!  No wonder it's hard to find a house north of 9th Street that's under $1.5M, even the jokers at this local brokerage managed to get $2.5M for this tiny house on 16th Street.  Asking $2.195M, this renovated 2-Fam at 346 16th Street had a cute yard, central A/C, and a Home Expo interior.  Just 3 stories, not 4, but close to the park.  A buyer from the Upper East Side zoomed by the asking price and closed last month for $2.5M.

The coveted stretch of South Elliot in Fort Greene is precisely one block long, so it's no wonder houses there are hard to come by.  This estate sale at 23 South Elliott closed last month to a buyer from the West Village for $2.2M.  It takes a lot of cash to pull it off, and a lot of cash to finish the renovation, but this is a relative steal for the area.

But Clinton Hill can play over $2M too!  The peanut gallery reluctantly acknowledged that 22 Lefferts Place was a "relative value" at its asking price of $1.9M, and some expected it to go for more.  Alas, Manhattan buyers closed on it in August for $2.125M.

But Prospect Lefferts Garden can play over $2M too!  94 Midwood Street, a "mere" single family, stunning, with a lot of yard, driveway and garages!  Closed for $2.25M last month.

Speaking of Manhattan buyers, Park Slope's 145 Berkeley Place sells to some last month for $3.45M. says they have 5 more just like this, and Platinum Members are scoping out a handful of homes just like this pre-market in this pricepoint on these blocks in Park Slope and Prospect Heights that you won't find on

Over in Crown Heights, Platinum Members got the early lead back in May on this neat little 2-Family at 858 Lincoln Place from a local broker.  A buyer from Prospect Heights closed on it last month for $1.2M.  A great purchase compared to what the big brokers are getting on this very block.  And a far cry from a "median sale price of $1.85M".

Case in point, 814 Lincoln Place listed for $1.35M this summer and a buyer from Manhattan closed last month for $1.5M.  It wasn't long ago that more finished 4-stories in this row like 852 Park Place were going for $1.5M.  At the broker's open for 814, Platinum Members complained to us about the extremely short yard and said, "The house is great, 'but'....  There's always a 'but'..."  Even the NYTimes knows about "buts":

Trust that we here at BKTTF are no strangers to "buts".  Maybe a $1.5M sale like this on east of Nostrand in Crown Heights is why that $1.5M "Park Slope/Gowanus" search is so elusive.  Or why people can rarely this kind of pricing on Franklin Avenue.

Also in Crown Heights, 681 Franklin Avenue is a mixed-use building that sold for $1.4M last month.  Now this 3BR/1 bath rental wants $3,800/month.

$1.5M in "Park Slope/Gowanus"??  Try over $1.5M in Lefferts!  181 Fenimore Street is a cute 3-story barrel front that listed for $1.495M and closed for $1.545M last month to buyers from the East Village.  And these folks are no dummies either; we're talking Harvard Business School, y'all!  You think those are the fools rushing into some real estate bubble?  Or are they just buying the dopest house in Brooklyn that their budget and search could yield?  It's funny when renters in Brooklyn Heights think they can't go past 9th Street in Park Slope, but folks from Manhattan are cool with Lefferts.  Oh, when will you myopic upper class ever learn?  They call us telling them the truth a "schtick" - we call it "the truth".

$1.5M in "Park Slope/Gowanus"??  Try the Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy border!  419A Classon Avenue listed for $1.5M and closed last month for $1.45M.  Super generic, and not what most people have in mind.  But then again, it is a better pricepoint than neighbors who spent $1.85M-$2M+ for narrower finished houses.

$1.5M in  "Park Slope/Gowanus"??  Try $1.5M mortgage on a $1.875M purchase in Lefferts, made by buyers coming from Park Slope!  This 3-story single-family at 190 Maple Street closed last month.  Sure cleans up nice, but that's a big number, and no rental income.  This is where Corcoran must be pulling their "median" sale price of $1.85M for these areas, no?

Or, for more of a deal, slide further towards Flatbush to 1 Parkside Court where a fixer-upper closed for right around a million.  On Platinum Member radar for over a year, the aggressive flippers got to it before we could, cleaned it out, brought it to the retail market, and made a pretty penny for their risk and effort.

$1.5M in "Park Slope/Gowanus"??  Try Ditmas, where Manhattan buyers took down 229 Stratford Road last month.  Platinum Members renting in Brooklyn with high-brow businesses in Manhattan asked us just yesterday if buyers from Manhattan are really part of the Brooklyn real estate story.  The sales don't lie.

Speaking of Mahattan buyers... listed for $2.95M, closed for $3.5M last month, 305 Cumberland Street is a frame house with the sickest, most stylish renovation.  Views ripped from the headlines of an interior design magazine, this is how you ball out in Brooklyn.  It didn't quite sell for what Jenna's house sold for a few years ago, but this is the stuff Brooklyn real estate porn is made of... especially for a frame house.  And while the price will shock most, there are $5M apartments in Manhattan jealous of these interiors.  But don't despair.  Fort Greene isn't the only place where stunning renovations get a 3-handle on them.  We can't wait to show you this month who's bringing that number east of Classon Avenue with style.

Who's selling you a house in Park Slope/Gowanus for $1.5M when Bed-Stuy gets $1.85M?  290 Jefferson Avenue closed in August for full asking price to buyers from the Upper West Side.  Noticing a pattern, anyone?

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