Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bed-Stuy's Best Buy Under a Million: 36 New York Avenue

Today there are more than a handful of townhomes in Bed-Stuy asking $1.9M or higher.  So finding something decent for less than half that in this market can be a challenge.  Bed-Stuy fixer uppers still come in under a million, but rarely are they this nice.  How do you find one that's 20' wide, just 2 blocks from Nostrand Avenue, with original details intact, delivered vacant?  You've gotta keep your ears open, know what you're seeing, and act fast.  Platinum Members had the pre-market lead on 36 New York Avenue asking $949K, which is just about as nice a buy as you'll find under $1M in this Brooklyn real estate market.

Sure, it's not fabulously staged, and there are garbage bags in the foreground of the pics.  But it does have the marble mantle, the parquet floors, and the moldings.  Gnarly carpet on the garden floor actually covers up & protects the parquet for a few decades.

Sure, the backyard's paved, but HELLO - it's a backyard and rental income.  The glass is half-full, not half-empty.  And for the price many people are paying for condos a few blocks west...

And the kitchen might not be ready for its close-up yet...

But for the budget that some people spend on one done-up kitchen, this whole house could be tidied up nicely.  The last time we saw something this nice for under a million this year, it was right next door at 38 New York Avenue.  When the house 3 bricks away from you just sold for over $1M in July, the one with even nicer details for under $1M is obviously a value.  Seldom do you luck out with next-door comps so apple-to-apples.  And they're essentially the same house, except 38 NY Ave showed better, even though it had a lot of the original floors covered up with cheap new flooring.

By the time 36 New York Avenue looks the way you want it to look, it's not going to cost what you want it to cost.  If you want original details in a vacant building ready for straightforward updates, this is a winner.  A perfect compromise on price, size, condition, location, and tenancy for the right buyers.  GoogleMappers will scoff at the tweener location, while one of the best condo alternative 2-Family fixer-uppers in Brooklyn is sold right out from under them.

Pro's:  20' wide 2-Family with owner's duplex & rental, Bed-Stuy's best under a million, mortgageable, delivered vacant, can be updated within a reasonable budget, perfect for those priced out of Franklin Ave just a block from Crown Heights

Con's:  gone already, work to be done, doesn't show well, didn't last long, tweener block

Ideally:  gotta wake up pretty early in the morning to snag a value like this

Friday, November 28, 2014

Decked-Out Renovation Gets Top Dollar: 242 Gates Avenue

We see a lot of really nice houses all the time, but 242 Gates Avenue is truly something special.  Just stepping foot inside gets your heart pumping.  This decked-out renovation is bringing one of the biggest townhouse sales numbers ever east of Classon Avenue.  It's crazy to think that not long ago Platinum Members landed basically the identical 17' wide 5-story brownstone two doors down at 238 Gates Avenue for $1.3M - but in nowhere near this condition.  And this year 242 Gates lists for over twice that price, and just closed well above that mark.  Feast your eyes on what $3M looks like these days on the Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy border...

As crazy as it might sound, the pictures don't even do this place justice.  This is about as nifty & stylish a renovation you're gonna see on a 17' wide building, making the most of a narrow-but-deep floorplate and the step-back in the rear.

Wood & steel, copper & stone, brick & plaster, transoms, light and glass dance & intermingle all through-out this house!  Two of the coolest features of this house are two lightwells... one on the garden floor in the dining room of the garden duplex...

And one through the center of the upper-triplex, bringing light through-out the house.  With a wall of frosty-glass on the bathroom side and 'chapel windows' in the shower for lumination with privacy, with a wall clear glass on the hallway side...

The rooms and looks don't stop...

And that's not even all of them!  Of course there's a nice yard...

A shower on the roof terrace...

And even bleacher-style seating on the roof with skyline views...

Most people - including seasoned people in the industry - wouldn't know how to make a house this nice if time and money were no object.  But owner/designer/architect/contractor Eli Fernald tells us this was his first project in NYC, and - together with his team at Ground Architecture & Building, he could do it better & even quicker these days, having learned a lot from handfuls of other successful projects that garnered top dollar in the Clinton Hill & surrounding areas.  When you've got that "money is no object" style and execution on your products, you can land that "money is no object" kind of price.  Ground Architecture & Building these days has turned their attention towards ground-up now too, where he can really explore design ideas with a blank canvas.  But we think that's like Jordan quitting basketball to go play baseball, or Jay-Z retiring with the Black Album in his prime.  That's until Eli showed us what they're doing basically ground-up around the corner

Still, we wanna pull him back into the townhouse game too and get him on the case for Platinum Member pick-ups like 669 St. Marks Avenue and 711 Sterling Place.  If you wanna pimp your ride in this townhouse or development game, Eli should be on your short list.  "This man is MADE;  He's killing all y'all jive turkeys!"

Check out some of his other projects...

Or what's been up to on 44 Monroe...

Or 109 Clifton Place, also currently in contract, presumably way over asking price at a surprising number for its size...

The market's come a long way since the days of 254 Gates Avenue over $2M being a shocker.  And this week we showed you the price per square foot happening at 252 Gates Avenue condos.  But nobody really thought it was time to put $3M on this block until these guys got a hold of a the building.  What'll they do next??

Pro's:  styling & profiling renovated 5-story 2-Family, 5 wood-burning fireplaces, multiple outdoor decks, delivered vacant, 99% of these clowns couldn't outdo it if they tried

Con's:  gone already, 17' wide, $3M cash isn't for everybody, call it Bed-Stuy if you wanna

Ideally:  the house and the price make ya say wow, just wow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Condo Watch: Rising Tide Lifting All Boats, Pt. II

Yesterday we looked at the condo watch in Brooklyn's favorite neighborhoods.  And we saw the high prices pushing south & east, as they do.  Just how far will people go to get their slice of Brooklyn?  And just how high will the prices go?  East of Classon, heading towards Bed-Stuy (but decidely Clinton Hill by most accounts), 146 Clifton Place, #1B sells for $989K last month to buyers from Williamsburg.  Sure, it's almost a million for a 1BR condo that's almost in Bed-Stuy.  It's also extra large as 1BR's go with 1,300+ square feet.  It's also $700/sqft, which is a value compared to what we saw yesterday, and a far cry from the $1,200/sqft this same product would command in Williamsburg.  Buyers also put some $750K down on this purchase.  Yet another reason why people with $700K looking for that $2M townhouse in Clinton Hill don't have their pick of the litter.

This same price also gets you a much smaller 1BR unit with a yard in Prospect Heights.  272 St. Marks Avenue, #2R closed for $955K (over $1,000/sqft) on Halloween.  Just over 2 years ago, this same place was $575K.  And just read the snark dealt out by the peanut gallery back in 2011 when one on the 3rd floor listed for that price.  "$579k should get you two bedrooms at that location, not one," or "I do believe that this is one of the most awful places I have ever seen."  Can't please all the people all the time.  Or in Brooklyn, hardly any of them, ever.  In this case, a buyer from Soho did the deal.

Much further north in Bed-Stuy, east of Classon, a 1BR at 689 Myrtle Ave, #2A lists for $599K and closes for full asking price last month to a buyer from the East Village.  Far from a train and feels like no man's land to some, but $630/sqft is a comparative steal.  At the right price, another loft in this building would be a good pick-up too.  There are two Chocolate Factory condo conversions already, so we're still scratching our heads as to why would-be developers can't get their heads around the most obvious third.  Can't wait to see who pulls that down.

East of Classon again, on Bedford Avenue, the resales of 315 Gates Avenue are coming in higher and higher.  #6P closed this month for $710K after asking $769K.  A smallish 2/2 for $859/sqft in Bed-Stuy is just the only place this kind of money has to go given what else is going on around Brooklyn.

$850/sqft also shattered people's expectations nearby at the 252 Gates Avenue condos.  We told you "there goes the neighborhood" back when this house was commanding almost $1.5M in "Bed-Stuy" (just east of Classon) for something that ended up getting a gut.  Unheard of! - right?  Well, if you didn't like the fixer-upper at $1.45M, you're certainly not gonna like just one of the condos in contract now with an asking price of $1.899M...

Or maybe you prefer the one in contract with an asking price of $1.49M??  Or perhaps the floor-thru in contract with an asking price of $899K?

Or, if you're not feeling these, there are plenty of 4-story townhomes in Bed-Stuy now that want $2M or more.  This is why savvy investors are picking up multi-unit buildings with suppressed incomes for $250/sqft - $400/sqft in Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights.  Because now that the townhomes are $2M+ and less attainable for the folks with $350K or less down, the condo market becomes ripe for those who want to be on these blocks but can't afford a whole house.  Just like we saw yesterday.  And while some of you are still digesting the $2M townhouse in emerging neighborhoods, tomorrow we hope to take a look at a $3M...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Condo Watch: Rising Tide Lifting All Boats

In this hot Brooklyn real estate market, the town home prices have gotten so high that if you wanna stick to your favorite neighborhood or can't afford above a certain price point, then condos are the only way.  You know we think the multi-family is the move and has so much more to offer than an apartment.  But when the $1M houses in "the hood" from 2 years ago are selling for $2M today, it's no wonder more and more people concede to the condo.  So now condo prices are getting higher and higher too.  As always, let's keep in perspective that in Manhattan, there is a healthy $4M+ condo market, and almost half at that price point are "sold on plans alone"!  And over 500 apartments sold last year in Manhattan for $1.5M.  So try not to have your head explode as we keep an eye on the condo watch in Brooklyn...

One of the best value duplexes with private roof access in Clinton Hill sells for $750K at 355A Grand Avenue.  Generic condition, but not 100 years old, with laundry in the unit and a parking space, people!  When 4-stories of some 15' wide house across the street goes for over 3 times this price, a two-story 2BR under $800K is a bargain.

Why is 355A Grand Avenue such a good look at $750K?  'Cause look at what else is selling on the same block for basically twice that.  334 Grand Avenue #1, asking $1.29M, sells for $1.3M in September to Manhattan buyers.  Since that $1.5M Clinton Hill townhouse is more like $2.5M-$3.5M these days, the condos are commanding more accordingly.  We know, we know... you're too good for an apartment in Clinton Hill.  But Susan Sarandon isn't!  So, there's that.

That Cobble Hill 3BR apartment for over $1,200/sqft?  It's happening.  47 Dean Street, #3A came out asking $1.6M and closed for $1.63M last month to ballers nearby.  Condos in Williamsburg still go for more than this.  And more "grown-ups" want to be in Cobble Hill than Williamsburg.  52 Dean Street also had a sale this high.  And while $1.6M is a lot for an apartment, consider the neighborhood's drabbest fixer-uppers command over $3M, and a few places blocks from here are getting over $6M-$7M on and off market.  In 2011, many condos and townhomes over here were half what they are today.

Speaking of condos over $1.6M, you get way better bang for your buck ppsf in Fort Greene.  One of the penthouses in the "Greenhouse Condos" at 383 Carlton Avenue comes out for $1.65M and sells for full asking price last month.  No wonder we told you that the 3-Family with parking at 460 Carlton Ave was the best buy in all of Fort Greene for $1.65M.  If you want rental income over $4,000 from your other two units in a 3-Family instead of common charges & taxes of over $1,200/month on your condo... you'll know where to find us.  There are more Atlantic Commons 3-Fams available off-market and pre-market as we speak.

Did someone say condos for over $1.5M in Fort Greene?  Another big sale in 1 Hanson Place this summer at #12J which closed this summer for $1.525M, or over $1,100/sqft.  Half a million down on a condo for $1.5M+ in Brooklyn?  That's big news for our borough, but child's play for buyers from Soho who took it down.  And it's probably why $500K down doesn't open the doors for every house in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill anymore, the way it used to in 2009-2011.

Or for under $1.5M, head to south Slope where another one bites the dust in 162 16th Street.  #9A was asking $1.15M and closed last month for $1.09M to buyers from Manhattan.  Almost $1,000/sqft on the end of Park Slope certainly feels frothy to us.  But people will still take anything that smells like the Slope over the likes of Bed-Stuy & company.

At under $1,000/sqft, but still a ton of money for the south edge of Park Slope, 379 Prospect Avenue, #1B closed for $1.425M this summer.  Painfully generic, indeed, but a great little townhouse alternative set-up.  The asking price of $1.8M wasn't happening, but buyers from nearby 8th Street were able to take it down under $1.5M.

That's why this little place in the heart of Park Slope was a great comparative value.  This little 400 sqft 1BR at 190 Garfield Place, #5L came out asking $599K and closed for $640K on Halloween to buyers from Manhattan.  Super generic & tiny, but when you've got a duplex with a roof deck in the heart of Park Slope for under $700K, what's $1,600/sqft to a boss??  Note, this is the exact same price that the larger 2BR in Prospect Heights, closed to the park, at 649 Vanderbilt Ave, #2B closed for last week.  No wonder we coined that Brooklyn's most affordable apartment.

In this climate, the sub-million dollar apartments in Park Slope all seem like bargains.  130 St. Marks Place, #4R closed for $906K over the summer.  Railroady or not, this is relative value in the current market.  And it also has the additional half-bath, which makes a big difference in the 2BR condo market.

Or 100 Sterling Place, #2D closes over the summer as a 2/2 for $1.02M  Over $1,000/sqft and relatively low monthly fees.  Made sense for buyers from nearby in the neighb'.  Even if this looks like a generic low-ceiling UES building with chintzy parquet on the inside and a meh brick glob on the outside, it does have a roof deck, a garage, and a nice location going for it.

Also in Park Slope, $1,200/sqft pops up again at 309 2nd Street, #3A, which closed for $1.35M over the summer.  In 2008, the price per square foot was on average half this price.  But when ballers in the finance world (which is run of the mill in NYC) decide Park Slope is the place to be, and they find that $300K down doesn't get them a townhouse anymore, then these condo prices become their back-up plan.

Or how about a duplex in a limestone in Park Slope that lists for over $2M and goes over asking price?  392 3rd Street, #2 wanted $2.1M and closed this summer for $2.53M to buyers from nearby putting a million down.

All this is to say, guess what's gonna happen when $300K or more doesn't get you a townhouse anymore in Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights.  Ahem.... you take a guess.

Meanwhile, across Flatbush from Park Slope in Prospect Heights, the condos go for over a million too.  215 Park Place, #4 fetches $1.225M this summer from buyers nearby in Brooklyn.  Over $1,000/sqft, with the roof deck - don't get us wrong.  But it's adorable that would-be developer clowns were trying to tell us that condos over here aren't $1M per floor when deals like 218-220 Park Place were going down across the street.  And - don't look now - but 181 Park Place on the same block has a condo in contract with an asking price of $1.9M.  And that's with no pictures, just a frikkin' floor plan.

In Prospect Heights, $600K down used to get you a sweet house for $1.2M-$1.5M.  Now it gets you a condo in that range.  377 Sterling Place, #1 listed for $1.2M and sold for $1.36M this summer. 

Can Clinton Hill play ball on $1M condos?  Sure can!  320 Washington Avenue, #2B closes over the summer for $995K, after listing for $924K with cock-eyed pictures that don't quite do it justice.  (The flowers in the foreground are a nice though!)  Killer historic building and buyers from nearby who knew what they were getting into.  Almost $1,000/sqft in Clinton Hill is new to people's ears.

Or just up the street, a newer construction building at 545 Washington Avenue, #603 gets $1.1M for a 3BR/2 bath at just under $1,000/sqft too.  Buyers from nearby Prospect Heights making it happen.  Again, some $300K-$400K doesn't go as far as it used to in these neighborhoods, so many buyers opt for condos instead of venturing further east for townhomes.

So, along the same price per square foot lines, the smaller 2BR/1 bath apartments with parking around the corner, even if they feel half way to Crown Heights by some estimations, hold a relative value at the sub $800K price point.  So again, listed for $650K, 957 Pacific Street, #202 closed over the summer for $725K with over $400K down.  If this is the type of money it takes to take down condos, no wonder we constantly tell people with $200K-$500K in their pockets to keep it in their pants if they think the doors of Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights are going to open for million, or even 2 million brownstones.  Some buyers who can't even play ball with the condos think they'd be big fish in a small pond on the rowhouse game.  Please believe, you're not the only baller in town.

Did we say $1,000/sqft in one place means higher prices just a few block east??  We certainly hinted at it.  Tomorrow we'll take a look at what this pricing is spelling further east of the first and second tier Brooklyn brownstone neighborhoods.