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.

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