House of the Day: 526 Carlton Avenue Reduced

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When we featured 526 Carlton Avenue as a House of the Day last September, the Prospect Heights brownstone had just hit the market with an asking price of $2,300,000. The price was knocked down to $2,100,000 a couple of weeks ago, and then to $2,000,000 earlier this week. As we mentioned back then, we think the extensive renovation that was recently done looks pretty nice but wondered whether the proximity to Atlantic Yards would hurt its chances. Apparently it has.
526 Carlton Avenue [Douglas Elliman] GMAP P*Shark
House of the Day: 526 Carlton Avenue [Brownstoner]


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  • An apparent front row seat (from Streetview) to watch all the construction activity for Atlantic Yards for the next 12 years.

    Interior looks really nice as long as the windows are soundproof.

  • Pretty damn nice house (the white floors–wtf?–not withstanding). But yeah that proximity to one of the biggest construction sites in the city for the next 5-10 years is definitely going to weigh this one down. 1.6 might get it done.

  • Who wants to sit in the ‘Formal Dining Room’ enjoying a delicious meal while someone is sitting on the toilet bowl constipated?
    Bad location for that 1/2 bath on the Parlor floor.
    AND where is the ensuite bathroom for the master bedroom????

  • What a shame they didn’t do kitchen on parlor with option to have rental on garden level. Would have greatly widened the buyer pool I bet. Nice reno, bad location. It will sit some more.

  • Yeah, what’s with the formal dining room on another level from the kitchen?? It’s fine if you have serving staff or maybe acceptable with a dumbwaiter. The dining room will likely not be used as such. Who wants to carry an entire meal and all the plates etc when entertaining??
    Plus I think the kitchen design does not fit this beautiful interior. Way too modern.

  • Be prepared to be awoken every morning before sunrise by construction workers preparing to begin the day.

    But this home would be a steal for a hearing-impaired family.

  • I mean a steal for a hearing-impaired family if they can get it cheap… not for 2M!

  • The listing says “Available for rent $6500.00 per month.”
    That would be sweet if the owner could rent it for 10 or 12 years until AY is complete. Then he might find a buyer at a good price. Maybe.

  • I don’t think the floors are painted. I think they’ve been bleached or pickled.

  • It doesn’t seem like a lot of thought went into the kitchen. I don’t like the way the lower cabinet runs up against the window sill. And it’s way too sterile. Overall the place has some great original architectural details though.

  • “Available for rent $6500.00 per month.”

    10 x annual = $780,000. Half off peak comps. And that’s assuming they get $6,500/mo!

    http://tinyurl.com/yb8hft9

    ***Bid half off peak comps***

  • I think the seller spilled vanilla koolaid on the floor.

    ***Bid half off peak comps***

  • You oughta lick some up, BHO. Then you’d understand why your never going to get a brownstone at half off peak comps.

  • i really hate it when they seperate the dining room from the kitchen. who does that? what century do we live? that is so impractical! bad layout. otherwise than that – i like it!

  • re: the new HOTD ad trivia, a small pet peeve.

    Factoid (n.): something resembling a fact; unverified (often invented) information that is given credibility because it appeared in print.

    Norman Mailer coined the word in his biography of Marilyn Monroe. Somewhere along the way CNN and Fox News conspired to make it mean “an insignificant but true piece of information.” Much less fun word that way.

  • This demonstrates the fallacy of BHO’s 10x rent canard. This house would easily rent for $6500/mo. I know of a garden apartment on this block that gets $2K. It would never, ever sell for $780K, even so close to AY (to the north, so not technically in its “shadow”.) $2M is also too high. This place was bought for $1.23M in 2006 and reno’d. Say it goes for $1.7M, which seems about right, the owners wouldn’t make much if anything after transfer costs/reno costs/broker, etc.

    BHO, why don’t you bid at 780K? See what they say.

  • BHO, you’re not buying a rent-stabilized building and the interest rate is not 11%, so your x10 multiplier is not current. Still, if the rent is $6,500, why would people buy it for $2M? The cost should be roughly equivalent for people to commit the 25%+ downpayment.
    I think $1,600,000 would work, assuming they don’t mind living next to a construction for 7-10 years, followed by the pleasure of dealing with herds of beery sports type pissing on their stoop.

  • “fallacy of BHO’s 10x rent canard”

    Actually, FLH, it’s the price that’s still the falacy, not the rent (that’s the whole point!). Why don’t you pay 1.7 and see what the appraiser says in a few years or whenever the market bottoms.

    “It would never, ever sell for $780K”

    Nice snapshot! Say cheese, market!

    ***Bid half off peak comps***

  • The layout is nice if it were just re-labeled.
    The rear parlor should be labeled “rear parlor” and the “living room” downstairs labeled “formal dining room”.
    Voila! Problem fixed.

  • I don’t really care about the rent multiplier debate, but I can comment as someone having been in the market to rent a whole townhouse this last year (and now very happy in a newly renovated center PS single family).

    The interest on this place would be 81K per year, at a 1.8M sale price with a 4.5% rate (not realistic most likely). (I include the downpayment in the interest cost because you could otherwise have the downpayment in a different market.)

    So the interest thrown away on buying at 1.8M would be more expensive than the cost of renting. If you buy, you also have the upkeep costs which are generally significant, taxes, and water and sewer. Generally at this level, buyers are paying AMT and don’t get much if any mortgage tax benefit, so that doesn’t offset things.

    I do realize that buying is not necessarily a financial decision, but the decision between renting and buying does have a significant financial component. It seemed to us, when we were looking, that renting a whole building was moderately less expensive than buying. That seems to be true with this building too.

  • Unless you’re shillstoner, you would know that a Formal Dining Room cannot be on the basement level.

  • I don’t really care about the rent multiplier debate, but I can comment as someone having been in the market to rent a whole townhouse this last year (and now very happy in a newly renovated center PS single family).

    The interest on this place would be 81K per year, at a 1.8M sale price with a 4.5% rate (not realistic most likely). (I include the downpayment in the interest cost because you could otherwise have the downpayment in a different market.)

    So the interest thrown away on buying at 1.8M would be more expensive than the cost of renting. If you buy, you also have the upkeep costs which are generally significant, taxes, and water and sewer. Generally at this level, buyers are paying AMT and don’t get much if any mortgage tax benefit, so that doesn’t offset things.

    I do realize that buying is not necessarily a financial decision, but the decision between renting and buying does have a significant financial component. It seemed to us, when we were looking, that renting a whole building was moderately less expensive than buying. That seems to be true with this building too.

  • According to ESDC documents, Atlantic Yards construction will probably continue for 25 years. This is across the street, and you can expect many large trucks, construction noise, and barren parking lots, followed by a privately owned development that may or may not let you in. You will never see the morning sun, if construction ever ends.

  • “a Formal Dining Room cannot be on the basement level”

    Isn’t that where they tended to be originally? Front room basement?

  • Minard,

    I think the formal dining areas in brownstones was originally on the parlor floor.

    The informal dining sometimes may have been done in the front basement.

    Isn’t this what Bricks and Brownstones tells us?

  • pigeon,
    No. Bricks and brownstone tells us that the typical brownstone layout was a double parlor (the front parlor was more formal while the rear parlor was for family) and the dining room was downstairs in the basement or as we now call it, the “garden level”.
    The popular modern approach is to rent out the basement as a separate apartment and squeeze a kitchen in somehow on the parlor floor.
    Grand mansions had dining rooms on the first floor with dumbwaiters and butler’s pantries to help the staff serve and cart away to the kitchen below. But regular brownstone folks were sensible enough to have the kitchen on the same level as the dining room.

  • Minard is correct and this is born out in many books on the subject (eg. charles Lockwood BRICKS AND BROWNSTONES) and I’m sure Montrose would confirm: the front room on the garden level of a brownstone was the original dining room. The parlor floor was a double reception room sans dining room. DIBS: I’m shocked you wouldn’t know this.

    Rather obviously, this house was renovated by a flipper. They almost got away with it. For a while there (2006-2007) the market was hot and it looked like AY might never happen. Now it’s the opposite. It faces the Stage 2 site which will likely be undeveloped for at least another 10 years (FCR’s own estimate). That could be OK for some buyers, death to others.

  • I think DIBS was making a joke that went over my non-PLUSA head.
    I was non-plused. Ha!

  • Metaphase, you are absolutely right. For some reason a lot of people don’t take a step back and tally up the actual costs of buying vs. renting.
    In NYC right now, for most people buying is still more expensive than renting on the face of it.
    There’s one big issue you didn’t even factor in.
    If you buy all that capital is locked up in an asset that as we have seen may go up (if DIBS etal are right) or go down (like BHO sez).
    Not knowing who is right, I would allocate some significant cost to the uncertainty.
    In other words, if you rent for the same price you can finance a purchase you can always get out of the deal relatively easily.
    If you buy, that’s not necessarily going to be the case.

  • grand army: a reception room is different than a parlor.

  • “Formal Dining Area” vs “Daily Dining Area”

    Minard, if I remember Bricks and Brownstone correctly (and I’m not sure if I do), the daily dining area, for the typical middle class family, was in the basement, as you say.

    But we were talking about the FORMAL dining area. If I remember correctly, Bricks and Brownstone said that the parlor level was most likely used as the dining area for special ocassions, or where the family was particularly wealth.

    To me, this means the formal dining areas (for those wealthy enough to have formal dining areas) were on the parlor level, while the daily dining areas were in the basement.

    Yes?
    No?

  • Is there a difference between the terms “dining area” and “formal dining area”?

  • Pigeon, I’m not really 200 years old, so its hard to say.
    I know that the “dining room” of most Brooklyn rowhouses was in the basement. The rear parlor often had a tea table that could be used for light suppers as well as teas. The food would be brought up on trays by the Irish girls who more often than not worked as house staff in Brooklyn. But real dinners for the family had to be downstairs. The dining table was downstairs. Lugging up and down all those dishes and glassware and food vessels was completely impractical on a daily basis.

  • Bricks and Brownstones says it is ambiguous. It also changes depending on the year. In the old houses in the first half of the 19th century, the front room on the kitchen level was mostly used for dining, but only for the family. Apparently they didn’t give dinner parties.

    I’ve seen late-Victorian houses with dumbwaiters and butler’s pantries on the side rear of the parlor floor. So I assume that in those cases, the rear parlor could be used as a formal dining room when entertaining company, don’t you think?

    But a dumbwaiter alone does not signal a parlor floor dining room. I believe ours was used to haul ice and coal to the rental on the third level.

  • Again and again, the Elliman Park Slope office is beaten out for a townhouse listing in their own “backyard”. This time, it is not Brown, Harris, Corcoran or one of the smaller Brooklyn Pak Slope brokerage houses, but a Manhattan Douglas Elliman office. What a joke. One has to wonder how the Elliman Park Slope office continuously misses out on obtaining such listings, especially when their agents supposedly work this area. One must think that the other Elliman offices in NYC work and strategize to obtain listings (even outside of their respective boroughs) while the Elliman Park Slope office probably waits for the business to walk in or the phone to ring. Not happening in this tough market. Higher PDE corporate management should really question how the Park Slope office is being operated and how the agents are managed and inspired by the director of sales. The director of sales should be embarrassed by this failure to obtain such listings. The job involves more than collecting a salary.

  • Minard and Mopar,

    It seems that our understandings of the history of brownstone dining are all basically in agreement.

  • I might be interested in renting this house. Does anyone here have more info about the phase 2 construction site and when it will be happening. Phase 1 is more than a long block away. Will it still be hell?