High-Priced Houses Speed Into Contract


We’ve been seeing lots of quick deals lately, including ones commenters here said would never sell at ask. Take 356 Sackett Street, above, a renovated brick townhouse in Carroll Gardens that was the highest priced house in the neighborhood at $4,099,000. Readers liked the renovation but panned the exterior and the block; one commenter summed up the issue as “whether that stretch of Sackett is ready for a quantum leap from the $2.5-$2.8 million you would expect to see this priced at, and $4 million.” Of course, we won’t know actual sales prices for months, but a quick move into contract often later reveals a deal struck close to ask. Over in Bed Stuy, a house almost everyone adored, 333 MacDonough Street, is also in contract, after a mere 16 days on the market, according to Streeteasy. (This was the one in Stuyvesant Heights, near the Akwaaba mansion, with dark blue walls on the parlor floor, asking $1,295,000.) We heard it received 10 offers above ask even before the open house, but the broker had no comment. In addition, the property at 556A MacDonough Street in Bed Stuy, which some Brownstoner commenters dissed for its interior staircase, also got into contract quickly. The house, owned since 1975 by one of the founding members of Brownstoners of Bed Stuy, was frequently on the Bed Stuy house tour and priced at $750,000. Our explanation is that buyers are willing to pay a premium for nicely renovated townhouses with historic details because there are so few available. What do you think?
House of the Day: 356 Sackett Street [Brownstoner]
House of the Day: 333 MacDonough Street [Brownstoner]
House of the Day: 556A MacDonough Street [Brownstoner]

19 Comment

  • 56 Cambridge Pl also went into contract – hope the new owner will finish it up

  • stuyheightsarch

    These are all deals compared to some smaller apartments in the city..

  • brownstoneshalfoff

    Our government bought time (ran up deficits, counterfeited our currency, reinflated housing with unbacked money) to postpone an all out collapse, half off or worse here in Brooklyn. The ultimate day of reckoning is approaching. The price of this reprieve will be an even bigger collapse. And everyone will say they did not see it coming.

    “Our explanation is that buyers are willing to pay a premium for nicely renovated townhouses with historic details because there are so few available.”

    This phenomenon was ALWAYS here. This unprecedented (in modern American history) dillution of our currency wasn’t. The “explanation” above is just a hook and cover for where all this “money” is coming from: thin air. This is hyperinflation (which is a stealth collapse when converted to real terms, purchasing power). If you look closely enough you can actually see the prices move in real time. This has never ended well in the history of mankind.

    • BHO, do you think there will be a crash, or just rapid inflation? If there’s a currency crisis, its much better to be in debt than to have savings as you can pay off your loan with cheaper dollars.

      • brownstoneshalfoff

        Both. We’ve got rapid inflation, or hyperinflation, right now in our local brownstone market courtesy of the Washington/Fed/Wall St debt conduit. I predict it won’t lead to a Weimar type of scenario because dollar denominated debt in the USA has to be lent/borrowed into the economy, not merely printed. We’ll reach a point where deficit spending will become politically unpopular, spur social unrest like in Egypt and hit a wall. Then, all out collapse. Deflation. Cash under a mattress effectively returns on itself due to rising purchasing power. Brownstone prices collapse dramatically.

        The government is borrowing 10% of GDP in order to shore up and hide what would be a 10% contraction and hence depression.

  • buyers are out in force. I have been to 4 open houses in bed stuy 2 weekends in a row and there are corwds of people for even the shells.

    • brownstoneshalfoff

      Classic sign of a crash in the making. In fact, I smell shoe polish.

      Didn’t learn from 1929. Nor 1987. Nor 2000. Nor 2009. And won’t learn from what is upon us now.

    • brownstoneshalfoff

      Classic sign of a crash in the making. In fact, I smell shoe polish.

      Didn’t learn from 1929. Nor 1987. Nor 2000. Nor 2009. And won’t learn from what is upon us now.

      • I thought it was just me- the record low interest rates make me want to finally jump. But the rational me feels the way I felt back in 2007 when I thought prices were out of control

      • @BHO
        Ha! What I learned from 1929, 1987, and, most importantly, 2008 – 2009 was that it won’t take a lifetime, or even 10 years for it come back. That’s not a long time in the grand scheme of home ownership. If you’re trying to caution people against buying a house they plan to sell in five years because they may loose a lot of money, that’s fine. If you’re trying to caution against some sort of impending doomsday, the historical examples you site don’t support your argument…. the recessions and depressions weren’t the end of the world for most people. I barely saw a blip in NYC real estate prices between the “big recession” of 2008 and now, and even less of a blip in executive pay.

        I’m not convinced govt banking / fiscal policy is the only big driver in this story when I see the richest people from all over the world buying second or third homes in NYC as if they were this years must-have accessory. As long as *global* wealth (and population) continue to grow, there will be increasing demand for a finite supply — why would there not be inflation?

  • When have any of you fruit bats not know NYC to be expensive. It has been ridiculously expensive through every depression this country has seen. Now it is just on a larger scale because the city is safer and other boroughs ” Brooklyn” are becoming populated. The amount of wealth in this city is of unprecedented proportions and guess what. Wealthy people will always want what the poor people made look really cool. Why? Because many of them have no taste, only the money to acquire it. Do you really think the economy of the US will be dictated by NYC. Do you really think one million, or two, or three makes that much of a dent in many of these people’s pockets? No, it does not. ParSloper, go for it and enjoy your life and buy a property you can be proud of and if you are a family man, or woman hand down to your children. We did and are having a great time doing it. It has always been my dream to own a piece of NYC. Just make sure you can always rent your home, or condo and make mortgage. Cheer up people, we are only a country that is about 200 years old and look how far we have come. Sure there will be bumps and ditches on the road, but this is still America and here we can accomplish great things. Buy your home and start living the dream.

  • When have any of you fruit bats not know NYC to be expensive. It has been ridiculously expensive through every depression this country has seen. Now it is just on a larger scale because the city is safer and other boroughs ” Brooklyn” are becoming populated. The amount of wealth in this city is of unprecedented proportions and guess what. Wealthy people will always want what the poor people made look really cool. Why? Because many of them have no taste, only the money to acquire it. Do you really think the economy of the US will be dictated by NYC. Do you really think one million, or two, or three makes that much of a dent in many of these people’s pockets? No, it does not. ParSloper, go for it and enjoy your life and buy a property you can be proud of and if you are a family man, or woman hand down to your children. We did and are having a great time doing it. It has always been my dream to own a piece of NYC. Just make sure you can always rent your home, or condo and make mortgage. Cheer up people, we are only a country that is about 200 years old and look how far we have come. Sure there will be bumps and ditches on the road, but this is still America and here we can accomplish great things. Buy your home and start living the dream.

  • nucky

    The answer is where do you park you money these days? and where can you borrow money for 30yrs? those lead most people to buy a real asset. even if it depreciates you need a place to live. houe prices are definately bublelicious, but so is the stock and bond market. A major component in driving prices higher is also increased demand from those of us who choose to live in frikin brooklyn by choice rather than by force. If wall street pay goes down, brooklyn prices will rise even further until they are comparable with manhattan. Given it 3 years, less if O is reelected. The reconking BHO mentiones might come, in which case those in marginal areas such as BedStuy and Clinton Hill will bear the brunt of the pain

  • nucky

    The answer is where do you park you money these days? and where can you borrow money for 30yrs? those lead most people to buy a real asset. even if it depreciates you need a place to live. houe prices are definately bublelicious, but so is the stock and bond market. A major component in driving prices higher is also increased demand from those of us who choose to live in frikin brooklyn by choice rather than by force. If wall street pay goes down, brooklyn prices will rise even further until they are comparable with manhattan. Given it 3 years, less if O is reelected. The reconking BHO mentiones might come, in which case those in marginal areas such as BedStuy and Clinton Hill will bear the brunt of the pain

  • “Our explanation is that buyers are willing to pay a premium for nicely renovated townhouses with historic details because there are so few available. What do you think?”

    Yes. Market timing is hard enough, and when a really good one comes along, you lock it in, even if you have to pay a little extra. Because you have probably been stung once or twice in the buying process and have learned the hard way that bargaining for townhouses is full of unexpected twists and turns. Might you lose money on a real estate purchase? Yes. Does that possibility exist with every real estate purchase in every place where real estate is bought and sold? Also yes. The more precise, and eternal question is whether the recent price gains in Brooklyn such as those represented here can be sustained.

    Only time will tell. But if anyone out there is looking to derive the equation that answers the sustainability question, there is one variable which clearly stands out among others: the increasing desire of people to be based in cities rather than suburbs. Even in a sideways economy, there is still significant demand which translates to positive price influence (short turnover time at significant price support) due to a steady or increasing population of buyers who have decided to live in places like Brooklyn, whether because they find it to be ideal, or because they find it to be the best place they can afford to live. Yes, even at a $4 million price point in a highly gentrified area and $1.3 million in one that is somewhat less gentrified.

    Given the sustained demand in neighborhoods like Bed Stuy and those roughly along its meridian, it seems likely that these purchases will be shown to be not irrational. Not value purchases in the short term, for sure, but also not the horrible mistake that the BHOs of the world suggest.

    My $0.02.

  • My husband and I have been looking for about 8 months in Bed-Stuy and we have personally seen so many houses fly into contract and then come back onto the market a few months later when the homes did not appraise. It’s an interesting issue because the demand is there as everyone can see from the open houses. A lot of the homes we have seen enter into contract in the last few weeks have gone at asking price or slightly over. HOWEVER, I am still wondering how many people are going into a home buying situation with that much cash to close the gap between what these homes are appraising for and what they are going into contract for. There honestly have not been THAT many comparable sold homes in the last 8 months soo.. it will be interesting to see how this run on houses plays out.

  • My husband and I have been looking for about 8 months in Bed-Stuy and we have personally seen so many houses fly into contract and then come back onto the market a few months later when the homes did not appraise. It’s an interesting issue because the demand is there as everyone can see from the open houses. A lot of the homes we have seen enter into contract in the last few weeks have gone at asking price or slightly over. HOWEVER, I am still wondering how many people are going into a home buying situation with that much cash to close the gap between what these homes are appraising for and what they are going into contract for. There honestly have not been THAT many comparable sold homes in the last 8 months soo.. it will be interesting to see how this run on houses plays out.