Prices Rising in Bed Stuy East

Recent sales are pushing prices up in Bed Stuy east of Malcolm X, public records show. One block east of Stuyvesant, 421 Decatur Street (between Patchen and Malcolm X) sold for $789,000 in January. Previously, it had entered lis pendens and changed hands for $50,000 in July. An updated brownstone with an unusual amount of pristine original detail that was a HOTD sold for $675,000 in December. It is located at 534 Decatur Street between Howard and Ralph. (The photos can still be seen on Streeteasy.) As you travel further east toward Broadway, prices drop. In August, a house at 615 Decatur between Saratoga and Howard sold for $570,000. We were surprised to see that the wood frame house at 770 MacDonough Street is in contract, following a price drop from $675,000 to $669,000. This is the house whose well-preserved original exterior was recently covered over in brick veneer, and it was also a HOTD. The interior has received a similar overhaul, with mantels and window trim left intact, but crown and baseboard moldings removed. It is located between Thomas Boyland and Saratoga on a block consisting mostly of large tenement apartment buildings. Also in contract is 585 MacDonough Street between Ralph and Howard, pictured above. The asking price is $899,000 and it has incredible details such as Aesthetic Movement fireplace mantels and tile. It looks like it could still use a bit of polishing; the wall between the kitchen and dining room and the kitchen ceiling appear to be mid-construction, and some plaster looks like it needs skim coating. However, all this said, there may still be some hope for would-be buyers dismayed at the run-up in prices: The fixer-upper at 605 Decatur Street that is asking for $675,000 all cash, another HOTD, is still on the market. As we noted when it was HOTD, it last traded to an LLC in December for $300,000 — about what you would expect for a house lacking working kitchens and baths that cannot be financed. So it is not yet clear whether flippers will be able to double their money for unrenovated properties this far east, as has been happening in Bed Stuy closer to Clinton Hill.



18 Comment

  • For years people had this strange phobia about Stuyvesant East. ” I do not want to look past Malcolm X/Reid” which I think is just ignorant. This is one of the most lovely areas in Bedford Stuyvesant. Because the area is made up of mostly one and two family dwellings most of the old Victorian charm has been kept. This is the area to watch.

    • I totally agree. Being from Fort Greene/ Clinton Hill I always look down upon Bedsty East. Mainly due to the activity in the area at the time, but I as a recent buyer I have more open to the hidden gems of Bedsty East. Changes are coming. I love my neighborhood.

  • A lot of people looked down on this part of B-S. And there was good reason, as DThornton pointed out. I had a friend who lived in B-S a few years back. She told me when I was looking not to go any further east than Malcolm X. Even looking back then, I found I could not afford anything west of that point. So, I started looking in the “forbidden zone”. Man, was I happy what I saw. And I am not really talking about the prices (although I was happy with those too!). The housing stock and the streetscape (if that is a word) floored me. And the neighbors tied the bow for me. Haven’t looked back since and have felt as though I’ve been living in a secret part of Brooklyn – so close to transport to work and a beautiful park on the corner. Now with the economy picking up and businesses opening all around, people are always wondering why I smile so much. 😉

  • I always assumed the real drawback of that part of Bed Stuy wasn’t safety so much as transit. Those blocks are all a 10+ minute walk to pretty far-out stops on the C and J.

    • Fred, Funny you should say that. These were my two main concerns when I moved here. The crime part is handling itself. But what I didn’t realize, at the time, was another “secret” of this part of B-S – the Express “J” Line. Ironically, I feared being “too far” from the “A” Line, but after living here for a few weeks I realized that the J takes me 1/2 block from my job in Downtown Manhattan on the inside of 20 minutes. Bottom line you have to feel good about where you live – not everyone could have made the switch to Stuy East two years ago. It was daunting. But it has paid off dearly.

    • Dear Mr. frederick-law-homestead,

      I live on Decatur between Howard/Saratoga. It’s less than a five minute walk to the J train. During rush hour, the J comes every 5 minutes and then goes express to Manhattan — it takes about 15-20 minutes to get to Chambers Street/City Hall (transfer to 4-5-6 trains).

      J trains are pretty clean, not too crowded, and they really do come pretty quickly. The non-profit Straphangers campaign rated the J-Z line as the second best of all subway lines in NYC for 2012:

      The C train is a little more of a walk, at least from where I am, and it’s almost always a drag to get on that train.

      I actually bike commute every day to midtown Manhattan, about 35 minutes one way.

      • dnk, how do you bike to Midtown, do you take Throop/Grand/Williamsburg-bridge/1st-ave? That’s what I usually do, but I’m looking for better alternatives…

        • megazoid,

          I take Throop all the way past Flushing until it meets with Broadway. A block or so down Broadway to Union, and then Union to S. 4th right to the bridge. I usually go Norfolk/Avenue A up to 14th Street to get to the 1st Avenue bike path, then all the way up to 42nd (my office is between Park and Lex).

          On the way home off the bridge I find Division to Harrison to Tompkins to be a delicious ride.

          I’ve got a love/hate relationship with the Manhattan bike paths on 1st and 2nd Aves. I love that they are there. I hate that so many people regularly walk out into them without so much as looking in advance: 1st Ave and 28th Street in front of Bellevue is the worst offender. But all-in-all it’s a pretty great commute.

          Speaking of — 5 o’clock; time to get on the bike!……..

          • Thanks dnk for sharing! I haven’t thought of taking Union, looking forward to giving it a try. I usually turn right after Flushing (on Whipple st) and then follow Manhattan Ave all the way to Grand.

            Fully understand the love/hate relationship with the Manhattan bike paths (it’s considerably on the hate side for me recently). I tried taking the waterfront (East River) bike path, it’s more pleasant but certainly increases the commute. My office is all the way on 42nd and 7th – I take the 39th st West.

            I second the Division/Harrison/Tompkins route – it’s quiet, lights are well timed and has an interestingly changing landscape!

  • This is an area people will be trying hard to get into very soon. kinda like the Bedford and Stuyvesant Heights sections are today. If I was a buyer with under a million dollars looking for a nice brownstone I would come here today!

  • I hear this house went into contract super fast like a few days for way over asking. This is not the area to sleep on anymore. Manny’s, Burger and Brew and others will change this area super fast!

  • Agree with all here. We are on Macon between Ralph and Patchen and could not be happier. I am about a 5 min walk to the C on Ralph, which can be a drag to wait for a train, but once at Utica for the A, I am into Manhattan in about 15-20 min. I cannot say enough good things about my neighbors, from offers to barbecue, helping out moving home items, and just plain friendly “god morning’s” and “good evenings!” Plus a very active block association. So much seems to be happening here, and over the past 6 months from having our offer accepted to closing, I have seen a lot of changes already and fear that if this did not go through for us we would already be close to being priced out. A great nabe with so much flavor and beautiful blocks!

  • Prices are rising everywhere, too fast. It’s a continuation of the bubble that started around 2003 and had to be bailed out in 2009.

    Instead of letting it collapse in half in 2009, thus reaching equilibrium, it was papered over with more debt, resulting in an even bigger bubble requiring ever increasing bids to keep it going.

    Exponential functions end very badly in the real, finite world. It’s good for the middle to upper echelons of NYC society to spark new interest and invest in architectural restoration in these hoods. But financially, people are going to get hurt very badly, rich and poor.

    Guys – If you’re not the ones flipping and hopefully getting out in time, prepare to hold on! It’s only a matter of time before deficit spending hits a wall and mortgage-purchasing gets dumped back onto the private market at skyrocketing rates, killing the massive fluff in home prices.

    421 Decatur could easily collapse by 3/4 to $200K in a deflationary collapse. This is what it was worth in 2003.

  • hey, looks like we are all neighbors in this remarkably peaceful thread. i’m on decatur between patchen and ralph. moved here in october and have been very happy and echo the comments thus far. for me the A is only a 5 min walk.

  • @megazoid and dnk re: bike commute: I too, take that same route into Manhattan (work up on 38th btwn 2nd and 3rd). As an alternate to 1st and 2nd aves, once I get off the W’burg bridge I make U turn down Delancey St S. and get on the East River bike-way. It is newly paved and pretty spectacular along the river, but ends pretty much at 34th, but it does cut out a HUGE chunk of 1st and 2nd, even if your destination is in the 40’s. Happy biking!

  • Great opportunity to continue pushing for landmarking in this area, the magnifying glass of developers is starting to shift our way. This will greatly reduce horrible buildings from going up, or the destruction of great architecture. Interesting how many of the comments are from about experinces two years ago. We too were in the same scenario. We told our real estate agent we wanted to buy here and they practically laughed at us and told us this will never be Williamsburg, so we said, “we’ll take it.” Glad to see the change in people’s perception of the area and hope to keep the good neighbors and introduce new ones that will care for our neck of the woods. To all the folks that hung in there for most of their lives through terrible times, I hope you make a bundle of money and retire in good health and happiness, if you choose to sell.