House of the Day: 168 Midwood Street


Here’s a classic late Victorian with a bow front, neo-classical columns, decorative wood work wreaths, a center staircase, stained glass, plaster medallions, pier mirrors and a stained glass skylight. The Prospect Lefferts Gardens townhouse has been recently updated, and the kitchen and pantry have been moved to the rear of the three-parlor floor. The architect is George Lawton, and it was built in 1899, according to the listing. It has been a HOTD twice, the last time in 2009, when it was asking $1,250,000. It most recently changed hands in April of last year for $1,176,000. The new ask is $1,775,000. Do you think they will get it?
168 Midwood Street [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP

40 Comment

  • $600K profit in just over a year? I know they did some renovations but really??

  • mildredfierce

    A 50% increase in a year seems PERFECTLY reasonable.

  • SewardWasRight

    I would have to agree. If you think about it, only part of that increase is renovation-related. The other part can be attributed to the market. Buying at the right time, putting a bit of money in, and then selling for a profit. it is a bit steep for me, personally, but the markets are up now.

  • daveinbedstuy

    You people begrudging the seller a 50% profit sound like you’ve been listening to Obama’s class warfare too much.

    If the market warrants it, they will get it. I know my house would sell for 50% more now than what I sold it for in 2012, easily.

    • Bob Marvin

      DIBS and I disagree completely about Obama, but I do agree with him that the’market is what it is–however crazy it might seem.

    • mildredfierce

      Obama’s class warfare? Heeheeheehee. I don’t think you understand what any of those three words mean.

    • Dave your house would sell for more than 50% today. I’m kicking myself for not buying it!

    • I don’t begrudge the seller whatever profit they can get. I just can’t believe we’re at a point where these little houses can sell for these prices. Nothing to do with so-called class warfare.

    • Also, it isn’t the case that the question is just what “the market will bear”. Where a market is so dysfunctional that it requires billions of dollars of bail-out money from taxpayers, that’s precisely an example of the market, in fact, not bearing what it appears to be bearing.

      The fact that a property, or any other asset, may sell at a certain point in time for a certain price does not necessarily reflect the true value of that asset. That disjunction is what defines a market bubble.

      • I don’t get how it’s a bubble if a) a great many of these transactions are being done in cash, and b) banks are being far stricter with lending than they ever were during the previous r.e. boom. People are scrambling to buy now because inventory is tight and money is (relatively, historically) cheap. Cheap, but not easy.

      • daveinbedstuy

        Actually a bubble is more defined by a situation where valuations (or prices based on some metric) are unsustainble and far, far above historic numbers.

        This house looks to be about 2,300 sq ft. Is $771 psf that wildy ridiculous??? I don’t think so. Not in NYC and certainly not in most major cities around the world like London, HK, Tokyo, etc. Even for lowly backwater Brooklyn.

        • BigGuy22

          I get what youre saying about Major world cities that have an insane real estate market. London is a 1000 year old city with buildings dating back hundreds of years that sell for crazy prices, Tokyo and Hong Kong are two of the most populous cities in the world with way more people than property available both cities are also pretty much the Easts financial capitols. PLG is a gorgeous neighborhood, I love it there but heres the truth of the matter, the public schools are miserable, theres is limited shopping and dining, Flatbush Ave is filthy and noisey and you’re talking $1.5+ for a ONE family home with no rental income. Im all about people making money in real estate, but to make 500k in two years makes no sense!!! Good for them.

          Not just you Dave, but anyone who has any inkling about real estate should see that this MIGHT be a bubble we’re in. You cant fiercely defend that its not a bubble when you look at the numbers…did London, Tokyo and HK property value basically jump 40-50% in less than two years at any point in recent history? NOPE. I just cant accept the answer of “its the market”, or its the stadium, or its Brooklyn the global brand, or hipsters or any of the insane reasons people give for it. The market is based on #s and the numbers are inflated 10x more than they were in the subprime crisis, how does anyone believe this is normal? PLG ppsf historically has been around $400-$450….so $771 is a pretty solid jump the $321 difference is like a 70% increase, I’d say that’s pretty ridiculous in 2 years.

          • For the record, these houses are more like 2,700 sq feet, plus a full 900 sq foot basement.

            BTW, having lived in PLG for years, I can say it has changed a lot, particularly over the last 3-4 years. These blocks in the Manor are beautiful, with great neighbors who all know one another, say hello, and look out for each other – in other words, a real neighborhood – how many places in America is that still true? Every year there are block parties, fundraisers, and other community events. There are tons of kids playing outside together on a nice day. It’s a great place to live and it’s nice to see the houses starting to go for money that is, let’s face it, still a fraction of comparable properties in the Slope. Assuming you can work out the school thing and can afford it, who wouldn’t want to live in one of these places compared to half the space with tenants on the other side of the park?

    • Moonface

      WOW dave, new low in stupidity for you. LOL.

  • Bob Marvin

    This is very much like my house, done by the same builder and architect on this block. My house has a different facade variation (there are four in the row) but the same center staircase. Of course my house is not as updated–which could be viewed as either a good or bad thing, depending on your orientation. In any case these are wonderful houses, although I can’t speak to price in this insane market. I am sure a buyer would be happy here.

    • Bob, I’m curious about the windows in the rear parlor extension of this place. Presumably that’s not where the kitchen would have been originally, so why are they half-sized? Is that original? It’s convenient if you’re trying to fit counters beneath them, but kind of odd to have that size window on a parlor level. What was that room originally used for?

      • Bob Marvin

        Those (former) rear parlor, now kitchen, windows have been shortened. My rear parlor is still a rear parlor and the windows are actually longer than in the front parlor (because they don’t have the front parlpr’s leaded glass transoms).

        BTW, one of the first things I noticed about PLG houses, when I first saw the neighborhood on the 1974 house tour, was that the parlor floors, like the one in this (and my) house have a lot of light, for a row house, because of the rear bay wi dows and open plan, found in both this house and in mine.

  • For this price, I’d expect to have an HVAC or mini-split system. I see window units, so I’m assuming there is neither. Additionally, while the house is gorgeous, what’s with the dark green kitchen cabinets? I love all the brown wood, but the dark green makes the entire kitchen look dark and dowdy. The master bath, also, more splashes of green, blue and brown. Someone really likes these colors, but for the combination sort of cheapifies the overall look of the house imo. These are clearly my preferences and can be remedied without too much work; however, I would still expect to have central air for this price in this location.

  • babs

    Why are these people selling after one year? Also interesting that when they bought they went through Corcoran, even though the house was listed by both BHS and Corcoran, but now they are using BHS to sell.

    • Because maybe they expected some actual amenities near their 1MM+ home? Luckily for them there is another group of suckers just around the corner.

    • I know these folks from the neighborhood. They’re moving overseas. They bought privately without a broker from the prior owners, so I doubt they had much control over which broker was used to sell them the house.

      Agree about the price appreciation, but the house is worth what the house is worth. Good for them being in the right place at the right time. A bunch of properties in the neighborhood are going for similar prices now.

      • BigGuy22

        Miraclemets69….I said in my comments I LOVE PLG…There’s plenty of neighborhoods that have all of these nice things you mentioned. My point is the neighborhood is improving in terms of amenities, its always had gorgeous well maintained buildings & yes compared too Park Slope its a bargain…but Park Slope offers the BEST school district in Brooklyn, a plethora of restaurants, shops etc and can justify $2.5+ price point. No one scoffs at $4mil sales in Park Slope because they know what comes along with it, they are also normally multi fams with excellent rental income. Just a crazy market lol

        • Ok – fair enough. Didn’t mean to get my feathers ruggled. The place on 160 Maple just went for $700k more than it last sold for in 2006. I guess it makes it seem more “fair” that they had more time in prior to the sale, but pretty comparable upside, no? It’s just nice to see PLG starting to get the right (and I think deserved) kind of attention.

          Agree on schools, but anyone who can spend almost $1.8mm on a house can probably send their kid to a private. PS 321 is incredibly overcrowded, but I hear a great school. Lots of folks in this neighborhood do get a variance and send their kids to public. PS10 seems popular.

          I do think with the new rink and new apartment buildings, we are going to be seeing a lot more folks looking to come into the neighborhood, with many new shops and places to eat close behind.

    • Job transfer overseas. No insight into the broker issue.

      • No sure there is a broker issue. Perhaps the agent @ Corcoran is no longer in the business. Plus, the sellers probably see Ms. Cunningham more often because she lives in the neighborhood and she, along with a couple of her BHS colleagues are still the “go to” brokers in PLG.

    • Babs, if someone can afford a million +, 1 family house, the odds are, their high powered job may take them to another city or overseas. It happens.

      Or, perhaps – the owners are buying a house – south of Church Ave, which they will then sell in 4 years, at double the price – to some hapless couple from the Slope.