A real estate firm named JEMB Realty bought a parking lot in downtown Brooklyn for $38,464,188. If that seems like a staggering amount to pay for a parking lot, well, it’s located at 420-428 Albee Square, right across the street from City Point. It’s got 185,000 buildable square feet, The Real Deal reported.

That works out to be $205 per buildable square foot. No word yet on what is planned, but we’re guessing a mixed-use building. The deal closed March 26.

Morris Bailey’s JEMB Buys Brooklyn Lot for $38.5 Million [TRD]
Photo by Scott Bintner for PropertyShark

04/14/14 9:00am


A Brooklyn Heights brownstone overlooking the Promenade is asking $16,000,000. If 192 Columbia Heights sells for ask, it will set a record, as The New York Times was the first to point out. So far the record for a townhouse in the Heights is 70 Willow Street, where Truman Capote famously rented, which sold for $12,500,000 in 2012.

This place is 25 feet wide, five stories tall and has nearly 8,000 square feet of space. It is in move-in condition.

Now that prices in “emerging” Brooklyn have about doubled in the last few years, do you think prices in prime Brooklyn will recalibrate? What do you guess it will sell for?

A Townhouse Above the Brooklyn Heights Promenade Asks $16 Million [NY Times]
192 Columbia Heights Listing [Kevin J. Carberry Real Estate/Corcoran]
Photo by Scott Bintner for PropertyShark

04/11/14 11:00am

Townhouses in Bed Stuy east of Malcolm X are starting to see the same kind of rapid price appreciation that kicked off in the west end of the neighborhood close to Clinton Hill in the summer and fall of 2011 and then spread to Stuyvesant Heights in 2012.

A townhouse at 732 Macon Street, which was a House of the Day in March, just closed for the asking price of $1,225,000 in an all-cash deal, Halstead agent Morgan Munsey, who handled the sale, told us. It is a probable record for the area, where a few townhouse sales have recently closed for just under $1 million. The purchasers are not investors and intend to live in the house.

A four-story double duplex two-family, the house is in good condition with recently updated mechanicals and systems but also has lots of original details as well as fairly generic renovated kitchens and baths. This sale, as well as 417A Halsey, 333 MacDonough Street and others, clearly shows that townhouse buyers in the area prefer renovated houses with details and that these types of houses set price records, which are then followed by flip jobs with no interior details and, last, by fixer-uppers.

The price history of 732 Macon over the years perfectly reflects what is happening in the neighborhood. It sold for $560,000 in 2006, then was on the market again for $790,000 in 2011 but did not sell. (It was also a House of the Day in 2011.)

Built in 1891 by architects Cornell and Barnes, it’s in the proposed Stuyvesant East Historic District and close to Saratoga Park.

We also hear the house next door, at 730A Macon, is in contract for the ask, which is $1,100,000.

The overall record for a townhouse sale in all of Bed Stuy is still the Parfitt Brothers-designed Queen Anne townhouse at 254 Gates Avenue, which sold for $2,200,000 in January of 2013.


04/11/14 9:00am


We’re sure you’re tired of hearing how expensive Brooklyn is getting, and the last market report out for the quarter only confirms it.

In a kind of good news-bad news scenario, prices per square foot in all of Brooklyn fell in the first quarter compared to the year before, while average prices for townhouses and other homes shot up amazingly in “emerging” Brooklyn — that is, Bed Stuy, Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Bushwick. The 5 percent decline in average square foot prices (to $635) should be good news for priced-out buyers, but it’s really not.

The reason for the decline, according to the report from Corcoran, is that lack of inventory in the borough’s most expensive neighborhoods has pushed buyers into more affordable ones, such as Sunset Park, East New York and Coney Island.

It was the first drop in nearly two years, The Real Deal reported.

The category of home that is rising in price most quickly is one- to four-family townhouses. “The average price of a single-family townhouse grew to $2.2 million from $1.5 million year-over-year,” said The Real Deal. Median prices for new development also rose, increasing by 15 percent to $875,000.

You haven’t been imagining things: Townhouses in Bed Stuy, Crown Heights, Bushwick, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens saw huge price gains. The average price of a single family townhouse in these areas, which Corcoran now tracks as one submarket, increased 51 percent in the year, to $1,138,000 from $755,000. The average price of a two- to four-family townhouses increased 41 percent, from $760,000 to $1,074,000.

Perhaps because of the low inventory, the market share of northwest Brooklyn declined in the first quarter while areas in southern Brooklyn grew, to 30 percent from 18 percent over the year.

Here is Gawker’s take on the news:

Brooklyn used to be “cool.” Now Brooklyn is expensive and horrible. Here, based on the latest figures out today, is a fun bar trivia game to play: ask someone, “Do you know what the median rent in Brooklyn is?” Then, as they’re thinking about it, ostentatiously empty a container of cyanide into your beer….Nothing screams “a welcoming place of refuge for young people and their artistic youthful energy” like a $2,900 a month median rent.

How do you feel about it?

04/10/14 11:30am


Average sales prices in Brooklyn hit an all-time high in the first quarter, according to a report out today from trade association the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). In the world of condos, that meant an average condo sale is now $734,000, an uptick of 8 percent over the same period last year, the highest in all the boroughs.

Inventory was still low in the first quarter. Median sales prices for the quarter reached a six-year high while inventory declined to a six-year low in Brooklyn, said a report from Douglas Elliman. Listing inventory was 4,092 units for the quarter, down 13.2 percent vs. the same period last year. Days on market was 131, down 18.1 percent. The luxury median sales price shot up 8 percent, to $1,650,000.

The average sales price for one-to-three family townhouses in Brooklyn rose six percent, to $748,000, according to the report. The neighborhoods that saw the most sales were Bed Stuy, with 183 sales, Park Slope (142), Gravesend/Mapleton (105), East New York/Spring Creek (102), Bushwick/Wyckoff Heights (100) and Williamsburg, with 96 sales.

Brooklyn rents increased 6.39 percent in March, vs. the same period a year earlier, said a report out from MNS.

Graphic by Douglas Elliman

04/03/14 9:30am

The first of four new but traditional-looking single family townhouses has hit the market at 449-453 Degraw Street in Gowanus, BuzzBuzz Home reported. Each of the “Four on Degraw” homes has four stories spread across 3,800 square feet.

The first house up for sale is a four-bedroom, four-bath townhouse at 451 Degraw asking $3,999,000. All the houses have features such as gas fireplaces on the garden level, multi-zoned central heating and A/C and energy-efficient tankless water heaters. The homes share a garden, roof deck and central laundry room.

Correction: Each home has its own garden, laundry room and roof deck.

Boerum Hill’s 449-453 Degraw Townhouses on the Market [BBH]
451 Degraw Street [Corcoran]
New Look for Four Traditional Townhouses Going up on Degraw Street [Brownstoner]

04/02/14 10:45am


The first report is out that confirms anecdotal evidence of rapid price gains in Brownstone Brooklyn and North Brooklyn in the last year. Prices of homes of all types were up 34 percent in the first quarter, compared to the same period last year, according to a report from real estate firm Ideal Properties Group. Prices were also up 16 percent in the first quarter compared to the previous quarter.

The gains have been particularly steep in so-called emerging markets, according to our own calculations. Buyers looking for bargains on townhouses in Bed Stuy, Crown Heights and Prospect Lefferts Gardens have seen price increases of anywhere from 30 to 100 percent since January, depending on location and type of house, we believe. For example, nice but not spectacular three- and four-story brownstones, renovated and with details, in east Bed Stuy that would have gone for $600,000 to $700,000 or so at the end of 2012 are now selling for $800,000 to over a million dollars.

In January of 2013, we started hearing reports from real estate agents and buyers of open houses packed with 300 or 400 people and lines to get in from Carroll Gardens to Bed Stuy. There have been a handful of cases of flippers turning around properties with little to no work and asking as much as double in a short time, common in markets where prices are rising rapidly.

On April 1, 2013, the headline on our April Fool’s Day story was “Brownstone in Park Slope Sells for Half Off,” which would be unthinkable now. The price difference between “prime” and “emerging” neighborhoods for townhouses is narrowing, as top-of-the-line brownstones in Crown Heights and Bed Stuy are pushing the $2,000,0000 mark — and sellers are now starting to ask close to that for estate-condition townhouses. Top-of-the-line properties in Park Slope are currently selling for $3,000,000 to $4,000,000.

The average price for townhouses in Brownstone Brooklyn and North Brooklyn was $2,205,000 in the first quarter, according to the report. The areas included were Williamsburg, the Navy Yard, Greenpoint, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Clinton Hill, Cobble Hill, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Windsor Terrace, the Columbia Waterfront District, Dumbo, Fort Greene, Gowanus, Red Hook, Vinegar Hill, and parts of Downtown.

Ideal Properties Group expects demand and prices to stay strong in the next year. “The start of 2014 continued to show strong demand for Brownstone Brooklyn and North Brooklyn properties,” said Ideal Properties Group Managing Director Aleksandra Scepanovic. “With a tightening market and rising prices, we expect this trend to herald a busy and productive year. Increasingly sought after by affluent buyers, townhouses are expected to continue to set new records in this market.”

Do you believe the rapid price gains in Brooklyn reflect U.S.-wide trends, or is Brooklyn seeing unprecedented demand and/or low inventory? If investors paying all cash for rental properties pull back here as they are starting to do elsewhere, do you believe prices will decline in Brooklyn or is demand simply too strong?

03/31/14 11:30am


A large property in Gowanus that houses an old brass foundry, now performance and events space The Green Building, is up for sale as a development site, as Pardon Me For Asking was the first to report.

Massey Knakal is marketing the property, a 28,500-square-foot lot at 450-482 Union Street between the Gowanus Canal and Bond Street. A reader sent us a photo of the flyer, which shows the property in question shaded in green, above.

The area was rezoned to allow for mixed-use residential and commercial development, according to the flyer. But PMFA says it is not zoned for residential, and that in 2002 developers were denied a rezoning to residential. The Green Building’s lease runs through 2027 but terminates for residential development, according to the listing.

Site of Green Building in Gowanus for Sale for Development [PMFA]

03/31/14 9:30am


The lastest new development on the market from Brookland Capital’s Boaz Gilad is a group of condos in three buildings accented with copper in Clinton Hill, as BuzzBuzzHome first reported. The homes at 260 Greene Avenue, collectively named Copper House, are priced from $899,000 for a full-floor two-bedroom, two-bath condo to $1,350,000 for a 1,580-square-foot three-bedroom duplex.

Each unit comes with private outdoor space, Carrara countertops, herringbone pattern hardwood floors and 11-foot ceilings. Click through the jump for interior shots. How do you like the way they turned out?

260 Greene Avenue Listing [Halstead]
Listings Out for Boaz Gilad’s Insta-Patina Copper House at 260 Greene in Clinton Hill [BuzzBuzzHome]
Copper Clad Condos on Greene Are Done [Brownstoner] GMAP

03/27/14 11:30am


While the number of homes sold in Brooklyn in February may have plummeted due to lack of inventory, in January in the commercial world of large apartment buildings, it was a whole other story. The number of sales was up 120 percent compared to the same period a year earlier, said a report out from real estate firm Ariel Property Advisors.

The report counted multifamily buildings of 10 units or more that traded for at least $1,000,000. It was based on all data available from public records and other sources.

In January, there were 22 sales, vs. only 10 in January the year before. A total of 40 buildings traded hands in January, compared to only 17 in the same period a year earlier. The total dollar volume of sales was $239,985,000 in January, vs. $47,175,000, an increase of 409 percent.

In fact, more of these buildings were traded in Brooklyn than any other borough in January, by a wide margin. The Bronx was next with 22 buildings.

January Brooklyn Multifamily Sales Report [Ariel]

03/25/14 9:30am


The owners of 115 Lincoln Place in Park Slope have been quietly shopping the house around after neighbors successfully blocked a proposed extension. They are asking $2,300,000 to $2,500,000 for the house, a fixer-upper, according to BK to the Fullest. Owners Michael and Sarah London purchased the property in May for $2,000,000, public records show.

Meanwhile, although they haven’t sold 115 yet, they have already purchased a new home. In February, they closed on a limestone at 627 3rd Street in Park Slope, less than half a block from the park, for $3,850,000.

Built in 1910, the limestone was designed by noted architect Axel Hedman. As it happens, previous owners also proposed an extension that was opposed by neighbors and, as far as we can tell, never built. It has been an HOTD twice. Like 115 Lincoln Place, it is also landmarked.

Platinum Members Passing in Park Slope: 115 Lincoln Place [BK to the Fullest]
Landmarks Moves to Preserve Garden Core on Park Slope Block [Brownstoner]
Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

03/25/14 9:00am


The Real Deal reported yesterday that the number of homes sold in Brooklyn plunged abruptly in February, by 44 percent, compared to the same month the year earlier. The total dollar volume also fell dramatically during the period, to $242,700,000, a decline of 33 percent. The numbers are based on data from PropertyShark.

The reason was probably a lack of inventory, not less demand, despite the cold weather, said the story. One agent said she was having her best quarter ever. We’d like to see price per square foot in February vs. the year before to get a better picture, but unfortunately that information was not available.

The numbers included co-ops, condos and one- and two-family townhouses. The most expensive home sale in the month was a new-construction mansion at 8381 Shore Road in Bay Ridge. The 5,240-square-foot property closed for $3,580,000.

Home Sales in Brooklyn Plunge: PropertyShark [TRD]