A long piece in City Journal about gentrification in Bed Stuy travels some well-worn ground that will be familiar to readers of this blog and long-time residents of Bed Stuy but perhaps news to outsiders. In a nutshell, the point of the piece is that Bed Stuy gentrified before whites arrived, and now houses cost $1,500,000 but shootings are still common. The story ends by wondering if gentrification will reverse itself and cites the case of a recent African American arrival who decamped to Kensington with his family.
“We were paying the rent of an upper-echelon neighborhood but had none of the security,” said the high school teacher.
One interesting fact the story uncovered: The much-touted 663 percent increase in the white population between 2000 and 2010 was actually due mostly to Hasids on the fringes of South Williamsburg, not hipsters or yuppies.
The story also quotes Bloomberg in the aftermath of a shooting that paralyzed an 11-year-old girl: “You have a right to live in Bed-Stuy and not have bullets whiz past your head.” That’s a nice sound bite, but we noticed that when a shooting occurred near Carroll Park, the police set up shop there; when the same thing happened in front of Saratoga Park, the police said there was no need for any extra police presence.
Meanwhile, the Real Deal looked into the details of who’s buying in Bed Stuy and found that 73 percent of sales of houses under $550,000 went to investors. “It’s tough out there for a Brooklyn buyer looking to land a modestly priced townhouse,” said the story. “But in the gentrifying area of Bedford-Stuyvesant, private buyers face even stiffer competition than elsewhere in the market for homes and small multi-family properties.” Flippers have been buying wrecks in all-cash deals for a long time, of course, but now the market is more competitive because the potential returns are higher than during the bust. An interesting tidbit: The story said that sometimes the price on the books isn’t the real price because buyers sometimes pay additional cash under the table to avoid tax.
Where do you see prices — and gentrification — in Bed Stuy heading next?