Brooklyn Life

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From today’s Wall Street Journal:

With an eye on the weak dollar, American homeowners are increasingly seeking out buyers who come not from around the block or even a nearby town — but from other countries altogether. And foreigners, hoping for a deal, are more eager than ever to buy here. The upshot: The residential real-estate market is getting a small shot of globalization.Given the fact that buying homes — and even quickly reselling them — continues at a fervid pace, it would seem that U.S. homeowners wouldn’t have to go abroad to find buyers. But in places like California’s Orange County and New York, prices have climbed so high that the pool of potential purchasers has actually shrunk — to folks who already own homes in the area and have built up equity, or who have quick access to a lot of cash. Expanding a sales pitch to foreigners, especially those whose native currency has risen against the dollar, can help pick up the slack. Another bonus: Since foreigners find it more difficult to get financing here, they tend to pay all cash.

Comment: While we don’t get the sense that many foreigners are buying in Brooklyn, there clearly is a strong spillover effect of local buyers getting priced out of Manhattan by overseas house hunters whose strong currencies make U.S. assets look cheap.
Sold in Translation [Wall Street Journal – Subscription]

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On March 15th, the city Landmarks Preservation Commission announced that two buildings in Downtown Brooklyn had been awarded landmark designation, reports Brooklyn Papers. The Romanesque Revival building at 505-513 Fulton St. (pictured), which was built in 1890 by Henry Offerman as a warehouse and department store, and a neo-Classical limestone building 450-474 Fulton St., at the corner of Hoyt Street, which was built in 1924 as a dry goods store, and later was Namm’s department store, will both be preserved. Both buildings dodged what Brooklyn Heights Association governor Meredith Hamilton saw as a rapidly closing window in light of the Downtown Brooklyn Plan, which seeks to replace many of the older buildings with new skyscrapers. The designations were the result of coordinated efforts by the Brooklyn Heights Association, the Municipal Arts Society and other neighborhood and preservation groups.
BHA Gets 2 Downtown Buildings Landmarked [Brooklyn Papers]
Offerman Building [LPC]

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Gowanus $965,000
260 Bond Street
3-bedroom, 2-bath, 74-year-old 3-story house, converted from a pre-war factory building; dining room; 25-by-50-ft. lot; taxes $1,182; listed at $989,000, 3 weeks on market (broker: Brooklyn Bridge Realty)

Park Slope $1.225 million
390 Dean Street
Legal 3-family, prewar brick and brownstone used as a two-family residence; 2 bedrooms, 1 ½ baths in one unit; 2 bedrooms, 1 bath in other; 20-by-100-ft. lot; taxes $2,872; listed at $1.375 million, 5 weeks on market (broker: Warren Lewis Realty)

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Pigeons in Dumbo. Photo by Bluejake
When Preservation Equals Demolition [NY Times]
Like Magic, A Pocket-Size Loft [NY Times]
Where to Take Thoreau and Atkins [NY Times]
Judge Halts Fever Floor Auction [NY Post]
Saving Jamaica Bay [NYDaily News]
Bed Stuy Advocate To Call It A Career [NY Daily News]
Manhattan Transfers [NY Observer]
Bourne Bores Brooklyn [NY Observer]
Real Estate’s Shaky Foundation [NY Post]
Coney Island Hot Property [Brooklyn Papers]
Carroll Gardens Bar Braces for Extinction [Curbed]
Selling As Is Convenient But Costly [Bankrate]

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Sorry things have been a bit patchy around here the last few days. Our traffic picked up to the point where our old server host couldn’t handle us anymore, then the most recent link from Gawker pushed us over the edge. Now we’re back up and running on a more stable platform–the only downside seems to be that the last week of posts have gotten lost in the shuffle. We’re going to keep looking under some digital rocks for them and generally getting our sea legs today and plan to be back in full form tomorrow. Thanks for your patience!

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We came across this article on couples teaming up to buy a house together. It was a little inspired by the old world experience of living around nephews and uncles, and it also obviously came from the idea that real estate was so bloody expensive, said Gregg Mitchell, who along with his brother and their wives moved into their new Brooklyn Brownstone last fall. We suspect it had a lot more to do with the latter than the former! As for this being a trend? In the last several months it seems that more and more that when I’m representing a property, brokers will call and explain that they have two couples coming together, said Paul Zumoff, a broker for The Corcoran Group in New York City. We think there is opportunity for some value arbitrage here but is it worth the potential complications? Just make sure you get a solid pre-nup is all we can say.
Not Quite a Home of Their Own [Fort Wayne.com]

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Sheet Metal. Photo by Hugh Crawford
Subways Stalling, Riders Screeching [NY Times]
More High Rises Over West Side Yards [NY Times]
Dining at Sears in Flatbush [NY Times]
Real Estate’s Shaky Foundation [NY Post]
Bay Ridge Developers Rushing [NY Daily News]
Survey Says It’s Cheaper to Rent [Curbed]
Mortgage Rates, ARM Aps Rise [Bankrate]
Around the Neighborhood [Transfer]
Cor B-limey Guv’nor [Englishman In New York]