Real Estate Market

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A top-floor walk-up in Prospect Heights for almost $750 a foot? Not bloody likely. Granted Apartment 5E at 338 Prospect Place in Prospect Heights has a 600-square-foot private roof deck in addition to its 823 square feet of interior space, but we still can’t see someone shelling out $600,000 for the privilege. The current owner paid $475,000 back in 2005. There’s some reference to a renovated bathroom, but it’s hard to see this current asking price flying. And if you wanted to sell the place and it was really worth $600,000, you’d think you could post a few photos.
338 Prospect Place, #5E [Moss] GMAP P*Shark
Photo by Gregg Snodgrass for PropertyShark

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Less than a month ago, the owner of 445 East 19th Street in Ditmas Park almost lost his home to foreclosure over an outstanding lien of less that $600,000; today, the house is listed with two brokerage firms for a cool $2,000,000. When we picked the house out of the foreclosure fray back in July, it was based solely on its exterior looks—we had no way of knowing what the interior held in store. On that front, there’s some beautiful original detail, some of which has been updated. Whether it’s worthy of the hefty price tag only remains to be seen. Waddya think?
445 East 19th Street [Mary Kay Gallagher] GMAP P*Shark
445 East 19th Street [Corcoran]
Foreclosure of the Week: 445 East 19th Street [Brownstoner]

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Move over Harlem. The Utne Reader has declared Brooklyn the new home of Jazz, thanks to, you guessed it, rising Manhattan rents. Not only is it hard for modern Birds and Coltranes to find shelter there, but the cover charges at Manhattan jazz clubs can be prohibitively expensive, too. So Brooklyn gems like Barbes, with their $10-or-so tithing request, allow the music and music-makers to flourish over here on the Right Bank (they also mention Tea Lounge as a popular venue for jazz. Hm). “As luxury condos sprout up in the Alphabet City neighborhood Bird once called home, artists have been fleeing to find cheaper rents and more room for artistic expression,” reads the article. “‘None of us really can afford or even want to live in Manhattan, says saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo.'” Last we looked, struggling musicians had a hard time finding space in Brooklyn, too.
Bohemia in Brooklyn [Utne Reader]
Impromptu Jazz in Brooklyn. Photo by dubesor.

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The New York Sun reports on a lawsuit filed by the Rent Stabilization Association, an organization representing landlords. They claim the four-month-old Tenant Protection Act, supported by the City Council, illegally includes the term “harassment” as a technical violation, since no one really knows what the term means. “For the first time, they are making a violation something that is not objective but something that is subjective. All we are saying is that this is not the purpose of the housing code,” RSA’s Mitchell Posilkin said. “What the council has done is ask inspectors to look into the mind of a landlord.” One question we have: if there are laws preventing other kids of harassment (like sexual harassment in the workplace, which has a clear definition), why can’t real estate harassment be defined?
‘Harassment’ Weighed as Battle Of Tenants, Landlords Heats Up [NY Sun]
“Woodfall’s Law of Landlord and Tenant.” Photo by umjanedoan

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The Watchtower group first announced that it planned to sell the brownstone at 105 Willow Street in April 2007, but it wasn’t until a year later that the five-story house hit the market with an asking price of $4,950,000. There aren’t a lot of photos to go on, but from the few that are included in the listing it looks like the place is in decent shape, especially for a building that has been chopped up into ten units. (There’s definitely no central air, either, judging from all those in-window a/c units.) Speaking of the ten units, each of those “studio style efficiency apartments” would have to fetch at least $3,000 a month for someone paying the current asking price of $4,690,000 to get close to breaking even. Given the additional cost required to return the house to a one- or two-family, it seems like a tough sell at this price, no?
105 Willow Street [Halstead] GMAP P*Shark
Watchtower Divesting Six Heights Props [Brownstoner]

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This may be the one time we can remember a listing saying that a bathroom needs to be renovated when, in our opinion, it looks perfect! (We will readily concede that the kitchen could in fact benefit from a makeover.) Other than that, this two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment at 1 Plaza Street in Park Slope looks like a decent pre-war blank slate, albeit one with a fairly high monthly maintenance of $1,265. The building itself and the location are obviously sweet, though, and the apartment is on a high enough floor that views clear the surrounding townhouses. All this for $769,000. Good deal?
1 Plaza Street [Brooklyn Properties] GMAP P*Shark

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Our April 10 House of the Day was listed at $2.3 million, a slash from the $2.9 million it had originally been listed at, back in March of ’07. In July, it sold for $2.25 million. It’s a three-family, 3,600-square-foot building (that’s $625 per square foot), and we’ve never seen the inside, but it seems like an awfully long time on the market for a coveted row house in a coveted location.
274 Clinton Street [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP P*Shark
House of the Day: 274 Clinton Street [Brownstoner]
Head-to-Head on Clinton Street [Brownstoner]

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It’s been a couple of years since we checked in on the Olive Park Condos. (Curbed took a look a year ago.) Back then it didn’t have a name. It also didn’t have the strange structural appendages that is has now. (What’s the deal with those?) Regardless of being a few stops out on the L train, Olive Park has fared pretty well in the marketplace: 70 of the development’s 87 units are currently in contract. The remaining 17 are a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments ranging in price from $370,000 to $915,000. One buyer was excited enough about his purchase to start a blog dedicated to his new home.
Development Watch: 100 Maspeth Avenue [Brownstoner] GMAP P*Shark

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The New York Times delved into a seller’s woes this weekend, with the tale of one Yvette Folk. She picked up a Ditmas Park one-bedroom (at, a reader suggests, 1701 Albemarke Road) for, ahem, $16,000 back in 2002, and tried for eight months to get around a quarter of a million dollars for it. Might be hard to generate sympathy for someone who has, until the roller coaster market, had such real estate luck, but her trials could be instructive to some of you out there thinking of selling. She had to do more than lower the price $5,000 or $10,000, more than throw a coat of antique white on the walls (which she only conceded to doing after the broker pushed for it). There was the staging and re-photographing of the place, and finally taking a lower bid from a more attractive candidate. Anybody else have tales of creative selling techniques?
When It’s Not Enough Just to Cut the Price [NY Times]

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Neighborhoods with large Asian populations&#8212Sunset Park, say, or Flushing, Queens&#8212are seeing a demographic shift. Kids from those neighborhoods are moving away, as children are wont to do, but they’re not moving far, according to the New York Times. Developers and brokers say the next generation of young New York-born Asian-Americans is heading to downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City, rapidly hip-ifying areas with many a high-end condo project to be found. Asian-Americans make up 15 to 50 percent of some of those sales; at the Toren (above), half of those who have signed contracts are Asian-American. These neighborhoods are not expected to turn into mini-Chinatowns, though&#8212those headed for high-rise land are more likely to assimilate, says The Times. And, hopefully, enough members of the elder generation will stick around Sunset Park to keep Brooklyn Chinatown Booming.