Real Estate Market


Though it’s still a rental building for now (here’s an old Streeteasy listing for a $6,950 three-bed, three-bath), 392 3rd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, is going condo. The NY Times has the listing, with six 1,500-square-foot three-bed, two-bath units going for $1.299 million (that’s $866 per square foot), with $247 of common charges monthly. The other two units are 2,700-square-foot duplexes: three-beds, three-baths with private patios. Common charges are $416 a month. More factors in the luxury makeover: Jacuzzis, marble steam showers, private laundry, Viking and Bosch appliances and &#8212 the biggie &#8212 PS321 school district. Think they’ll get their asking price? GMAP
392 3rd Street [NY Times]


Good news! Toll Brothers only lost $78.8 million this quarter, or 49 cents a share. Well, maybe not good news, but better than the $81.8 million, or 52 cents a share, last year at this time, reports the WSJ. Except there’s this: the company took “more large write-downs and sales plunged again amid the housing-market slump.”
Photo by i’mjustsayin.


Lately we’ve read reports that mortgages are harder to come by for some minorities, but today a new report [pdf] is out that immigrants &#8212 1.5 million of whom have moved to NYC since 1990 &#8212 in New York City are hit hardest by the whole big mess of housing crisis. “The real estate run-up and ensuing credit crisis has exacerbated an already grim housing situation for New York City immigrants,” writes the NY Times. “Immigrants who own homes pay far more of their incomes for housing, on average, than native-born New Yorkers, and may have been vulnerable to subprime lending.” Foreclosures pervade neighborhoods with large concentrations of immigrants, including Bushwick, East Flatbush and Flatlands, and some private equity investors have engaged in questionable tactics, buying property and tying to force folks out to raise the rent. It’s not that the rent is actually higher in some of these properties; part of the problem comes from a kind of wage racism. “According to a 2005 study quoted in the report, immigrants actually pay less in absolute rent than native-born Americans, but their incomes are lower.”
Housing Crisis Hurts Immigrants More [NY Times]
Photo by rich_awn.


What’s going on over on 1st Street? There are a TON of houses for sale on this stretch of Park Slope. On October 27, we wrote up 567 1st Street; on November 14, we tapped 356 1st Street as an Open House Pick; the just last week, we featured 566 1st Street as a House of the Day. Now Stribling has dropped another one on us: 505 1st Street. The four-story brownstone has lots of old-school detail, a renovated kitchen and extension to boot. Looks very nice. The price of $3,250,000, however, feels a little leftover from the boom times. Think they can get it?
505 1st Street [Stribling] GMAP P*Shark


They didn’t cut any corners on this one. After a lengthy renovation, the brick-and-limestone mansion at 24 Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights has re-emerged as a four-unit condominium that, from the looks of it, aimed to preserve as much architectural detail while giving the 1896 residence a lighter, slightly more modern feel. It looks very well done to us. Another sweetener: The building is also a stone’s throw from the promenade. Quality has a price though: All four units are priced well north of $1,000 a foot. The third-floor floor-through, for example, clocks in at 1,441 square feet and has a maintenance of $1,103 and an asking price of $1,745,000. The development’s web site is here and there’s an open house by appointment on Sunday.
24 Remsen Street, #3 [Brennan RE/NYT]


The percentage of borrowers in New York City seriously delinquent on their mortgages will nearly double by the end of next year, according to an estimate released today by TransUnion. By the end of 2009, 6.2% of mortgage holders in the city will be at least 60 days behind in their payments, TransUnion reported, by far the highest rate since the company began collecting data in 1992.
— Crain’s via NYO


Back in October, the NY Daily News reported that Bushwick was in major crisis, with foreclosures rising rapidly while house sales plummeted. But the BushwickBK blog begs to differ. “While 3.7% of Bushwick’s housing was in some part of the foreclosure process in 2006, and it’s likely even higher now, it’s important to keep the proper perspective: the vast majority of homes in Bushwick are not in foreclosure,” they write. Still, plenty of blocks are looking bleak. One resident says half of the houses on his Woodbine Street block are boarded up or in disrepair. And that means the chances of property values rising are slim. “This street is so full of vacant houses now that people thinking about moving in might turn away when they see all these boarded up windows,” said another resident. The City is planning to buy 115 foreclosed houses from the banks, but BushwickBK advocates another strategy: “The best way to resolve the vacant home problem is to let home prices fall to a level where the average buyer will re-enter the housing market.”
Residents Sweat Bushwick’s Foreclosure ‘Crisis’ [BushwickBK]


While mortgage rates haven’t kept pace with the plummeting Fed Funds Rate, the 30-Year Fixed rate has come down almost 75 basis points in recent weeks to a national average of around 5.7% yesterday. The recent trend got a boost last week from comments by Ben Bernanke that the Fed, which doesn’t have much fire power left with its signature rate (how much lower than 1% can you go) may start trying to impact the long end of the curve by purchasing U.S. Treasurys. According to Bloomberg, refinancing can already make sense for home owners with existing mortgages of 5.5% or higher. Presumably a wave of refinancings would help both the real estate market and the overall economy, generating fees for banks a lowering carrying costs for owners. Have any readers been looking into refinancing? Excuse us while we go have a look at the fine print on our mortgage now.
Long Bond Returns Most Since 1995 [Bloomberg]
30-year Fixed Mortgage Rates Down Tuesday [Bankrate]
Graph from Seeking Alpha