Real Estate Market


Looks like work is getting underway at 56 Cambridge Place–which The Post reported yesterday had been sold for $1.05 million. This is $230,000 more than the sellers paid for it at auction just a year ago. Not too shabby! There was some debate at the time about whether it was salvageable or would have to be a tear down. Looks like the new owners are going to try to resurrect this crumbling beauty. Wonder whether this will be a single family now–rumor had been that the sellers had planned to condo it. By the way, if you’re tiring of the Clinton Hill focus, please send us pictures of these kind of scenes from your nabe and we’ll happily post ’em. Thanks.
56 Cambridge [Property Shark] GMAP
Recently Sold in Brooklyn [Brownstoner]
Scaffolding Rising on Cambridge [Brownstoner]
Fate of Cambridge Place Wreck [Brownstoner]


FORT GREENE $1,050,000
56 Cambridge Place
Six-bedroom, two-bath, three-story landmark, Civil War-era house, 3,351 square feet, with hardwood floors and fireplace. Taxes $2,200. Asking price $999,999, on market two months. (Broker: Gary O’Brien, Aguayo & Huebener)

PARK SLOPE $2,651,000
226 Garfield Place
Prewar two-family, four-floor brownstone, 3,900 square feet, with two-bedroom, two-bath duplex below three-bedroom, two-bath duplex; property features original details, dining rooms, brick-walled eat-in kitchens, hardwood floors, claw-foot tubs, mantles, pocket doors, skylights, cellar and brick-slate garden. Taxes $3,659. Asking price $2,400,000, on market two weeks. (Broker: Janette Young, Aguayo & Huebener)

201 Seeley Street
2-family, 75-year-old semidetached brick house to be used as a 1-family; front porch, h/w floors, finished basment, 1-car garage, 25-by-109-ft. lot; taxes $3,808; listed at $1,090,000. (Broker: Warren Lewis)

Just Sold! [NY Post – Items 1 &2]
Residential Sales [NY Times – Item 3]


160 Columbia Heights
1-bedroom, 1-bath, 800-sq.-ft. co-op in a prewar building; 24-hour doormen; maintenance $1,087, 50% tax-deductible; listed at $590,000, 1 week on market (broker: Harbor View Realty; Corcoran Group Brooklyn)

PARK SLOPE $760,000
168 Sterling Place
3-bedroom, 2-bath, 1,300-sq.-ft. condo in a recently renovated prewar building; renovated kitchen; common charge $281; taxes $396 (abated); listed at $775,000, 30 weeks on market (broker: Corcoran Group Brooklyn)

140 East Second Street
1-bedroom, 1-bath, 850-sq.-ft. co-op in a prewar building; entry foyer, 3 exposures; needs work; maintenance $450, 50% tax deductible; listed at $190,000, 14 weeks on market (broker: Orrichio Anderson Realty)

Listings from the 9/15/05 print edition of the New York Times.


Our initial impetus to “borrow” this chart from the Wall Street Journal was the Housing Index, but upon closer inspection we realized there wasn’t anything too surprising contained therein. Far more interesting, in our opinion, is the mortgage rate data, which shows how much the spread has narrowed between a 30-year fixed and a 5/1-year ARM over the past year: It’s gone from over a hundred basis points (1%) to just 70 basis points (0.7%). Obviously that makes perfect sense in light of the Fed increases and the ensuing flattening of the yield curve, but we wonder if it’s causing more people to opt for the old-school 30-year fixed, as we recently did when we refinanced our house after getting our TCO.
Starter Home Index [Wall Street Journal]


An article today’s Home & Garden section of the NY Times asks why so many people remain convinced that real estate is a no-lose proposition. Recent history certainly contradicts this notion: According to Jonathan Miller, more than half of the people who bought co-ops and condos in Manhattan in 1986 or later and sold between 1990 and 1995 received less than what they paid for them. One broker thinks she has it figured out:

“Why do people go back to Vegas?” asked Donna Olshan, a broker in Manhattan. “They love to gamble. And people love real estate. They think that it isn’t going to happen again and they go back in it.”

Nest Egg or One-Armed Bandit? [NY Times]


This 7,000-square-foot house on Cambridge Place has been the subject of much discussion and speculation in the neighborhood over the past year. It was on the market for a while last year, and after a couple of price drops, pulled by the owners. Then we heard an (unconfirmed) rumor someone bought it. Now it’s back on the market for $2.3 million, significantly higher than the asking price a few months ago. By all accounts, it’s a wonderful, rambling Victorian house with a massive double-wide yard and private parking garage. That said, we heard from a neighbor who’s been inside that it needs a good $500,000 to reshingle the exterior, update the interior and correct some funky lay-out decisions. If that’s the case $2.3 million seems like it might be pushing it. It is a one-of-a-kind house, though, and if the right person falls in love with it, you never know.
86 Cambridge [Aguayo & Huebener] GMAP


Continuing what is turning out to be a Bed Stuy-heavy week around here, we’ve got a new listing from Massey Knakal that’s a Brownstoner exclusive for the next few days. It’s a 5-family building at 460 Madison Street between Throop and Marcus Garvey Boulevard that could be an interesting play for an enterprising buyer. The 25-foot-wide building’s over 5,000-square-feet and is configured in such a way to enable an owner to live in it and gradually take over more space–or generate significant income. The ground floor has a vacant 4-bedroom apartment while the second and third floors have a total of four apartments (two of which can be delivered vacant). The property’s also across from a park. We don’t know what the rest of the block is like, but at about $140 a foot, this could be an interesting play. What do people think? To take a look before the property officially hits the market, contact Peter Schubert at (718) 238-8999 ext. 6521 or by email at
Peter Schubert Profile [Massey Knakal]


Walking around on foot can be a great way to find listings from local brokers who don’t always show up in the NY Times. For example, on our Sunday morning jaunt, we spotted this listing from broker L. Nelson & Associates that could hold promise. The four-story brownstone is located at 146 Quincy Street and is part of a stretch of decent houses. And, besides the vinyl windows, it appears to be in solid shape. We can’t place calls about this stuff from work, but sure would be interested to hear what the asking price is if anyone’s in the mood for a little legwork! The number at L. Nelson & Associates is 718-923-1741.