Real Estate Market

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Park Slopers have noted a number of street re-pavings in the last week, some of which, according to neighborhood observers, didn’t quite seem in need of a new coat of tar. So how to figure out what’s going on? One way is to check out the city’s resurfacing schedule. If you want more detail on what your neighbors have been complaining about, see Everyblock.com’s new street conditions site. On the Park Slope page, for instance, it shows a failed street repair on Park Place: “Utility cut no longer level with the surrounding street surface. Utility cuts are usually square or rectangular in shape.” It’s like virtual neighborhood watch, for macadam.

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Defying trend and perhaps logic, too, the Sydney, one of Hello Living’s luxury condo buidings on the Prospect Heights/Crown Heights border, has raised prices on several units. Per Streeteasy, there are three recorded sales and three in contract. Of the 11 active listings, five just got price hikes. Unit 502, an 802-sf two bedroom, got a $20,00 bump a week ago, to $579,000. Unit 504, a similar model, got a $30,000 increase two days ago, to $599,000. Both have been on the market since April. Their last recorded sale on Streeteasy, Unit 301, went for $462,000 in October, $13,000 less than the asking price. So, um, what the heck?

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During the building boom, condos were snatched up as soon as the offering plan went out, based on sleek Web sites, downloadable floor plans and hype. “Fueled by a sense of urgency and afraid to lose on the next Tribeca or Williamsburg, buyers were willing to purchase condos in unproven neighborhoods, nearly sight unseen,” writes New York magazine. Today, not so. Fearful that unbuilt buildings will remain that way, buyers are sticking to finished construction projects, not buying based on floor plans. At On Prospect Park, for instance, sales were “sluggish” when the doors opened to the unfinished project. Since they’ve leapt from the floor-plan phase, two apartments a week have gone into contract. You gotta love what you see, say developers, so you gotta, you know, be able to see something. Maybe this should sway developers and financers who are fearful of continuing projects in this market. If you wanna sell it, you have to actually build it.
They Might Come If You Build It [NY Mag]

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In the first half of this year, borrowers defaulted on modified mortgages at rates higher than almost every estimate. According to the Office of Comptroller of the Currency statistics released today, 36% of borrowers who had their loans modified in the first two quarters of 2008 re-defaulted after just 3 months. After six months, the redefault rate was roughly 56%. After eight months, 58% of borrowers re-defaulted. “The results were surprising, and not in a good way,” OCC director Dugan said. — Clusterstock

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This four-story house at 1232 Dean Street in Crown Heights just hit the market and, like so many houses in the area, has some killer architectural details. (In this case, it’s the wood paneling and built-ins that really impress.) Hopefully for the seller, this place will attract more interest than the next-door neighbor at 1230 Dean Street, which we featured a year ago and is still on the market for $1,250,000. While we suspect there will be plenty of people who dig the house, we suspect that the price tag of $999,000 for a house in this neighborhood may be a tough sell in this economic environment.
1232 Dean Street [Halstead] GMAP P*Shark

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We’re not usually fans of these brownstone condo conversions, but this one at 502 1st Street strikes us as better than most (though it’s no 24 Remsen!). The building has been divided up into four units ranging in price from $699,660 for a 828-square-foot two-bedroom to $1,140,525 for a 1,233-square-foot two bedroom. The asking prices of all four units tally to $3,359,461, a good deal more than the $1,500,000 the developer paid for it; then again, he’s had to renovate and carry the building for four years so there’s probably not a ton of profit left, even if he manages to nail these prices. Warren Lewis hosted the first open house yesterday. Anyone go?
502 1st Street [Warren Lewis] GMAP P*Shark

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After one month, they’re 0-for-8 over at 271 Greenpoint Avenue. (Granted, it’s about the toughest month ever for a condo debut.) What to do? Start chopping prices. In this case, all eight units, a mix of one- and two-bedrooms ranging from $449,000 to $550,000, received price reductions in the neighborhood of 5 to 10 percent. Here’s something else that might help: Including a photo of the building in the listing!
271 Nassau Avenue Listings [StreetEasy] GMAP