A remarkably high number of Brooklyn brownstone listings this spring and summer may indicate a wave of homeowners cashing in as property values reach new heights, The Observer noted Wednesday.

Without explicitly naming the neighborhoods or data sets that led them to this conclusion, The Observer offered anecdotal firepower to the claim that the current number of on-the-market townhouses in brownstone Brooklyn has increased. The pub counted 91 townhouses for sale in the spring and about 75 in the summer — many of the homes sporting “ridiculous” price tags.

“People have seen prices go up and they’re cashing out — when they see their neighbor sold their place for X, they wonder why they can’t get the same,” Town Residential broker Terry Naini is quoted as saying.

Developers Slate Property Group, Meadow partners, and an unidentified third party purchased a former foster-care nonprofit building at 570 Fulton Street in Fort Greene for $23,000,000, reported The Real Deal.

When Brownstoner wrote about 570 Fulton last year, the estimated asking price was $2,000,000 higher. The new owners are likely planning condos for the property. According to The Real Deal, the trio of developers will probably not combine 570 Fulton with One Flatbush — an adjacent condo building planned by the same team and slated for completion in 2017.


Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen and Macon Street brownstones. Photo via Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve Board this afternoon announced it will hold off taking action to raise short-term interest rates — so for now, expect the Brooklyn real estate boom to continue.

But when and if the Fed does raise the interest rate, it’s unlikely to put much of a damper on Brooklyn real estate, mortgage broker Adam Dahill told Brownstoner.

“People buying now in Brooklyn are well qualified and not that sensitive to interest rates,” he said. “I’m very bullish on Brooklyn.” The one big change he does see coming is that formerly “fringe” areas will continue to increase in value, while price appreciation in “prime” areas will slow.


A housing glut is coming, The Wall Street Journal reported this week. Brooklyn developers have been warning investors of declining Brooklyn rents. But not so fast. We received this statement from Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Tucker Reed strongly refuting the notion that Brooklyn is overbuilt. He says demand remains strong and more housing is needed:

“[A] Wall Street Journal article about residential development in Brooklyn, particularly Downtown Brooklyn, paints an inaccurate picture of housing supply and demand in the borough and the city as a whole and warrants additional commentary. First, the demand for housing in Downtown Brooklyn exceeds available supply, as evidenced by the most elementary data points –- rising rents and land values. Further, nearly all of the 6,700 units built in Downtown Brooklyn since the 2004 rezoning have been absorbed, leaving negligible current inventory for buyers and renters looking to enter the market. If anything, we suffer from a lack of available product today.


Brownstoner recently received this email from the pastor of a prominent church in Ocean Hill-Brownsville:

“I recently saw several notices online advertising two newly constructed homes on St. Mark’s Avenue. Both of these listings called the neighborhood Crown Heights. This neighborhood is, always has been, and always will be Ocean Hill-Brownsville. It is not Crown Heights. In fact it is a significant distance from Crown Heights. Calling it that is misleading to potential buyers and disrespectful to the people of this community. We who live and work in Brownsville are proud of our community and resent others labeling us as someplace we are not for their own personal gain.


Now’s your chance to live in a bit of Brooklyn history. The historic Hicks-Platt House aka Van Sicklen House aka Lady Moody House at 27 Gravesend Neck Road is up for sale.

The five-bedroom farmhouse is one of the oldest buildings in the city (hence all the time to rack up all those names) and is being put on the market just before the Landmarks Preservation Commission is scheduled to consider whether or not to designate the building as a historic landmark. Gothamist was the first to write about the listing.

The home will be considered on October 8 as part of a number of properties in Brooklyn that have been on the LPC backlog for years. It’s sometimes the case that worthy landmarks will stall in the designation process when they don’t have the owner’s backing — although we don’t know that’s the case here.

The home has a contested history. Lady Deborah Moody founded the village of Gravesend — the first English settlement in the New Netherlands — in 1643. This home sits within the original boundary of the village.

But did Lady Moody herself ever live there? Probably not.


The Times isn’t the only publication that can spot a trend. We’ve noticed that The Gray Lady’s Real Estate section has lately featured an unofficial series on leaving Brooklyn (see this and this and this).

The ex-Brooklyn theme evolved in this weekend’s edition with a story about young families returning to Brooklyn after moving away.

We know that a few Brownstoner readers have become Brooklyn expats in the past couple of years. What would you miss most if you left Brooklyn? And would you ever boomerang back?


Is Brooklyn experiencing a real estate bubble that will never pop? That’s the claim of a very long article in Gothamist that examines record high housing costs in Bed Stuy and, more generally, the spread of high sale prices and rents outward from “prime” Brooklyn into “emerging” areas such as Bed Stuy, Bushwick and Crown Heights.

It’s a big grab bag that covers well-worn ground, such as publicly traded firms — most notably Australian REIT Dixon — beating out would be owner occupants of town houses with all cash.


We’d like to ignore New York Magazine’s article, “I Put in White Tenants’: The Grim, Racist (and Likely Illegal) Methods of One Brooklyn Landlord,” but people keep emailing us about it, posting it on Facebook — and it’s now “most read” on the magazine’s site.

The article is a Studs Terkel-like stream-of-consciousness 1,600-word quote from a racist Hasidic landlord who describes a variety of questionable and sometimes outright illegal money-making real estate schemes, from buying deeds on lis pendens property to driving blacks out of rental property and replacing them with whites. A sample quote:

The building was full of tenants — $1,300, $1,400 tenants. We paid every tenant the average of twelve, thirteen thousand dollars to leave. I actually went to meet them — lawyers are not going to help you. And we got them out of the building and now we have tenants paying $2,700, $2,800, and they’re all white. So this is what we do. My saying is — again, I’m not racist — every black person has a price. The average price for a black person here in Bed Stuy is $30,000 dollars. Up over there in East New York, it’s $10,000 dollars. Everyone wants them to leave, not because we don’t like them, it’s just they’re messing up — they bring everything down. Not all of them.


For decades, homeowners have been selling apartments in Manhattan and buying townhouses in Brooklyn. As the price gap between the two boroughs narrows and Brooklyn becomes a “primary destination,” according to a story in The New York Times, that dynamic is changing.

Now owners of apartments in Brooklyn’s most expensive areas, such as Dumbo and Boerum Hill, are selling and buying apartments in Manhattan’s bargain neighborhoods — which now include the Upper East Side.