Brownstone Revival Coalition Seminar

(Part Three of Three)

“Now I will just mention just a word or two about Harlem. It’s a big place, and I started to do a survey there as well. I do six zip codes. This year, there was one closing for a house we sold for $2.575M. It was the highest in about, I think, a couple of years in Harlem. 357 West 121 is a beautiful house near Morningside Park. It was the only sale this year so far for over $2M in Harlem. By comparison, in 2008, there were 11 sales over $2M, and in 2007, there were 8 sales over $2M.

Sellers who have restored their townhouses hoping to reap big profits have not been able to sell in the $8-20M range. There have been a number of listings on the higher end, and they haven’t sold. One exception would be 131 West 95th Street, which we closed on last August. It shows up as an August closing, but really we sold it in December or January from previously. That is when we put it under contract, and so that’s again, a little bit misleading as a 2008 sale. That also was mostly finished when the buyers came in and had the owners customize it. That took another five or six months, and that’s how long it took to close. Fortunately, they closed in August rather than after that. It was $7.85M for a 17-footer at 131 West 95th Street. At that time that was the record highest price per square foot on the West Side. It is something like 4,200 square feet. There is no cellar, so its four and one-half floors. They have an elevator in a 17-footer in a tasteful way. It worked out. They did a nice job. It was a remarkable price for that block and that size.

A couple of things about the market. We have had an up-tick recently. John will talk from the bigger picture, but as I said, we have four signed contracts right now. Our web hits continue to go up. If you at all visit it at You should. We are averaging 350,000 hits a month, and that is up from about half of that last year when I reported here and 3,900 unique visitors. They each clicked 66 on different pages and spent 5 minutes. So, we are quite pleased about that. There are 23 townhouses listed on the site totaling $115M, and the average listing price on those is $5M, which is more or less what our typical price is on the West Side.

One final thought, on a personal note, if you are considering buying a townhouse with problem tenants, you should research the tenant profiles carefully, and then I recommend that you take the plunge. That’s what I did in 2005. I bought a wonderful home in Brooklyn Heights where we live, and next week, it will be an even more wonderful home. Our rent-controlled tenant, or our supposed rent-controlled tenant is leaving because we prevailed in court against him two times now. I had my own moments of trepidation, but now we are quite happy with the results.

So, that’s the West Side. I’ll take questions after Jonathan has had a chance to speak. Next, on your information sheet, I think there is more about Jonathan, but Jonathan is president and CEO of Miller Samuel, Inc., the best appraisal company in the city. Jonathan is a well-regarded expert, regularly appearing on TV and in the New York Times and everywhere else. So, welcome to Jonathan.”

Are you interested in buying a New York Brownstone? For more information on NY townhouses and New York City Brownstones for sale , contact Vandenberg — The Townhouse Experts TM. We specialize in townhouse realty.