Open Phones: Housing Slump? Or Opportunity?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Are you searching for bargains in the housing slump? Are you finding any? Where? Buyers, sellers, brokers, renters--give us a call or post a comment and let us know your experiences in the current real estate market.

Comments [21]

Charles from Brooklyn

The call-ins of most interest were the broker off of Ocean Parkway and the landlord in South/West Brooklyn. Two points.

1) The otherside of brookyn (Bay Ridge/East NY/Bensenherst/Mill Basin/Ocean Parkway/Midwood/Flatbush/Canarse/Etc ...) have different dynamics at work, and neighborhoods like PS/Clinton Hill/BHeights/Bourum Hill/etc ... are substantially more connected, at least now, with Manhattan, foreign rich and professionals galore. Prices are still going up.

2) The landlord at the end had it right, and showed a reasoned approach to sustained renting, which use to be a tradition in the Brooklyn of past years. Many families, in fact, rented to elderly people in close proximaty, such as a top or bottom floor of a brownstone.

Offering decent apartments at below market rates gets good tenants who will stay for long periods of time, and now, sometimes indefinitely. Harder to find those landlords anymore, however.


Mar. 20 2008 11:57 PM
(The Middle Class)

Delighted to hear the segment -- seems like fodder for a crowdsourcing project? (Or possibly even a google mashup!)

Mar. 20 2008 07:53 PM
Michael from Jackson Heights

#9 "Katie's" comments are correct. If $350+ is too high for a 2BR in Jackson Heights, may I offer to #8 "cap" my apartment which will soon go on sale. It is a ~900 square foot 1BR, which looks beautiful after the improvents we've put into it. We can offer it at $275K. contact me if you want to know the full details, pics, etc. Anyone else can email myself if you know about buying a detached home in Queens min 4BR 40 x 100' property. Thanks!!

Mar. 20 2008 12:21 PM
Chris Rosen from Putnam County

Housing slump good?
It's not just lower prices during this so called housing crisis that are an advantage. I wish someone in the media would discuss the financial nightmare the rate of new residential housing has created for decades. Every time they build a new residential house, our towns' populations increase, school costs go up, town costs go up, our property taxes increase, and our monthly expenses go up. My town's population has increased by approximately 25% in the last 10 years and our property taxes have roughly doubled. In other words every new house built costs us precious money. Why is it we hear in the media every 5 seconds that the slump in new residential housing construction is such a horrible thing. I hope they never build another house around here. And that is just on a financial basis, not taking into account many other negative factors. Just to be clear I am not saying people should be locked out of moving to wherever they want, there is plenty of existing rotating housing stock.

Mar. 20 2008 12:15 PM
Shawn from Manhattan


The typical thing, I suppose, would be to do as most people do and avoid any community where everyone else doesn't look exactly like me, out of some vague fear of the other, a psychological mechanism that, coupled with socioeconomic blowback from hundreds of years of inequality, has prevented white communities and black communities from creating a single, strong community. This is a problem that in the 21st century is owned by everyone, this is why Rev Wright's comments are not constructive and Barack Obama's are.

So I find it offensive when anyone considers that a white couple moving to a black community is "lowering" themselves. It's that kind of perception on both sides of the divide that prevents us from bridging the divide.

The bitterness in your post is justified by any number of historic wrongs, by any number of prejudices, and by any number of elitist whites who would consider moving to the Bronx as lowering themselves.

But I'm not one of them.

Mar. 20 2008 12:12 PM
Shawn from Manhattan

Artis Q, you're taking the racial discussion a step backward, not forward.

I didn't write that "at least" the neighborhood is safe and clean. I asserted that the neighborhood IS safe and clean.

And I don't know that I'd be calling myself a middle class white - I'm a freelancer who'll be lucky to pull in $20k this year. My girlfriend never finished college and works 60-80 hours a week. For the past 3 years more than half of our incomes have gone to rent.

Many of my friends -- white, black, and brown -- dropped their jaws when I told them where I was moving. Older whites who remember the Bronx of the 70s and 80s warn me that I'm going to die. I dismiss their utterly unqualified views by asking, "When is the last time YOU were in the Bronx?"

More below...

Mar. 20 2008 12:12 PM
Moishe from Rockland County

Your drive-by approach to issues is dangerous when it involves Israel. Airing a delusional, discredited Israeli Labor Party suicidal maniac?! Not allowing simultaneously a guest in possession of his senses to refute such suicidal nonsense and evil moral equivalences (comparing Irgun, who warned the British before bombing one or two places to stop the British from helping the Arabs murder them, to a nation of genocidal maniacs)?!
Here's the NY Times article on the "Palestinian" poll from the other day: Poll: Palestinians Support Rocket Attacks and Want Peace Talks to End - Ethan Bronner
A new poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research shows that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians - 84% - support the attack this month on a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem that killed eight young men, most of them teenagers. The survey also shows that 64% support the firing of rockets on Israeli towns from Gaza and 75% support the end of peace negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli leaders. The poll also showed that the militant Islamist group Hamas is gaining popularity in the West Bank while its American-backed rival, Fatah, is losing ground. (New York Times)

Mar. 20 2008 12:08 PM
Claire Wilson from mid-town Manhattan

I live in a small building in Tudor City, the 1920s enclave of about a dozen buildings opposite the UN. (I also write about real estate for one of the daily papers.) My building currently has five or six apartments for sale. Some over-priced, like a bitsy but refurbished studio for $269K; some are negotiable, like a clean two-bedroom FSBO for about $669K; some are pretty reasonable, like a 1-br that just went to contract for $495K and needs a (tiny) new kitchen. These aren't "Gateway" prices, but the apartments are available with free gym and fabulous communal roof deck, all within walking distance of Grand Central and mid-town offices. Having also written a number of neighborhood real estate profiles, I know there are relatively undervalued pockets like this one all around the city (Cortelyou, Morningside Heights, St. George). People with their finances in order have but to look and put in the time. The mortgage crisis has separated the wheat from the chaff so the buying process is much more streamlined for those prepared to buy. Also, prices in my building have not budged; sellers are being patient. Interest from potential buyers has picked up markedly in the past couple of weeks. A good sign.

Mar. 20 2008 11:34 AM
Artis Q from Harlem

Gee - Things must be really bad when middle class whites must lower themselves and move into a "black neighborhood" (in the Bronx!) but at least its "safe and clean." God ____?____ America

Mar. 20 2008 11:08 AM
Shawn from Manhattan

My girlfriend and I are packing up our apartment in the Financial District and moving to the South Bronx. We're both young twenty-somethings trying to make a life for ourselves and it's just impossible to do that when rent is $2400/month and climbing.

We were able to afford our apartment a few years ago when prices were lower, I assume because of 9/11. But time has marched on -- even if Bush's army has not -- and real estate prices around the WTC are going up up up.

Fortunately, a good friend of ours lives and own his own houses in the Bronx. While most of our friends flock to Queens, Brooklyn and Harlem, we're Bronx-bound. Sure, we'll be the minority whites in a black neighborhood. But the street is safe and clean, and we'll be living among friends for LESS THAN HALF what we would have paid to stay in Manhattan.

Can't argue with the math.

Mar. 20 2008 10:48 AM

Re: Richard Leslie's question: one reason prices are not falling as sharply in NYC as elsewhere in the US is the weak dollar, which makes U.S. assets cheaper in foreign-currency terms. Unfortunately for anyone hoping to buy in NYC, this is one of the few US cities where foreigners want to own property. So while the weak dollar may have no effect on prices in, say, Demoines, it has a great effect in NYC, just because the city is so exceptional. That said, statistically prices have come down a bit in NYC. See this site:

Mar. 20 2008 10:46 AM
L. from Lefferts Gardens


I am working 2 jobs and still cannot afford the mortgage on the condo I bought 2 years ago. I have tried to sell it at a bit above the cost I purchased it for, only to be blasted on "Brownstoner" as "Condo of the Day" for the outrageous price. (That's a topic for your Thursday guest)

I have listed it on craigslist FSBO for my original price and have not sold it . Now on the market for 5 months and I am living on coffee, lentils and garbanzos - healthy but stressful.

Yes, I was too optimistic about what I could afford - but I am in a shinking box - trapped. Have borrowed from family and 403-B.

Now I'm trying to rent out the bedroom so the cats and I can live in the living room

Mar. 20 2008 10:39 AM

In response to comment # 8, for 2 bedroom in Astoria you are looking at $350,000 and up. Also can very if it is a condo or coop.

Mar. 20 2008 10:37 AM
cap from ny

looking for a 2 bedroom to buy in Astoria or Jackson Heights, Queens
Anyone buy recently? what did you pay?

Mar. 20 2008 10:27 AM
jack from prospect heights

I recently had an offer from Forrest City etc to put new windows into my house, for noise reduction. But now, since the credit "crunch" I haven't been able to get anyone from Ratner's office on the phone. Are they in trouble?

Mar. 20 2008 10:26 AM
Munira from Manhattan

My husband and I are having a hard time getting mortgage. We are willing to put down up to 50% down payment but they are still giving us all kinds of excuses and we are very nervous. We already found a place to buy in Manhattan. We are afraid that if we don't get the mortgage on time, we will lose the place.

Mar. 20 2008 10:22 AM
loss aversion from nyc

wiki: "loss aversion refers to the tendency for people strongly to prefer avoiding losses than acquiring gains. Some studies suggest that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains."

People are going to hold on to their depreciating homes and delay lowering the sale price...

Thanks to our Federal Government -- the same people that blew the bubble -- this price adjustment is going to be delayed, as everyone is praying that Helicopter Ben is going to come in and save them.

Mar. 20 2008 10:18 AM
Richard Babat from Westchester

Deat Brian,

Please ask the people who are selling their houses how much they paid for them.

Mar. 20 2008 10:16 AM
Noise Girl from Manhattan

I've been looking since September 2007 to buy a one-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village (where I currently live in a studio I own), Central Village, West Village areas. Yet unsuccessfully! The inventory is extremely low, and the prices for one bedrooms have been mind boggling. It seems that everything that is decent and move-in ready is listed at $1.2 million. If you're lucky, you can find something between $875k to $999k, but for even that price, these apartments make me sick to know that is what I paid. They are just normal apartments, nothing glamorous, nothing fancy. Doorman buildings, yes, but to know you spent $950k for nothing special is sickening to me. The apartments seem to be staying on the market for a long time, and the ones that go are the ones listed in the low $800k range. I just have no idea if I should wait even more or if by the time the summer rolls around, the prices are just going to be even higher.

Mar. 20 2008 10:16 AM
Richard Leslie from Brooklyn

The topic should be why there has been so little movement when the rezt of the USA is depressed, because guess what everyone is going to tell you...
Few if any are coming down in prices, either for sales or rental

Mar. 20 2008 10:15 AM
lisa daniels from s/w harlem

my husband and i have finally been given an opportunity to buy our first home and in manhattan no less. we have excellent credit, 30% down payment, good income, but it seems to me that from all i have read, no one will be giving out mortgages to the self-employed any time soon. and it seems that if we come across a lender that will help us buy a home, rates are just way too high.
is there some reason the only ones who seem to be getting punished for all this foolishness are those of us not involved?

Mar. 20 2008 10:12 AM

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