Many sellers of property in Manhattan may or may not understand the transaction from the perspective of the buyer. One of the aspects of a brownstone in Harlem is the appeal of the block itself. 10 years or more ago, there were many more boarded homes in Harlem than there are now. Nowadays, you might one boarded home on a given block in Harlem or none. However, what about the condition of the homes and how do compare a double brownstone block, one with brownstones on both sides and one with brownstones on one side and perhaps apartments buildings on the other side? How does this affect value?
Most buyers that come to visit a home usually comment that they like the block or the block seems okay without really asking or getting into the details of the makeups of the building on the block themselves. Certainly, if your neighbor is running an SRO or there are many apartment buildings on the block, the feel is going to be more transient.
Every now and then you see a row of brownstones that is by itself and most of the rest of the block is apartment buildings. One such property to my surprise has not sold in Central Harlem but this could be why. The block has about 10 homes and the rest are apartment buildings. Perhaps this is why the property has lingered on the market. Take a look at the two photos below. Which block do you find more appealing? What do you think?
Just looking at the photo in this post, you have 5 houses visible and in that group, an 8 family, a single family and a house that was an SRO being converted to a 4 family home. Lots of diversity. What allows such a variety of uses buyers often ask? Well, the zoning allows it and as long the department of buildings allows either the alteration or continued use of the building, it continues. Have you ever wandered down a Manhattan brownstone block and counted bells? Yes, that’s one way to take a guess at the number of units but not always accurate as over time owners may combine units.
The other question that buyers often ask is what is best use of the townhouse? Well that depends on the your strategy. The smaller units are easier to rent out but there is more turnover and more regulation. You will have a much easier time renting out 600 sqft 1 bedroom apartments than 3 floors for $6500 per month but the turnover will be higher. Also, as you have more units, you have potentially higher taxes and different requirements per building codes as you crossover from a residential use to a commercial one. As always, a thorough analysis of the building combined with conversations with your team including general contractor, architect and experienced real estate broker will be the best way to protect your investment.
Perhaps you should take a look at “Doctor’s Row” which is a section of townhouses on Manhattan avenue between roughly 104th to 106th street. Ideally situated only one block to Central Park, and subway access, this historic district might slip under your radar unless you were looking for it.
According to public records, three townhouses have sold this year alone which is a mini flurry of activity for this section of Manhattan’s upper west side.
128 and 134 Manhattan avenue had similar dimensions(16 by 58 building and 16 by 86 lot size) and sold for $4.445 million and 5.35 million respectively. 111 manhattan avenue sold for $3.1 million due to an interior size of 18 by 40 and a lot of 18 by 50. Currently, there aren’t any houses for sale.
What is widely considered the oldest house in Harlem has sold for $3.6 million to Jack Stephenson who will lease it to a friend who will use it as a practice facility for musician. The famed opera singer Lauren Flanagan will operate the not-for-profit Music & Mentoring House at the location. The house is a clapboard house, landmarked in 1982, and believed to have been built in 1864. This sale while not a record, is one of the most expensive residential sales in Harlem to date. See NYDN.
Due to a dearth of inventory in Harlem,prices have continued to rise for townhouses. Recently, our brokerage went to contract on 517 W 179 street and 522 W 142 street. 522 W 142 street was an SRO in shell condition that went over the asking price of $1.3 million. It will be conveyed without the certificate of no harassment which is needed before a purchaser can get their building permits. Interest was instense and it went to a CASH purchaser. Similar SROs are trying to push even higher than $1.5 million depending on width and condition of the building.
Three townhouses on Manhattan’s Upper East side near Central Park,located at 12-16 E 62 street are up for sale for a combined $120M. The properties can be combined according to NYDN, to make a 30,000 sqft mansion. These properties are owned by a firm that has been linked to the Brazilian banking family, Safra. The three buildings if combined will have 73 feet of frontage between Madison and Fifth avenue. An additional adjacent building can also be transferred for $35M. Read the full article below.
The 22 foot wide townhouse of Chilean interior designer Juan Pablo Molyneux has entered the market with a price tag of $34mm. In 2012, the 8700+/- sqft limestone townhouse was in the market for $48mm. The building is located between Madison and Park avenue and has 7 levels plus a duplex roof terrace according to the NYDN. Continue reading 29 east 69 street NY,NY 10021 UES townhouse $34mm→
News about the NYC real estate residential and commercial markets provided and interpreted by an industry veteran licensed since 1999. Brian Silvestry of BSRG Inc. Licensed real estate broker