How hot is Harlem?
One indication is the number of times it has been featured on Selling New York, one of the best shows on real estate, in our opinion.
Harlem has been featured on three episodes recently: west, central and east. The neighborhood looks great, and the units are spectacular. Two weeks ago they featured the Apex Condominiums which are located above the Aloft Hotel on West 124th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. The client was so impressed with the neighborhood and the condo that he ended up purchasing an additional unit in the same building. Last weeks episode included an old church that had been beautifully renovated into a living loft on East 112th Street and 2nd Avenue. The broker stated that East Harlem is an up and coming neighborhood attracting a lot of Downtowners. For the Grand Opening and viewing of this property they hired a DJ and The Harlem Gospel Choir performed.
Check it out for yourself, on HGTV. You can find “Selling New York” on Thursdays at 9:30PM on HGTV channel 64.
According to The Real Deal, Harlem real estate prices remain depressed which also means relatively affordable. This is good news on several fronts. It makes the inventory affordable so that as supply contracts prices will stabilize and later increase. It attracts buyers who plan to live in the units which strengthens the community. Below are a few notable facts, figures and quotes from the article.
- Ariel Property Advisors, an investment sales firm, found in its 2010 year-end condominium report that prices of units in Upper Manhattan (which it defines as Harlem through Inwood) dropped an average of 6.6 percent from 2009, after an 8.8 percent decline that year. Shimon Shkury, the company’s president, said it’s a positive sign for Harlem that prices fell at similar rates to those elsewhere in Manhattan, indicating that the neighborhood is no longer viewed by consumers as marginal.
- Adrienne Albert, chief executive officer of the Marketing Directors – “Harlem is seeing that supply being absorbed rather quickly in the last four months, maybe five months.” According to the firm’s data, closings above 110th Street were up 55 percent over the first quarter of 2010, while the average price per square foot rose 5 percent.
- Data from real estate website StreetEasy, focusing on condo and co-op sales in new and newly converted buildings, seems to bolster that point. In Manhattan as a whole, the site counted 406 closings in the first quarter of 2011 — the fewest in a first quarter in years. But in Upper Manhattan as a whole — which StreetEasy defines as Central Harlem through Washington Heights — closings were up by 46 percent over 2009.
- This year’s closings in Central Harlem were pricier than last year: The average sale price rose 33 percent from the first quarter of 2010.
The downturn has had some notable impacts in pricing/availability:
- 764 Saint Nicholas Avenue in Hamilton Heights and 108 West 131st Street in Central Harlem once asking common charges of $775 per square foot are now asking in the $460s.
- WA Condominiums at 131st Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard were listed at $1,200 per square foot in 2008. The lender foreclosed in November 2009 and no units are currently listed for sale.
All in all some notable good has come with the bad especially on Harlem’s Gold Coast and Harlem’s Restaurant Row - of which we’ve often written.
- “Frederick Douglass had an oversupply, but as a result of this, now it’s got a boom happening,” Pair said. “Obviously something happened, where they’re selling at better rates and people are moving in there.” One factor is gentrification: The area has gained higher-end amenities in the last year, including a branch of Levain Bakery, the beer garden Bier International, and the boutique hotel Aloft Harlem, located in the same building as the Apex condos.