Today, we're enshrining last week's fun as a regular Curbed feature: reader reports from residential open houses. [N.B. If you're spending beautiful weekends jammed into small rooms with other strange people, we want to hear about it. Bonus points for tales of unscrupulous brokers, digital photos documenting horrendous decorating taste, and links to the properties on brokerage sites. All goodies to tips at curbed.com.]
In the first official installment of Open House Hearsay, a Curbed operative reports on the state of the Brooklyn 2BR market in the $500k-$750k range. Here's a shocker: It ain't pretty.
we spent sunday looking at 2 bedroom apartments in brooklyn heights, cobble hill, and carroll gardens. after a year's hiatus -- we took time off because of a number of factors, namely depression over what we were seeing --there's some notable market changes. first off, there's a dearth of interesting stuff out there. this is supposed to be high hunting season. but it's not. instead of seeing 8 or 10 apartments on a sunday morning/afternoon, which was the case last year at this time, we're seeing 3 or 4. and of those 3 or 4 places, none are even remotely worth it.
based on a very unacademic poll, prices are roughly 5 to 8 percent higher for 2 bedrooms. and quality is the inverse. to give some perspective -- a year ago, you could spend half a million bucks and a) get a REAL 2 bedroom apartment b) get some outdoor space and c) have a nice building on a nice block. simply said, you could get the whole package and not have to make any of the compromises you've been making to live in manhattan. yet, the reality now is this: half a million gets you jack shit. the two-bedroom shrunk to a bedroom and a den, which is really a glorified closet. forget the outdoor space. you might get shared roof rights or a common deck. but most likely, you'll get nothing, especially if you want to be in cobble hill or the heights. as for the building, it's in need of a paint job and nearly under the brooklyn bridge or attached to the MET grocery store.
one thing that hasn't changed about the search, however, is the realtor's caveat, typically issued just before you leave the open house. nodding his/her head, he/she says to you "you know, i'd act on this one pretty quick. it's going to go fast. i doubt you're going to find a better deal out there." and he/she is probably telling the truth. conclusion: we should have popped some pills, got over our depression and bought something a year ago.
reality is: i'll be back out next weekend looking again.