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RippleWatch: Harlem Is Scorching

The Daily News kicks off its five-part bubble-watching series, "Real Estate Ripples," with a serious look at the "affordability crisis" in Harlem. With vacant lots becoming scarce, and rent caps on a number of city-backed buildings set to expire, many of the neighborhoods low income renters fear that they're going to be priced out of the 'hood. It's a tricky situation in which even the winners are losers ? except, of course, for Humphrey Stephenson. Reports the News,

In 1989, Stephenson, a muscular, soft-spoken, 56-year-old printer, bought a brownstone on W. 119th St. for $65,000. It was a block plagued by murders. Today he's refusing multiple offers for it, most recently $1.8 million. He wants $2 million, since the house across the street sold for that. "I worked very hard on this place. In the '80s, no one wanted to live in Harlem," he said.
Of course, what Stephenson doesn't know is that when he tries to trade up to a $2.5 million condo in Tribeca, he's going to have all sorts of troubles and may have to hide out for a while in a $4400-a-month rental in Chelsea.
· Harlem as hot nabe is a mixed blessing [Daily News]