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Harlem, We Have a Problem (Or Do We?)

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It wasn't long ago when buyers bullish on the suddenly hot Harlem market were saying that if you haven't bought uptown already, you're too late. Which makes this quote in the Post, from a buyer at Dafina on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd, all the more shocking: "I don't mind taking some risk and coming in early. The fundamentals are all here - it might just take awhile." Risk? Take a while? Wasn't Harlem supposed to be the next Upper West Side by now? Max Gross's story explores the possibility of a condo glut in Harlem, and the evidence is mixed. Sure, Lotta Condominiums just went the youth hostel route, and the hyped 2056 Fifth Avenue is still only half-sold and just underwent a big PriceChop, but retail, restaurants and hotels are all on their way. As for sales, 44 more units sold in the first two quarters of 2008 compared to 2007, which doesn't sound very encouraging given the amount of stock currently floating around on the market. But median sales prices on studios and 1BRs are way up over last year, and 2BRs are on a "modest climb." The argument could go either way, which is why we tend to believe the developer of Fifth on the Park when he says, "Generally, the mood is not as bullish as it was a year ago, but there's a sense of guarded optimism." And where there are Smart Cars on the streets, there is always hope. Actually, we have no idea what that means. We're so confused!
· Harlem Shuffle [NYP]

5th On The Park Luxury Condos

1481 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY