Where to Buy What: A Budget-Minded Guide to Buying in the NYC Market
In the dizzying world of New York City real estate it helps to narrow your options in terms of both housing type and neighborhood -- we break it down whether you want a $1 million brownstone or a $200,000 co-op
There’s one thing you can’t do without when you start shopping for New York City real estate: a budget. It’s real-estate suicide to enter the current competitive NYC market of over-ask selling prices and bidding wars without an understanding of how much you are willing to spend. Once you settle on a budget and housing type, then you need to know which neighborhoods have what you want, which is where our handy guide to where to buy what according to your budget comes into play. A brownstone for $1 million? Head to Brooklyn. A co-op for $200K? Go to Queens. And if you’re shopping without any budget whatsoever (lucky you!) there are some fun, extravagant properties waiting on the Manhattan market.
You want a townhouse around $1 million? Brooklyn is the place.
Brooklyn neighborhoods famed for their brownstone stock — Fort Greene, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill — have prices in the $3-4 million range, but Bedford-Stuyvesant has a similar stock at more affordable prices. The neighborhood is quickly gentrifying, especially along the commercial drag of Bedford Avenue, but move east and you’ll find quiet residential blocks with long-time homeowners. The neighborhood is known for its diverse, creative architecture and homes with interior woodwork, beautiful fireplace mantles and spacious interiors. This three-family brownstone at 841 Greene Avenue isn’t dripping with historic detail, but it looks to be in good shape and is asking $899,000. A single-family 20-foot wide brownstone at 526 Monroe Street boasts exceptionally preserved architectural detail and is asking $1.1 million. And a brownstone at 806 Greene Avenue, this a spacious two-family with a modern renovation, is asking $1.2 million.
You won’t be able to buy a townhouse in Park Slope for less than $1 million, but you can move your search to the South Slope/Windsor Terrace area for more affordable options and similar proximity to Prospect Park. The South Slope lacks the grand brownstone blocks of Park Slope but is home to quaint, charming townhouses, clapboard homes and a similar residential feel. This two-family townhouse configured as a single-family at 271 22nd Street is just two blocks away from the park and priced at $950,000, but the lack of interior photos means it’ll probably need some “vision” (and perhaps an architect). This two-family Windsor Terrace brick townhouse at 118 E 4th Street will also need work, but it’s got promise, and the asking price is just under budget at $979,000.
You want a co-op around $200,000? Try Queens.
Jackson Heights reigns supreme when it comes to affordable, well-maintained co-op apartments. The large co-op buildings, many built in the early 1900s, have expansive central courtyards only accessible to residents. As well, there’s a historic district protecting the neighborhood’s co-op building stock. The area has a diverse population (Its approximately 67,000 residents hail from countries all over the globe, from Colombia and Ecuador to India and Nepal), and it’s known as New York’s “Little India.”
On the market in Jackson Heights now: This large, recently renovated one bedroom with gleaming wood floors at 35-38 75th Street is asking $225,000. In contrast, this unrenovated one bedroom at 88-01 35th Avenue is cheaper at $175,000 but judging by those photos (what looks like linoleum flooring and old red carpeting) it is going to need some serious rehab work.
Another Queens neighborhood with promise in this price range: Forest Hills, known for its sprawling Tudor mansions and large co-op stock. Prices tend to be higher than in Jackson Heights and the neighborhood is further from Manhattan. But Forest Hills is preferred as it feels like a quiet suburban enclave, yet it’s within New York City — a rare quality indeed. This basic one-bedroom co-op at The Crestwood is just $169,000, which will leave enough room in your budget left over to update the kitchen and bathroom. This spacious one bedroom in a co-op building on at 67-11 Yellowstone Boulevard looks to be in excellent shape and is asking $198,000.
You want a condo around $600,000? Look to Harlem or Greenpoint.
Sadly, $600,000 won’t get you very far in the Manhattan condo market — it’s the price you’ll pay for a studio or tiny one-bedroom in the city’s popular neighborhoods. As an alternative, check out the Harlem condo stock, which isn’t large but it is growing. The neighborhood is seen as a solid investment for those who’d like to stay on the island of Manhattan. This 960-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bath condo at 710 Riverside Drive is asking $595,200 and is in a renovated pre-war building with a fitness center, bike room and a sky terrace with views of the Hudson River. A slightly more spacious 982-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bath condo in the same building is asking $638,800.
In Williamsburg, the hip Brooklyn neighborhood known for a spate of new luxury condo developments that line the waterfront, $600,000 is on the low end for one-bedrooms. Or you can move away from the water to what’s usually called East Williamsburg or north to Greenpoint, where the condo developments aren’t so towering, and you’ll get more bang for your buck. This 600-square-foot one-bedroom condo at 37 Powers Street has brand-new, high-end finishes (stainless steel appliances, Manchurian Walnut hardwood floors, built-in speakers) and is asking $600,000. Also in Greenpoint is this 692-square-foot one-bedroom duplex in a new condo development at 121 Kingsland Avenue; it’s listed at $599,000.
You want a luxury condo around $2,000,000? The Financial District and Long Island City get you the most for your money.
The Financial District is the land of new condo buildings in a neighborhood previously dominated by office space. Young families come for easy access to the Hudson River Greenway and more space for the money than in most other Manhattan neighborhoods. This two bed, two bath unit at 75 Wall Street is priced at $2,180,000. The building has an impressive amenities package (room service, catering, housekeeping, valet laundry, full-time concierge) as the condos share the building with the Andaz hotel. And this sprawling two bedroom, two bathroom from the condo development The Riverhouse is asking $1,868,300 and impresses with Miele and Bosch appliances in the kitchen and a 24-hour concierge, gym, lap pool and yoga studio in the building itself.
While Manhattan offers a wealth of fancy new condo options, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look in the outer boroughs. If you can’t afford luxury in Manhattan, but still want it, try Long Island City in Queens. The waterfront is dominated by new luxury condos with impressive amenities list. On the market in LIC now: This three-bedroom, three-bathroom penthouse unit in the Gantry is huge at 1,583 square feet (with a 1,048-square-foot terrace complete with a Jacuzzi!), and it’s yours for $1.85 million. And this glassy penthouse unit at 26-26 Jackson Avenue with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and an open chef’s kitchen is asking a cool $1.795 million.
You want something extravagant and have no budget? You can’t go wrong with the Upper East Side and TriBeCa.
The Upper East Side is the land of stately townhouses and co-ops with massive price tags, and the closer to the park you get, the higher prices go. This 14,000-square-foot mansion at 57 E. 64th Street, designed by the great New York architect C.P.H Gilbert, has a jaw-dropping, historic interior with an even more jaw-dropping price: $48 million. And this 8,000-square-foot duplex condo at 28 E. 70th Street with views of Central Park has an impressive price tag of $28 million.
TriBeCa offers huge loft-like apartments that have attracted the likes of Beyonce and Jay-Z. It’s the perfect neighborhood to shop without a budget, especially if you want to move away from the stuffier vibe of the Upper East Side. This four-bedroom penthouse condo on the 30th floor of an unlisted address is dominated by floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Hudson River and Manhattan. Those views (and details such as a floating limestone wrapped tub in the master suite) will cost you — it’s priced at $16.5 million. For a more lofty look, check out this gorgeous 3,300-square-foot three-bedroom condo with beamed ceilings at the Cobblestone Loft building, asking $6.25 million.