Harlem And Beyond Is On Fire As Buyers Look For More Affordable Properties

North Manhattan hits the sweet spot for buyers looking for condos under $600K

By Jeff Vasishta February 6, 2017

Harlem is the new Brooklyn. Wait, what? Where hasn’t been called the new Brooklyn? Harlem, with its rich cultural heritage, may take particular umbrage at being referred to as a follower of its NYC borough rival. But in the same way as buyers from Manhattan were once flocking to Brooklyn, they are now heading uptown.

Harlem’s not the only northerly neighborhood attracting buyers. Washington Heights, Fort George, and Inwood also registered strongly on Douglas Elliman Real Estate and appraisal firm Miller Samuel’s recently released condo and co-op market report for Upper Manhattan.

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Median home prices were up 9.5 percent year-over-year at $575,000 in the final three months of 2016. The number of sales surged almost 40 percent from 199 to 277 as the market provided more affordable offerings than other parts of the city, particularly Manhattan and Brooklyn.

“It’s right in the middle of the sweet spot in terms of what people are able to pay,” Jonathan Miller, chief executive of appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the report, told Mansion Global.

Indeed, that sweet spot would, according to a recent survey by real estate site StreetEasy, be between $400,000 and $600,000, which gathered 14 percent of the searches below the million mark. Next popular was the $600,000-$800,000 category with 13 percent of the searches. For those price points, supply has yet to reach demand.

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“New Yorkers are actively searching for homes that fit their budget and their lifestyle,” StreetEasy data scientist Krishna Rao told the publication. “As we’ve seen over the past few quarters, there is much less demand for high-priced luxury units and increasing competition for homes at the bottom of the market.”

And there are not many markets where the “bottom” is over half a million dollars. Manhattan co-ops and condominiums collectively had a median sale price of $1.1 million in 2016—an increase of 28 percent from the $860,000 median price a decade ago. Too bad if you didn’t buy a decade ago. Now buyers are heading to North Manhattan. Also digestible is Queens, where the median price for the last quarter of 2016 was a comforting $498,000, and the Bronx, where it was $390,000.

“Buyers searching within this price range in up-and-coming neighborhoods should anticipate the possibility of having to pay the full asking price and should definitely arrive to open houses with their checkbook in hand and finances in order,” StreetEasy’s Krishna Rao said.


Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.
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