For some, market for homes is still hot
As the third part of a four-part series on the real estate market in The Bronx’s Riverdale, The Riverdale Press began with the success story of the most expensive co-op sold in the community to date.
"From 2003 to 2008, the most expensive co-ops in Riverdale rose in price each year, jumping 167 percent. Even the least expensive homes rose from $90,000 in 2005 to $530,000 in 2007."
Seller Albert Cruz said of his four-bedroom Penthouse “because of the outrageous prices in Manhattan, Riverdale gives you a much better bang for your buck.”
After the jump is the March 13, 2008 article that was based on a Microsoft Excel analysis of real estate statistics published in The Riverdale Press between 2000 and 2008.
March 13, 2008
The Riverdale Press
For some, market for homes is still hot
Third in a series
Albert Cruz sought a grassy backyard for his young family. He pictured himself in a house in Westchester on a sprawling lot, so he put his four-bedroom duplex penthouse co-op in Riverdale on the market. And he waited. Three months passed without the traffic he expected for a $1,895,000 four-bedroom co-op in Highpointon- Hudson at 2727 Palisade Ave.
He was disappointed because he had gutted and renovated the penthouse into a loft-like space with all new bathrooms and floors. Frustrated, he switched to a local broker, Halstead Riverdale Properties, which sold the co-op at asking price in three weeks, making it the most expensive co-op sold in Riverdale to date.
For sellers with unique homes, like Mr. Cruz, a shaky real estate market hasn’t diminished the value of their square footage. From 2003 to 2008, the most expensive co-ops in Riverdale rose in price each year, jumping 167 percent. Even the least expensive homes rose from $90,000 in 2005 to $530,000 in 2007.
Back in 2000, a co-op at 3636 Greystone Ave. went for a mere $34,000, but that same year a three-family house on Huxley Avenue and Mosholu Avenue went for $1.2 million. The price differentials accentuate the disparity of wealth in the Northwest Bronx. From the $34,000 low point in 2000 to Mr. Cruz’s recent windfall, prices ultimately fluctuated nearly 5,500 percent.
"I see it as on the same growth path as Park Slope or Brooklyn Heights," said Susan Goldy of Susan Goldy Real Estate. "Our price range in Riverdale is where Manhattan was a number of years ago."
Before coming to Riverdale, Mr. Cruz - who grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx - had sworn he would never move back to his native borough, but now he says, “because of the outrageous prices in Manhattan, Riverdale gives you a much better bang for your buck.” He said he thought his penthouse would have gotten double or triple the price in Manhattan.
Apartments like Mr. Cruz’s don’t tend to come on the market often, but one section of the community, Post Road, has seen more sales in the last eight years of both co-ops and houses than any other street in Riverdale. Addresses on Post Road accounted for 53 sales in the last eight years, rivaled only by Arlington Avenue and the Henry Hudson Parkway, with far more apartments than private houses.
A two-family house at 5731 Post Road sold for $745,000 on Feb. 27 to another Manhattanite, Jay Williams.
"What they like about Post Road is walking distance to the No. 1 train and all the trees in Van Cortlandt Park," said Sanjya Tidke, a broker with John Edwards Real Estate. "Post Road is not a big street. It breaks up here and there, it’s one street in from Broadway, it’s tree lined and there are beautiful old brick homes."
Ms. Williams wanted to trade up to a two-family house from a studio, in part, because of the allure of the park, where she came to play with her one-year-old English Bulldog, Molly. She also chose Post Road because she doesn’t drive and it is close to stores and the express bus.
"Post Road for many, many years was one of the most affordable areas of Riverdale," said Ms. Goldy. One private house, 5117 Post Road, turned over three times in four years. Over that time it more than doubled in value from $339,700 to $725,000. In 2005, 5117 Post Road was on the market only six weeks, but this year 5731 Post Road languished on the market for four months. "The market has slowed down, the phones are ringing less," Ms. Goldy acknowledged.
Two addresses in Skyview, 5800 and 5900 Arlington Ave., registered the most co-op sales with 36 and 37, respectively, from 2000 to 2008. Two other co-ops in Spuyten Duyvil saw sales at or close to that level: The Winston Churchill at 2500 Johnson Ave. and The Burton at 2550 Independence Ave.
Ms. Goldy said the co-ops in Riverdale remain a very attractive option. “As invasive as people find the co-op board process is, it is one of the reasons we have been spared the sub-prime foreclosure crisis,” she said. Buildings with amenities, Ms. Goldy said, like Skyview, seem better able to weather the storm of changing market conditions.
Mr. Cruz bucked a trend selling his co-op, the most expensive ever, in Riverdale’s slowest quarter. The nearly $2 million premium buoys a lagging market. Daniel Wright of Halstead Property echoed Mr. Cruz’s assessment of Riverdale’s bargain prices. “In Manhattan, it would have been two or three times the price,” he said. “I do think when something is in really good condition people come up and realize it.”
When to sell?
The hottest months are hot months
According to real estate transaction statistics published monthly in The Press, the first quarter (January to March) is the slowest time for real estate sales. In eight years - from 2000 to 2007 - 374 properties were sold. By the third quarter (July to September) sales rose 17 percent to 436 sales, the highest registered in any quarter. “Historically, many years ago, Riverdale real estate was seasonal spring and fall, drop off in summer, then what happened when the market appreciated, the seasons didn’t make any difference,” said realtor, Susan Goldy. “Now that there has been a drop off it is more seasonal.”
The hottest month for real estate was August, with 164 sales. The slowest month by far was February with 95 sales. Despite the dip in February, sales remained constant the rest of the year.