Grand Street Co-op Sales: A 2010 Report

A new report by Halstead Property agents Jeremy Bolger and Neal Young shows that, reflecting a citywide trend, sales of Grand Street’s co-ops began to stabilize somewhat in 2010, with apartments that had lingered on the market finally finding buyers, and first-time home buyers taking advantage of low interest rates.

Characterizing prices as having “flattened out” from the steep rise of 2006 and 2007 and equally sharp decline of 2008 and 2009, Bolger credits low mortgage rates with stimulating last year’s sales in the Seward Park, East River, Hillman and Amalgamated co-ops, including the turnover of many units that had sat on the market for long stretches. A couple of years ago, it was not uncommon for a listing to sit for five to seven months awaiting the right buyer. Lately, well-priced units generally sell in two to four months, Bolger says.

The number of available apartments along Grand Street began to drop in 2010, a trend Bolger expects to continue across all the co-ops in 2011, especially in the two- and three-bedroom units popular with growing families.

First-time homebuyers taking advantage of good interest rates and a now-expired tax credit were drawn to one-bedrooms, particularly in East River, where more than a dozen one-bedrooms had flooded the market there during the lull, he says.

“Buyers would see 15 or 20 East River one-bedrooms on the market, and think they could have the pick of the litter. They could make a low-ball offer—and have it entertained,” Bolger says. “The biggest difference between now and a year ago is that sellers were a lot more willing to accept low-ball offers.”

At the same time, the combination of stabilizing prices and low interest rates induced a lot of current co-op residents to trade up from smaller apartments to larger ones within the same community, says Bolger, who, like his business partner, lives in the co-ops.

The report analyzes sales handled by all real estate firms doing business along Grand Street, not just Halstead, and breaks out numbers by individual co-op and by type of apartment. In general, it shows higher average sale prices in Seward Park, with prices for similar apartments in East River and Hillman about 15 to 20 percent lower. For example, a two-bedroom unit in Seward Park sold for $600,008 on average, compared with $507,500 in East River and $492,500 in Hillman.

(Because of the low turnover in Amalgamated, few sales figures were reported there.)

A comparison with Halstead’s 2009 annual report reveals a mixed bag of price trends. For example, three-bedroom units in Seward Park jumped, on average, 9 percent from 2009 to 2010, and efficiencies in Hillman saw a 2 percent increase. Meanwhile, two-bedroom apartments in East River stayed exactly flat, while one-bedrooms in Hillman fell by 6.5 percent.

(Editor’s note: Halstead Property is a sponsor of The Lo-Down.)