Yesterday I went over a low comp in Sugar Hill that sold for $79/sq. ft. But there was another sale recently – just 3 blocks south of the other one. 540 West 149th Street sold on 6/30/11 for $609K. The building is 16.67′ x 50′ x 4 stories – so 3,334 sq. ft. though officially it’s 3,400 sq. ft. At the lower square footage it nets out to $183/sq. ft. at the higher square footage it’s $179/sq. ft. So while the prices are just $119K apart, on a price per square foot basis the 149th Street property is more than twice as expensive.
So what do you get for the extra $120/sq. ft.? You get original details and a better location. This building still isn’t in the Sugar Hill historic district, and the buildings immediately west (542-548) are low-income housing. But unlike the 152nd Street property the block is predominantly brownstones / townhouses. The low-income housing next door is very nicely done (though they have the tell-tale wheelchair ramps you rarely find with owner-occupied houses). And the ever critical subway access is somewhat better than the 152nd Street property – just a 7 minute walk to the A/B/C/D express trains @ 145 and 5 minutes to the 1 train @ 145.
If I had to guess I would say original details probably made the biggest difference in the price. Mind you, the property still needs a complete gut renovation, but you’re not starting from scratch – you’ve got floors and walls, crown mouldings, fireplaces, doors, etc… Here are some pictures that show what I’m talking about…
That’s a very different renovation than the one that will be needed at 535 West 152. At 152 the new owner is probably starting from scratch (like we our with our place) – rebuilding all the floors, the walls, the roof, etc. With this place it’s more about restoration – repairing what’s there and adapting it for modern use. It will still need all new electrical and plumbing. There will be rotten floor joists that have to be replaced, etc.
The place on 152 is best suited for someone who wants a rental property – since it has more square footage than any homeowner would ever need and the block is predominately a rental block. This place would appeal more to a homeowner who wants a wonderful old place that needs TLC.
Very different places with very different prices.