Oct. 27, 2013 By Christian Murray
In the 1920s, the Sunnyside Gardens district was designed to provide affordable housing for the working class.
Nearly a century later those same homes are far from affordable—with many topping the $1 million mark.
This year, the Sunnyside Gardens real estate market has been booming—with recording-breaking sales prices and buyers bidding well above the offering price.
Earlier this month, a 3-family home sold for $1.26 million (39-02 45th Street), which real estate brokers believe is an all time record for a Gardens’ house.
“The market is very strong,” said Amy Fitzgerald Bottero, the owner of Welcome Home Real Estate, which brokered deal. “Inventory is very low and we are seeing multiple bids.”
Meanwhile, a 2-family house, located at 39-47 48th Street, is in contract for around $1.160million. If the deal goes through, it would be a record sale price for a 2-family house.
John Gonzales, who is brokering the 2-family deal for Exit Realty, said that buyers want to snap up Gardens properties as soon as they hit the market
In September, a record value was obtained for a 1 family home (39-26 46th Street)—selling at $810,000, Bottero said.
More than 20% down is most definitely not the norm in Brooklyn. Values have been constant in Brooklyn so there is not the same problem with low appraisals. The problem is more in neighborhoods like Sunnyside Gardens and other so called up and coming neighborhoods where people are paying more than the properties are actually worth (and no, I don’t want to get into the argument about a house being worth what someone is willing to pay. The fact is people are overpaying). That combined with low inventory means that the appraiser is looking at just a few recent sales that aren’t nearly as high as what people are now offering out of pure fear for these tiny houses. You’re better off looking somewhere like Astoria if you’re interested in Queens because the values there are more steady.
I checked out this neighbourhood and was told by agent that I really needed at least 30% cash. When asking why they said because the appraisals from the lenders are coming in usually 10% less than agreed selling prices (which on a 900K property is quite a lot). According to the agents this is normal for a popular neighborhood in NYC, e.g. much of Brooklyn. Is this true ?
Something to consider when buying into this neighborhood is the fact that you have to deal with the NYC landmarks commission on a lot of home improvements, including things in the backyard which is not the norm with landmarked properties. Want to fence your backyard, you know the property you paid so much for? Not without landmarks’ permission and in no event can that fence exceed 3’6″. And think about where you’re going to get approval to put in central air or split unit compressors dealing with landmarks if they can’t go in back. Also note that 48 Street is a NYC bus route – not so quiet and serene anymore . . . A small house with one bathroom and an unfinished basement that still has a tiny oil tank (and those Con Ed rebates are done now folks) and hasn’t yet been converted to gas shouldn’t sell over $100k over its asking price, but that’s what’s happening at this very moment. Then people have to put down huge down payments because the appraisals come in low. It’s sad.
This neighbourhood has a lot going for it and is getting better all the time. I am one of those who has paid what could well be over the odds, but it’s worth it to live in this dynamic yet peaceful area, so close to manhattan.
@ Sunnyside Up. Just because realtors are able to sell prices for higher than owners does not mean they are driving up prices. If noone buys them they will be forced to lower the prices. Many people over paying for this small 2 family houses will regret it, they really don’t have a lot of space and you have to be lucky to find a tenant who would want to live in the other small units.
case in point
People who complain should just learn how to make more money.
I hereby request that every single person making a comment about what something is worth take a basic economics course. In the United States of America we have a system called capitalism and we don’t put restrictions on what people can sell houses for New York City… it’s called a market economy.
If you think these things should be dictated by a regulatory agency, the government, or other entities that aren’t the free market then you can lobby your elected officials to introduce legislation so that we can move to a more socialist economy. I’m not judging socialism or capitalism or market economy or not, I’m just stating the facts. If you do a little research and understand supply and demand and basic economics we can have a discussion that’s at least based in reality.
I have been priced out of several neighborhoods in New York City. I came to Sunnyside expressly because I got priced out of Brooklyn as a renter. I don’t like this but it’s a reality. New York is a growing economy more people are moving to the city than leaving. Certain neighborhoods are increasing in popularity and others not. You can blame the media you can blame whoever you want the reality is supply and demand. Prices go down if the demand goes down. Just like other neighborhoods that got discovered, Sunnyside is no longer a secret and is now known and popular and people want to live here are willing to pay a lot to live here.
ME is right. Buying a 2/3 family place and converting it to a 1 family right now is more economical than doing something in neighboring Brooklyn and is not even on the same planet as the cost in Manhattan.
Ideally, you can buy a 2/3 family, convert it to a 1 family and give yourself 1500-2000+ square feet of living space 20 mins from Manhattan. After renovations your total dollars in are on par or even less than places in Brooklyn and you get get to design your place from scratch.
This is why prices are in increasing- Folks are just doing the math. It is not because real estate agents are drivign up the price- It is pure numbers. People are realizing that even after initial purchase at $800K and additional $ for renovations you are still ahead of the game when comparing it to other options…..
Prices should settle when that arbitrage no longer exists.
queenie the BEST time is to buy a $300K house is at 10+% interest.
all extra payments pay down the principle real fast so you can OWN THE HOME… like pay off a 30 yr mortgage in 15 or less…. can’t do that with a $700-900 K house…. ….
The south has become a “minority” cesspool.
You can’t just look at the sale price. It’s all about that monthly nut. With interest rates so low, it’s cheaper to buy a 900k home now than it was to buy a 700k home just 10 years ago.
The way I see it, in a couple years $800K could be viewed as a bargain.
Hey I see that too….but then minimum wage will be $19.99 hr…..to pay for it.
Queens Character & Me are absolutely correct. There are houses in Forest Hills, Brooklyn & Riverdale selling for 2 or 3 times the cost of the gardens houses for the same square footage. Houses in Manhattan are 7 or 8 times the cost. The houses in Sunnyside are still a pretty good deal for a desirable neighborhood in NYC. Still much cheaper b/c Sunnyside does not have the cache of those other neighborhoods. Everything is relative.
Most of the people buying these houses are living in them and, as stated above, many 2 and 3 family houses are being used as 1 family houses.
Many couples in NYC easily make over 350k combined. A lawyer making 200K and a tech consultant making 150k to 200k is common and very realistic. That income is sufficient to buy a 1.2 mil home, especially with a decent down payment. That couple could easily have a 300k down payment, from either the sale of a coop bought a long time ago or just from savings. That moves to Sunnyside Gardens because it is a great place to raise a family and a great commute.
October 28, 2013 • 2:43 pm
“THEY are the other MAJOR reason of this craziness. It also might come as a surprise to you that they get paid by percentage of the selling price. Also, do your little research on your own as well and see what is the price difference on homes sell by owners.”
Anyone who has ever sold our bought RE wouldn’t be surprised that agents take a cut. I work in RE also, but not as a realtor. When they are the selling broker, yes it is in their best interest to get the highest price, not just for THEIR pockets but for the client’s pockets.
HOWEVER nothing is worse than an overpriced listing that is on the market for a long time. If they overprice it, people won’t pay and they’ve wasted their own time. Would you rather make a $10k commission in 1 month and move on to the next $10k project or spend 6 months and numerous price cuts on a $15k commission? The best realtors know it is in their best interest to sell fast and fair, not necessarily high.
And the fact of the matter is if no one was willing to PAY the asking price, no one would be collecting anything.
The value proposition of living in Sunnyside is pretty clear to me.
5-10 years ago, did anyone think Williamsburg, Greenpoint, DUMBO houses/apartments would be valued where they are today?
The way I see it, in a couple years $800K could be viewed as a bargain.
As LIC continues to grow, people will edge out to Sunnyside more and more and businesses will follow. This is good for the community.
Real estate, as i stated above there is no way to pay the inflated mortgage without creating an illegal apartment or 2….we need seriously call the housing inspectors, and maybe that will lower prices.
America cannot survive on high home prices. This is the best it gets If you dont have a job well you wont get one in the future either.
It might be interesting to know if the people buying these houses are actually living in them. Lots of houses in this area are being illegally subdivided. In fact, when I first moved to Sunnyside, I rented a place through Welcome Home that was, and still is illegally subdivided. They never told me that there were multiple dwellings in the same house. I was shocked to find someone living in my basement the first week that I moved in.
PS i see where your MATH is all wrong you think the live in owner should pay 1/3 of the bills in a 3 family house…..and leave himself open to BIG LOSSES if the tenant is a loser.
Disagree all you want its a MATH problem and when the crap hits YOUR fan and YOUR income is Unemployment….then you WANT your 2 paying tenants to cover your share of the bills…..
Using the present figures You would be in foreclosure probably in a year after you empty your savings and your 401K…with minimal income coming in then what if you got a tenant from HELL????
If your mortgage is $4000 then the rental income from the 2 apartments should be very close to that or DON’T BUY!
See Math is hard for a lot of people.
Rikki I disagree w/ you. The 3 family homes in the gardens are over twice the size of the 1 family houses. According to this article, they are getting 100% more square footage for 50% more money
Trend is to buy 2 family and convert to 1 family. For same price as a two bedroom in Manhatan you can have a duplex with backyard 15 minutes away.
If you are looking for a quieter life- it is the way to go.
I am not sure I follow the logic of people saying things are overpriced and driven by agents in Sunnyside. The market speaks for itself- if they were overpriced they wouldn’t sell.
Logic would dictate that nobody in their right mind would pay $500K for a 500 sq foot studio in Manhattan but they do…..and those prices are constant.
I tend to think Sunnyside has been an anomaly in a usually efficient market. Perhaps in the past year or so the market is finally becoming efficient and realizing the value of living 20 minutes from Manhattan and getting more space.
@Krissi: One of the reasons homes on the North Side of QB sell for much more than the South Side is school District. North is District 30, South is District 24. District 30 has charter schools and the local school, PS 150 (which has some issues) has a sought after dual language program and the local G&T is housed there too. I’m on a local moms group and I can’t tell you the number of parents who don’t look into school district options before purchasing a place. Boggles my mind.
@SunnysideUP: I’m not a realtor but I’m well aware of the commission realtors make. Still, I don’t know of any Gardens homes that were sold by owner in recent years. Also, if a realtor can get you so much more (factoring in the commission) than an owner who doesn’t use a realtor is daft.
tiny, teeny houses.
I adore the Gardens neighborhood, However, the value for the size of the houses just isn’t there for me. When our family grows we are probably going to stay on the southside (if its still affordable) where you can get a larger house with a more private backyard for a lower price per square foot.
That being said I totally understand why people are paying so much for Gardens homes. It’s a beautiful area with a great commute!
@ Billy and @Me
I know supply and demand, I took economics class and to your surprise I am also a licensed Realtor (not working as a Realtor though). Supply and demand do play a major role into this bubble but on the contrary of what Realtors want you to believe, THEY are the other MAJOR reason of this craziness. It also might come as a surprise to you that they get paid by percentage of the selling price. Also, do your little research on your own as well and see what is the price difference on homes sell by owners.
Rikki I disagree w/ you. The 3 family homes in the gardens are over twice the size of the 1 family houses. According to this article, they are getting 100% more square footage for 50% more money. Maybe they want their relatives to live in the other apartments, who knows All of that doesn’t really matter. It’s location, location, location & after that, the square footage, lot size & condition of the home.
I would not buy a house for that kind of money in that neighborhood. Ridiculous.
This is Wayyyyyyy overpriced if you buy a LEGAL AND I STRESS LEGAL…3 family house the 2 rentals should cover most or all of your expenses so you can live and raise your family literally for free for the inconvenience of having to be a landlord and deal with the problems associated with it… this is known as PROFIT…..
The mortgage would be around $4,000-$5,000, with $3,000 rental income on a 3-family. That’s a bargain.
BTW, there aren’t jobs in the Poconos – that’s why houses are 150K, supply & demand again…
that’s the whole point BOO – supply & demand – their proximity to Manhattan make these houses very valuable – you can buy a brand new house in the Poconos for 150K but you’ll have to commute 2 hours each way unless you can get a job there.
The worth and value of real estate is what a person is willing to pay for it. Eager buyers are pushing up prices.
@SunnysideUP: You are pathetically misinformed. 2 Family houses in the Gardens were at least 800k 2 years ago, way above 500K. During the last downturn, prices did go down a bit but not substantially. Perhaps you should spend some time informing yourself (it’s called research) before posting incorrect information.
your kidding right? more than $500k to live in a miniatur wunderland with no place to park. the reality is supply and demand. there are not enough free standing homes to accommodate everyone. the rest of us need to battle it out with others for sad little one or two bedrooms. these are usually priced according to some sort of cloudy vision of how wonderful the neighborhood really is. cue exit music leaving on a jet plane.
Who the heck would pay $800k to live on the south side of Queens Blvd?!? Dumb, dumb, dumb.
@Sunnyside Up – That’s silly, the realtors are making the homes more expensive? Have you ever taken an economics class? Homes are only worth
what people are willing to pay for them. Sunnyside is/was the last affordable option close to NYC with multi-family homes. These same homes in Williamsburg, Greenpoint or LIC West have been over a million for years, and considerably more expensive in Astoria. Now 2 family homes south of Queens blvd are selling for 800+. Unfortunately they are small houses with small rooms, unappealing design, not a lot of natural light, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised to see these prices back off a bit after this new bubble recedes.
A lot of the houses are worth more than $500…
Sadly. While rooms may be small they suffice for nice bedrooms, Sunnyside Gardens is a wonderful neighbourhood, close to Manhattan and Sunnyside offers a lot.
Sad as it is (Old Timer’s right) Sunnyside Gardens is a very affordable option in NYC. The mortgage would be around $4,000-$5,000, with $3,000 rental income on a 3-family. That’s a bargain.
Unfortunately many, including me, will not be able to afford a quarter million downpayment (or $1m cash) for such houses.
blah blah blah bonnie, no house in sunnyside gardens is worth over $500k
I completely understand your frustration with the increase in home prices in Sunnyside. Please understand that the realtors are not the ones pushing the prices up in Sunnyside- the market dictates the list price. Buyers are paying above asking as there is low inventory and high demand to purchase homes in Sunnyside. Many of my clients have been making offers under and at asking over the last few years and they have been outbid by other buyers who are willing to pay more to get the deal done. As a result of their losing out on many homes, many buyers will make offers they are comfortable with when they find a home they really want. We never tell clients what to offer on a home, we only keep them informed about what other homes have sold for historically and let them make their own decisions.
The realtors are the ones making the prices unaffordable. They know this neiborhood got a lot of publicity the past years so they are listing the houses way above the price they worth.Just like in bed-stuy: a year ago you could get a 2 family brownstone with 500.000 dollars.Now you need a million and might not be enough (and you will still be living next to the projects). Realtors know the interest rates are still low and people will buy Anything so they are pushing and pushing the prices up. The bottom line though is that the market will come crashing down once again like it did few years ago and the homeowner will be once again over their head. My advice to people who want to buy: don’t offer asking price. Shoot this madness down.
House of O’Shea: You hit the nail right on the head. Sunnyside is a great place to raise kids, a great commute to many places, and (for the most part) and quite and friendly place. I love walking down the street and greeting my neighbors by name or sight.
Tiny rooms for tiny people
Has nothing to do with greed. The buyers are buying the neighborhood. This is a great neighborhood to raise kids and live peacefully. Then there is the proximity to Manhattan. Brand new homes in other neighborhoods retail for way less.
Old Timer, you are so right!
I wonder if that 3 family home is legal 2 1bdroms on the 2nd floor?
All i know is our local toothless handyman is working like crazy on this side of queens blvd making the basement/ ground level garage into a 2nd or 3rd livable apartment so they can pay the inflated mortgage.
Those houses are SMALL. Grew up in one. These prices are a symptom of a disease called Bloombergian Madness. That man and his developers have lit such a fire under poor old Sunyside it has become nothing but a steaming cauldron of greed.