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Buying a condo in Brooklyn: How tough is it?

federal brick townhome in brooklyn sold by Sal Cappi

Earlier this month, The Real Deal published an article stating that the Brooklyn condo market was “like a desert with no cactus.” Referring to the heavy demand for inventory and the relatively sparse supply, condo purchasers in Brooklyn oftentimes find it difficult to find a condo that fits their needs. Despite the seemingly continuous amount of construction going on in the downtown area, you may find that you’re find that you’re forced to make the decision between staying in the rental market, moving to an inconvenient neighborhood, or changing your housing requirements entirely. So: what do you do when you’re looking for a condo and can’t find one? You have options.

73-79 Bond Street (Boerum Hill)
73-79 Bond Street (Boerum Hill)


Consider a Coop. Coops get bad raps, and I think it’s because they are largely misunderstood by those who have never owned one. Coops, while requiring a heftier down payment and proof of financial health to the board, are almost always less expensive than their condominium counterparts. There are some nuances to owning a Coop vs. a Condo, and I plan to lay them out in detail next week (I’ll retroactively link to the article here at that point), but the bottom line is that it will increase your purchasing power if you have the down payment to buy a Coop. A colleague of mine, for example, recently listed a luxury 1 Bedroom Coop in prime Carroll Gardens for just under $500,000. Compare that to the list of available 1 Bedroom Condos, all hovering around the $1 Million mark, and you’ll see what I mean.


federal brick townhome in brooklyn sold by Sal Cappi
198 Nelson St, Carroll Gardens Federal Brick Townhome

Consider a 2-3 family home. While the selling price on brownstones in the area are soaring to extravagant heights, you may be surprised to learn that many of them may be within your price range and offer the ability to generate income at the same time. 73-79 Bond, a new development of townhomes that are slated to hit the market this month, are opening up at a price of $4.4 Million. I recently listed and sold a beautiful 3 family, federal brick townhome that falls well below that mark. While still in the $1-$2 Million range, it may be worth reassessing your home search if it could place you into a property like this. In addition to the types of nonpareil features that come with a home that is over one hundred years old, the added benefit of having rental units within the property afford you the opportunity to generate an income to help offset the cost of your primary mortgage. While many people are gasping over the details in today’s newly constructed condos, let me be the first to tell you that nothing compares to the detail of a well-maintained original brick or brownstone building: from the tin ceilings to the mahogany banisters, the hand chiseled molding to the delicate wainscoting, these buildings often possess a charm and elegance that today’s new construction simply cannot replicate.

At the end of the day, do not despair. With over 20 years of experience in this specific market area, I’ve seen the ebbs and flows of condo demand. Not only have I been able to match condo buyers with sellers who haven’t hit the market yet, I’ve also been able to place them even better properties within their price range. If you’re looking to buy a condo in Brooklyn right now and are having a tough time, feel free to reach out to me and we’ll have you in front of your new home more quickly than you can imagine!


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