Harlem has a vast history and has transformed several times from booms and busts, to riots and renaissance. In the past few years, the neighborhood has been a major construction zone with lots of new retail on 125th Street (which could soon include a Whole Foods), and new residential buildings on practically every other block. There are about 100 new developments on the market, causing affordable options for buyers.
A thousand empty condos
A coalition of community groups named Right to the City-NYC recently released a report of vacant condos in select low-income neighborhoods and revealed that Harlem, with just over 1,000 apartments, has the second-highest number of empty units in newly constructed buildings after the Lower East Side. One building cited is Windows on 123, a 26-unit condo (eight units are reportedly in contract) with prices starting at $590,000. At one time the building offered Smart Cars as an incentive to purchase a $65,000 parking space.
Harlem’s bountiful stock of architecturally significant brownstones fueled its real estate boom over the past decade. Townhouses became so hot that beaten-up homes were selling for nearly $1 million in 2004. Developers followed by building large new condos, which eventually drew many of these buyers and deflated prices. Now, many cheaper opportunities exist, like 1990 Madison Ave., a five-story, 4,400-square-foot home with ornate molding and fireplaces, listed for $875,000 with Fenwick Keats Goodstein.