In the 1970’s, the shell of a Harlem brownstone could be had for twenty-five or $30,000.
By the 1980‘s a Harlem brownstone still cost less than $100,000 but few areas saw the boom and bust cycle of the 1990‘s-2000‘s as brutally as Harlem did.
This wonderful example from 1909 at 2007 Fifth Avenue was swept up in the gentrification.
For awhile, Harlem’s economy developed monthly and its neglected town homes fetched prices unheard-of for the area.
According to the NYTimes, “the townhouse at 2007 Fifth was sold in 2000 to the rapper DMX for $725,000.”
From 2004 to 2007 the median sale price for a brownstone jumped by about 150 percent, to $1.4 million from $554,250.
But 2007 Fifth was sold again in the Fall of 2008 for just $571,005.
Now it’s listed again at $1.97 million.
What’s going on here? Recession. And the market sorting out.
“Brownstones that cost more than $1 million two years ago are now fetching less than half that price”, according to brokers with Massey Knakal Realty Services.
In 2008, 27 Harlem town homes sold for an average of $1.3 million apiece.
In the first half of 2009, 11 more sold for an average of $1.1 million; a drop of more than 15% in six months.
This gets worse before it gets better.