The NYC apartment market’s last bargain? Postwar pads

Units built in the 1950s still come relatively cheap
November 10, 2017 10:45AM

The Sovereign at 425 East 58th Street in Sutton Place

Looking for that elusive bargain in NYC’s real estate market? Rather than searching by neighborhood, apartment buyers should consider searching by building age.

Postwar apartments are by far the cheapest on average, according to data from appraisal firm Miller Samuel. Between June 2016 and June 2017, the average sales price for the city’s newest apartments was $3.05 million. Prewar pads sold for $1.5 million on average. But units built in the 1950s went for a mere $737,500.

Most postwar apartments were designed as cheap rentals — often small, with low ceilings and nestled in big, anonymous apartment blocks. They were turned into co-ops during the conversion wave of the 1980s, but kept low price tags.

“For a while, they were despised by people who thought they had the right to despise them,” NYU architectural historian Carol Herselle Krinsky told the New York Times, adding that “things haven’t changed much” in that respect.

But that stigma is an opportunity for bargain hunters. Compass broker Jaclyn Treinkman, for example, recently listed a Greenwich Village postwar apartment for $550,000. Similar but newer apartments in the neighborhood, she said, would go for $700,000. [NYT]Konrad Putzier