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Silk Stocking District Still Hotter Than the Trendiest Neighborhoods

By Amy Zimmer | January 9, 2012 7:11am | Updated on January 9, 2012 7:26am
East 75th Street between First and York Avenues is in Yorkville, which fared better than emerging areas, according to StreetEasy's 2011 fourth quarter report.
East 75th Street between First and York Avenues is in Yorkville, which fared better than emerging areas, according to StreetEasy's 2011 fourth quarter report.
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DNAinfo/Amy Zimmer

MANHATTAN — Well-established neighborhoods like Carnegie Hill and Yorkville are proving hotter real estate markets than trendy areas like Battery Park City and Harlem, where far more apartments are going unsold, according to data compiled by StreetEasy.com.

Last year, the somewhat stodgy "Silk Stocking District" of the Upper East Side fared better than hip new downtown and uptown enclaves in terms of their absorption rates — the percentage of listings that went into contract or were taken off the market.

Absorption rates show how fast homes are selling, and are generally seen a good measure of the pulse of a neighborhood's real estate market.

In Carnegie Hill, 41 percent of apartments were absorbed, and Yorkville saw 40 percent of its 703 units absorbed, according to StreetEasy.com's 2011 fourth quarter report, which mined the city's contract data to look at absorption rates. 

Meanwhile, Manhattan’s "emerging" neighborhoods had more inventory sit on the market during the fourth quarter.

Battery Park City only saw 24 percent of the 259 homes listed going to contract or taken off the market, and the Financial District saw only 29 percent of its 650 units go off the market, according to StreetEasy.

"Carnegie Hill is very desirable," said Sofia Song, StreetEasy's vice president of research and author of the report. "[The data show that] people want to live there.

"In Battery Park City there’s new development and inventory that never got absorbed," Song said. "The new development added a lot of inventory. The same thing with Central Harlem."

Despite signs pointing to the increasing gentrification of Harlem — such as residents’ fight against a new liquor store’s neon sign and its bullet proof plexiglass — recent real estate data show that the area may be cooling. Central Harlem saw 31 percent of it 631 units on the market absorbed during the fourth quarter of 2011.

Many of these neighborhoods with new development were attractive during the boom when people were priced out of places like the Upper West Side or TriBeCa, Song said.

"When the market went bust, people stopped shopping," she said. "Those fringe neighborhoods had problems. People don’t want to put a chunk of money on a property they don’t know will appreciate in three years... especially if you don’t know about job security."

The uncertain economy has changed people’s views of the market, making them more inclined to think, “If you’re going to buy, you might as well buy in an area that’s stable," she said.

Greenwich Village and the East Village both saw 42 percent of its units (443 and 200, respectively) being absorbed, for instance, while East Harlem only had 28 percent of its 144 units absorbed.

Real estate brokers have seen this in their daily work.

Kathy Braddock, co-founder of Rutenberg Realty said she saw heavy interest in such "tried and true" neighborhoods such as the Upper West and Upper East sides during 2011 rather than emerging markets.

"It gives them some sense of stability," Braddock said.

StreetEasy's report also includes which neighborhoods are most searched for by potential homebuyers, who sign up for online alerts.

Most people, unsurprisingly, dream of living in the West Village.

The list of the most-searched apartments barely changes from year to year Song noted, with the West Village ranking No. 1. That highly-coveted area was followed by Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Gramercy Park and the Flatiron.

"I almost don’t want to bother doing it anymore," Song said of her task compiling this list. "It's always the same."

The top five most searched for buildings include the Sheffield at 322 West 57 St., the Collection at 20 Pine St., the Aldyn at 60 Riverside Blvd., ONE48 at 148 East 24 St., and 254 PAS at 254 Park Ave. South, according to StreetEasy.