NEW YORK CITY — Owning a home in the city might seem impossible for many: The median household income is just under $64,000 for the New York metro area, while median sales prices are $855,000 in Manhattan and $549,000 in Brooklyn, according to Douglas Elliman's Real Estate reports. But there are options. Here are four units for $250,000 or less that could be great starter apartments.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect the cancelation of the Williamsburg open house.
511 W. 232nd St., Apt. E35, Spuyten Duyvil, The Bronx
2 Bedrooms/1 Bath
1,100 square feet
Open House: Sunday, Nov. 24, 3:30-5 p.m.
Lowdown: Over the past two years, the current owner of this second-floor unit put in a $20,000 marble bathroom and re-did the kitchen, said Daniel Hirsch Sasse, of Veritas Property Management.
“He also dropped the ceiling and put in recessed lighting and sound proofing, and reconfigured the kitchen, closing off the dining room to make the second bedroom,” Sasse said. “The master suite has his and hers walk-in closets.”
After being transferred to Philadelphia, the owner rented the space for a year, but now wants to sell, Sasse added. The price is 13 percent lower than when put on the market five months ago.
The 1937 Art Deco building has a new laundry room and two new elevators, and recently converted the boiler from oil to gas, Sasse said.
Location: Situated where Spuyten Duyvil, Riverdale and Kingsbridge meet, the apartment is across the street from Ewen Park and about a mile from Van Cortlandt Park, which has an 18-hole public golf course. You’ll pass the new Kingsbridge Library on your way to the 1 train at 231st Street at Broadway, five blocks away. Express buses to and from Manhattan stop at 230th Street.
For shopping and dining, “there’s a Target and a Marshall’s at 225th," Sasse said. [There aren’t] a lot of Zagat-rated restaurants, but there are a few.”
Why put it on your open house calendar? “It’s good value for the size and a gorgeous building,” Sasse said. “You have the benefit of being near Riverdale, but not on the Henry Hudson Parkway."
175 Zoe St., Apt. 6R, Dongan Hills, Staten Island
1 Bedroom/2 Baths
810 square feet
Common Charges: $335/month
Real Estate Taxes: $270/month
Open House: Sunday, Nov. 24, noon to 2 p.m.
Lowdown: If you don’t mind having most of your rooms separated by staircases and you desire outdoor space, this triplex unit has a balcony off the living room on the second floor and a rooftop deck off the third-floor bedroom. The kitchen, which was updated a few years ago, is on the entry-level floor.
"It’s a special apartment with three floors, a loft-like feel, double-height ceilings, and a large deck for entertaining plus a balcony,” said Roya Cohen, of Coldwell Banker Bellmarc.
The 30-year-old building has roughly 100 units. Maintenance includes gas and hot water, Cohen added, plus there’s laundry in the building, storage available and assigned parking.
Location: Dongan Hills is in the east end of Staten Island, south of Todt Hill. Last Chance Pond Park is a block away, and General Douglas Macarthur Park is on the other side of the hill that Zoe Street overlooks. The Jefferson Avenue Staten Island Railway station is about four blocks away.
Why put it on your open house calendar? “It’s not a cookie-cutter space. And it’s a good price point, especially for a first-time buyer," Cohen said.
549 W. 123rd St., Apt. 15E, Morningside Heights, Manhattan
500 square feet
Open House: Sunday, Nov. 24, 11 a.m. to noon.
Lowdown: This studio overlooks the greenery of Morningside Gardens — a 980-apartment co-op development on nine landscaped acres between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. The complex was built in 1957 as affordable housing to middle-income residents, many of whom worked at nearby educational and religious institutions.
“There’s a nice contrast between the city and nature,” said Frank Aguilar, of the Morningside Heights Housing Corporation, which manages the buildings. “With the gardens, it feels as if you’re not in the city.”
The previous owner completely renovated the apartment, he noted.
“There are no income restrictions for buying into the co-op," Aguilar said. "But to assure they’re affordable to middle-income earners, there is a cap on the price of the apartments."
The prices are set yearly, based on a formula that looks at the financial health of the building, he explained.
In addition to the gardens, amenities include a gym, woodshop and ceramic studio, Aguilar said, adding, “Even though we’re a big complex, it’s very community oriented and diverse.”
Location: The complex sits north of Columbia University’s main campus. Michelin-starred chef Derrick Styczek opened seafood restaurant Domain earlier this year on Broadway near 112th Street. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and the Cotton Club are a couple blocks northwest; there’s a shuttle bus to the Fairway Market at 132nd Street. The 1 train 125th Street station and crosstown buses are at the northwest corner of the development.
Why put it on your open house calendar? Aside from the below-market price point, it has bucolic views, and new services will open in the area as Harlem continues to develop and Columbia moves forward with expansion plans.
256 S. Fourth St., Apt. 26, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
1 Bedroom/1 Bath
500 square feet
Open House: Sunday, Nov. 24, 1-2 p.m.
UPDATE: This open house has been canceled as the apartment went into contract Friday morning. The broker has a similar unit for sale at 330 S. Third St., Apt. 23.
Lowdown: This six-story, 1915 building is a limited-equity co-op with units priced at 40 to 60 percent below market rates. For this unit, a qualified buyer’s household income cannot exceed $69,750 for one person or $79,725 for a two-person household.
There are no resale restrictions, but there is a 20 percent flip tax, said Kaye Stewart, of Leiter Realty Group.
“The building is run by a professional property management group, so it’s very clean,” Stewart said of the Housing Development & Finance Corporation (HDFC) co-op. “The apartment faces south, and there are windows in every room, so you get a lot of light.”
The unit has its own washer and dryer, Leiter added.
The price has dropped by $20,000 since it was first listed in July.
Location: South Williamsburg is more popular than ever, with myriad restaurants, bars and shops. The Brooklyn Bridge entrance is steps away, so it’s an easy walk or bike ride to Manhattan. The J, M, Z stop at Marcy Avenue is two blocks south.
Why put it on your open house calendar? The mortgage and maintenance combined is less than the neighborhood’s average for one-bedroom rentals.
“If you want a starter apartment and don’t want to throw money out in rent that goes up every year, you’re paying below market and you own,” Stewart said. “You’re definitely getting good value.”