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Live in Sheepshead Bay For the Price of a Down Payment in Trendy Brooklyn

By Amy Zimmer | January 20, 2017 10:55am
 A shark caught at a fishing tournament in Sheepshead Bay.
A shark caught at a fishing tournament in Sheepshead Bay.
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Vladimir Korostyshevskiy

NEW YORK CITY — For the price of a down payment of an apartment in many of the trendy parts of Brooklyn, you can buy an apartment outright — if you’re willing to go deep into the South Brooklyn neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay.

The 10 most affordable homes on the market in January ranged from $120,000 to $165,000, according data compiled by real-estate analytics firm NeighborhoodX.

The most affordable listing was for a 750-square-foot one-bedroom co-op with an eat-in-kitchen at 2170 Brigham St. that needs an update to the floors and kitchen. The most expensive of the top 10 was in the same brick building, in similar condition, for a 900-square-foot two-bedroom.

The analysis is part of an ongoing examining affordability and the bar for entry-level market-rate homes in major U.S. cities. It excludes studios, since they tend to be less viable as long-term residences, as well as listing with income restrictions or those that cannot be purchased with conventional financing.

The prices in Sheepshead Bay — a quiet area known for its chartered fishing boats — show that parts of Brooklyn are still affordable, said NeighborhoodX co-founder Constantine Valhouli.

“It’s a reminder when we talk about ‘Brooklyn’ as a brand...that gentrification hasn’t happened evenly,” he said. “People are always talking about how unaffordable New York has become. It’s unaffordable in certain areas."

There are, however, still "massive" swaths that are still affordable if people expand their searches, he added.

Sheepshead Bay's distance from Manhattan and transit time is likely a factor in the low prices, Valhouli said.

“Most people came to the city to avoid a long commute,” he said. “Rather than going south or east, they’re starting to head west or north, so you’re seeing a lot of interest in Jersey City and the South Bronx.”

The train ride alone on the B train from the Sheepshead Bay stop or the Q train at Avenue U to Midtown Manhattan takes nearly an hour, according to Google Transit.

“The [Brooklyn] neighborhoods that are closest to Manhattan have an inherent value because of their proximity to Downtown areas,” Valhouli said, but he noted that there are pockets in Brooklyn of far flung waterfront areas that are extremely pricey.

While areas like DUMBO or Brooklyn Heights are often considered the borough’s priciest areas, selling at $1,600 a square foot, he said, that houses in the Ocean Parkway pocket of Gravesend — Sheepshead Bay’s neighbor — trade for $2,000 a foot.

Sheepshead Bay’s other neighbor, Brighton Beach, has waterfront condos breaking $1,000 a square foot, he noted.

Prices in Sheepshead Bay — where affordable listings can trade for as little as $152 a square foot — seem poised to grow. The area has caught the eye of developers and is seeing more new residential and commercial construction, experts said.

“It’s not a case that money has forgotten the area or won’t go there, between Gravesend for $2,000 a foot or Brighton for $1,000 a foot,” Valhouli said.

But for now, it’s an affordable option for those “who love the city and want a permanent foothold here,” he added. “Otherwise, it’s going to be a virtual impossibility to scrape together a $200,000 down payment without family help or a big bonus.”