'Selling New York's' Jamie Mitchell: Manhattan Is Back

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HousingWatch.com chatted with Jamie Mitchell of Gumley, Haft and Kleier, who appeared in last week's episode of HGTV's "Selling New York." Mitchell sells mostly to investors who buy to rent. So her challenge tends to be finding a super-cool property that is unique, but that also can be flipped right away and rented for the ever-affordable price of, say, $30,000 a month. Mitchell confirmed our suspicion: The days of excellent deals are pretty much over, and it's still a challenge to sell Brooklyn to the uber-rich.

In a nutshell: The New York real estate market has few bargains left, and they're rarely as cheap as buyers seem to think they should be.

HousingWatch: Are there any real money saving deals left in New York?
Jamie Mitchell: People are still looking for a really good deal, and it's frustrating. More stuff is hitting the market, but I see what is selling aggressively. Most of what I see now is pricey. There aren't a lot of deals left, and any soft pockets in the market are quickly absorbed.
HW: What can we find in those "soft pockets"?
Mitchell: I used to see stuff in the higher end sitting there, but now all of that has picked up. Right now I see a lot of studios out there you can get deals on. The rental market is picking up. When that levels out, the studio sales will pick up again, too. I'd keep my eyes on the rental market. Those negotiating deals are fading. When the deals fade, people will realize buying a studio is still a better deal than renting one.

You showed your investor client One Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn. How do you sell high-end Brooklyn as a viable investment option?
Unless an investor actually lives in Manhattan, Brooklyn ends up being a harder sell. I have a lot of investors who live in Manhattan and rent stunning properties in Brooklyn. A foreign investor has a harder time with Brooklyn -- especially when they've never been there. They can't conceptualize what Brooklyn has become.

Does your living in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn help?

When I can get my clients to go there, they see right away all the space they get for the money. The prices are still so much less expensive than in [Manhattan]. People are preoccupied with the commute. It's not bad. People say, "How do I get my friends to come?" They think it's far away. And if they're bus people versus subway people, it can seem that way--that it's a whole other world, but really it is not.
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