Why an Apartment in Bed-Stuy Just Sold for $1 Million

Bed-Stuy, 1968. Photo: George S. Zimbel/Getty Images

If there's one question that's been in the air these days about the New York City real-estate market, it's this: Is there anyplace that's affordable anymore

Not Bedford-Stuyvesant, apparently. According to the Post, a couple just paid about a million dollars for a 1,559-square-foot penthouse condo with two bedrooms (and a study) on Lexington Avenue in Bed-Stuy. At just under $641, that's the highest price-per-square-foot ever seen in the neighborhood. (The actual total price was $999,000.)*

Sadly for apartment-hunters, the sale is no anomaly. "When you hear a million in Bed-Stuy, it sounds huge, but when you say per-square-foot, it's reasonable," says longtime Brooklyn broker Peggy Aguayo of Halstead Property. "Why not Bed-Stuy? Williamsburg many years ago was so gritty. Now it's getting $1,000 per square foot. Bed-Stuy is right near it. And Bed-Stuy has much lovelier established housing stock."

Appraiser Jonathan Miller confirms that, price-wise, the sale isn't an outlier. The latest figures (from first-quarter market reports) show the average price per square foot for East Brooklyn, which includes Bed-Stuy, Cypress Hills, and Brownsville, as $434, a 15.1 percent jump from the same period in 2012. Considering that's the average, that means some properties garnered more than that. The penthouse sale isn't even the first to kiss a million in the building; back in 2009, a fourth-floor apartment closed for $992,793, per Streeteasy.com. But it was bigger and also had outdoor space, which makes it cheaper on a per-square-foot basis.

All this to say that the city's onward march toward questionable affordability continues. An apartment similar to the Bed-Stuy apartment would cost way more in other parts of the borough. Condos in prime brownstone Brooklyn (a.k.a. Park Slope, Cobble Hill, and the like) averaged $761 per square foot in the first quarter of this year. So this condo is, relatively speaking, a bargain. "This is why I keep saying Queens is next," says Miller.

*This sentence removed a reference to the transfer tax, which was paid by the seller.