The boom took a while to get around to Murray Hillmaybe, like a lot of New Yorkers, it wasnt sure exactly where the Murray Hill was. "It was kind of an old-ladies-who-shopped-at-Altmans neighborhood," says William B. May broker Jane Goldberg. "A lot of garment-center people." But no real-estate secret stays hidden for long. "In 1998, everyone jumped on the bandwagon," says Eleanore Case, a vice-president at Prudential MLB Kaye. Since then, prices have roughly doubled. The new W Hotel Tuscany, at 39th between Park and Lex, along with several new restaurants have even added a touch of trendiness. "Its become much more known, and there are young people," says Goldberg. "People realize how convenient it is."
STREET NEWS: Manhattans increase in car and truck traffic (about 20 percent in the past decade) has been hard on Murray Hill, since backups for the Queens-Midtown Tunnel spill into the quiet brownstone streets. "Especially on a Friday," notes one broker, "when everyones going out to the Hamptons." Nonetheless, it is still among the most placid of Manhattan neighborhoods, especially at night. Its also an area built on a human scale, with "a nice mixture of brownstones and high-rises," says Goldberg. "There have been some new developments, but they havent become eyesores."
MIGRATIONS: Murray Hill now attracts the same affluent young families that also look in Chelsea and even the East Village. And since Murray Hills apartments tend to be small, theres been a lot of buying-and-combining. The big towers built in the eighties by the river are to a great extent their own community, and since theyre condos, theyre often investment apartments and pieds-à-terre. ("View buyers," sniffs one broker.)
PROGNOSIS: "The market hasnt leveled off for properties that are well valued and in good condition," says William B. May broker Paula Schott. "We just had a place go into contractwe had to raise the price after the first offers." Agrees Goldberg, "Theres a scarcity of property."
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