THE BASICS: “There are two types of buyers in Harlem,” says Charles H. Greenthal’s Anita Carter. “The small developer who buys low and sells high, and the young couple who can’t afford downtown.” The new residents are strikingly diverse: straight and gay, black and white, Asian and European. They’re here for the neighborhood’s history and the immaculate houses on Strivers Row—plus fixer-upper brownstones that cost 20 percent of what they would a mile to the south. In East Harlem, old-style tenements rule.
WHAT'S NEW: The building boom continues. A flood of co-ops and condos is coming onto the market next year to satisfy the in-between market (that is, buyers with a decent income who can’t afford a Strivers Row townhouse). Typical example: The Sugar Hill Condominiums, a six-story luxury conversion at 146th Street and Convent Avenue, will offer two- and three-bedroom units as large as 1,900 square feet (prices are still TBA). Corcoran’s Vie Wilson calls the development “dynamic.” “There are virtually no new condominiums in Harlem,” she says. “They just don’t exist.”
BARGAIN HUNTING: Head north (away from the encroaching Upper West Side) and east of Fifth Avenue—especially over around Third.
HOT SPOTS: The Sugar Hill Bistro’s eclectic American menu has lured the neighborhood’s favorite adopted son, Bill Clinton. Bayou offers former and would-be Southerners a taste of down-home Cajun cooking. The recently renovated Strivers Lounge & Cafe has live R&B and hip-hop, and Lenox Lounge is a jazz-world landmark.
PREDICTION: Rents have been flat, but sales of nearly everything big have been rising. The best long-term growth should occur with brownstones. Says Wilson, “There’s a lot more product to sell here—and people are interested in gentrifying.”