Home Buying in New York>Question Details

Jake, Home Buyer in

Which Harlem East or West has prospective investment values? and are the two Harlems safe? also for Morningside heights? Thanks for your help! -Jake

Asked by Jake, Fri May 4, 2012

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Hi Jake. I'm glad you had one answer from someone who is not a lcensed real estate pro. Semerun looks at it as a resident and I appreciate his response.

The bottom line for Agents and Associate Brokers is that we are not allowed to give any opinions as to the "safety" of a neighborhood or to discuss one neighborhood as "better" than another. Alex should be careful as his remarks could be considered discriminatory or an attempt at steering. Both are illegal.

The best way to "check out" any neighborhood is to go there at various times to see neighborhood activity. You should also check other things that would allow you to make an informed decision. Transportation, shopping, green space, schools, medical/hospitals, and more would IMO, be additional criteria in any decision to purchase based on need. Good luck with your decision.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 4, 2012
Thanks for the logical assessment. I guess I will just have to go there and check it out for myself. Thanks for the tips!
Flag Sat May 5, 2012
Number one place to buy investment properties: Las Vegas.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 4, 2012
Nice try but too far perhaps in the future
Flag Sat May 5, 2012
That is a rather complex question. First off, as to the safety question- there are six police precincts that cover Harlem (link to a map of precincts below). Most of Harlem is pretty safe, although you generally want to steer clear of the blocks closest to the large housing projects (both from a safety and from an investment prospective). Out of all the sections of Harlem, East Harlem is the section I would most likely avoid investing in- prices are lower for a good reason (it's structural- new upscale condo's can not fix it). Full disclosure- I am a Hamilton Heights resident. That said, I selected Hamilton Heights after several years of searching and researching. While southern Central Harlem and Morningside Heights have seen the most resurgence in the past 15 years, it's also priced to match. Hamilton Heights prices have come down massively in the last few years- and will likely benefit massively from the investments of the Columbia University expansion, the City College expansion, the rezoning and diversified retail is first starting to develop in the neighborhood.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 4, 2012
Actually Columbia and NYU have had a largely positive effect on real estate values on the neighborhoods surrounding them- since they have a hearty appetite to consume many of the properties in the surrounding area. It's very different from DC. What makes NY College Students different from anywhere else in the country is that you use the entire city to party (I graduated from NYU and speak from experience). As to the 6 police precincts- you have to understand just how massive Harlem is. While the island starts to narrow significantly above 125th street- the territory covered is river to river. There is 1 building in my neighborhood that includes 1,200 apartments...and that is just 1 building! Investing in Manhattan real estate is very different that investing in real estate anywhere else in the nation. You never mentioned your price range, time horizon or goals. Are you looking to develop properties, buy an apartment building, buy a condo (coops are rarely investment properties)?
Flag Sat May 5, 2012
Thank you, but I'd take that 6 policie precincts covering Harlem rather a hot zone, not a safe spot. I guess Harlem varies depending on where.
My concern about Morningside Heights though, it is close to the Columbia University. I live currently in DC and properties near universities tend to have lower values because of immature proclivity of college kids, generally speaking. I know Columbia is a great school, but I wonder if they're any different from any students in America and their love for party should not be undermined. That said, could this be a factor that could undermine the property values in the area?
Flag Sat May 5, 2012
Hi Jake,

All of Harlem has great investment opportunities. The large majority of Harlem is safe!! Morningside Heights and South West Harlem are very very nice neighborhoods. East Harlem has greater investment potential (lower prices) but higher risks in my opinion. Simply because they have large amount of public housing which sometimes is an indicator of "problems". However there are plenty of great residents in public housing as well it's just the risk is greater.

In my opinion the best parts of Harlem at the moment are South Central Harlem (from 5th Ave to Manhattan Ave below 125th St) & Hamilton Heights 135th St to 155th St along Broadway.

I live in Hamilton Heights and love it!! Riverside Park, Diversity, Trains, restaurants, all very close. Think Upper West side without the shine. If you want more information and/or help please let me know I would love to help you in your real estate venture. I am a life long New Yorker and have been exposed to Harlem since the 80's so I can give you a real assessment of the neighborhood. I hope this was helpful.

Best Regards

Alex Marcelo
Licensed Salesperson
Citi Habitats
250 Park Avenue South
5th Floor
New York, NY 10003
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 4, 2012
This answer goes against Fair Housing laws. It is the one topic we have to take every two years when we renew our licence. and I think Alex should go over these as soon as possible.
Flag Mon May 7, 2012
Thanks, Marcelo for the insights. Should I come close to decision making I may have further questions for you all. Thank you
Flag Sat May 5, 2012
I have some nice apartments in Harlem if you would like to view them. Please contact me for more information. My name is Erika and I can be reached at 917-335-8569 . Thank you and good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 4, 2012
You should visit these areas and walk the streets to see how you feel about them. Morningside Heights is the Columbia University area. and there is a big dig on 125th north to 132nd, Columbia is building a Bio complex.

Transportation on the west side is much better you have the A, C, B, D. and the 1,2,3 train lines.
plus many bus lines.

On the East side you have the lexington Ave. lines 4,5,and 6. plus many bus lines. Several bus lines have limited stops. In 2016 the 2nd Ave. train should open starting from 96th - 59th streets.

I hope this helps you in your decision making.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 4, 2012
Great point. Thanks for the tips
Flag Sat May 5, 2012
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