Oh, Look: It’s the Most Ridiculously Overpriced Home in Brooklyn

photo via Street Easy
photo via Street Easy

The story of Brooklyn real estate over the last ten years ago is a simple, if depressing one: Prices have gone up. Way, way up. It feels like barely a week goes by without news of a home selling for $15 million in Cobble Hill or some other record being sent for the most ridiculous amount of money people are willing to shell out every month to live in Williamsburg. And we must admit, for the most part, we’ve grown tired of all this real estate chatter. It’s fucking boring when you know the end to a story while you’re still in the middle of it (spoiler: prices will continue to rise and rise, particularly once we being to get the sudden influx of freaked-out-by-the-New Yorker-earthquake-article Seattle- and Portland-dwellers). And yet—AND YET—there are still times when even jaded, ennui-filled assholes like us can still be shocked when it comes to local real estate—particularly when it pertains to something in our very own backyard. (Almost literally.)

Such was the case this morning anyway, when Brooklyn Magazine‘s food editor Sarah Zorn sent us this Gothamist article about a Brooklyn bungalow (pictured above) that’s on the market for $1.25 million. The thing is, we are familiar with this exact house! It is just a couple blocks from where we live in Windsor Terrace, and while it’s a cute anomaly on a block of intermittently ugly (and also sometimes charming) houses, it is also very, very, VERY small. In the official listing (by ubiquitous Windy T real estate-trix Barbara Puccia), the square footage of the house isn’t mentioned, but since the building size is 15×60, we’re talking a 900-square-foot three-bedroom dwelling. This? Is small. The real reason to buy this place, as Puccia mentions, is not the “botanical delight” of a garden which will “completely drench” you as you enter it (hmm), but because the lot itself is much bigger than the house standing on it, so a buyer could build an up-to-three story building and either live in it him- or herself or rent out apartments.

But, c’mon now. Is land in Windsor Terrace really that valuable? Vanderbilt Street isn’t even in the neighborhood’s most desirable school zone anymore! It is served only by the F and G trains. Let me repeat: It is served only by THE F AND G TRAINS.

I will say that the home’s history is an interesting one, as can be read about in this 2008 Real Deal article about it and the owner, Heather Baley. Also of note, in the article, Baley mentions that even though she’d never sell the home (“I’m here until I die… I love this neighborhood. I love this house.”), if she did, she’d put a price on it of $750,000. But things change in seven years, especially when those “things” involve Brooklyn real estate. That’s Brooklyn, we guess. Congratulations seem to be in order to Baley, who, if this home gets its listing price, will be making a profit of over a million dollars since she and her former husband paid only $150,000 for it when they bought it in 1989.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen


  1. Ridiculous price, but still better than a shoddily built condo – two tiny bedrooms, say, a “Juliet” balcony, maybe a dungeon rec. room and a hideous faux-luxury kitchen – for $1.4 plus.

  2. so which would you choose?
    1) over a mil. for a 3 bdrm condo overlooking the beautiful (cough, cough) views of the Gowanus OR
    2) over a mil. for a small house with yard in a nice family neighborhood
    I’ll take the latter

  3. It disgusts me to see how exorbitantly high up the real estate prices are being driven in Brooklyn these days. I was born and raised in Windsor Terrace. In fact, my parents’ home, the house in which I grew up, is directly behind this bungalow. I had always planned on raising my own family right here in Brooklyn but I cannot see how that’s even remotely possible anymore. Unless you are a millionaire you just cannot afford to buy a house in Brooklyn. It’s really infuriating and heartbreaking to see everyone I grew up with pushed out of our hometown because we’re just not wealthy enough to belong here anymore. Who are these people who can drop millions on these modest homes in which we grew up and where do they get their money? My husband and I both have post-grad degrees and work good, stable jobs. We don’t make millions but we are doing just fine. We rent in Bay Ridge now and have our first child due in November. We would love to buy our own house, nothing crazy just 2-3 bedrooms in a decent area, and we know it’s not possible. We’re being pushed out of Brooklyn, the place we love most in the world, the place we want to raise our children, and it just sucks beyond belief. Though I know this real estate trend means my parents’ home is worth almost 10x what they paid for it 27 years ago and that most certainly doesn’t suck, it still makes me so sad to see that Brooklyn is now the borough of millionaires and we regular people have no inheritance in the place in which we were born and raised.

  4. I have always wondered where all these wealthy people come to Brooklyn from as well, but I think it is a result of “super-gentrification.” The local rich are being pushed out of Manhattan by the international or nationwide billionaires who will pay 25 to 50 million or more for a place to live (part time).

  5. Actually, this seems a bit underpriced to me. Let me explain… The value of a building lot is determined by what you can build on it, not by what is already there. The lot size is 2430sf (according to the listing) and the FAR in that area is 1.35. This means that someone can buy the lot, tear down that little bungalow, and build a 3,280sf building on the lot (2430 X 1.35). So the asking price of $1.25m works out to about $380 per buildable foot – which is actually a bit low. I’m surprised that the real estate agent is selling this as a “sweet lovely bungalow”, when almost every buyer would see it as a building lot. I think the seller should dump the stupid listing agent and get a better broker.

    • Given the price plus the cost of construction I calculated it would take about 20 years before one would see any return and in my book that is not a good investment, unless you have a lot of money just sitting around and don’t know what to do with it… still doesn’t make it a good investment.


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