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- The Brooklyn Papers -


 Home Prices in Bay Ridge

and Bensonhurst Booming Too


by Dana Rubinstein




     Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst homeowners who've coveted the soaring real-estate prices in the supposedly tonier sections of Brooklyn have no need for price envy:  It turns out they're raking in the cash, too.

     According to a new report, the average price of a townhouse in Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights soared 22 percent in the last half of 2005, compared to the same period a year earlier.

     That means that the average one- to four-family pad now sells for $726,965, according to the just-issued Halstead Property report.

     Broken down even further, such houses averaged $815,847 in Bay Ridge, $685,633 in Bensonhurst and $678,132 in Dyker Heights.

     "Things started taking off like hotcakes" in early 2004, said Mary Katherine Spach of Aguayo & Huebener Realty Group, which is based in Park Slope.

     "People from Park Slope to Carroll Gardens are selling their brownstones in those neighborhoods and buying in Bay Ridge," said Spach.  "They are getting the quity out of their homes, buying homes with small mortgages and are able to use the [larger] Bay Ridge houses as one-family homes."

     Not only do the newcomers have money, they are more deiverse than the Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst residents they are displacing.

     "I see a lot more young couples ... gay men ... African-Americans," said Spach.  "And we are seeing more interracial couples, which is great, and it seems like they feel comfortable."


     Patricia Killen, who is the director of the Bay Ridge Consumer Federation and grew up in the neighborhood, agrees that the area is changing -- but not necessarily for the better.

     "Maybe the bubble will burst," said Killen hopefully.  "It would be nice if we could go back to the way we were, but I don't think we can."

     The surging real-estate market may be a boon to homeowners, but many renters can't afford the inflated leases.

     "Some apartments have been empty for months, because they can't find anyone to pay the rent," said Susan Pulaski, an agent at Dyker Real Estate.

     Of course, Bay Ridge is not th eonly neighborhood to share in the windfall.  As The Brooklyn Papers reported in February, the average price for an apartment in Brooklyn surged 35 percent and one- and two-family houses soared 20.5 percent.

     In that percent, which is covered only condos, coops and one- and two-family homes, DUMBO, Fort Green, Clinton Hill and Cobble Hill had the highest percentage increases.

     "There's a strong appeal for the whole borough," said Gregory Heym, chief economist for Halstead Property.  "There are a lot of factors citywide that are helping Brooklyn.  The economy is good.  Job growth continues throughout the five boroughs, and crimes continues to fall."





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