Brooklyn Blues: Are We Really the New Brooklyn?

A word from Hudson Valley Editor in Chief, Olivia J. Abel

So, I’m going to come right out and admit it: I’m one of them, a Brooklyn expat. This month, in our annual real estate issue, we examine the frequently repeated claim that “the Hudson Valley is the new Brooklyn.” Are we? Aren’t we? And what does it all really mean? While I could write pages about my experiences moving from that borough to Beacon, and what I like and what I miss (not too much these days, with the exception of my sister and her family and people-watching as I walked, jogged or otherwise rambled around Prospect Park), instead I’m going to turn this space over to some of our local real estate experts so they can fill us in on what is happening in their neck of the woods. The good news? In almost all corners of our region, things are looking up. Here’s what they have to say:

Claire Browne of Gate House Realty: “Beacon is so hot right now; in fact, the housing inventory is very, very low, and in recent weeks I’ve had three or four couples vying for the same house. That’s why a lot of people are renting for one or two years; but that market is tight too — and expensive. There’s not too much under $1400 a month. We are seeing people coming up from Brooklyn, but also from other parts of New York City — Manhattan, Queens. We’re also seeing people coming in to Beacon and Wappingers from other parts of the region. And yes, everybody still wants the older homes.”

Chris Hanson of Keller Williams Realty: “I think Liberty Street is the most important street in Newburgh, both commercially and residentially. You’ve got nice pedestrian traffic, Washingston’s Headquarters, storefronts with apartments above them — lots of them with river views. The fact that it isn’t a thriving commercial district right now is sort of mind-boggling. I think it will happen, and it will happen soon; it has real momentum. The clock is ticking on Liberty Street. That window is going to close in one year to 18 months… In the last six months, Brooklyn people account for at least 50 percent of my showings. They used to go to Beacon and find what they were looking for and stop there. Now they’re either coming directly from Brooklyn to Beacon to Newburgh or from Brooklyn to Newburgh.”

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Harris Safier of Westwood Metes & Bounds Realty: “The market in Ulster County started heating up last year; well, warming up is more like it. What happened was that there was an increase in 2013 over 2012 by 15 percent in number of homes sold. It’s a nice number and much more than most of the counties in the Hudson Valley experienced. But we didn’t get horribly hit in the years of the downturn, either. In some ways, it’s really more of a reflection that more homes sold above the average selling price than in previous years. I think the draw for Ulster is the amount of open space, the protected lands under conservancy. Things are very much split here between locals and the second-home market. We started about 10 years ago not using the term “weekender”; people took offense, and it’s no longer accurate. Those folks are up here three or four or five days a week now, and consider it their primary residence.”

For much more on the local real estate scene, you’ll want to check out our cover story that begins here.

This month we are also debuting a fresh new look, both in the pages of the magazine and on our Web site. We think they both look great; let us know what you think.

Enjoy the issue.

Olivia J. Abel
Editor In Chief

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