Location, Location, Location

Location, Location, Location is undoubtedly the most oft-recited mantra in the real estate industry.  Just look at the housing markets across the country (plural because there is no singular "housing market") and you see evidence of the importance of where a property is located.  In each micro market that is experiencing a housing slump, there are areas that are less effected or even unaffected based on their proximity to water (beach, lakes, etc), transportation, schools, etc.

In my humble opinion there is perhaps no better illustration of the BIG PICTURE of how important location is than what has been happening in Manhattan versus the rest of the country.  Not only is it the financial capital of the world but it is seemingly the most desirable US city for foreign investment and thanks to decreasing crime and increasing cleanliness it has become evermore attractive as a place to start and raise families. 

Although I often daydream of what my apartment proceeds would buy me somewhere else, my wife and I ultimately come to the same conclusion.  We can’t imagine living anywhere else without the conveniences that New York City provides.  Having said that, I still love Anna Bahney’s column in The New York Times What You can Buy for $X.  And it occasionally inspires me to entertain the thought of an exodus from Manhattan.  The thought is almost always short lived when I do more research on the particular area that has piqued my interest. 

Case in point…my mom and step dad were visiting this weekend and brought along a copy of the real estate section from the Baltimore Sun newspaper.  Perhaps they are somewhere deep down thinking that my wife and I could be persuaded to move their grandchildren closer to them but I think it was more of just a fun comparison.  On the front page of this Sunday’s Baltimore Sun real estate section was Baltimore’s Top Selling Property (unclear for what period???).  This 7,291 square foot 6 bedroom with 4 full and 3 half baths in Reistertown, MD just sold in August for $1.75M.  Take a look. 


And to think that $1.75M doesn’t get you much more than 1500sf (if you’re lucky) here in glorious Manhattan.  So for now I will just keep dreaming of that big house and until they let me build it on The Great Lawn in Central Park, I and the family will continue to squeeze into our small 3 BR apartment for the conveniences and excitement that Manhattan living offers.

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3 Responses to Location, Location, Location

  1. avatar Noah says:

    funny, and timely. I just posted on how views edge out location on urbandigs.com.
    What I mean is, Im noticing alot of buyers being priced out of prime location, like CPW or 5th ave, and as a result they are more and more likely to consider areas ‘outside’ their original hoped radius zone. As a result of this, I find that views, real good ones of park or river (not open city), have become a luxury that sparks alot of demand and I already lost two bidding wars for these types of view properties in the last month.
    I get sense that buyers are willing to up their bid more quickly when its an amazing view at stake.
    Great post as always Doug!

  2. Just read your post Noah and I would anecdotally add that I have 2 buyers right now who are concerned more with view than location. That said, I wouldn’t yet call it a trend or feel comfortable placing view ahead of location on the priority list.

  3. avatar Noah says:

    Yea, tough to call out a total trend change. I wouldnt do that either. But the post is from my experience with buyers as well, that plain out told me they would rather pay more $$ for a great view, than a property without but a better location.
    Also, when I talk about location I dont meant considering E harlem, or Jersey City. I mean considering further away from CP, and not on CPW or 5th Ave/Madison; where prices ease a bit because location is great but not amazing.
    Interesting to hear that you are seeing similar thing though, although at small scale.

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