Former Heights Resident Resolves Lingering Real Estate Regret

Former 157 Hicks Street resident Harvey Araton writes about – and discusses with his former neighbors – his lingering regret over selling his apartment at a bargain basement price in the early 90s in today’s New York Times:

New York Times: It has been 16 1/2 years since we sold a two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn Heights, en route to the suburbs and the birth of a second child. Actually, I should say that we gave it away: We lost about $80,000 on a $240,000 purchase made in 1988.

We were far from alone in our selling frenzy during the housing downturn of the early 1990s. In our four-unit brick town house, everyone wanted out of a bad marriage to the dowdy adjoining building with 10 smaller apartments, officially part of our co-op. We were all fed up with internecine issues that created financial stress and tension among neighbors and friends.

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  • Teddy

    I would be sad too if I missed out on becoming a millionaire just by holding on to my apt. another 10-12 years. It would be nice to know the future, but I have a feeling current buyers wouldn’t touch current real estate prices in Brooklyn if they knew the future.

  • digby

    Life’s too short to regret the could haves, should have, would haves. Move on Harvey – enough already. People need to realize that property – like anything else – is an investment. You or your descendants may win, but you also may lose.
    I also agree with the first comment – NYC property is untouchable to most of us who aren’t in the end of year big bonus club, or who did not benefit from trusts and payouts from our rich Daddies.

  • John Wentling

    His property was primarily a HOME, not necessarily an investment. There’s a tangible value to a home, considering the cost of renting versus buying, he’s probably $100k or more ahead of the game, not including tax benefits.

  • nabeguy

    If you choose to play Russian roulette with the housing market in the Heights, you should accept the risks that come with any speculative investment. Traditionally, this has been a “lay-down-roots” kind of neighborhood, not a way station to a longer term plan. If you can’t invest the time, you probably shouldn’t invest the money.

  • nabeguy

    I should qualify my “traditionally” statement. That applies to the last 5 decades or so.

  • ABC

    You guys are lame. I feel for the guy. I regularly check in with my stomping grounds — and think, they’re asking WHAT? Luckily, I’ve been on the winning end for a while. Talk to me in a couple of years and I may think differently…

    But more interesting — who knew those two buildings were one co-op?

  • my2cents

    Think of all those people who sold right after 9/11 also. Boy was that ever dumb. Buying then was probably the shrewdest move ever.

  • Teddie Boy Eddie

    Brownstoner must be jizzing itself over this story.

  • Andrew Porter

    My Mom convinced me not to buy my 1-BR apt when building went co-op in 1987. Thanks, Mom (now deceased, can only be yelled at via Ouija Board). My price would have been $44K….