How to Price a Harlem Townhouse

Posted February 1st, 2019 by Stanley Montfort

What Harlem Homeowners Can Take from the Record-Setting $27 Million Townhouse Listing


Two historic Harlem townhouses recently hit the market at a record-setting $27 million, sparking media attention and questions among buyers and sellers alike about the value of a townhouse in Harlem.

The listing price is more than five times the neighborhood’s current record, a $5.1 million townhouse that closed in February 2018, and the price per square foot is double that of surrounding homes. Appraiser Jonathan Miller, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, calling the price “unheard of."

Although much has been written about the listing itself, I wanted to add some insight into what an "outlier listing" can mean for other Harlem homeowners looking to value their properties.

First, it's helpful to understand what inspired the ambitious price. Sheer size and history partly explain: the adjacent properties represent an opportunity to create a single-family mega-mansion, and they once belonged to 19th century tycoon John Dwight, the founder of the company that created Arm & Hammer. However, these factors alone are not likely enough to command the asking price.

Given the inflated price per square foot, which is almost double of what the market supports, I would price this home closer to $14 million. Few buyers in the market are looking to spend in the tens of millions in Harlem yet, which can narrow the pool of potential buyers.

If you’re looking to sell your home in Harlem, here’s what you can take from a “mega-listing” coming on to the market, and how to optimize your own listing price:


1. Compare like-kind properties. Utilize comps that are like-kind, meaning ensure the amount of units are comparable as well as the level of renovations. For example, 2-unit townhouses in Harlem are in high demand, therefore commanding a higher price than 3 or 4-unit townhouses.

2. Look to recent listings. Given the shift in the market, consider comps from within the last three months rather than six months.

3. Pay attention to feedback. Remember that the market sets the price, so pay attention to the amount of inquiries, and submitted offers then reassess your asking price based on market feedback.

4. Get a first-person assessment. Ensure your agent visits the comparable on market properties in order to address the differences with specificity to potential buyers.

5. Set a true-value price. In the current market, pricing above the true value will lead to a reduction of inquiries and longer time on market. The days of pricing 5% above value are gone for now.


To better understand the Harlem market, including the average price per square foot and average sales price over the last decade, download my Harlem Townhouse Report or check out current Harlem townhouse listings.



Are you looking to sell your Harlem townhouse? Get in touch at sm@lesliegarfield.com. I'm happy to help assess your home.

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