By Zachary Kussin
This article was originally published in the New York Post.
Jade Amaker (right) is in contract to buy a $79,000 one-bedroom apartment at 1015 Summit Ave. i
n The Bronx, an affordable co-op now home to four of the city's five least expensive listings.
Welcome to 1015 Summit Ave., home to four of NYC’s least-expensive abodes for sale.
According to listings portal StreetEasy, prices in the 38-unit building range from a $60,000 studio — which the site lists as the city’s cheapest apartment — to a $75,000 one-bedroom. At least six apartments there have listed since August, offering buyers a shockingly low-priced chance to own property in a city where people go broke to live in a shoebox.
“The minute I saw the listing and I saw that there was an open house, I went,” said Jade Amaker, 45, who works in the continuing medical education office at Columbia University and lives in Harlem. In September, she visited a one-bedroom unit in the building, in Highbridge, The Bronx. Just a week later, she submitted her $79,000 offer and is on track to close in January.
“I definitely feel like I was on my way of getting priced out of the city, and it was a scary feeling,” said the Bronx native. “I felt like I needed to do something to secure my future in the city and this was it.”
Just a 15-minute walk to the subway at Yankee Stadium, 1015 Summit is a Housing Development Fund Corporation (HDFC) co-op, a source of affordable homeownership. Not regulated by the city, available apartments are advertised with income restrictions based on area median income set by individual co-op boards. At 1015 Summit, which is in a low-income area, earnings can’t be greater than $95,520 for one resident and $122,880 for a family of three. HDFC apartments are also intended for long-term living, not investment properties.
There are some 1,200 HDFC buildings in the city, which together house about 25,800 units below market rate. Near 1015 Summit, there’s an HDFC co-op where a one-bedroom apartment is listed for $130,000. Meanwhile, in Manhattan, a three-bedroom in an East Harlem HDFC co-op is listed for $850,000, and in Brooklyn, a two-bedroom in prime Williamsburg seeks $625,000.
1015 stands out for its prices well below $100,000.
“This is not something that frequently comes up in the market,” said appraiser Jonathan Miller, of Miller Samuel Real Estate. “It is not the norm.”
And thanks to those prices, prospective buyers have flocked to the building in recent months to eye its offerings.
“[Because of] COVID, it was like, boom,” said Kim McKeller, the building’s Brown Harris Stevens broker. “[People] want to make changes and now’s the time.”
Plus, due to a newly formed co-op board, changes are afoot in the entire building, said McKeller. “Owners] want to protect their investment, so they’re doing anything they can” to spruce up the space. There are plans to re-do the lobby, install a grand awning over the entryway and to make storage spaces and a small gym in the basement. Earlier this year, residents added seating and planters to an outdoor area to convert it into a shared yard.
“The building had never used the backyard and it blew my mind,” said Fernando Vega, 50, a resident and board member whose work in event production has been hit hard by the pandemic. Along with his husband, Andres Vega, 39, he renovated the outdoor space, which included painting a mural on the cinderblock wall.
Vega bought the apartment for $55,000 in 2017, and hopes others will make the decision to put down roots in the co-op even during uncertain times.
“It’s … something I’ve been proud of. It’s a big accomplishment and it’s the stuff that dreams are made of,” said Vega. “I have a place in New York City that I want to hold on to — and my forever home.”