The Market

A "cheap" mansion in the five boroughs? Why the Bronx may have what you're looking for

By Lucy Cohen Blatter  | July 23, 2014 - 11:59AM

Riverdale is one part of New York City where, assuming you have the cash, you can buy a sprawling suburban-style mansion and—unlike the heated market for Brooklyn brownstones—not face an army of rival bidders coveting the same house, the New York Observer reports.

This well-to-do part of the Bronx, and specifically its high-end Fieldston enclave, hasn't seen the kind of real estate boom that's rocking other parts of the city. While a Manhattan three-bedroom apartment will set you back $4 million, on average, the 12 big homes currently on the market in Riverdale—all of which range from four to eight bedrooms—are asking between $2 and $4 million, according to StreetEasy. 

Still, is Riverdale truly a win-win for space-hungry buyers? Below, some pros and cons, courtesy the Observer:


  • Most places are legitimately big—well over 3,000 square feet. And they're not narrow brownstones that share a wall with the neighbors: they're real houses with backyards substantial enough you'd best describe them as grounds.
  • Many houses have been sitting on the market for a while, so sellers may be open to negotiating on price or other parts of the deal.
  • If you've got a car, you're only 20 minutes from Manhattan, which is pretty agreeable as far as commutes to the suburbs go.

In Fieldston, outdoor space is standard, like at this five-bedroom at 4720 Grosvenor Avenue, asking $3.55 million.


  • Riverdale lacks urban conveniences. Don't expect the kind of nightlife or shopping you'd get in Manhattan, Brooklyn and even some parts of Queens.
  • When it comes time to sell, depending on what the market is like then, you may face the same kind of slump that makes the area so value-friendly for buyers right now. From 2009 to 2013, almost a third fewer properties over $1 million sold compared to the previous five years, the Observer reports, and several dozen homes have been on the market for six months or more—quite a contrast to the Brooklyn brownstone market, where many homes are getting multiple offers. 


Mansion or not, you may not escape that so-called mansion tax

From the Upper West Side to Riverdale: Lots of space and little to do, while "holding onto the city for dear life"

BrickUnderground's Buyer's Survival Kit


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