The Market

A $295,000 Williamsburg two-bedroom is yours for the taking—but not if you earn too much

By Virginia K. Smith  | October 9, 2014 - 2:59PM

While doing some idle cruising of relatively affordable apartments, this sunny South Williamsburg two-bedroom caught our eye—for the location and natural light, sure, but also for its price tag: $295,000, virtually unheard of for the neighborhood these days. 

As with any good deal, there's a catch, and in this case, it's that the building is an HDFC—or Housing Development Fund Corporation—co-op, meaning that in order to buy, you've got to meet strict income caps (but still come up with a down payment). For this apartment on South 3rd Street, that's a maximum of $70,500 per year for a single person; $80,500 for two people; and $90,600 if you're buying with three. (It's notoriously difficult to find buyers with cash on hand but an appropriately low income, as the New York Times chronicled earlier this summer.)

As for the apartment itself, it's got new, stainless steel appliances (albeit the same cookie cutter wooden cabinets you see in just about every rental), and if you're up for a project, the bathroom could use a little re-tiling, at least from the looks of the photos. Given that HDFC apartments come with heavy 30 percent flip taxes for sellers, most buyers are usually in it for the long haul, and it could be worth diving into a little renovation:

The bedrooms aren't huge, but the windows go a long way toward upping the apartment's appeal—compare these photos to another, far more claustrophobic HDFC two-bedroom for sale at the same price nearby on South 2nd, and the place starts to look like a godsend.

Mainly, though, this two-bedroom is a solid bet for anyone looking for a place they'll actually live in—not an investment property, which is strictly off-limits in this building. Besides the good price, the apartment has maintenance fees of just $691 a month, and the building gets tax breaks that are passed along to residents, according to the listing. The six-story building, which has an "active co-op board," also has no underlying mortgage to pay off, and the board takes in income from a ground floor retail tenant, local cafe Knife, the listing says. If you've got the savings in hand, meet the requirements, and can resist the daily smell of croissants wafting upstairs, seems like a pretty sweet deal to us.


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