Whilst sipping martinis on the terrace at Boitson’s Restaurant, while enjoying one of Rich Reeve’s delectable entrees at the Elephant, and even while discretely completing one of Jean Jacques ever so appealing desserts at Le Canard, the continual topic of conversation is the ever evolving residential and commercial real estate market in Kingston. Gone are the days where properties languished endlessly without a buyer. Properties once considered unsalable have not only found new owners, they are being transformed daily. The din of table saws can be heard from North Front Street to the Roundout. It is almost as if one went to sleep in one town, only to awaken the next day in a completely different city. In fact in some cases properties are selling within days of their initial listing, often with multiple offers.
As the market has begun to shift, so have the price points and types of properties offered. Long held rental properties are suddenly being released, predominately to new owners from one of the boroughs of Manhattan. Mid range properties are being snapped up as quick as one, two, three. Finally, after a long pause, higher ranged properties from $399 -$899 are also beginning to close. As I have been assisting a dear friend with their Manhattan co-op search, I marvel over the amount of square footage (or the lack thereof) available in the 1.5-3 million price range in Manhattan. While in Kingston a property with double the square footage, with a spacious garden and private drive can easily be obtained between $400k -$800k. Factoring potential restoration, renovation or landscaping costs into the equation, the total cost of a Kingston home purchase is still just a fraction of a Manhattan co-op or condominium purchase, especially if the Manhattan purchase requires extensive renovations. Best of all, a Kingston home purchase does not come with maintenance fees or the risk of potential building assessments. Gone instantly are the thousands of dollars spent yearly on holiday tips for the building staff, maintenance workers, and doormen.
Pursuing, as I do weekly, the recent MLS listings in Kingston I am constantly startled who has listed a property and which properties have pending offers. Dream homes of all merits, sizes and qualifications are available within walking distance to shopping, dining, and the weekly farmers market. Founded in the 16th century, the architectural inventory of Kingston literally spans the gauntlet from 18th century stone houses, to 19th century Victorians, to mid-century modern contemporaries. More frequently of late, friends who have long debated the merits of downsizing have taken the plunge of listing their properties. Though not listed, Gary and I have even had our home shown to interested potential buyers (as my maternal Grandmother would say, everything is available at the right price point).
Within the confines of my rather secluded Burgevin Street neighborhood two distinctively appealing homes have recently stepped onto the market. As a backstory, Burgevin Street is a tree lined curving city lane consisting of only 8 homes. Predominately, lot sizes within this neighborhood, designed in the 1920’s, range from 1–3.5 acres. Sadly one of the listings is our next-door neighbor’s home. It’s an immensely appealing home which has served as an anchor for family events, dinners, and endless memories for over 40 years. The immaculately maintained home paired with its gorgeously designed back garden featuring sunset/sunrise views is a bargain at $549,00. Further down the block is a home which once hosted Nelson and Happy Rockefeller as guests is on the market for $394,000. A charming home with towering trees, a sprawling lawn, with a gazebo tossed in for character.
Just a stones throw away, my great friend Vickie St. John has finally taken the downsizing plunge and listed her home for $750,000; a meticulously restored home which combines the mid-century architectural styling with 18th century craftsmanship. Constructed in the 1940s, the interior of the home features 18th century hand hewn beams, wide floorboards, and large open fireplaces. A home with completely updated systems, top range appliances, numerous gas lit fireplaces and groomed grounds for literally half the asking price of a 950 square foot Manhattan apartment. Blocks from Uptown Kingston’s shopping and restaurant district, it’s a terrific home whose exterior is reminiscent of a home in Charleston, South Carolina that was recently listed at $399,000. The current homeowners have just recently completed a top-to-bottom renovation of the property making it the ideal turn key/move in property. A friend’s striking Georgian-styled brick home, featuring exquisite interior detailing, multiple bedrooms and a fenced private backyard is a literal steal at its $410,000 price point.
Listings of historic stone homes, federal-style homes, painted Victorian homes and mid-century modern homes abound throughout Kingston’s numerous residential and business districts. Finding a weekend home, summer home or permanent residence with limitless charm is a breeze. As the market continues to expand, with properties selling more rapidly, the price points will only continue to excel in the region. Daily new dining venues, galleries and shops are opening throughout the city. Currently, phenomenal properties are available in the unbelievable $399- $850 thousand range. So as you tour an endless number of apartments with limited storage space, minuscule kitchens, and no exterior space, just remember within two hours of Manhattan in Kingston, NY, your dream home might just exist. As I have said frequently the real estate buzz of late is centered in the city of Kingston, just off of Exit 19. Perhaps it’s time for you to scan the MLS listings and plan a trip Upstate. You might be surprised what you find.