Long before I was born, my family was shopping at the Casablanca Meat Market on 110th. I’ve continued that tradition as an adult, going every Saturday to stock up for the following week. Lately, there’s been a lot of talk around the shop about the way the neighborhood’s changing and whether there’s going to be more people buying and investing in East Harlem in the coming years. Since starting a real estate investment business in New York years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to see many neighborhoods change and evolve. I’ve even had the honor of helping a few do so. But, I think that East Harlem is really where it’s at, and I’m glad to see others are starting to agree. Whether you’re a new or seasoned investor, you should think about the upside to investing here too.

Should You Consider Investing in East Harlem to Broaden Your Portfolio?

The Upside to Investing in East Harlem

The Upper Manhattan neighborhood of East Harlem, also known as Spanish Harlem and El Barrio, has had more than its fair share of socio-economic struggles over the years. It’s suffered from high unemployment and poverty rates, poor housing quality, crime, air pollution, and higher-than-average health issues among seniors and children. In fact, the City of New York released a community profile report that painted a bleak picture of Manhattan Community District 11’s East Harlem.

However, things started to change. The New York Times published an article listing East Harlem as one of four hot New York City neighborhoods to invest in and move to. By then, commercial developers had already taken notice. Gastropubs, hipster coffee shops, and organic restaurants were suddenly springing up on street corners, with plans for a Whole Foods well under way. In October of that year, city officials also announced a massive rezoning initiative that would help improve the landscape, and quality of life, for East Harlem residents.

What Rezoning Means for East Harlem and Investors

The rezoning proposal, which was approved by the NYC City Council in November of last year, primarily affects underdeveloped corridors running north to south, from Park to Second Avenues, between 104th and 106th Streets. Among other things, it reduces height and density limits on new construction, waives residential parking requirements, loosens design restrictions, and encourages more retail and mixed-use development. The rezoning plan also calls for the building of more affordable housing, the revitalization of parks and playgrounds, and the expansion of green infrastructure.

The city expects these changes to bring in new and better-paying jobs for local residents, as well as attract more families to the community from higher income brackets. Of course, people who can afford to buy, but who’ve been priced out of the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, are already moving in. As a result, average home prices in East Harlem have shot up by 57.7% over the last five years. Now that the rezoning plan has been adopted, the allure of East Harlem, and the demand for residential real estate, will likely increase as well.

For real estate investors looking for more opportunities to buy investment property in New York City, the new zoning laws, as well as the neighborhood rehabilitation plans attached to them, may provide good prospects in East Harlem. A disproportionate number of homes in the city still have unresolved maintenance issues, which is a strong indicator that many current homeowners continue to struggle. They may be willing to get out of their distressing situations at a price that puts them ahead, but that also puts money in your pocket after the rehab since home prices are likely to go up with the neighborhood renewal projects.

But, in addition to buying and renovating property to sell, acquiring a few buy-and-holds may not be a bad idea either. The majority of East Harlem residents are renters and, as the demand for housing continues to grow alongside the population, the number of renters are likely to increase as well. Not everyone will be able to buy a home in up-and-coming East Harlem, but that won’t necessarily stop them from wanting to live there.

To make the most of either one of these investment opportunities, however, you will have to have a strategy in place for finding fixer-uppers in NYC that gives you leads in East Harlem. I’ve been investing in New York for so long, I’ve found just the strategy for that.

Broaden Your NYC Portfolio With Great Leads on Ugly Houses

Buying and renovating older, smaller, “ugly” houses in transitioning neighborhoods has always been my niche. I used to go about getting leads the way most investors do, which, in retrospect, wasn’t a very effective strategy. I canvassed neighborhoods, scoured the MLS, bought lead lists, went to foreclosure auctions–you name it, I did it. Only I never had many closed deals to show for it. That all changed when I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee. HomeVestors®’ nationally-known “We Buy Ugly Houses®” marketing campaigns bring motivated sellers to me, which, when you think about it, is the best lead generation strategy there is.

Thinking about ways to broaden your portfolio? Consider becoming a HomeVestors® franchisee. Call today to get started on getting more leads.


Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.


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