Speculators Learn Hard Lessons on Mean Streets of Harlem

The gold rush has gone bust uptown

As the once-booming economy made Harlem brownstones look like can't-miss investments, developers came swooping in to scoop up bargains. Whoops.

The first half of 2008 saw 27 homes in the area sold for an average $1.3 million. This year those numbers sank to 11 homes for $1.1 million, reports The New York Times.

The block of West 134th Street between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard is an object lesson in the perils of the real estate bust that has hit the nation. At least four homes on the block sit boarded up as developers who once had dreams of flipping them for huge profits and are now just trying to minimize their losses.

Craig Charie owns one of those four homes. At one time he had visions of renovating and selling it for $1.6 million. Now he's hoping to unload it for $599,000.

“I’m not done with Harlem,” he said. “I just have to shift what I do.”

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