Move over Dumbo. You, too, Vinegar Hill and NoMad. When it comes to New York’s hottest neighborhoods, there’s one place real estate value seekers should pay attention to: Spuyten Duyvil.
Pronounced “SPY-ten DYE-vil,” this is one neighborhood that will give you more bang for your buck in terms of more square footage and cheaper cost per square foot.
In a December 2014 analysis of sizzling real estate markets by StreetEasy, Spuyten Duyvil came in No. 8 on the Top 10 hottest markets for 2015, behind No. 1 Dumbo, Vinegar Hill, NoMad and other more familiar NYC neighborhoods.
|Spuyten Duyvil Numbers (all home types)|
|Median sales price||$253,500|
|Median list price||$285,000|
|Median asking rent||$2,100|
|Median square feet of all home types||2,895 sq ft|
|Commute time to Union Square||55 minutes|
So, yes, the cat is already out of the bag.
A New York Times article as far back as Sept. 2013 chronicled the migration of at least one Williamsburg, Brooklyn family who gave up a bit of the hip and happening factor when their 500-square-foot apartment grew way too cramped and instead opted for more space and greenery in their new and more affordable digs in Spuyten Duyvil.
Chris Tokar and Lee Feldman said they were “concerned that we would be far away from the things we loved doing, that we wouldn’t fit in, that we would get restless and that we’d have to get a car, which we didn’t want.” But they were pleasantly surprised. They liked the new neighborhood, loved the extra space and did not need an escape car.
Where is Spuyten Duyvil?
With Manhattan just to the south and Riverdale just to the north, Spuyten Duyvil is not some featureless ‘tweener zone.’ It is hilly, treed and sports a wide range of housing options — mostly co-op apartments, with a scattering of condominiums and single-family houses. The median rent is $2,100 for just under 1,000 square feet; the median list price for dwellings is $285,000.
> See Spuyten Duyvil apartments for rent
Prices are jumping upwards, though not as far north as they were in 2007, before the housing market collapse. At the market height, a two-bedroom co-op listed and sold between $300,000 to $500,000.
Now, while prices are escalating, there are still affordable units that can land you close to 1,000 square feet for under $400,000, like this top-floor condo unit at 2600 Johnson Avenue that was listed for $399,000. There are currently 154 properties for sale in Spuyten Duyvil, which along with Kingsbridge sports about 30,000 residents. The neighborhood covers less than a square mile.
> See Spuyten Duyvil homes for sale
But increasingly, there are more cases of multiple bids. According to StreetEasy data, a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment at a co-op at 2500 Johnson Avenue sold in November 2014 for $506,526, which was 4.4 percent over the list price of $485,000.
What’s in a name?
Depending on what historical legend you believe, the Old Dutch derivation of the name means “devil’s whirlpool” or “spite the devil.” It has been known as Speight den Duyvil, Spike & Devil, Spitting Devil, Spilling Devil, Spiten Debill and Spouting Devil, among other spellings. There’s a story about a Dutch trumpeter who attempts in vain to cross the waterway in 1642, only to have his ankles grabbed by the devil. There’s also the belief that the area was named for the fresh water spring that gushed in the meadow.
One thing that IS clear: Spuyten Duyvil is proudly the first Bronx enclave just over Marble Hill, where it sits tucked between the Hudson and Harlem rivers on the hilly far west nook overlooking some of the most dramatic scenery in the city.
“This is just a nice place to live and, frankly, it’s always been a pretty hot market and very desirable,’’ said Bert Trebach, owner of Trebach Realty which has been in business in the area since 1972.
The schools are notably good — and not just the prestigious private schools that are located in the area. PS 24 serves K-5, while PS 141 serves middle school students.
“And in the past four or five years they have built a new high school (Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy) so the kids can go right through kindergarten through 12th grade in the same place,’’ Trebach said.
Height restrictions in place
While land for development is scarce, new developments pop up. There are some residential tower developments being built near 227th and 230th Streets. New York City and Bronx officials acted in 2003 to protect the residential nature of Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil.
City planners cited the area’s natural beauty and characteristics, including rock outcroppings, views and parks for reasons to act on preservation zoning. The Central Riverdale/Spuyten Duyvil rezoning plan has set goals to maintain the area’s residential allure, including limiting the height of new buildings so they’re in keeping with the 8-story buildings that populate the Spuyten Duyvil and greater Riverdale neighborhoods.
Still, residents from Spuyten Duyvil and greater Riverdale are staunch defenders of their environment. Developers find it difficult to railroad through projects without a lot of community input, especially for commercial projects along Broadway and Riverdale avenues.
While Spuyten Duyvil remains a unique neighborhood defined by its geology, geography and housing stock, there’s plenty of transportation options to connect it to Midtown Manhattan and the Financial District. A Metro North station at Spuyten Duyvil provides a direct train line to Grand Central Station. Express buses to Wall Street and Midtown exist, too. A short walk or bus ride will connect riders to several stops for the No. 1 subway for what is about an hour commute to Downtown.