Monday, January 10, 2011

Real Estate Weekly: Same Sex Selling

Excerpt from Same Sex Selling
By Liana Grey, Real Estate Weekly

As Manhattan gentrified, the borough’s gay population spread out somewhat. “Chelsea boys” still frequent the dozen-plus gay bars, clubs, and gyms between 14th and 34th streets — but point to a random spot on a Manhattan map and odds are it’s LGBT-friendly.

“I always say that every neighborhood is desirable,” said Treglia. “It’s where you feel comfortable, where your friends are.” Like their straight counterparts, Treglia’s gay and lesbian clients are comfortable drifting across neighborhood lines.

Two men he worked with lived in separate apartments on the Upper East and West sides before purchasing a co-op together in lower Chelsea. Following a successful board interview in July, they were invited to the building’s garden party.

The purchase process went smoothly. When the two men finally moved in earlier this month, they had little to complain about.

For unbeatable discounts, a handful of gay couples have headed to Harlem and Washington Heights. “There’s a very strong movement all across the northern neighborhoods,” said Justin Hieggelke of the Real Estate Group New York, who shares an apartment on West 142nd Street with his longtime partner.

Same-sex couples began trickling into the neighborhood over the past decade. “I moved here two years ago,” he said. “All of a sudden — boom, we saw people at Starbucks, at the New York Sports Club.” Add to the mix a growing number of LGBT-friendly hangout spots, and the neighborhood has fast become a gay and lesbian enclave.

“A couple years ago, it seemed like there were couples looking to settle,” Hieggelke said. “Last summer, we noticed younger gay guys moving in. I think that’s strictly an affordability issue; they can’t necessarily afford to live south of here.”

More often than not, apartment complexes develop large LGBT populations by chance. “My building is 40% occupied by gay people,” Hieggelke said. It was a fact he and his partner learned only after moving in and chatting with neighbors; New York State prohibits brokers from advertising the demographics of a building or neighborhood.

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