Thinking of buying in Harlem? Dixon Advisory provides Australian investors with tourist-style walking tour guide

Thinking of buying in Harlem? Dixon Advisory provides Australian investors with tourist-style walking tour guide
Thinking of buying in Harlem? Dixon Advisory provides Australian investors with tourist-style walking tour guide

Australian property investors thinking of investing in the US, but perhaps considering it too risky, can look before they buy courtesy of a series of walking tour guides provided by Dixon Advisory’s ASX-listed US Masters Residential Property Fund

The walking tour guides, complete with neighbourhood histories, landmarks and details of fund investments, provide a detailed insight into a number of markets around Manhattan including Brooklyn and Harlem.

Investors can tap into the knowledge provided by the fund’s US-based team but with an Australian investment slant.

The fund has to date spent $240 million purchasing 475 freestanding properties – mostly sub-divided houses in Downtown Jersey city, Brooklyn and Harlem – since launching in mid-2011, renovated them and rented them out as 1,063 separate apartments.

It has also acquired 15 apartment complexes.

The funds have been raised from Dixon Advisory’s investor client base with another $50 million capital raising launched in April.

Harlem may seem an unlikely investment location, but the fund has identified it as a region with "great potential".

In January it purchased a fully renovated five-storey limestone mansion at St Nicholas Avenue & West 146th Street in Harlem for US$1.82 million, which has two apartments (pictured below) bringing in estimated combined monthly rent of US$9,000 – an estimated net annual yield of 4%.

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The Harlem walking tour begins just one street down from this property at the 145th Street subway station and concludes at 137th Street with a zigzagging walk past fund investments and historical and cultural landmarks.

“Harlem has been home to many races and ethnic groups including the Dutch, Irish German, Italian, Latin Americans and Jewish communities,” says the walking guide, which explains that Harlem was settled in 1658 but was mainly farmland for the next 200 years until the expansion of the New York population.

 


Elevated railway lines were extended to Harlem in the 1880s and the first subway line completed under Lenox Avenue in 1904 resulting in the building of hundreds of tenement buildings.

The first African American migration to Harlem began in the 1890s with the guide telling the story of Phillip A. Payton, real estate agent and entrepreneur, who approached Harlem landlords with the idea of allowing African Americans to partially rent in their building  and is considered the father of “Black Harlem”.

Investors can read a short history of Harlem taking in the 1930s depression era, Harlem's slide into crime and poverty in the 1970s with the wholesale abandonment of many building, before a rapid period of gentrification and rising property values from the 1990s onwards.

The tour includes 12 stops, with the first half taking in its four property investments to date.

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Stop 1 is the fund’s $1.8 million 722 St Nicholas Avenue investment, a five-storey mansion built in the 1920s close to Jackie Robinson park (the first African American to play in Major League Baseball, winning the World Series with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955), which offers two apartments (a two-bedroom and 3.5 bedroom) bringing in monthly rent of $9,000.

 


Second stop is an 1890s Thayer and Robinson Victorian Romanesque mansion at 719 St Nicholas Avenue (pictured below), acquired by the fund for $1.28 million. It has three apartments expected to bring in monthly rent of $13,400 on a yield of 4.9% currently being renovated by Dixon Projects. The guide notes that Nicholas Avenue is lined with “majestic historic Brownstone residences”.

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Next door at 721 St Nicholas Avenue (pictured below) is another historic fund purchase offering four apartments and with an expected yield of 6.3% based on monthly rent of $14,500.

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The final property investment included in the tour is a grand 1920s-built townhouse at 523 West 141st Street bought for $1.425 million and returning $9,600 per month from four apartments on a yield of 4.7%.

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The remainder of the tour takes in Harlem landmarks including the  Alexander Hamilton Grange National Memorial, the home of West Harlem’s founding father and an aid to George Washington during the American Revolution, who was fatally wounded in a duel in 1804, the Ivy League Columbia University dating back to 1754 with more Nobel Prize laureates than any other university in the world, the General Grant National Memorial, the Brownstone-lined  Doctors Row (Harlem’s answer to London’s Harley Street) and other noteworthy places.

The Dixon Advisory guide also includes walking tours showcasing its property acquisitions in in Downtown Jersey City (New Jersey), Hudson County (New Jersey) and Brooklyn.

The guide is available to download for free on the US Masters fund website.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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