Your eyes may have very well popped out of your head when you read that the median price of a Manhattan apartment is now $1.15 million, but rest assured, despite the fact that prices are creeping up, Queens and Brooklyn are still, overall, much more affordable.
According to the Douglas Elliman Market Reports for the fourth quarter of 2015, in Brooklyn, the median sales price increased 11.1 percent to $650,000 during the end of last year, and in Queens, the median sales price increased 9.2 percent to $470,000 (neither saw increases as high increase as Manhattan did).
But Jonathan Miller, author of the Douglas Elliman market reports, described 2015 as "remarkable" for Brooklyn. "During all four quarters of 2015, the medians were over $600,000," according to Miller. "And the first quarter of 2015 was the first time the median ever hit $600,000," he says. And unlike Manhattan, where the medians and averages are swayed by pricey new developments, Brooklyn isn't, since most of the new developments there are actually rentals.
"The pace of the market is faster; we have a healthy increase in sales and slipping supply," he says.
And, as a result of this "Brooklyn phenomenon", the city is "seeing Queens housing prices rise," says Miller. Condos hit a median of $677 per square foot (setting a record), and co-ops and condos a lot hit median price records.
Sarah Burke, senior regional executive Manager of sales at Douglas Elliman, says she's particularly interested to see that the condo average price per square foot surpassed $1,000 for the first time ever in Brooklyn. "Inventory is so low, people don't have a lot of options," she says.
And it's no surprise, she says, that Queens is getting more popular and, yes, pricier as a result.
"Long Island City and Astoria continue to be popular, thanks in large part to how easy transportation is there. And Ridgewood is getting really popular. All those neighborhoods mirror Brooklyn neighborhoods in terms of amenities. And people see the opportunity to be part of a community and to grow a community," she says.
Here are some of the numbers, courtesy of the brokerage houses:
Median sales price: $545,000
Average sales price: $672,000
Median sales price: $553,500
Average sales price: $687,701
Median sales price: $470,000
Average sales price: $522,372
So, what can you get for the median price in the two boroughs? Here's a sampling:
A renovated one-bedroom, one-bath co-op in Park Slope, Brooklyn with treetop views. Asking price: $649,000.
A detached three-bedroom, two-bath house in Marine Park, Brooklyn with a terrace and backyard. Asking price: $649,000.
An 850-square-foot condo in Astoria, Queens with two bedrooms and one bathroom. Asking price: $475,000.
A two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath in Forest Hills, Queens with 1,200 square feet. Asking price: $475,000.