Neighborhood Intel

Brooklyn sales prices break records, but it's still nowhere near as expensive as Manhattan

By Lucy Cohen Blatter  | April 9, 2015 - 1:30PM

Now that you know where Manhattan apartment sales stand (basically stable), let us draw your attention toward the state of apartment sales in Brooklyn, since the big real estate firms have just unleashed their first quarter 2015 sales reports for the borough.

The big news, according to Jonathan Miller, author of the Douglas Elliman report, is that Brooklyn has set a new record for median sales price, coming in at $610,894. (That's a 17.5 percent increase over the same time last year.)

Condo and one-to-three family median sales prices both broke new ground (though the median price of co-ops actually fell). Even though inventory technically rose 5.8 percent in the first three months of this year, inventory is still well below the seven-year average. 

While Corcoran's Brooklyn report shows a lower median sales price ($550,000), it's no doubt that prices are rising, according to Frank Percesepe of Corcoran.

"When new properties came on the market during the first quarter, buyer attention was immediate. Open houses had overwhelming attendance, despite brutal winter weather, and multiple offers were a market norm, many for all cash and frequently made within a few hours," he said in a statement.

Corcoran's data shows the median price-per-square foot in Brooklyn increasing by 34 percent versus the same time last year,  now standing at $787. "You're seeing a housing market that's short on inventory, which is putting upward pressure on prices," says Miller. While he doesn't expect the median sales price in Brooklyn to eclipse Manhattan anytime soon — they're still nearly $400,000 apart — the difference between the two "is compressing," according to Miller.

When it comes to the second quarter of 2015, Miller expects more of the same. "I don't see much relief in terms of inventory and I don't see it getting easier to qualify for credit.  The economy's growing stronger, jobs are growing, and that puts an upward pressure on pricing."

So what is a Brooklyn fan to do? Move to Queens perhaps. 

"People are being priced out of Brooklyn and pushing into Queens," says Miller, who also crunched data for Elliman's newest Queens report. "You get so much more in Queens than Brooklyn. And the mantra of housing today (in New York and all over the country) is all about a desperate search for affordable housing."

The median sales price in Queens increased by 20.7 percent compared to last year, according to the Elliman report,  but at $446,434, it's still nearly $200,000 less than the median price in Brooklyn. In Queens condo prices were stable as prices on co-ops and one-to-three family homes increased.  But listing inventory is an issue there too, falling 16.4 percent  year to year.


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