The sales market in Brooklyn and Queens has reached a fever pitch

The sales market in Brooklyn and Queens has reached a fever pitch

By Alanna Schubach  | July 13, 2017 - 10:59AM

GREENPOINT: A duplex studio condo with a home office and 1.5 baths, in a building with a courtyard and gym, as well as a tax abatement in place that keeps common charges low. Asking price: $765,000, just below Brooklyn's current median sales price. 

The last few months' market reports, out today, reveal that sales are moving at a brisk pace in Brooklyn and Queens. And if you're a prospective buyer hoping for some relief, we have disappointing news: it's nothing less than a "general frenzy," says Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel, author of Douglas Elliman's market reports for both boroughs, as well as Riverdale

"Brooklyn has redefined itself from being a cheaper alternative to Manhattan," Miller says, evident in the fact that the average sales price increased to $997,654 (a 22 percent jump from this time last year) and median sales to $795,000 (a 20.6 percent jump), both record breakers. Meanwhile, inventory declined by 15.5 percent from the second quarter of 2016.

That latter point means that competition has grown fiercer--and if you're a would-be buyer with your eye on a Brooklyn property, you might need to brace yourself for a bidding war. Miller found that 23.3 percent of all Kings County sales went for more than their original listing price, another indicator of an especially heated market. 

And it seems that there's no break to be found in any particular corner of the market: Bidding wars are on for apartments of all sizes, from studios to three-bedrooms, and both average and median sales prices for all property types--co-ops, condos, houses, and new developments--increased from 2016. "There isn't one market that's underperforming," Miller notes. 

By region, the hottest corner of Brooklyn right now seems to be the one encompassing Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Brooklyn Heights, and Downtown Brooklyn, where the median sales price soared by 16.8 percent to $1.15 million. And for those hoping for a break in north Brooklyn due to the impending L train shutdown, no such luck: In Williamsburg and Greenpoint, sales remain strong, with the median sales price at $995,000. 

Given the ever-increasing pace of Brooklyn's sales market, it makes sense that Queens, too, had a fast-paced, record-breaking quarter, with the average sales price at $592,245 (a 12.4 percent increase from last year) and the median sales price at $510,000 (a 9.7 percent increase). "A lot of this is Brooklyn spillover," Miller says. "Brooklyn is not only setting records, but is causing adjacent boroughs to set records. I think we under-appreciate how significant the Brooklyn phenomenon really is." 

Miller adds that he finds it curious, then, that the market in Riverdale is relatively quieter: Average sales prices dropped slightly to $420,546, while median prices rose by 4 percent to $285,000. 

"I'm a little surprised that it hasn't taken off as much as I would expect, given the stories in Brooklyn and Queens," he says. "It's a small market, and inventory is in chronically short supply, but the median price is only a little more than half of what it is in Queens. Riverdale is kind of waiting to be discovered." 

Prospective buyers overwhelmed by the prospect of diving into the rough waters of Brooklyn and Queens, then, might consider looking northward instead.


Alanna Schubach

Contributing writer

Contributing editor Alanna Schubach has over a decade of experience as a New York City-based freelance journalist.

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