With sales and prices falling across NYC, Queens defies trends and sets new record highs

By Brick Underground  | October 10, 2019 - 2:00PM

Queens saw the median and average price hit new records, while sales fell for the eighth straight quarter, according to Douglas Elliman.


The number of sales fell in the outer boroughs in the last three months, taking prices down as well, mirroring the scenario in Manhattan. Queens, however is defying the trend—prices there hit record highs despite a drop in sales.

According to Douglas Elliman’s third-quarter sales market report for Brooklyn, Queens, and Riverdale, sales have fallen year over year for eight straight quarters in Queens. However, both the median and average prices set record highs in the third quarter—hitting $600,000 and $651,216, respectively. 

The number of properties on the market in Queens grew for the 10th straight quarter, jumping 13.8 percent to 6,029.

“Queens seems to be a standout quarter after quarter since it enjoys the spillover from Brooklyn as buyers seek out greater affordability,” says Steven James, president, and CEO of Douglas Elliman, New York City. “Market uncertainty and potential homebuyers’ search for affordability are challenges facing all the markets in the New York City metro area right now, and we’ll have to see how sellers adjust going forward.”

Sales fell in Brooklyn for the seventh straight quarter, dropping 10.4 percent to 2,596. The median sales price declined for the second time in three quarters, falling 2.2 percent to $790, 000. The number of properties on the market edged higher, rising year over year for the sixth consecutive quarter.

Riverdale, including Fieldston, Hudson Hill, North Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil, showed similar results, with price indicators falling for the first time in over a year. 

“Across the region, we’re seeing straightforward results that are very similar to the Manhattan market,” says Jonathan Miller, president of appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the report.

He points out that it’s all good news for buyers.

“With sales drifting lower and prices starting to soften, it’s clear that sellers are starting to price more in line with buyer demand. These markets are coming down from a robust period, and despite the lower sales and price trends it still wouldn’t be accurate to call them soft. Market conditions combined with falling mortgage rates will create ideal circumstances for buyers in the coming months.”

Other market reports

CORE’s third-quarter Brooklyn market report noted that the impact of the new mansion tax was more subdued here than in Manhattan, where buyers rushed to meet a July 1st deadline and then ghosted in the third quarter.

The changes to the mansion tax now kick in at $2 million, so “only 19 percent of inventory was immediately impacted,” says Garrett Derderian, managing director of market analysis. Lower mortgage rates encouraged buyers to a much greater extent than in Manhattan because there are fewer all-cash buyers in Brooklyn", he says.

The borough hit another milestone: Derderian says there are now more properties listed for $1 million or more, with a 51.5 percent share, than there are listed for less than $1 million.

Halstead’s third-quarter market report for Brooklyn found that prices for one- to three-family houses declined by 3 percent compared to a year ago. And prices for apartments in Brownstone Brooklyn declined by the same amount

Compass’s third-quarter market report for Brooklyn and Queens noted that there are fewer properties under $350,000 in Queens as the borough continues to get more expensive.

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