Brooklyn and Queens sales bounced back in the fourth quarter, fueling record prices

By Brick Underground  | January 14, 2021 - 12:30PM

Sales in Brooklyn increased 5.9 percent over the fourth quarter of 2019 and 82 percent over the third quarter of 2020.


If you were expecting a quiet fourth quarter for sales in New York City’s outer boroughs, guess again. Despite being a traditionally slow time—prices in Brooklyn, Queens, and Riverdale bounced back to hit record highs and sales volume was up in a big way too.

Brooklyn saw the most fourth-quarter sales in 13 years after two consecutive quarters in which sales fell by half year over year, according to the latest Elliman Report. Queens sales were up, not on a year-over-year basis, but compared to the previous quarter, which is significant considering the season.

The record prices in Brooklyn were a result of “rising sales and falling listing inventory as the market continues to post strong results,” says Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the report. The fourth quarter median sales price, $875,000, reflected a 9.4 percent increase year over year, and the average sales, $1,055,142, an 8.5 percent increase—both prices were new records.

There were 2,695 sales in Brooklyn in the fourth quarter, an increase of 5.9 percent over the fourth quarter of 2019 and an 82 percent increase over the third quarter of 2020.

The number of listings in Brooklyn was down annually for the fifth straight quarter, Miller says, as the market moved at its fastest rate in nearly two years.

Brokers tell Brick that the outer boroughs are benefiting from the expected shift to a hybrid office schedule. Many New Yorkers who work from home now expect to be in their Manhattan offices only one or two days a week in the future—so they are moving farther out, exchanging a longer but infrequent commute for more space.

In Queens, the fourth quarter median sales price, $668,000, was a 9.5 percent jump from the year-ago quarter, and the average sales price, $705,636, was a 4.6 percent increase—both were new records as well.

Queens saw 3,179 sales in the fourth quarter, an increase of 56.4 percent over the third quarter, but down 8.3 percent over the fourth quarter in 2019. Listings fell quarter-over-quarter for the first time since the Covid lockdown, the report says.

The fourth quarter report for Riverdale, which includes Fieldston, Hudson Hill, North Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil, found that the median sales price, $365,000  increased year over year by 7.7 percent, a new record. The number of sales was up 31 percent on quarter-over-quarter basis, but not compared to the year-ago quarter. Listings increased for the second, straight quarter.

Other market reports

Corcoran’s fourth quarter Brooklyn report notes that buyers are recalibrating their needs now that proximity to their workplaces is not a top priority.

“New Yorkers continue to seek more space for better value, which has proven beneficial to the Brooklyn market. During the fourth quarter, closings in the borough climbed by double-digits while the median sales price reached a new record high. Overall, the market is exceeding expectations in terms of the speed of its rebound, says Michael Sorrentino, regional senior vice president for Manhattan and Brooklyn at The Corcoran Group.

SERHANT released fourth quarter market reports for Brooklyn, Brooklyn new development, and Long Island City condos and notes that the $25.5 million sale of a Brooklyn Heights mansion was the most expensive sale ever in Brooklyn.

“The one-three family home market in Brooklyn performed well, as did the condo market, especially those with private outdoor space. We saw buyers enter the Brooklyn market from Manhattan or those who looked to the suburbs but decided instead to return to the city,” says Garrett Derderian, director of market intelligence for SERHANT.

Brooklyn’s fourth quarter sale performance resets the narrative, according to Derderian. “It seems the notion that everyone was fleeing the city was just fleeing Manhattan to Brooklyn,” he says.


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