The Real Deal New York

Despite rising prices, Manhattan buyers flock to Brooklyn: report

Brooklyn’s median sales price rose for the 10th straight quarter
By E.B. Solomont | April 09, 2015 12:45PM

Brooklyn’s median sales price shattered a new record during the first quarter, hitting $610,894.

According to Douglas Elliman’s latest quarterly Brooklyn sales report, that’s a 17.5 percent year-over-year increase from $520,000, and marks 10 consecutive quarters of median price increases.

Still, compared to Manhattan, where the median sales price was $970,000 during the first quarter, Brooklyn remains a bargain. Buyers are flocking to the borough for better deals, according to Elliman, which reckons that 40 percent of its Brooklyn buyers are Manhattanites looking across the river.

But who knows for how long. The Elliman report notes that Brooklyn condos saw a record median sales price of $729,750, which represents a nearly 17 percent jump year-over-year. And during the first quarter, condos spent about 69 days on the market, compared with last year’s first quarter, when they spent 116 days on the market.

“Condo prices, due to low inventory, are setting new records,” said Sarah Burke, Douglas Elliman’s senior regional executive manager of sale in Brooklyn.

As for the luxury market, the median sales price rose 14.2 percent to more than $1.8 million. Brooklyn’s priciest-ever condo was relisted for $32 million, far higher than the current record of $7 million paid for a condo in Dumbo’s Clock Tower in 2008. The borough’s most expensive listing is a $40 million, 17,500-square-foot townhouse.

In a separate report, also published Thursday, Corcoran Group said that while Brooklyn sales volume was down during the first quarter – by roughly 8 percent to 1,108 sales – the number of contracts signed was up 19 percent year-over-year.

There were 743 contracts signed, compared with 622 during the same period last year, the report said. Meanwhile, inventory was also up 19 percent, with 1,946 units available during the first quarter, compared to 1,638 units a year ago.

“Brooklyn is hotter than ever; [the first quarter] was acting like we were in spring,” said Frank Percesepe, Corcoran’s regional senior vice president, Brooklyn, referring to the typically busy spring market.

He said bidding wars, which were not as prevalent during the fall, “all of a sudden roared back into the spotlight.”

According to Corcoran, the submarket that includes Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Dumbo and Downtown Brooklyn saw a 38 percent jump in the number of sales, to 184, driven by sales at the Stahl Organization’s 388 Bridge. The median price in that submarket rose 12 percent to $825,000.

Notably, the submarket that includes Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Lefferts Gardens and Bushwick saw a 27 percent drop in the number of sales, to 49 last quarter, compared with 67 a year ago. Co-op sales were down 57 percent and condo sales were down 15 percent, Corcoran said. Percesepe chalked up the low sales to lack of inventory.

But, he said, “There’s enough for us to begin doing deals and there’s just a pent-up pool of buyers waiting to come in.”