Sales in Brooklyn and Queens are falling, but prices aren’t: Elliman

Q4 sees record highs in Queens, amid signs that the market is slowing

TRD New York /
Jan.January 10, 2019 09:35 AM

(Credit: Douglas Elliman)

Sellers in Brooklyn and Queens aren’t budging, even as a cascade of new product enters the market.

“The pattern is falling sales, record prices and rising inventory,” said Jonathan Miller, CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the Douglas Elliman report.

In Brooklyn, the average sales price fell slightly from an all-time high of over $1 million in the third quarter to around $998,000 in the fourth quarter. This was still the second-highest average sales price on record, according to Miller. In the luxury market, median sales price were up 1.3 percent from the same time last year, hitting $2.43 million.

The priciest area was Northwest Brooklyn, where average sales price is up 16.4 percent over last year, at $1.6 million.

As prices remain near record levels, sales are falling. Sales were down in Brooklyn for the fourth consecutive quarter year-over-year. In Williamsburg and Greenpoint sales fell by almost 25 percent over the fourth quarter of 2017.

Miller said sales had been affected by the continuation of patterns seen throughout 2018: uncertainty around the new tax law, an increase in inventory and higher interest rates. He said general economic uncertainty was weakening the housing market.

(Credit: Douglas Elliman)

“When consumers are confused, they pause,” Miller said.

As sales fell, inventory in Brooklyn shot up nearly 75 percent from the same time in 2017. But it’s not necessarily a cause for concern Miller says, because last year saw chronically low inventory.

“Even with this increase in inventory, the pace of the market is still very brisk,” Miller said, “It’s distorted by the low point it came from.”

The new figures show Brooklyn properties spent less time on the market, down to 78 days from 92 days at the same time last year.

In Queens, records were broken as the average sale price reached an all-time high of $637,000. But sales fell there too, down 11.5 percent from the previous quarter.

Inventory also rose in Queens for the seventh consecutive quarter year-over-year.

“Queens is still benefiting from the Brooklyn spillover” said Miller, “But Brooklyn is starting to see sales decline and so is Queens.”

The same patterns were evident in Riverdale, which includes Fieldston, Hudson Hill, North Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil. Average sales price increased 6.4 percent to nearly $441,000, while sales fell 23 percent from last year.

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