More bidding wars for Brooklyn and Queens homes last quarter

Boroughs saw deal volume increase and price records for sales

TRD New York /
Jan.January 09, 2020 08:30 AM
(Credit: iStock)

(Credit: iStock)

Brooklyn’s still hip, Queens is smashing records and that’s where buyers want to be.

Median sales prices in Kings County grew for the first time in the past seven quarters, reaching $800,000 for the final three months of 2019, according to a Douglas Elliman market report. The number of sales jumped nearly 3 percent to 2,545.

What’s more, sales were more likely to end in bidding wars, as 20.7 percent of last quarter’s transactions closed above the last asking price, up from 18.9 percent in the same period last year.

In Queens, buyers’ battles were even more dramatic. Of the homes sold last quarter, 16.7 percent closed above asking price, a dramatic increase from 7.8 percent in the same period in 2018. The number of sales climbed nearly 7 percent, to 3,468.

The borough of about 2.3 million people also logged yet another record-breaking quarter with average and median sales prices hitting new highs, $674,844 and $610,000 respectively. Listing inventory continued its three-year expansion to 5,456 homes, a year-over-year increase of 5.7 percent. And the number of sales rose for the first time in nine quarters to 3,468 deals.

“The market remains brisk but it got a little tighter this quarter,” said the report’s author, appraiser Jonathan Miller. “It’s almost like you could say a record number of records.”

He attributed that largely to low mortgage rates, but also noted that he believed Queens’ market is also driven by buyers being priced out of Brooklyn .

“I don’t think we’re giving Brooklyn enough credit,” he said.

He’s not alone. After Queens’ standout third quarter, Steven James, Elliman’s president and CEO, chalked up the robust sales to “the spillover from Brooklyn as buyers seek out greater affordability.”

Brooklyn sale prices have also been “flirting with records, really since 2016,” Miller noted. But his report also indicated the market may be normalizing.

With the median sales price ticking up for the first time in six consecutive quarters and listing inventory declining 1.7 percent to 2,943 homes after seven consecutive quarters of year-over-year growth, Brooklyn could be “leveling off,” according to Miller.

That said, the appraiser joked that it’s “hard to agree what’s normal in Brooklyn.”

Write to Erin Hudson at [email protected]

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