What do Brooklyn homes cost? Don’t ask these candidates

Shaun Donovan, Ray McGuire vastly underestimate price; Maya Wiley doubles it

New York /
May.May 12, 2021 10:32 AM
Clockwise from top left: Scott Stringer, Maya Wiley, Raymond McGuire, Andrew Yang and Shaun Donovan (Getty)

Clockwise from top left: Scott Stringer, Maya Wiley, Raymond McGuire, Andrew Yang and Shaun Donovan (Getty)

Only in a New Yorker’s wildest dreams does a home in Brooklyn cost $100,000. Someone had better wake up Shaun Donovan and Ray McGuire.

When the two mayoral candidates were asked to estimate the median sale price of a Brooklyn home, that’s what they guessed. The correct answer is $900,000.

With New York City’s expensive housing a key issue in the race, the New York Times editorial board posed the question to candidates.

“In Brooklyn, huh? I don’t for sure,” replied Donovan, who served as housing secretary under President Barack Obama and housing commissioner under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “I would guess it is around $100,000.”

Former Citigroup investment banker Raymond McGuire, who lives in a Central Park West apartment worth eight figures, guessed even lower.

“It’s got to be somewhere in the $80,000 to $90,000 range, if not higher,” he told the Times.

The Democrats’ estimates might have been accurate 40 years ago, real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller told Bloomberg News. Today, those amounts might buy a parking space.

Candidate Maya Wiley, a former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, was off by even more than Donovan and McGuire. She guessed $1.8 million — enough to buy two median-priced homes. But by overstating the amount, she largely avoided the ridicule bestowed upon the two men.

Four of the other five Democrats polling above 1 percent were closer with their answers, but only one got it right: Andrew Yang, who has been criticized for being out of touch with city issues.

Kathryn Garcia, a Park Slope homeowner and former sanitation commissioner, was just off with a guess of $800,000, as was City Comptroller Scott Stringer at $1 million. (Garcia won the Times’ endorsement.)

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams pegged the median price at about $550,000. Dianne Morales, a former executive of the social-services arm of Phipps Houses, offered $500,000.

The wayward answers led candidates to scramble for excuses in a hapless effort to recapture the respect of any New Yorker who has spent time house-hunting or fantasizing on StreetEasy and Zillow.

Donovan, who only two years ago bought a Brooklyn carriage house for $2.3 million, sent an email hours after the interview claiming his guess referred to the assessed value of homes in Brooklyn, which is far lower than their true market price. A spokesperson for Donovan said he “misinterpreted the question and made a mistake.”

McGuire similarly told the Times that he “messed up.”

“I am human,” he said.

[NYT] — Sasha Jones





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