Brooklyn residential market outlook good, MLS prez says

Things are looking up in the Brooklyn residential market, according to Gerard Longo, president of the Brooklyn New York Multiple Listing Service.

The MLS’ first-quarter 2010 report, which culls data from the listings registered in the MLS, shows that inventory dropped 22.7 percent year-over-year in the first quarter, while sales volume increased 10.08 percent to $181.67 million in the first three months of this year from $165.04 million in the first quarter of 2009.

While the median price dropped 7.02 percent during that same time period, the average price only declined .66 percent.

“I think we found a stable place in our market,” said Longo, who is also a principal with development firm Atlantic Walk Vestry and president of Brooklyn-based real estate company Madison Estates & Properties. “I think we’re flatlining here.”

While appraiser Jonathan Miller, head of Miller Samuel, agreed that market conditions have improved, the data he compiled in his first-quarter Brooklyn and Queens report for Prudential Douglas Elliman, did not show such a dramatic change.

Listing inventory, for example, dropped approximately 5 percent year-over-year, according to the Elliman report, versus the 22.7 percent that the MLS report shows.

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“We’re in a much better place than we were a year ago,” Miller said, but still down from the pre-Lehman days.

There is another key discrepancy between the Elliman report and the Brooklyn New York MLS’: while Elliman’s shows 1,861 sales in the first quarter of 2010, the MLS’ shows just 400. This is due in part to the stock included in both reports — Elliman’s listing pool outpaces the Brooklyn MLS’ by about 2,000 properties.

Longo said he is optimistic about the borough’s outlook, even in those neighborhoods that have became veritable poster children for boom-time overdevelopment, like Williamsburg.

He said that as a developer he was dissuaded from the Williamsburg area in the last decade, “because there was a lot of inventory,” but today he sees positive signs there.

“Has demand outpaced inventory? No. But the volume and velocity of sales [are] there,” Longo said. “I’m shocked by the amount of demand there.”

But the demand needs to be high to make a dent in the inventory, which has been growing exponentially over the last few years, with little sign of slowing down.

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