Brooklyn sales prices down, but luxury market stable in third quarter

Queens activity, prices, inventory drop; median home price at $370K

Brooklyn (credit: Prudential Douglas Elliman)
Brooklyn (credit: Prudential Douglas Elliman)

Brooklyn’s sales market is constrained by plummeting inventory, but retains a relatively healthy luxury market, much like the Manhattan market in the third quarter, Prudential Douglas Elliman’s report for the period shows.

Inventory was the lowest it has been in four years this past quarter, dropping 16.2 percent, to 5,602 units from 6,688 units year-over-year. Pricing was barely changed, however – down 0.8 percent in the borough from this period last year. The report tracks condominiums, co-ops and single-family homes. 

The lack of inventory, particularly for brownstones and co-ops, was presenting a hurdle for brokers, said Elliman’s executive vice president and director of sales for Brooklyn, Michael Guerra.

“We don’t have enough inventory to show to anyone who is interested in any particular segment or location,” he said. And while newer housing stock in Williamsburg continues to hit the market, many of the developments have switched to rental —leaving overall purchase supply gravely diminished, he said.

But just as was the case for Manhattan, the market’s constraints are not supporting any significant price increases, the report shows.

The median sales price for a brownstone in Brooklyn was $1.3 million, down 13 percent from this time last year. The median sales price for a condominium was $576,000, up 4.7 percent year-over-year, while the median price for a co-op was $313,000, down 0.6.

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Pricing in the luxury segment of the market – defined by Elliman as the top ten percent of all sales – held firm, with the median sales price of $1.44 million up 5.2 percent quarter-over-quarter and on par with last year’s third quarter median.

Meanwhile, in Queens, pricing, activity and inventory were down, though Elliman’s report noted that pricing appeared stable and that the regional economy is “slowly improving.”

“Inventory is not as tight [as in Brooklyn], but is near historic low levels in Queens as well,” said Guerra. Outshining Long Island City, where prices are historically highest, Guerra said the Flushing area was “probably the strongest for demand in all of Queens,” noting that the neighborhood, a traditionally Chinese community, now has a larger population than does Chinatown in Manhattan.

The median sales price borough-wide was $370,000, down 3.9 percent from the third quarter of 2011, when the median price stood at $385,000, Elliman’s numbers show.

Still, there were bright spots in the Queens market, as the median price for a condo rose 44 percent since this time last year, to $398,000.

“It’s very difficult to compartmentalize the typical Queens buyer – there are many different demographics in the market,” Guerra said.