Who's Buying Brooklyn Real Estate? People Earning More Than $300K

By Amy Zimmer on April 9, 2014 7:07am 

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 The number of Brooklyn buyers earning $300K a year rose 316 percent the past year, a report said.
Who's Buying in Brooklyn? $300K Earners on the Rise, Real Estate Firm Says
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BROOKLYN — Brooklyn's becoming home to the wealthy.

All signs point to a rise in people earning $300,000 a year or more flooding brownstone enclaves like Park Slope and Carroll Gardens and hot communities like Williamsburg and Greenpoint, according to Ideal Properties' inaugural "profile of home buyers in Brownstone Brooklyn" quarterly report released Tuesday.

The number of these high-income earners who bought homes in these areas shot up more than 316 percent in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the previous year.

They accounted for 30 percent of the buyers, the report found.

"The reality is that people with deeper pockets and a lot more cash available are buying in the area," said Aleksandra Scepanovic, managing director of Ideal Properties, who has been working in Prospect Heights for more than a decade.

Her office decided to sort through buyer data after a client, "who in any other circumstance or country would be considered wealthy," was considering selling a Prospect Heights townhouse because "the filthy-rich people were moving into the neighborhood," Scepanovic recounted.

She wanted to find out what was going on beyond that person's block.

"A lot of our agents are working with buyers who, even if they have $500,000 in savings and $200,000 available to put down, [agents] are shopping them around with hundreds like them or better qualified," she said.

For those who don't have that kind of money, Scepanovic said, "The question is whether you'll be able to purchase the exact property that you want. Even if you can somewhat afford a specific property, there will probably be someone else with more disposable income or liquid assets [who will] beat you. So, you may have to settle."

Households earning between $100,000 and $199,000 edged out the number of the highest income earners — though barely. There was a 31-percent majority of buyers in this income bracket, the report said.

Most buyers worked in finance, accounting and sales positions, followed by law and marketing. There was a tie for fourth, between media and the separate category of social and digital media.

Prices have been on the upswing across Brownstone and North Brooklyn, up 34 percent over the past year, with homes selling for an average of $1.129 million. Roughly 60 percent of all properties sold at or above their listing price, another report from Ideal found. 

To Scepanovic, it feels as if house hunters in Brooklyn are walking around, checkbooks in hand.

A two-family townhouse at 393 Sterling Place, on the market for $3.385 million, recently had 150 people attending its first open house with "a number of really high competing offers."

"Can most of us afford that? No," she said. "But there are apparently a lot of people who can."

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