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Home Prices Hit Record Highs in Brooklyn and Queens, Reports Say

By Amy Zimmer | July 7, 2016 7:16am
 This 2-bedroom/2-bath condo at 256 Cumberland St. in Fort Greene, with a high-end renovation including a Viking range and glass paneled fireplace, was recently listed by Corcoran for $1.475 million.
This 2-bedroom/2-bath condo at 256 Cumberland St. in Fort Greene, with a high-end renovation including a Viking range and glass paneled fireplace, was recently listed by Corcoran for $1.475 million.
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NEW YORK CITY — Brooklyn and Queens home sales prices hit new highs in the second quarter this year, according to real estate reports released Thursday.

Average apartment sale prices across Brooklyn increased 10 percent over the past year, reaching a record $746,277, according to the market report from Halstead. The median sales price hit a record $589,579.

The average price per square foot — $907 — also reached a new record, growing about 17 percent from the previous year, according to Corcoran’s report.

The pressure on prices remained high in Brooklyn because of constrained inventory on the lower end, while million-dollar listings became much more popular in the borough.

“There’s been an extraordinary lack of inventory at the bottom of the market,” said Corcoran’s Frank Percesepe.

Already, he’s seen a “certain amount of resistance” to the higher prices, with the number of signed contracts dropping.

There were 20 percent fewer homes under $500,000 on the market from the year before, especially as the number of co-op listings fell, the Corcoran report noted.

With fewer of these lower-priced listings, just 40 percent of sales in the borough were under half a million dollars compared to nearly 46 percent the year before, Corcoran found.

Meanwhile, as the number of new development listings increased, apartments selling for more than $1 million represented 27 percent of all listings last quarter. They claimed 22 percent of all sales — the highest market share of this price category on record.

The shortage of inventory was most pronounced in Carroll Gardens/Boerum Hill/Red Hook, which represented only 3 percent of listings last quarter and 8 percent of sales, the Corcoran report found.

This market also had the most expensive prices: the median was $1.075 million, up 16 percent from the year before.

In Queens, the average sales price hit a record $526,942, up nearly 17 percent from the previous year, according to a report from Douglas Elliman. The median price jumped nearly 21 percent to $465,000.

"Both markets are on a tear," said Jonathan Miller, who authored the Elliman report (though his report found Brooklyn prices were at near-record levels rather than record highs).

"I think Brooklyn's growth is more about Brooklyn changing as a market in the last five years," he added, "and Queens is more about Queens being adjacent to Brooklyn."

In some ways, Brooklyn is picking up Manhattan’s slack, said Douglas Elliman’s Sarah Burke, noting that if you’re looking in the $2 million to $5 million range, your money takes you a lot farther in Kings County.

“You can get a townhouse — renovated, with parking,” she said.

Buyers looking for space are “migrating” deeper into the borough in neighborhoods such as Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens and Midwood, she said.

Queens, which in recent years has been crowned the “new Brooklyn,” has also become more attractive to those making calculations when it comes to the rent-versus-buy question.

“High rents are driving people into home buying, with low interest rates making it an even sweeter deal. That’s driving the Queens prices up,” she said.

The median rent in Manhattan for June was up about 2 percent to $3,444 a month — the second highest in eight years, according to the Douglas Elliman report. But the vacancy rate for June was also the highest in four years and concessions — like a free month’s rent or owner-paid broker’s fees — were up too, indicating that the prices are just too much for some to handle.

The Brooklyn median rent was $2,880 a month, up nearly 3 percent from the year before, and in the Northwest region of Queens (which is the only part of the market the report covers), the median rent was $2,787 a month.