GOWANUS — That burning smell in Gowanus isn't the toxic canal, it's the neighborhood's red hot real estate prices, which show no signs of cooling in 2017, real estate analysts say.
The neighborhood's median home sale price shot up 68 percent in 2016 to $1,213,000, according to Property Shark, which landed Gowanus in the No. 14 slot on a list of the city's 50 most expensive neighborhoods of 2016.
In 2015, Gowanus ranked No. 42, with a median sale price of $720,000, a Property Shark spokeswoman said. In 2014, the neighborhood's median price was $675,000, the spokeswoman said.
Gowanus edged out its leafier brownstone-filled neighbors this year: Carroll Gardens ranked No. 15 (median sale price $1,208,450) and Park Slope came in at No. 25 (median sale price $979,500) on Property Shark's 2016 list.
Gowanus, which is mostly industrial, had fewer residential transactions than its neighbors, with just 52 apartments trading hands, compared to 66 in Carroll Gardens and 416 in Park Slope in 2016, according to Property Shark.
As for rents, the median asking rent in 2016 was $3,000, up from $2,925 in 2015, according to StreetEasy. The real estate firm sees continued price growth in Gowanus in 2017, and ranked it No. 7 on its list of the city's top 10 "hottest" neighborhoods.
StreetEasy recorded a lower median sale price for Gowanus in 2016 — $899,000 — than Property Shark, probably because StreetEasy's map of the neighborhood is slightly smaller than Property Shark's.
Sale prices for development sites in Gowanus are pushing upward as well. Alloy Development bought the land for its new offices at 431 Carroll St. for $338 per buildable square foot, "a rare number for land in a manufacturing zone," noted a November report by GFI Realty Services.
The mounting rents and home prices come as the city is considering a rezoning of the neighborhood that could lead to new residential development in areas that are now zoned for manufacturing uses.
Preserving the neighborhood's fast-disappearing affordability is one of the top priorities residents listed during City Councilman Brad Lander's Bridging Gowanus community-led planning process.
The first residential development on the banks of the notoriously contaminated canal opened this year. The 430-unit 365 Bond has 86 affordable units set aside for low- and moderate-income renters. More than 56,000 people applied for the lottery that doled out the below-market-rate units.
Plans have been in the works for several years for a 774-unit affordable housing development called Gowanus Green that's slated to be built between Smith, Fifth and Huntington streets. The developer has said they hope to break ground on the project in 2018.