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Here Are the Most and Least Competitive Neighborhoods for NYC Home Buyers

By Amy Zimmer | March 20, 2017 7:20am | Updated on March 20, 2017 1:58pm
 A living room in Brooklyn.
A living room in Brooklyn.
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Weary house hunters, take heart: Buyers looking at the price range from $600,000 to $800,000 — which tends to be the most popular price point in the city — had more leverage in some Manhattan and Brooklyn neighborhoods when it came to negotiating better prices, one study found.

As price growth cools and bidding wars recede, a recent StreetEasy analysis of 2016 sales data found five areas where buyers had the upper hand.

Williamsburg fell from its onetime perch amid a forthcoming L train shutdown in 2019, with listings on the market a median time period of more than 3 months and more than 51 percent of its listings getting a price cut.

In Midtown, 61 percent of Midtown’s listings had a price cut and homes also stayed on the market for 3 months or more. 

In Riverdale, which has been getting a lot of buzz lately for its affordable prices, homes lingered on the market a median of 124 days and saw, on average, a 3 percent discount from the original list price, StreetEasy found.

House hunters also had more luck in the Upper East Side’s Lenox Hill and Carnegie Hill, where more than 45 percent of homes had price cuts.

Overall, those looking in the $600,000 to $800,000-range have options, according to Streeeasy’s Grant Long, noting that a total of 60 neighborhoods had at least 10 homes listed on the search engine, including Ditmas Park and Jackson Heights.

“Those willing to search for homes slightly further from Midtown will be rewarded with a greater variety from which to choose,” he wrote in a blog post.

But in some areas, for those looking at those price points, sellers still have the upper hand.

All of the five most competitive neighborhoods for buyers were in Brooklyn, the StreetEasy report found.

Buyers looking in Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Fort Greene didn’t have as much luck negotiating. It was hard to bargain for a better price in Kensington, too.

In both Carroll Gardens and Kensington, for instance, homes flew off the market, lasting a median of 29 days before being snatched up, StreetEasy found.  Listings lasted about 35 days in Park Slope and Prospect Heights.

Overall, Brooklyn house hunters looking for three-bedroom homes might have the most luck when it comes to price dips.

A recent Corcoran report showed a 12 percent decrease in the median price for three-bedroom homes in the borough, dropping to $1.39 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 from $1.58 million the year before.

Roberta Axelrod, of Time Equities, who is managing sales for the Brooklyn Lofts, a recent rental-to-condo project in the South Slope, said that in general, price appreciation in Brooklyn has forced families looking for two bedrooms into one-bedrooms that can be converted into two, while those preferring three bedrooms have been squeezing into two.

That's made the pool of buyers for real three-bedroom units smaller — hence the price dip.

"The one- and two-bedrooms we have in Brooklyn go immediately," Axelrod said, noting that the building she's working with at 19th Street and Fifth Avenue — a former warehouse for talcum powder — has three-bedroom units for under $1.4 million, which is a lot less than neighboring Park Slope.