Brooklyn Home Sales Surge 28% as Buyers Sense Price Stability

Brooklyn Bridge
"The New York City Waterfalls," one of four man-made waterfalls created by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, cascades under the Brooklyn Bridge. Photographer: Keyur Khamar/Bloomberg News

Home sales in Brooklyn, New York’s most populous borough, surged 28 percent in the first quarter after a year of stable prices bolstered buyer confidence.

Sales totaled 2,373, up from 1,861 a year earlier, New York appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and broker Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate said today in a joint report. The median price of properties that changed hands in the period was $475,000, a 1.9 percent increase from a year earlier and unchanged from the previous quarter.

“Brooklyn, for the last year, has been stable,” Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, said in an interview. “When you have an extended period of consistent activity, consumers are more confident.”

Demand for condos, co-ops and single-family residences rose in the quarter as New York City’s job market improved. The city’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 8.7 in March was down from 8.9 percent in February and 9.9 percent a year earlier, the state Department of Labor said yesterday. Financial-industry jobs totaled 169,400 in February, up 6.1 percent from the January 2010 low.

Sales of condominiums increased 61 percent in the first quarter, with 923 condo units changing hands. Resales and deals at new developments each jumped 61 percent, and the median price of all condos climbed 7.2 percent to $520,000, according to Miller Samuel and Prudential.

‘Venturing Out’

Co-op sales rose 14 percent in the quarter and the median price increased 8.5 percent, to $295,000. Sales of one- to three-family houses in the borough climbed 12 percent from a year earlier as the median price fell 3.7 percent.

“This suggests that buyers have been venturing out in larger numbers and taking advantage of discounts” before prices rise, Miller said. Values for all borough properties are 12 percent lower than at the peak of the market in the third quarter of 2007, he said.

The inventory of available properties jumped 27 percent in the first quarter as once-hesitant homeowners decided to sell amid strong buyer demand, Miller said.

“That element is consistent with this idea of improved confidence,” he said.

A total of 7,316 properties were listed for sale in Brooklyn at the end of the first quarter, 17 percent more than the average quarterly inventory for the last five years, according to Miller.

Price Discounts

Brooklyn properties stayed on the market an average of 129 days, a 13 percent increase from a year earlier. Sellers pared an average of 4.8 percent off their original asking price to strike a deal in the quarter, compared with a 3.6 percent discount offered at the beginning of 2010.

The Cobble Hill neighborhood had the largest median price increase for condos and co-ops. Values jumped 80 percent to $857,000, according to a separate report released yesterday by the Real Estate Board of New York.

The median price of apartments that changed hands in Park Slope climbed 18 percent to $629,000. Condos and co-ops in Brooklyn Heights sold for a median of $590,000, a 10 percent decrease from a year ago, according to the trade group.

In Queens, the city’s second-most-populous borough, sales plunged 17 percent in the first quarter to 2,598, and the median price climbed 1.4 percent to $350,000, according to Miller Samuel and Prudential. The inventory of available properties increased 12 percent to 13,609.

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