Contrary to Popular Belief, Home Buyers Are Flocking to Brooklyn

Photo by Susan De Vries

All the things that make Brooklyn Brooklyn have been assets in the pandemic — abundant parks and outdoor space, low-rise neighborhoods, houses and small buildings in lieu of apartment towers, stoops, knowing your neighbors, mom and pop businesses that cater to locals — even streets of hopping outdoor eateries that can at times feel like a Parisian boulevard. (It’s not exactly Trump’s “anarchist” city.)

That includes real estate too. Buyers have been flocking here from Manhattan, as well as picking up and moving within the borough, brokers report. Pending contracts surged in August after a 30 percent drop in deals during the pandemic, according to numbers from StreetEasy.

“Anything with outdoor space is flying, and renovated townhouses that are priced well are going into bidding wars,” Keller Williams NYC agent Melissa Leifer told The New York Times.

Case in point: A single-family townhouse in Clinton Hill at 445 Washington Avenue in move-in condition with multiple outdoor spaces, including an extra-deep backyard, closed in a head-spinning 32 days from the time it was listed, agent Eileen Richter of Compass told Brownstoner.

domino park

Sunbathers in Domino Park in Williamsburg in June. Photo by Cate Corcoran

“The rumors of the New York City real estate market’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, especially when it comes to the Brooklyn townhouse sector,” said Lindsay Barton Barrett, an agent with Douglas Elliman, in her September newsletter to clients. “Any New Yorker knows that walking down the street, seeing the bustling outdoor dining scene, shops open and active, this is the city that we know and love, in a slightly new incarnation.” In July and August, signed contracts for single-family homes in Brooklyn jumped 130 percent and 180 percent, respectively, over the year prior, according to Douglas Elliman.

Bucking trends, Brooklyn saw a major increase in contract signings for all types of properties in August, StreetEasy shows. In that month, 735 homes in Brooklyn went into contract, a 38.7 percent increase from August 2019. This, despite prices staying flat compared to last year, at $956,900.

The only time the number of pending sales were higher was in March 2019, when 748 homes entered contract.

Brooklyn houses

Photo by Susan De Vries

Manhattan and Queens, according to the report, are moving in the opposite direction. The former saw the number of contracts fall by six percent and the latter by 4.3 percent.

Contracts were signed across multiple “price tiers,” according to StreetEasy, concentrated on the more affordable end of the market. Sales in a tier with a median price of $253,000 rose by 100 percent from the previous year, while homes in a tier with a median price of $999,614 gained 65 percent from the previous year. Pending sales fell slightly, by 0.7 percent, for the “luxury tier,” with a median price of $1.6 million.

Home sales showed strength in relatively more affordable areas of Brooklyn. Sales increased in Bay Ridge, Flatbush, Downtown Brooklyn and neighborhoods around Prospect Park, including Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Prospect Park South and Windsor Terrace, according to the report.

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