Multifamily Sales Volume Plunges in Brooklyn Following Rent Regulation Reform

Apartment buildings in Park Slope. Photo by Susan De Vries

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    Sales of apartment buildings have slowed in Brooklyn and beyond following the passage of new tenant protections in the state legislature, PropertyShark reported last week. Most dramatically, unit volume fell 74 percent in Brooklyn in September compared to a year earlier.

    In June, the state legislature passed the Tenant Protection Act, essentially rolling back vacancy decontrol passed in the early 1990s. Tenant advocates praised the move, although they said more needs to be done to protect tenants. Landlords have said removing incentives to redevelop buildings will cause rental housing to deteriorate (although owners are required by law to maintain rental buildings).

    More broadly, the real estate market has softened, with reports of a glut of new luxury rentals in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

    “The multifamily sector saw significant changes since New York City’s new Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 came into effect,” said a PropertyShark spokeswoman in an email. “To get a clearer picture of the situation on the ground, we analyzed multifamily sales registered in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx between January 1, 2017 and September 30, 2019.”

    Chart by PropertyShark

    Citywide, sales volume fell 76 percent in September, vs. the year before, the PropertyShark report shows. Only Queens bucked the trend, doubling its sales volume of multi-family buildings in September.

    In Brooklyn, the value of sales in the first nine months of 2018 was $2.76 billion, vs. $1.51 billion (for 171 units) in the first nine months of this year.

    Resale prices of multi-family commercial buildings in Brooklyn remain stable, PropertyShark said, at an average of $348 a square foot in September, a 2 percent increase over the same period the year before.

    Fewer apartment buildings changing hands and lower turnover of rent-regulated units could potentially increase housing security for Brooklyn renters in large buildings and help make Brooklyn neighborhoods more stable in general.

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