The top priority for buyers was affordability – at least when compared to the persistently high prices in Manhattan. Signing of the bottom fifth of listings in Brooklyn, where the average price was $ 253,000, doubled in August to 134 deals from 67 in the same period last year, the biggest jump of any price bracket.
However, demand was stronger or stable across all price ranges, suggesting that other factors were driving sales. The top fifth of the Brooklyn market, at an average price of $ 1.6 million, had 147 signings, virtually unchanged from the same period last year. The increase in sales was not only seen in affluent areas like Downtown Brooklyn, but also in cheaper areas like Bay Ridge and Flatbush.
At least part of sales are due to pent-up demand after the coronavirus essentially banned personal home screenings from mid-March through late June. However, the disproportionate rebound in Brooklyn and, to a lesser extent, Queens suggests that shoppers are adjusting their priorities too.
"Anything outside flies and refurbished townhouses at good prices lead to bid wars," said Melissa Leifer, an agent at Keller Williams, NYC, of the recovering market in Brooklyn. About half of their buyers already live in the community while the other half are leaving their Manhattan homes, often with complaints of high maintenance costs, smaller apartments, and a lack of green spaces.
After months of damage caused by the virus, a rebound is still in its infancy. From January to the end of August, 3,467 contracts were signed in Brooklyn, down from 4,813 in the same period last year, a decrease of around 30 percent.