By Orlando Lee Rodriguez
Brooklyn could overtake Chicago as the third largest “city” in the US if it continues to grow at its present rate.
Currently growing at 2.4 percent, the borough’s population will pass the three million mark some time in the next decade if the growth rate stays the same.
A faster influx of new residents to Kings County would place it right behind Los Angeles even sooner, maybe before 2020.
Overall, the New York City’s population grew by 161,564 from April 2010 to July 2012, a two percent increase, according to data released by the US Census Bureau.
Manhattan’s growth rate was 2.1 percent and Staten Island was last among the boroughs, growing by only 0.4 percent.
“For the first time since before 1950, more people are coming to New York City than leaving,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We have many indicators of quality of life in the city — record low crime, record high tourism, record high life expectancy, record high graduation rates, record job growth and more – but there’s no better indication of the strength of our city than a record high population and a net population influx. People are voting with their feet.”
Chicago, currently the nation’s third largest city, is mired in the slowest population growth of all of the largest metro areas in the country, according to the Census data. Brooklyn’s growth would place it ahead of the Windy City sometime within the next 12 years.
Brooklyn’s commercial and residential development has exploded. In 2012, investment sales were $4 billion, a 106 percent jump over the year prior, according to Ariel Property Advisors. The dollar value for commercial transactional jumped 383 percent from 2011, while office product rose 314 percent.
Apartment prices in prime Brooklyn neighborhoods are now fast approaching $1,000 per square foot, comparable in cost to Manhattan. Kings County is so hot, that the biggest commercial transaction in the city last year was the $751 million sale of the Kings Plaza Shopping Mall in Mil Basin.
“2012 may one day be seen as a turning point for Brooklyn real estate,” said Jonathan Berman, vice president of Ariel Property Advisors. “Not only did the borough see outstanding transaction and dollar volume, but several major public/private developments made their debut [and] others took steps forward. The ripple effects are going to be substantial.”
“While strengthening economic fundamentals are playing a major part in the real estate recovery throughout the city, Brooklyn’s recovery appears to be gaining even more momentum,” he said.
On the residential side, the median rent in Brooklyn increased 7.2 percent to $2,590 in February, according to this month’s Elliman Report. Demand has risen substantially and the average time that a property stays on the market has shrunk to half of its summer rate, now standing at 43 days from listing to rental on average.
“Brooklyn rental price indicators began to once again rise at a quicker pace,” said Dottie Herman, president and CEO of Douglas Elliman. “The number of days it took to rent a property fell and landlord concessions were rare, as the rental market remained tight. We anticipate rents to remain high this year.”
As rents have risen, tenants in search of deals have begun to ramp up demand in other areas, pushing up prices there as well.
Bushwick, particularly areas along the L train, is in the midst of a rapid gentrification-driven makeover. The neighborhood has seen the largest rental gains on average in Brooklyn, up 17.2 percent in the past month, according to data compiled by MNS.
According to city economic data, last year the borough created 18,000 jobs, a figure that is expected to grow as plans for a larger Downtown Brooklyn business district, the city’s third largest, have been approved for rezoning.
The nearby Brooklyn Navy Yard also just announced an $80 million private investment for a tech hub, while commercial and retail areas south of the existing Metro Tech development will be expanded along Fulton, Willoughby and Jay Streets.
In addition, the downtown area will add almost 5,000 apartments across 14 residential properties in the next three years, upping the district’s population from 13,000 to over 25,000, according to Crain’s New York Business.
20 percent of the units will be affordable, increasing the influx and mix of immigrants, U.S. transplants and younger hipsters from the New York metro-area who have flocked to what GQ Magazine labeled the “Coolest City on the Planet.”
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said during his ‘State of the Borough’ address. “During the 70s, Brooklyn lost nearly one out of every seven residents, today it’s a different story. Every day brings new arrivals from all over the world to Brooklyn whose dreams are their ticket in. For those of us old-school Brooklynites who never gave up on Brooklyn, it has been incredible to see the world catch up with us.”