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Boom and gloom in market reports: Brooklyn is up, Manhattan rents are down

This week’s collection of market reports show contrasting fortunes for different segments of the city’s real estate market.

The positive news is that Brooklyn continues to exhibit strength. Two separate reports from Corcoran and the Real Estate Board of New York show the borough’s continued rise in the retail and residential markets.

A street corner in Bushwick. Photo by webjay/ Flickr
A street corner in Bushwick. Photo by webjay/ Flickr

Corcoran’s first quarter report had the median price for properties in the borough at $606,000, which amounts to a 15 percent jump from the same period last year. Prices also increased for all apartment types, with the highest being with studio units, which jumped 26 percent from $320,000 to $404,000.

The inventory in the borough also jumped ten percent year-on-year to 2,281 listings. However, the number of days that apartments stayed on the market hit a plateau, slightly dropping from 64 days to 63 days.

“During recent quarters, Brooklyn sellers were motivated to list their residences due to a steady rise in overall prices. As a result of the increase in inventory, buyers have had more options at a diverse range of price points throughout the borough. This dynamic resulted in level closed sales figures in First Quarter 2016 versus last year, along with increased contract activity,” the report read.

The numbers are equally rosy with REBNY’s first quarter retail report. The average asking rent for ground floor retail spaces rose in 14 out of the borough’s 15 retail corridors. The highest prices were in Bedford Avenue between Grand Avenue and North 12th Street, which saw ground floor retail asking rents jump 3.9 percent to $361 per s/f. Meanwhile, the biggest price jump was in Montague Street between Hicks Street and Cadman Plaza, which saw average asking rents increased by over 25 percent from the previous quarter to $188 per s/f.

“The modest rise in asking rents from last summer to this winter speaks to the sustained strengthening of the retail market in Brooklyn,” said John Banks, the president of REBNY. “The retail corridors examined continue to experience heightened activity and we look forward to informing the retail community about the growth in Brooklyn as we continue to track the market activity in these corridors.

However, growth did not spread to all five boroughs. According to Douglas Elliman’s March rental market report, the median rental price in Manhattan dropped 2.8 percent to $3,300 compared to the same period last year. The decline marked the end of 24 consecutive months of year-on-year median rental price growth.

“Overall Manhattan rents softened for the first time in two years. Weaker conditions were seen across apartment sizes as vacancy rates and landlord concessions were higher than last year’s levels,” the report read.

The decline was consistent across all apartment types, with the highest drop in the 3+ bedroom segment, which saw the median rental price drop 7.3 percent to $5,558. The weakest part of the rental market was the luxury segment, which saw the median rental price drop by 3.5 percent to $8,228.

However, the strongest evidence of decline in the Manhattan rental market relates to concessions. During the month, concessions, which include free rent and commissions paid by landlords, almost doubled to 13.6 percent compared to the same period last year.

The Elliman report’s Brooklyn findings aligned with other reports. The median rental price for the borough jumped 2.7 percent to $2,775 year-on-year. Meanwhile, the figures in Queens went the other direction, dropping 5.2 percent to $2,799.

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