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Booming Brooklyn gets its own committee at REBNY

By John Banks

When out of towners think of New York City, iconic images of Manhattan are what come to mind, but locals know that just across the East River, north of Inwood, and over the Verrazano Bridge, there’s an entire world of excitement and opportunity beyond the borough of Manhattan.  The real estate industry fully understands this as well, so over the next few weeks we want to share some of the activities that The Real Estate Board of New York is involved in across the five boroughs. We begin our series with the County of Kings:

Last year, Brooklyn saw its highest average and median sales numbers since 2003, and every year draws closer to completely closing the gap between Brooklyn and Manhattan prices. In fact, Michelle Higgins of the New York Times recently reported that some renters have been finding better deals in Manhattan than Brooklyn, where the median monthly rent reached $2,893 in March.

The upward trend of 2014 has carried over into this year as well. According to REBNY’s latest Residential Sales Report, the home sales markets in Brooklyn had sizable average rent increases of 9 percent this quarter. The sales volume was more reserved compared to Manhattan, but the total consideration of residential sales was $2.16 billion, an increase of 10 percent compared to the second quarter of last year. In particular, Bedford Stuyvesant, Bay Ridge/Fort Hamilton, and Park Slope were the areas of greatest home sales activity.

Highlighting Brooklyn’s ever-growing importance, we recently created the REBNY Brooklyn Residential Committee. Chaired by Juliana Brown-DeRiggs of Corcoran and Aroza Sanjana of Warren Lewis Sotheby’s International Realty, this new committee was created to provide an open forum where Brooklyn residential members can foster and promote better working relationships among member firms and outreach to nonmember firms in this burgeoning residential marketplace.

“As the Co-Chair Person of REBNY’s Brooklyn Committee and a lifelong resident of Brooklyn, I am very excited about the continuous growth of this borough,” said Brown-DeRiggs. “I am grateful for REBNY’s support over the years, and enthusiastic about their support and future participation. So far, we have been very successful in introducing our members to the key business leaders of Brooklyn, and at our most recent meeting, we were fortunate to have Tucker Reed, President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, share his wealth of knowledge and insight which will immediately impact our borough.”

We’ve also recently launched a commercial Brooklyn committee. Lee & Associates NYC senior managing director/principal Peter Levitan has been elected chair of group and John Ritter, EVP, Sholom & Zuckerbrot, will serve as vice chair of the committee.

Meanwhile, we’ve agreed to participate as a member of Borough President Eric Adams’ Renewable and Sustainable Energy Taskforce (ReSET), and join his collaboration between city and state agencies, education and policy makers focused on advancing a sustainable future for Brooklyn. Later this year, REBNY will release our first ever Brooklyn Retail Report.

Brooklyn is a prime example of a market that is more than on the rise – it has already risen, and shows no signs of slowing down. As renters and buyers alike continue to flock to this exciting borough that is ripe with opportunity, REBNY will continue to invest in Kings County, helping to spur its growth, working in the best interests of our membership and New York City.

In other REBNY News:

Join REBNY on July 16th at the New York Law School for a keynote address by Council Member Dan Garodnick, Co-Chair of the East Midtown Rezoning Steering Committee. This event, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., will be one of the first forums following the release of the Committee’s recommendations to the City, and will be followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, President of MTA Capital Construction and other experts in Development and Real Estate on the future of Midtown East. For information on how to RSVP, contact Johann Hamilton at

August 18th is REBNY’s next Residential Breakfast Club Seminar. From 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., join your fellow REBNY members at this free seminar in our Mendik Education Room, where our top industry leaders will be imparting hints and tips to improve your business. For more information, contact Yesenia Dhanraj at, or check the Events section of

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