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Brooklyn and Queens markets slow down, but prices remain near record highs

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Median sales prices in the fourth quarter are high, but not rising

Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Max Touhey

As prices continue to remain near record highs in Brooklyn and Queens, the fourth quarter brought a pronounced slowdown in sales in the two boroughs.

Douglas Elliman’s fourth quarter market reports pinpoint Brooklyn’s median sales price at $770,000, a 2.7 percent decrease from the third quarter but still the borough’s third highest median sales price on record. (It peaked in Q2 at $795,000.) Meanwhile in Queens, the median sales price hit $559,000 in Q4, a 12.2 percent increase year over year. The last two quarters in Queens brought records for both median and average sales prices.

The continued rise in Queens sales prices can be attributed to spillover from the Brooklyn market, where potential homebuyers are being met with unobtainable pricing, says Miller Samuel’s Jonathan Miller. But as prices remain high, sales volume is beginning to dip.

Miller attributes this in Brooklyn to a market that’s very accustomed to rising prices—the median sales price has gone up year-over-year every quarter for the last 21 quarters—and because pricing remains high, potential sellers are not feeling pressured to list their properties to cash in. This trend’s contributed to a 23-percent drop in inventory from this time last year.

Buyers aren’t necessarily running straight to Queens when they find the Brooklyn market to be out of reach. (The ‘burbs are booming.) The fourth quarter brought a slowdown in sales and a slight rise in inventory for Queens: sales were down eight percent year-over-year, and inventory was up 12 percent for the same period of time. “Everything in Brooklyn and Queens is slowing down a bit,” Miller says. “Over the last year or two we’ve been exiting this period of euphoria and we’re moderating.”