Why Isn’t Anybody Buying Homes in Brooklyn Anymore?

brooklyn home sales drop

In the last few years, articles about Brooklyn real estate have proliferated, to be sure, but they’re all pretty much the same story. Prices have gone up, and the number of sales have skyrocketed. Blah blah blah. Is it news anymore when we hear about how much money a brownstone in Fort Greene is on the market for, or when we learn about all the young New Yorkers who can’t afford Park Slope and so are forced to move to the Upper East Side? Not really, no. And yet we can’t help but seek these stories out. Partly because we’re masochists, probably, but also because we’re clearly waiting for these this particular Brooklyn real estate narrative to end, so that we can revel in the schadenfreude of watching all those fools who spent $10 million on a building bordering the Gowanus Canal to suffer as their homes become worthless.

Well, guess what? We don’t have to wait any longer. For the first time in four years, Brooklyn home sales are plummeting. Via The Real Deal, we learned today that “the hot Brooklyn residential market abruptly slammed on the brakes last month, with both the dollar volume and number of sales declining sharply… the total dollar volume of residential cooperative, condominium and one- and two-family sales recorded in Brooklyn last month fell to $242.7 million, which represented a 33 percent decline from the $364 million recorded in February of 2013. The number of sales dropped to 362, a 44 percent slide compared to the same period a year ago, when there were 647 sales.” Data from Property Shark reveals “the number of sales in February marked the fewest monthly transactions in at least four years, as far back as the PropertyShark data was available. The next lowest number of monthly sales was in June 2013, when there were 458 sales. The next lowest month in terms of dollar volume was February 2012, when buyers shelled out just $248 million in sales.”

So is this the beginning of the end? Are real estate prices going to revert to something resembling affordable for those of us who don’t make in the upper 6-figures a year? Is the much prayed for real estate apocalypse finally here? Ha. No. Absolutely not. It seems like the main reason that nothing sold in February was that there just wasn’t enough available inventory for all those hard-working realtors to sell. But they did the best they could! And one realtor even managed to sell a house in Bay Ridge for $3.58 million (see photo below of totally underwhelming house). So even though prices seem to have fallen, that’s really just an illusion, because all the really expensive inventory just wasn’t on the market. In fact, realtors are confident that sale prices and numbers will rise as steadily as they have been for the last several years.

What a relief, right? Just when you thought the apocalypse was coming and crazy things were going to start happening, like maybe you would one day be able to afford to buy an apartment in the borough you call home, things reverted back to their normal state. So, rest easy. Nothing’s changed. Two-bedroom apartments in DUMBO are still selling for over $2 million. There just aren’t as many to go around. But never fear. The developers will soon take care of that, and then everything will be right with the world again. Phew.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen

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