Yesterday we learned that buying a home in Cobble Hill is more expensive than buying a home in many places in Manhattan. We also know that, speaking very generally, all of Brooklyn is a goddamn expensive place to become a home owner. Early this year, not the most expensive neighborhood to buy a home, but the tenth most expensive neighborhood to buy a home—Downtown Brooklyn—had a median sales price of $839,492. The most expensive neighborhood—DUMBO—had a median sales price of, ah, $1.41 million.

So, it is not surprising, per se, so much as more depressing to learn that, according to a report published by NYU Furman Center, and as reported by Brownstoner, Brooklyn has the fourth-lowest rate of home ownership out of all U.S. Counties.

Now, you likely guessed it was somewhere around there—because who can afford a median sales price of nearly one million dollars in the tenth most desirable neighborhood in the county—but lest any doubt remained, the report explains why this is so nice and clear like:

“We find that the purchasing power of most New York City households is limited, largely due to growing housing prices and stagnating incomes since 1990.”

So there’s your stark reality check for the day, on the very, very off chance that you weren’t already painfully aware that this was true.

In the mood for more gut-wrenching stats? We’ve got some for you! Here, for your viewing pleasure they are, according to the report and Brownstoner:

  • Among those who do own homes in Brooklyn, 29 percent are “house poor,” which is to say, these home owners spend 30 to 50 percent of their income on housing costs.
  • 23 percent of home owners spent more than 50 percent of their income on their homes.
  • Given that Brooklyn has the fourth lowest rate of home ownership in the country, it also follows that homes are “affordable” only to high-income households. In their report, the Furman Center defines high income as $114,000. That translate to 165 percent of area median income. Even these income earners could only afford 42 percent of all listings in 2014.
  • 51 percent of city-wide households earn $55,000 annually, and for them, only 9 percent of homes were affordable in 2014 (the year from which the data was culled).
  • Even for high-income earners, fewer than 50 percent of homes were affordable.
  • Here’s a curve ball: despite these abysmal stats, there’s this somewhat surprising fact: “Between 2000 and 2006, Brooklyn’s homeownership rate increased five percentage points,” according to the Furman Center. This, of course, could be accounted for by higher-income earners moving to Brooklyn from places like Manhattan, when they are priced out of the most expensive place to buy a home in the U.S., which was Manhattan, at the time of the report. So, it sounds perhaps deceptively encouraging, but likely is not.

So, there you go, folks: Better to rip the old potentially-still-disillusioned Band-Aid off sooner rather than later? Acceptance is the first step to recovery, aka, cutting our losses and looking to buy a home elsewhere.


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