Batten the Brownstones! Brooklyn Housing Stats Give Hope to Skinny-Jeans Set

jonathanmiller1 Batten the Brownstones! Brooklyn Housing Stats Give Hope to Skinny Jeans SetFor the second consecutive quarter, half the homes sold in Brooklyn went for under half a million dollars, a psychological benchmark if there ever was one that the American Dream could be within the reach of even the skinny-jeans set.

Appraisal firm Miller Samuel and mega-brokerage Prudential Douglas Elliman released their third-quarter market report, which showed the median sales price dipping from $510,000 last summer to $476,000 this summer, for the period ending Oct 1.

At that rate, a down payment might be in the neighborhood of $50,000, a figure that could invite all sorts of newcomers into the neighborhood. For the Wall Street executive who bought pre-Lehman, content to live in the pleasantly bobo confines of the Other Borough, the barbarians might soon be at the brownstone gates.

“Even though buyers always want lower costs, there’s already been so much correction over last year that affordability has significantly improved,” said Miller Samuel CEO Jonathon Miller, the report’s author. “And [for] sellers, their benefit is they’re seeing an uptick in sales activity.”

Indeed, sales warmed a bit after an unusually frosty spring brought the median price all the way to $441,000, in very light trading, as they say on the other side of the East River. Sales jumped nearly 30 percent over the second quarter, to 1,847—a kind of Indian spring for the real estate market.

“The market moved forward three months—whereas we typically see a peak in the spring market—because of the three or four months of frozen conditions in the beginning of 2009, and the end of 2008,” Mr. Miller explained.

It’s not just brownstones. The median price of a Brooklyn condo comes in at just under half a million—$496,860—if your notion of the American Dream happens to be rendered in brushed glass and polished steel. (And in brownstone Brooklyn officially, defined in the report as one- to three-family homes in the borough’s northwest, the median was down almost 14 percent annually to $1.13 million; sales jumped over 44 percent from the spring, however, up to 62 during the summer.)

But the young folks still might need a little help from Mom and Dad to get one of those new condos looking out on the Williamsburg Bridge. In North Brooklyn (Greenpoint and Williamsburg), the median price—condos and homes combined—held firm on the other side of half a million, at $564,110. Sales were up to 113 units from a rather anemic 94 in the second quarter.

In southern Brooklyn, though, the median was down to only $445,479, even as sales climbed back over the 1,000 mark, suggesting it may be time to batten the brownstone doors.

rpillifant@observer.com