Where Brooklyn Gets Its New Yorkers

The migration of Manhattanites into Brooklyn hit a decade-high point in 2006 that may not soon be duplicated, as the two boroughs’ real estate prices begin to mirror each other.

More than 3,700 Manhattanites moved to Brooklyn from 2005 to 2006, according to an Observer analysis of I.R.S. data from 2001 through 2006, the last year it was available. That’s the most this decade, and the most since 2001 to 2002, when nearly 3,500 Manhattanites resettled across the East River.

Manhattan was the only one of the boroughs to send more residents to Brooklyn than it took back annually. In contrast, Brooklyn has experienced a net loss of thousands of residents to Queens and Staten Island each year this decade, and hundreds to the Bronx.

Of course, Manhattanites resettling in Brooklyn isn’t news. But they’re doing so at a time when apartment rents and prices in many Brooklyn brownstone neighborhoods have started to reach parity with those in Manhattan.

A one-bedroom in Park Slope now rents from between $1,800 and $2,400 per month, according to a search of Craigslist and of brokerages’ Web sites. The same one-bedroom in Manhattan might rent for at least $2,400, but probably no more than $3,000. As recently as five years ago, the disparity in Manhattan and Brooklyn rents was significantly wider.

The median Manhattan apartment price by the end of 2007 was $850,000, according to appraisal firm Miller Samuel. In brownstone Brooklyn, it was $590,000, according to the Corcoran Group. A big difference, yes, of a few hundred thousand dollars; but bear in mind that Brooklyn’s sales prices at the start of the decade were a fraction of what they are now.

And these same Brooklyn prices resemble those of the other outer boroughs. Queens’ median sales price at year’s end, for example, was $425,000, according to Miller Samuel. In the Bronx and Staten Island, sale prices and rents were likely even lower.

But it’s from Manhattan, with its own increasingly Brooklyn-like prices, that the borough of Kings has drawn most of its New Yorkers so far this decade (the I.R.S. won’t have the 2006 to 2007 numbers until August).

Perhaps it’s that Brooklyn has ceased to be simply another economic option for priced-out Manhattanites; instead, it’s now safer than ever to assume that moving to Brooklyn is more of a social or personal decision than an economic one. It will only become more so as real estate differences between the two melt away.

[A quick note about the I.R.S. data: It doesn’t include those New Yorkers who didn’t earn enough to pay income taxes. The data is based on the addresses from which taxpayers claimed individual exemptions.]


Where Brooklyn Gets Its New Yorkers