Brooklyn Housing Has Rough ’09 Start; Condo Sales Off 57 Percent Annually

A new report shows sales and prices dropping steadily in the borough. So long, gentrification?

The median sales price in the North Brooklyn condo market dropped to $565,128 in the first quarter of 2009, down 2.5 percent annually and 1.1 percent quarterly. Pity, that.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the North Brooklyn condo market was the great gentrifying hope for real estate developers, marketers and brokers (and buyers and some bloggers!) looking to expand the luxury market into the outer boroughs. Williamsburg developments like Douglaston’s the Edge and the Toll Brothers’ Northside Piers promised to bring Manhattan panache and Manhattan prices, and for a short time it was successful; in October of 2008 The Observer called North Brooklyn, which includes Williamsburg and Greenpoint, “The Brooklyn Brightspot,” in recognition of the fact that the enclave’s condo market was surging while the market in the rest of borough was already slipping.

Well, not anymore. The price march seems to have halted.

Schadenfreude, anyone? For some people, who view these river-near condos as nothing more than an imposition, the news is welcome. Ditto for bargain hunters. The struggles of these new developments have been well documented; with demand for amenity-laden new condominiums on the wane during the economic downturn, developers are slashing prices and converting some units into rentals in the hopes of turning a profit any way possible.

The overall picture for the Brooklyn condo market is similarly grim, with sales down 57.5 percent on the year and the year-to-year median sales price down 8.6 percent. (Stats are based on a new report from Miller Samuel and Prudential Douglas Elliman.)

You might assume that the collapse of Brooklyn’s condo market would spark resurgence in the traditional, smaller-scale housing mix in places like Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Park Slope. Even those established family neighborhoods are struggling. In Brownstone Brooklyn, which includes one- to three-family homes in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Clinton Hill, Downtown Brooklyn, Park Slope, Prospect Heights and other northwestern neighborhoods, the median sales price fell 9.4 percent annually and the number of sales 63.6 percent.

More detail per Brooklyn area in our interactive map below.

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