Updates on the real estate market

 via  Benjamin-Emile Hay/New York Observer

THESE DAYS MANY REALTORS are noticing that fur many luxury buyers and renters, Brooklyn has evolved into a borough of choice rather than a second rate alternative. With abundant green spaces, innovative top-notch restaurants, cultural diversity, a full-on social scene, fantastic shopping and world-class entertainment, Brooklyn offers plenty to do and see. Many flock to Brooklyn to capitalize on more spacious apartments and townhouses. Families find Brooklyn attractive for its community atmosphere and strong schools. The reasons that buyers and renters choose Brooklyn vary greatly, but the majority seem to hint at an improved overall quality of life.

“The renovation boom of the 60’s and 70’s began in Brooklyn. Shelter magazines like ‘Old House Journal’ were born as a result of Brownstone owners seeking to share their renovation experience with others. Whether it is the draw of the Ocean in and around Coney Island and Brighton or the proximity to Manhattan for people living in Brooklyn Heights or DUMBO Brooklyn is a destination for many. As Brooklyn has become more popular, the price for Brooklyn real estate has risen,” explained Michael Guerra, a long-time Brooklyn resident and Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Executive Vice President and Managing Director for Brooklyn.

MNS, an official alliance of The Developers Group and The Real Estate Group of New York, reported after the final quarterof 2011 that Brooklyn’s year over year median sales price was up 15%, Brooklyn Heights’ median sale price was up to $890K from $738,000 and Williamsburg popular high-rise, Edge, had the highest price per square foot closing at $l,142/sq.-ft. “We have been heartened to see the 2012 late winter-early spring market be extremely robust across all prices and property types (condos, coops and townhouses),” elaborated Mr. Guerra. According to MNS, Brooklyn rental rates seem to be down slightly on average at the end of February 2012, but market leader DUMBO still commands an average price of $4,964 per month for a two-bedroom.

For renters and buyers seeking hidden gems for less, they just might score big in neighborhoods such as Bushwick, Kensington, Windsor Terrace, Clinton Hill, Red Hook and Crown Heights. Areas like Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Prospect Heights and Park Slope, which were once considered hotspots for having it all at lower costs, have changed significantly. “Williamsburg and Greenpoint are ever growing neighborhoods with limited inventory. This is resulting in properly priced properties flying off the shelves … I find with rental rates as high as parts of Manhattan, and real estate prices rising, the [some people] are being displaced,” said David Kazemi at BOND New York, a Brooklyn-focused broker.

75 Clinton in Brooklyn Heights

The demographic of people settling on Brooklyn has evolved beyond starving artists and bohemian families. Jacqueline Urgo, President of The Marketing Directors, Inc., 75 Clinton‘s exclusive marketing and leasing agent, commented: “We’re seeing a lot of interest from people who are leaving the crowdedness of Manhattan behind for what is a quieter, more peaceful environment in Brooklyn Heights—yet is only five minutes away.”

Steven M. Rutter, Executive Vice President, Managing Director of Stribling Marketing Associates, who represents 20 Henry Street said, “The demand for sales is very strong … More than 50% of the apartments in contract are buyers from Manhattan.”

The roof deck at 75 Clinton

ONE ELEMENT OF BROOKLYN’S DNA that pulls in many renters and buyers is the diverse neighborhoods and intermingled cultures. “Brooklyn has also benefited from and been transformed by wave after wave of immigrants over the past few decades. Each wave of immigration results in new residents carving out homes in areas that are attractive to them. In addition to the influx of new neighbors, immigrants also add to the fabric of Brooklyn by starting new businesses and introducing new things,” Mr. Guerra highlighted. This is a characteristic of the borough that is sure to continue.

It’s no secret that the spatial confines of Brooklyn beat most areas of Manhattan. Whether a buyer or renter is looking in Williamsburg or Prospect Heights, many will discover their dollar goes farther in getting them more square footage. “We’re seeing a lot more buyers coming from Manhattan. These buyers are primarily looking for space, and in places like Brooklyn Heights, they know they can find larger spaces at a better price than in comparable downtown neighborhoods like Tribeca,” pointed out Laurie Zucker Vice Chair, Manhattan Skyline Management Corp., which represents Brooklyn Heights’ Love Lane Mews.

New Yorkers are constantly on the go and for many residents that commute back into Manhattan for work or social life, convenient transportation is key. “Buyers are moving to properties with better access to transportation and are willing to forego character for proximity to trains,” said Terry Naini, Senior Vice President Associate Broker at Town Real Estate.

Many of the neighborhoods with cabs aplenty, extensive subway options or lines that are easy to transfer from, have already hit the ceiling in terms of price points. She continued: “A number of neighborhoods have peaked: Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Fort Greene.” With the Barclays Center and recent high-rise con-struction in Downtown Brooklyn, Ms. Naini agrees that “there is no neighborhood better suited to become the most expensive neighborhood in Brooklyn, It is at the center of beautiful peaked neighborhoods (DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene and Boerum Hill) yet on top of all the train lines with much development in the works.”

Projects such as the revitalization of downtown and the Barclays Center, will unquestionably lead to the advancement of the borough’s landscape. “Brooklyn is really a quilt of different neighborhoods, each with its own characteristics and appeal.” Mr. Guerra concluded, “One trend that continues on both sides of the river now is a steady stream of development of housing for all tastes and household sizes, but particularly luxury residential development.” With a steady influx of new buildings, the constant expansion of certain neighborhoods and escalating migration of Manhattanites (as well as new-fangled New Yorkers), Brooklyn’s real estate market is guaranteed to remain robust.

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