Monday, October 19, 2009

Apartment sales soar 31% in Queens, 29% in Bklyn

After seven consecutive quarterly declines, apartment sales in Brooklyn and Queens picked up in the third quarter, according to a new industry report.

Apartment sales in Brooklyn and Queens picked up in the third quarter, despite a rise in unemployment and the ongoing credit crisis, according to the latest industry report released Thursday.

Mirroring results reported last week in Manhattan, apartment sales in both boroughs rose from the previous quarter. In Brooklyn, the number of sales surged 29.4% in the third quarter from the previous quarter. In Queens, they did even better, soaring 31%. The sharp upticks are the result of pent up demand and an increase in confidence, noted Jonathan Miller, chief executive of Miller Samuel.

“People on the fence made a decision to buy,” said Mr. Miller (from Miller Samuel Inc., appraisal firm). “I think one primary catalyst is that the stock market went up (so strongly) in the third quarter.”

Despite the recent rise, the report underscored that activity remained well below the depressed levels of the third quarter of 2008. Sales in Brooklyn were down 19.6% to 1,847 from the same time last year, and were down 13.9% to 2,789 in Queens.

“Because the first two quarters of the year saw such a dearth in activity any modest uptick end up being good news,” said Mr. Miller. “That does not suggest we have reached the bottom.”

The increased activity in the third quarter had a positive impact in Brooklyn on median sales prices, which increased 7.9% to $476,000 from the second quarter, while median sales prices in Queens were unchanged at $362,000. In Brooklyn, the rise in median sales price in the third quarter is the first increase recorded after seven consecutive quarters of declines.

The report recorded some signs that the market may be approaching the bottom in the two boroughs. Inventory is down sharply from a year ago—in Brooklyn, inventory is down 21.2% to 5,600 units and in Queens it is down 13.9% to 9,797 units.

By Amanda Fung, Crain's New York Business

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