DUMBO Tops List of Brooklyn’s Most Expensive Home Sales in Complicated Year for Real Estate

DUMBO Tops List of Brooklyn’s Most Expensive Home Sales in Complicated Year for Real Estate
Manhattan Bridge. Photo by Miltiadis Fragkidis via Unsplash.

DUMBO was the priciest neighborhood in Brooklyn in 2020.

That’s according to a new report released late last month by the real estate data website PropertyShark. The site’s analysis found that, despite a 31% drop in the number of sales in the neighborhood from last year, prices edged up 8%, resulting in a median sale price of $1.625 million for DUMBO condos and co-ops. That made DUMBO the 8th most expensive neighborhood citywide.

That drop in sales activity correlated closely with the city overall, which saw a 32% year-over-year reduction in residential sales in the four boroughs PropertyShark analyzed (Staten Island was excluded). But even as the pandemic reduced market activity across the city, median sales prices rose by 1%, to $660,000.

“Median sale prices across the city revealed a rather even-keeled mixed bag,” the report said.

That mixed bag was evident in the borough-specific numbers. While Manhattan’s median home prices fell 8%, Brooklyn saw prices rise by 4%, to $710,000.

“I definitely had a lot of people come out to Brooklyn from the Upper West Side,” said Nadia Bartolucci, a Brooklyn-focused broker with the firm Douglas Elliman. “The other pocket of people that came to a lot of my properties were from the East Village and parts of the West Village, where people were paying premiums for very small spaces, and realized they could be paying maintenance and mortgage and still be paying less than that.”

A closer look at neighborhoods within Brooklyn also revealed large discrepancies. In Boerum Hill, for example, median home prices surged 19% to $1.3 million, the largest increase anywhere in the borough. Meanwhile, Greenpoint saw prices fall 28% to $934k, the largest drop of anywhere in the city besides Manhattan’s Gramercy Park.

Likewise, the 24% borough-wide drop in the total number of sales (the smallest drop of any borough) also masked large neighborhood-level differences. While sales decreased 55% in Greenpoint, they surged an astonishing 113% in Gowanus.

“Gowanus’ 113% sales activity surge far outpaced all other neighborhoods,” the report said, “and was likely catapulted by 26 sales at 554 Fourth Ave. and 24 at the Luna building, which together accounted for 52% of the total sales closed in Gowanus in 2020.”

After DUMBO, the borough’s most expensive neighborhoods included Cobble Hill (median sale price $1.491 million), Carroll Gardens ($1.451 million), Boerum Hill ($1.3 million) and the Columbia Street Waterfront District ($1.238 million), all in northwest Brooklyn.

“What I was finding was apartments that were offering even a sliver of outdoor space were going at a premium and quickly,” Bartolucci said. “The majority of them entered into competitive bidding. And even in neighborhoods where prices have dropped there is a small submarket of townhouses which also held strong because people are very focused on and sensitive to having all of their own space.”

Of the city’s 54 most expensive neighborhoods, 20 were in Brooklyn. That’s fewer than Manhattan’s 23 entries, though in the second quarter of 2020, Brooklyn had more neighborhoods on the list than Manhattan, an event PropertyShark called “a historic first.”

Also notable: the addition of Fiske Terrace and Red Hook to the most-expensive list, ranking 18th and 28th, respectively.

A representative for PropertyShark said that Fiske Terrace’s presence on the list was due to a change in methodology that lowered the minimum number of sales required for a neighborhood to be counted (last year, a neighborhood needed at least 15 sales to be included. To account for the reduced market activity, PropertyShark lowered that threshold to 11; Fiske Terrace had 12 sales last year).

The surge in Red Hook, meanwhile, was driven largely by the redevelopment of the New York Dock Building at 160 Imlay Street. 21 of the neighborhood’s 31 sales last year were in that building.