Manhattan vs. Brooklyn Q2 2018 – The Prices

It’s time again to see how the sales numbers stack up in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Below is an infographic to give you a basic overview, based on Corcoran’s most recent quarterly reports for both boroughs. (click here to view the full Manhattan Report and click here to view the full Brooklyn Report.)

The infographic highlights the median price by apartment type for each kind of building covered by the report, and it also gives the lowdown for which areas are likely to be your best bets for affordability. Additionally, especially for sellers, there’s a focus on the median price per square foot for each area.

Note – I prefer to use the median rather than the average because the median represents the middle point – so half of all the listings noted in a given area are above that price and half are below.


Manhattan prices were lower again year over year, with the median price at $1.143 million, 3% less than Q2 2017. The pace of sales also continued to slow down with 3,193 sales closed during Q2 2018, a 14% decrease versus Q2 2017. Signed contracts were down as well – they were 9% lower versus Q2 2017. However, the market did see a seasonal bump in prices – closed sales were up 26% over the previous quarter and signed contracts were up 15% versus Q1 2018.

Brooklyn’s prices continued their downward trend as well – the median sale price was at $687,000 – an 8% decrease versus Q2 2017. This decrease was primarily driven by more sales occurring at lower price points, as buyers flocked to “value areas.” This trend is reflected in the sales activity which remained robust – 5% more sales closed year over year.

Inventory reached its highest level in Manhattan since 2011, with the number of available homes at 7,491 – a 17% increase over Q2 2017. Unlike the previous quarter, the increase in listings was primarily driven by re-sales – co-ops in particular. Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, inventory finally saw some gains, with listings up 3% versus Q2 2017. But inventory is still not meeting demand, especially at lower price points, as illustrated by contract signings which were down 7% year over year – a strange occurrence given that spring is typically the most active sales season of the year.

The Takeaway

After several quarters of declines, it’s pretty safe to say that we’re now entering a buyer’s market for Manhattan. In addition to being rattled by tax reform and continued stock market fluctuations, higher inventory levels mean buyers have more time to pick and choose amongst listings (as illustrated by the increasing average days on market for all listings). Given that summer tends to be the slowest of sales seasons, prices are likely to go even lower in Manhattan. So if you’ve been sidelined for a bit, now’s the time to keep your eye out, because you might soon have an opportunity to get back in the game.

There finally seems to be some signs of relief for Brooklyn buyers but the market still remains fiercely competitive. Despite rising inventory levels, the supply is still not quite up to the level of demand. Additionally, as mentioned previously, declines in price are being driven by more sales occurring in less expensive neighborhoods. So while you may have more listings to choose from, you’re still likely to face stiff competition, especially in value areas.

In Manhattan, your best bets for (relatively) affordable prices are still Upper Manhattan, the East Side and Midtown. If you’re looking for a two bedroom, Downtown and the Financial District/Battery Park City area may have a few deals for you here and there.

For Brooklyn, the borough’s eastern and southern sections still have low prices relative to other areas. But you must be prepared for a very competitive bidding process. These areas are no longer “under the radar” by any means. If you’re eager to find a place, it might be wise to take advantage of the summer time slow down to start your search.

If you have more questions about the market or NYC real estate in general (or you know someone else who could use some assistance), feel free to contact me. I’m always happy to help!