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Brooklyn housing market still afloat - Condo prices rose 4 percent in first quarter of 2008, new statistics show

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Defying a slow housing market throughout the nation, Brooklyn’s housing market is still robust, according to recently released quarterly statistics from the real estate website

A quarter of the way through 2008, the average sale price for a condominium in Brooklyn went up to $585,000, a 4 percent increase from this time last year when the average condo price was $564,000.

The number of condo sales has increased as well: There were 318 condos purchased in Brooklyn through the first quarter of 2008 compared to 255 through the corresponding period last year.

Prices were up most significantly in the borough’s primary condominium corridors in North Brooklyn.

Greenpoint saw a significant increase in average condo prices, which went up 40 percent, from $400,000 last year to $561,000 this year.

The number of sales in Greenpoint also increased, from 7 at this point last year to 25 this year.

Greenpoint’s priceyness is largely attributable to the Greenpoint-Williamsburg 2005 rezoning, which enabled luxury waterfront high-rise condominiums. In addition to commanding a high price tag themselves, these luxury high-rises have driven up property values inland.

In North Williamsburg, for instance, the number of condo sales has tripled from 4 at this time last year to 12 this year. The average price on those condos has gone up 12 percent, from $710,000 to $798,000.

South Williamsburg has seen a more dramatic price increase: The average condo now fetches $1.243 million, up from $584,000 at this time last year.

South Williamsburg joins Brooklyn Heights, where condos average for $1.655 million, and the Downtown Fulton Ferry area, where condos average $1.246 million, as the only Brooklyn neighborhoods where the average condo costs more than a million dollars.

The continuing popularity of these waterfront areas largely owes itself to their proximity to Manhattan.

“More people are finding out about these areas. They’re learning that they are quieter, not as expensive, and convenient,” said Margaret Zarska, a broker at the Greenpoint-based Omega Realty.

Brooklyn ran a distant second to Manhattan in this regard, however, where average home prices skyrocketed 41 percent to $1.607 million.

It is widely believed that the success of the Brooklyn market hinges on the success of the Manhattan market; many Brooklyn buyers are people who cannot afford to stay in Manhattan amid the ever-escalating prices.

The continued health of the Manhattan market means that prices in Brooklyn – particularly in areas closest to Manhattan – will stay high.

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