Home Sales

Regionwide Gains Reflect U.S. Trend

The Manhattan housing market may be slumping, but sales have been soaring in other parts of the region, from Brooklyn to Westchester County.

In Brooklyn, sales jumped 22% in the fourth quarter, compared with same quarter in 2015, according to a report for brokerage Douglas Elliman prepared by appraiser Jonathan Miller. That was the swiftest sales pace for a fourth quarter since Mr. Miller began tracking sales volume in 2008. The median price was up 15% in the period to $750,000.

Westchester recorded the most fourth-quarter sales since at least 1981, while inventory fell to its lowest level in a fourth quarter in 15 years. The median price, including cooperatives and condominiums, was up 3.1% to $438,000, though the median price on single-family homes remained unchanged at $565,000.

Queens also recorded gains, with the median price rising 6% to $498,000 in the quarter, compared with the fourth quarter a year earlier.

Mr. Miller said the improvement reflects a national trend as the economy gathers momentum.

"There has been a consistent pattern of heavy sales volume in city and suburban markets in New York," he said, "at the same time we are seeing inventory remaining chronically low."

Sales in Manhattan are out of sync with this trend, he said. They rebounded strongly earlier, in 2013 and 2014, while the rest of the local market remained weak.


Two Boroughs Had a Weak December

The rental market in Manhattan and Brooklyn showed signs of weakness in December, with concessions offered by landlords increasing and rents remaining flat or falling.

The share of new rentals with concessions, typically owner-paid brokerage fees or one or more months of free rent, rose to 35% in Manhattan in December. That was the highest level recorded since April 2010, according to brokerage Citi Habitats.

"There is still a disconnect between the rents that landlords want to achieve and the pricing tenants are willing to pay, which is why concessions remain a significant force in the marketplace," said Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats.

Mr. Malin said the concessions helped maintain demand in December, typically one of the slowest months of the year.

The median rent in Manhattan in December was $3,388 a month, up 1.1% from December 2015, according to a report for brokerage Douglas Elliman prepared by appraiser Jonathan Miller. But after taking into account concessions, the net effective rent was down 0.1%.

In Brooklyn, the median monthly rent of $2,700 was down 3.8%, or a 4.4% decline after including the effect of concessions.

--Josh Barbanel

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 12, 2017 00:16 ET (05:16 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.