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Brooklyn sales market eases off the gas pedal

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What’s shaking things up in the Brooklyn sales market? Several indicators have done an about face and are pointing in the opposite direction, according to a Douglas Elliman second quarter 2018 sales report.

After setting a record in the prior quarter, the median sales price slipped from both the prior and year-ago quarters, and after 11 consecutive quarters of declines in inventory, listing inventory increased 18.5 percent compared to a year ago.

Also according to the report, the median sales price slipped 1.9 percent to $780,000, and the average sales price declined 1.4 percent to $984,047. The number of sales fell as well: They dropped 5.7 percent to 2,683. 

But the market has been so tight that the result is likely to feel like a mere easing of the gas pedal.

“The market is still extremely tight, as illustrated by the three month absorption rate,” says Jonathan Miller, president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the report. In Manhattan, by comparison, the absorption rate is eight months, he notes.

“Brooklyn is still very brisk. It went from white hot to hot,” Miller says.

And he notes that while an increase of nearly 19 percent in listing inventory sounds like a lot, “it’s up from a previously very low figure and remains very low.”

He says several factors are having an impact on inventory levels: High prices make affordability challenging for many buyers; mortgage rates are trending up, which hurts first-time buyers in particular, even though they are at historic lows; and buyers are feeling uncertain about how the federal tax law is going to shake out.

“When people are uncertain, they take longer to make decisions,” Miller says.