I saw the other day that Jonathan Miller, the appraisal guru, was reporting that residential sales prices in Brooklyn had fallen 5.6% in the third quarter compared to the year before. Knowing that Brooklyn is really a conglomeration of micro neighborhoods, I decided to do a little research on my own.
I took four zip codes, three grouped close to each other near Prospect Park, and the last out on the South end and looked at a sub category of housing: 1 and 2 family homes sold during the first three quarters of 2007 and 2008. I focused on total sales, average sale price and average price per square foot.
What I found was surprising in some ways.
The three clustered zips comprised Park Slope, Windsor Terrace/Kensington and Prospect Heights. The fourth was in Brighton Beach/Sheepshead Bay.
In the case of the cluster, sales volume was down, but not equally. While Park Slope and Windsor Terrace had significant sales drop-offs (44% and 31% respectively), the bottom really feel out of sales in Prospect Heights, with a 48% reduction in transactions and a whopping 19% drop in average sales price.
The sales price drop can partly be attributed to the tumult around Forest City Ratner's development, but 20% seems very high.
As my own experience indicated, prices in Park Slope and Windsor Terrace held pretty steady, with a slight gain in the Slope (1.5%) and a slight reduction of 2% in Windsor Terrace/Kensington.
In the fourth Brighton Beach/Sheepshead Bay. the story was different. Here we have essentially flat total sales from the first quarters of 07 to the same period in 08, 100 in 2007 and 99 in 2008 - (OK, down 1%), but the average sales price rose 7.7%. This is probably beiung driven by sales in Brighton Beach, where there has lately been a lot of condo development.
Still, in no case did the number reflect the 5.6% price reduction that was being reported acrosss the board by Miller Samuels. This may be an example of the ways in which you can get numbers to say anything you want. Or it may be that it is necessary to look below the surfac of the macro statistics that we get if we want to see what is really going on.
Each of these zip codes are within walking distance of the other, and