Brooklyn Buyers Sell Off Their Homes and Head Back to a Cheaper Manhattan

May 8, 2015

Brooklyn has long been thought of the place to find great deals, but increasing interest in the borough has also brought with it an increase prices across the board. A story published today by the Times takes a look at the shift back to Manhattan as the “better value” for buyers and renters. Although the median price in the city does remain higher than Brooklyn—$970,000 versus $610,894—northern neighborhoods like Washington Heights, Inwood and Morningside Heights do provide a much cheaper alternative to coveted neighborhoods like DUMBO and Boerum Hill. But is the offer really worth the move?

In the piece, they follow several folks that have made the switch west of the river. They’re namely people who bought cheap in Brooklyn with the intent of trading up down line, only to find themselves choosing from other properties in their neighborhood that also saw huge jumps.

One of the deals reported in the piece include a couple with a baby boy who traded their tiny Boerum Hill two-bedroom for a 1,400-square-foot, two-bedroom co-op in Hudson Heights for $899,000—something of comparable size in Brooklyn would have gone upwards of $2 million, and this was double the size of their original apartment.

Looking at the Times’ interactive map (screen grab below) comparing the most expensive neighborhoods in Brooklyn with the least expensive in Manhattan, even more deals like this seem to emerge. For example, the median price in the Lower East Side is far less than Williamsburg at $582,500 versus $897,000; and those who can’t afford Crown Heights can turn to Gramercy where median prices are $64,600 less.

median prices nycMap via the Times. Open a larger version here

There are obviously lots of trade-offs when making the move back to the island, particularly from outskirt neighborhoods. One can expect little to no outdoor space, a far less diverse and very limited offer when it comes to food and shopping, way less charming apartments (forget about a working fireplace), and oftentimes apartments aren’t all that much bigger. One 24-year-old advertising account executive, who moved from Bushwick with her boyfriend, found this out the hard way: “In my mind, I thought, it will be quieter; the apartment will be bigger. I’ll sacrifice the amenities of the Upper East Side, but there will be a lot of pluses,” she said to the Times. “That didn’t really happen.”

bushwick restuarants and barsBushwick

So while she and her boyfriend reaped the benefits of a slightly larger apartment, they soon realized they had “thin walls, drafty windows, and a general feeling of being in the middle of nowhere.” She added, “All you have around you are delis and health food stores.”

And here’s the clincher: “If anything, you go to Brooklyn for a different lifestyle. I don’t think it’s true at all anymore that you go to Brooklyn for a better deal.” And isn’t that why we all choose to live in New York and pay astronomical prices over some ho hum city? We won’t be expecting a mass Brooklyn exodus any time soon.

[Via NYT]


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Location: Brooklyn, Manhattan

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