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I want to buy in a new development. Where will I get better value: Manhattan or Brooklyn?

There are currently more than double the number of listings in new developments for under $1 million in Brooklyn compared to Manhattan.

Austin Havens-Bowen for Brick Underground/Flickr

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Question:

I've read that sales in new developments are down in Manhattan but still strong in Brooklyn. What can I get for under $1 million in a new development in Manhattan versus Brooklyn? Where do my dollars go further in terms of space and amenities? Has the pandemic changed any of this?

Answer:

With interest rates dropping to new lows, and developers willing to negotiate, now is a good time to consider buying in a new development, our experts say. 

"If someone is interested in buying a new condominium today, there really has been no better time in a very long time," says Andrew Gerringer, managing director of The Marketing Directors

Manhattan is experiencing a notable slump in new development sales, with 60 percent of new condos still unsold. For prospective buyers, this could mean opportunities to nab discounts, along with locking in low mortgage interest rates. 

"Many potential buyers today are looking for places where they can walk to work to minimize their commuting, and there are numerous opportunities to purchase a condominium in Manhattan that are now either on par or very close to the luxury pricing in Brooklyn," Gerringer says. 

The market for new developments in Brooklyn and Queens is not as sluggish as the market in Manhattan, with Bed-Stuy, Long Island City, and downtown Brooklyn seeing the most activity since the outbreak of Covid-19. 

The popularity of Brooklyn is nothing new, of course. "Brooklyn seems to be outpacing Manhattan, but this was happening before the pandemic," says Vickey Barron, a broker with Compass. "Brooklyn prices started creeping up and competing equally on many levels with Manhattan." 

You won't necessarily find bargains in Brooklyn, but the borough's new developments tend to offer more square footage than those in Manhattan. There is also more product to consider for under $1 million. 

"For under $1 million, there are now about 47 listings in Manhattan, mostly in Harlem, Hell's Kitchen, and the Financial District," Barron says. "In Brooklyn there are 109 options, and you get more square footage for under $1 million. There's just not as much product in Manhattan at that price point." 

And although the market is not moving as quickly as usual anywhere, buyers in Brooklyn should know they could still face competition, and be prepared to act when they find the right apartment. 

"Multiple bids are happening," Barron says. "If you find something in Brooklyn, you have time to sleep on it, but it may not be there in two to three weeks. Someone else can step in front of you." 


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