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While House Sales Dropped Citywide in 2020, Brooklyn Saw Record Number of Home Buyers

Both house sales and housing inventory increased in Brooklyn in 2020
ENY Basement Pilot Program, BK Reader
Brooklyn house sales are booming. Photo: Google Maps

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the city's housing market, but one thing has come out booming: Brooklyn's residential sales.

The borough attracted a 30.3% increase in house sales in the last quarter of 2020 compared to 2019, according to StreetEasy's 2020 Market Report.

Throughout the year, a record high 2,213 homes were sold in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Eagle reported.

Local commercial realtor Bill O'Brien, who has worked in the borough for 30 years, said he had noticed a surge in demand for one family homes, and many landlords were looking to get out of multistory buildings, disrupting the borough's trend of increasing high-rise development.

Alongside the soaring house sales is also a soaring level of inventory -- with Brooklyn adding 17.8% more inventory to the market than last year, StreetEasy data shows. O'Brien said people were now searching for space and cheaper prices, no longer needing to be so close to the city.

"That's left a big gap because there's so much ground up, new construction apartment buildings, whether it's some of the massive stuff in Brooklyn Heights or some of what I call 'in-fill' buildings throughout Sunset Park, Flatbush, Crown Heights, Bushwick where they are building on every 40 or 60 ft wide lot" O'Brien said. "A lot of these landlords are going to be hurting."

President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Randy Peers said the increase in local sales was valuable to the survival of small businesses in Brooklyn, as COVID-19 fatigued Manhattanites fled to the more spacious local neighborhoods.

"If more people are moving into a neighborhood or a community right now, they're going to be shopping local" Peers said. "So that's good for local retail, that's good for small businesses in the commercial quarter. I think it's a good sign." 

He said despite the uncertainty the pandemic had brought, people still wanted to be a part of Brooklyn and what made the borough so special, "that's what gives me hope."