Will the Brooklyn Real Estate Bubble Ever Pop?

Brooklyn - Apple MapsThe housing crash of the late 2000s was supposed to have decimated property values across the nation. But in Brooklyn, the housing market barely broke its stride. Supply and demand is supposed to be an immutable truth, yet a well-documented boom in development has done little to stop spiraling prices. Every few weeks, a different neighborhood in New York City’s most populous borough seems to break its own record for most expensive sale. Intuitively, it feels like the borough is at a breaking point. If something goes up, must it come down?

“There’s no end in sight,” says Jesse Keenan, the research director at Columbia University’s Center for Urban Real Estate, referring to Brooklyn’s obscene housing market.

Currently, the monthly payments on a median-priced home in Brooklyn eat up 98 percent of the borough’s median income of $46,000. The median sales price in the nation’s “most unaffordable city,” just passed $600,000 for the first time. The 70 percent of Brooklyn residents who rent aren’t faring any better—average rent in the borough rose by 77 percent between 2000 and 2012. According to a March report by StreetEasy, “the typical new renter will spend 60 percent of their income on rent in 2015,” the highest rent-to-income ratio in all of New York.

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