Brooklyn townhouses close in head-spinning time, number of signed contracts up over last year

Row houses on Decatur Street in Bed Stuy.
Photo by Susan De Vries


Brooklyn continues to defy conventional wisdom about the residential real estate market during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Well-priced townhouses in move-in condition are selling in record time — even sparking bidding wars — and the number of signed contracts for all types of properties was up sharply in November compared to the same month last year.

Real estate agents say the New York City market has been sluggish thanks to the virus, but we keep seeing Brooklyn townhouses being quickly snatched up by eager buyers.

Take 526 Monroe Street, for example. A stunning single-family brownstone in Bed Stuy, it closed in November just 34 days after listing for $2.425 million, according to public records. That’s $265,000 over the original ask of $2.16 million. Loaded with original details and beautifully renovated and decorated by its designer owner (the seller), it has an inspired kitchen, fun wallpaper and luxurious custom steel windows. Listing agents were Morgan Munsey and Perri DeFino of Compass.

Over in the Wingate section of East Flatbush, close to the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens border, a 1930s single-family house at 23 Miami Court we featured as an Open House Pick went to contract in 42 days, according to listing agent Ronit Abraham of Compass. Notably, it has a garage and is updated with an open plan on the living floor and three bedrooms upstairs. After a bidding war, it sold for $765,000 in November, a decrease of $35,000 from the original ask of $800,000.

“Homes under a million that are renovated sell fast,” Abraham noted in an Instagram post about the sale. “Turnkey homes that do not need much work sell faster in the current market,” she said in a recent email newsletter.


It’s worth noting the distinctive and special mid-century modern house at 48 Willow Place in Brooklyn Heights — hardly representative of the average house in the borough — is also in contract, after only 37 days on the market. Listed by agent Deborah Rieders, Sarah Shuken and Raquel Lomonico of Corcoran, it is asking $6.95 million.

joseph and mary merz house 48 willow place
The mid-century modern house at 48 Willow Place. (Photo via Corcoran)


The month of November was a busy one in Brooklyn: Signed contracts for all types of homes — houses, condos and co-ops — were up significantly compared to the same month in 2019, pre-pandemic, according to a Douglas Elliman market report released today.

“New signed contracts for all three property types were well ahead of the same period last year,” said the report, which covers the entire market and was prepared by appraisal firm Miller Samuel. “New inventory for all property types also remained above year-ago levels.”

In November, 81 townhouses priced between $1 and $1.99 million got into contract, compared to 22 townhouses in November of 2019, for example — an increase of more than 268 percent.

The report gives a snapshot of where the sweet spot for pricing is in Brooklyn. By far the bulk of list prices for all three property types in contract was under $2 million. In the condo category, pricing from $2 to $4 million also proved viable. As for townhouses in contract, most of the list prices were concentrated between $500,000 and $4 million.

This story first appeared on our sister publication brownstoner.com.