Bronx, Staten Island home sales see sizable jump in 2016, report says

Home sales in the Bronx have  increased  35  percent  between the first quarter of 2015 and 2016, according to the Real Estate Board of New York.
Home sales in the Bronx have increased 35 percent between the first quarter of 2015 and 2016, according to the Real Estate Board of New York. Photo Credit: Stephen Reiss

Those outer boroughs are outta sight.

Home sales in the Bronx and Staten Island had the largest gains so far this year, with both boroughs surging 35% in sales over 12 months, according to a report released this week by the Real Estate Board of New York.

The boroughs’ median prices are more than half of those in Manhattan and Brooklyn while offering a more suburban feel, according to REBNY’s experts.

“I think part of it is we forget how diversified of a city we are. Places in the Bronx and Staten Island often feel like it’s not part of New York City,” said Michael Slattery, REBNY’s senior vice president for research.

In the Bronx, 989 homes were sold in the first quarter of 2016, 257 more than the first quarter of 2015. Median sales prices in the Bronx were $363,000, which is only a $3,000 increase from the first quarter of 2015.

There were 1,195 home sales in Staten Island during the first quarter of this year compared to 885 during the same period in 2015, according to REBNY. The median home price in that borough was $417,000 in the first quarter of 2016, 3% higher than the same period last year.

By comparison, Manhattan and Brooklyn saw slight year to year drops in sales, with 54 and 105 fewer homes purchased respectively in each borough, according to the report. Manhattan’s median sales price in the first quarter was $1.08 million while Brooklyn’s was $675,000.

The REBNY report said City Island, Pelham Bay and Throggs Neck had the most one-to-three family home sales in the Bronx in the first quarter of 2016.

Kenneth Kearns, the district manager of Bronx Community Board 10 which represents the area, said he has seen a surge in those neighborhoods thanks to New Yorkers being priced out of other areas.

“I think that there are economic forces in the city, particularly in Brooklyn and Manhattan, that drive them here. There isn’t a lot of availability,” he said.

When they do arrive, they realize that they have quality access to parks, shops and other amenities. Most importantly, transit into Manhattan isn’t as terrible as you might think thanks to express buses, according to Kearns.

The same epiphany is occurring on Staten Island, according to experts.

Peter Grazioli, a Staten Island real estate agent with Halstead Property, said the narrative around “forgotten borough” has shifted thanks to real estate bargains and increased commercial development, most notably on the north shore, where the New York Wheel and Empire Outlets will soon open.

“It’s not just this closed community,” he said. “There are destinations in the island that weren’t notable or publicized in the past.”

Grazioli said Rosebank and St. George are some of the neighborhoods seeing a rise in homeowners.

“They are literally right across the water from Bay Ridge. The same home in Bay Ridge would be worth a million dollars but then it’s half in Staten Island,” he said.

REBNY’s experts said this trend will continue for both boroughs especially as new, expensive developments continue to sprout up in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Of course, fears of gentrification persist whenever there’s a surge in sales like this, but Kearns, of the Bronx, said he isn’t worried about his borough.

He pointed to zoning laws restricting development to one-to-three family homes in the area along the Bronx waterfront.

“We work on keeping the neighborhood in character,” he said.

Here is the change in median sales prices for the city between the first quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016:

Bronx: $360,000 (2015)

$363,000 (2016)

Staten Island: $405,000 (2015)

$417,000 (2016)

Queens: $410,000 (2015)

$ 439,000 (2016)

Brooklyn: $600,000 (2015)

$675,000 (2016)

Manhattan: $950,000 (2015)

$1,075,000 (2016)