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GROWING GAINS: Brooklyn Grows Up As Families Scout For Bigger Homes

By Aigerim Kikimova on March 21, 2012

Minor declines in average Brooklyn rents in February were in contrast to significant year-over-year rent increases, according to the latest report from the real estate services firm, MNS.

The February 2012 Brooklyn Rental Market Report shows a .39 percent decrease in rents between January and February, but year-over-year rents up roughly 5.23 percent.

Year-over-year studio rents actually fell two percent, to $1,686, but one-bedroom and two-bedroom rents increased by 7.5 and 10.2 percent, to $2,294 and $2,950, respectively.

“There’s a shift in that many of these areas are becoming more family-oriented,” said Andrew Barrocas, CEO of MNS about the declines in studio rents. “You have an area like Williamsburg, where five or six years ago you didn’t see any children outside of strollers. Now those strollers have turned into bikes and skateboards, the kids are getting older, the families are expanding, and people are looking to stay in those areas.”

The greatest monthly moves occurred in Bed-Stuy, where studio rents plummeted 7.4 percent, but on-bedroom rents increased 501mpercent; and in Boerum Hill, where two-bedroom rents fell 5.2 percent.

Renters looking for cheap studios should take a look in the Bay Ridge and Bed-Stuy neighborhoods, where average studio rents, at $1,075 and $1,019, respectively, are the lowest they’ve been in a year.

Average rents of Bushwick studios weren’t far off, as they continued to decline, falling about 15 percent since November 2010, from $1,473 to $1,250.

“I would have expected to see them increase more,” Barrocas said. “Builders have to be more cognizant of the amount of money that an individual will pay to be in the area, so you need to build based on room counts.”

Crown Heights, widely recognized as one of Brooklyn’s up-and-coming neighborhoods, has seen steady rent growth across the board since last year, with studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom rents shooting up 45 percent, 26 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

“Some of the locations like Crown Heights benefit from being close to waterfront neighborhoods,” Barrocas said.

To that point, average rents across all three categories (studio, one, two bedroom) were highest in DUMBO, at $2,624, $3,503 and $4,964, respectively. The waterfront neighborhood allows for easy access to Manhattan and a continued stream of technology companies are moving into the area.

“That’s been the case since we’ve been tracking the area,” Barrocas said about DUMBO leading the pack. “Because of the uniqueness of the location, with a lot of pre-war and larger spaces, I think DUMBO will continue to expand.”

Williamsburg tallied the second highest average rents among studios, at $2,397, while Brooklyn Heights took second place among one-bedroom and two-bedrooms, at $2,957 and $4,492, respectively (Williamsburg was third highest among one and two-bedrooms).

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