Looking to Buy? Ditch Brooklyn and Cozy Up To Queens

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If you want to buy an apartment or house in New York, you may want to forget about Brooklyn (seriously, fuhgeddaboudit) and stake your claim in Astoria, Forest Hills or Flushing. 

The median price for a new home in Brooklyn is a wallet-busting $570,110, an 11-year high, according to a new report on fourth-quarter sales from the real estate firm Douglas Elliman. In Queens, the median price is a relative steal: $372,700.

Real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller says both boroughs had a lot of sales toward the end of 2013 and have low inventory, so buying in Queens is no cakewalk, but median sales prices in Brooklyn are rising more than four times as fast. 

Miller has even taken to calling Queens "the new Brooklyn" because it's proving a draw for people fleeing Manhattan, where prices are through the roof (of your tiny studio apartment). 

"People are being priced out of Brooklyn now, and Queens is a viable option," he said. 

Of course, if you're like most New Yorkers, you're a renter. 

Fortunately, the median rent in Manhattan is no longer going up and up as people have come to expect.

Unfortunately, it's still $3,100 a month, which gets you a 1200-ft 3-bedroom in Washington Heights or a 1-bedroom half that size in the West Village (as long you don't have pets).

It will be easier to find a place — the vacancy rate in Manhattan is at its highest level in more than 7 years — but Jonathan Miller says renters shouldn't get their hopes up. 

"I think rents, while they're not rising as quickly in the near future, I don't expect them to decline quickly either," he said.

The median rental price in Brooklyn is $2,660, only a slight uptick from the same period last year.

According to Miller, rent prices in Manhattan and Brooklyn have remained in check due to the large number of sales in both boroughs. When people purchase homes, they take some of the steam out the rental market.