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January 24, 2022

Dumbo Prepares for Luxury Rentals Boom as Demand Soars

New luxury developments hope to expand rental opportunities in the desirable neighborhood.

By Katharine Swindells

Renting in Dumbo, Brooklyn used to be next to impossible with only a handful of listings posted every month, but new luxury developments hope to expand rental opportunities in the desirable waterfront neighborhood.

Dumbo’s artistic temperament and stunning views of Manhattan make it one of the hottest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, separated from the hubbub of the city yet only one subway stop away. Unsurprisingly, this also makes Dumbo the priciest area of Brooklyn, with average rents 25% higher than in Downtown Brooklyn, the next most expensive neighborhood.

“Dumbo is special because of its connectivity to Brooklyn’s waterfront,” says Matthew Villetto, executive vice president of development marketing at Douglas Elliman. “It’s a small enclave with beautiful, classic New York City architecture in a low-scale landscape with cobblestone streets running throughout. The neighborhood hosts tremendous history and art, fostering a tight-knit community.”

[See also: How Brooklyn Became New York’s Real Estate Hot Spot]

After dipping in early 2021, Dumbo rents saw a steep incline in late spring 2021, rising by 17.4% between April and June 2021.

Overall, two-bed apartments in Dumbo rents rose by 6% between November 2020 and November 2021, less than the Brooklyn average of  13.6%, driven by huge rises in Williamsburg, Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn.

Villetto says that luxury developers are investing heavily across Brooklyn, recruiting top architecture and interior design firms to create stunning properties with full service and amenities.

[See also: Stan Ponte on Manhattan’s Triumphant Real Estate Comeback]

 Magnolia Dumbo

A rendering of Magnolia Dumbo, a new 320-unit luxury rental property / © Magnolia Dumbo

“This next wave of new developments we’re experiencing in Brooklyn elevates the living standard and style of residing in the neighborhood, which ultimately reflects the prices people are willing to pay to call Brooklyn home," he says.

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Much of the price growth comes down to the fact that, as demand for Brooklyn living grows, the borough is also facing an acute supply problem. 

In December 2021, listing inventory for one and two-bed rentals across Brooklyn fell by a fifth from where they had been in November, and was a jaw-dropping 85% lower than in December 2020.

The supply crisis is even more acute in luxury property, and especially in Dumbo. Before the launch of 320-unit luxury rental property Magnolia Dumbo this month, there were only a handful of apartments available in the neighborhood.

“In Dumbo, demand is high because inventory is so low due to the geographical constraints of being a cozy neighborhood book-ended by the East River and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway,” explains Villetto. “Its location limits the amount of development, which is another reason why it’s such a popular residential destination.”

Magnolia Dumbo residents will have exclusive access to the largest private park in the neighborhood, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh, the award-winning landscape architect of Brooklyn Bridge Park, as well as a rooftop pool with iconic views of the bridge and skyline.

[See also: An Exclusive First Look at 488 Sterling Place Brooklyn]

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