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Boro home values stablest in city: Report

Although the foreclosure crisis has been hitting Queens homeowners, home sales in the borough recorded the lowest decline and most stable values compared to the rest of the city in the first half of 2008, a study by a real estate company found.

Massey Knakal's New York City Income Property Market report, issued Sept. 18, indicated that the total number of Queens home sales fell 18 percent in the first half of 2008 from the same period last year. Excluding Staten Island, the citywide average for home sales in the same time period was down 31 percent, according to the report.

Robert Knakal, chairman of the Manhattan-based property sales company, attributed the slump citywide to the credit crunch spawned by the slowing economy and the subprime problem.

He pointed out that the market for medium-size investment properties has held up better than the larger institutional property sector.

"Demand continues to be healthy and sellers are starting to adjust their expectations to meet current conditions," he said. "We believe the short supply of product that we have experienced will loosen as sellers begin to understand the realities of the market."

The report, which was prepared by the commercial real estate appraisal firm Miller Cicero, said northern Manhattan had the steepest drop in sales with a 63 percent decline compared to the same period in 2007. In the first half of this year, the Bronx had a 42 percent drop in sales, the rest of Manhattan had a 36 percent decrease and Brooklyn had a 22 percent decline, according to the report.

Several studies have said that Queens has had the most home foreclosures in the city over the last two years. A report by the nonprofit group Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project projected that the borough will have 6,164 of the city's predicted 15,332 total foreclosures this year.

Most of these foreclosures were attributed to homeowners who took out subprime loans and could not make their payments when their interest rates quickly ballooned, according to NEDAP.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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