Fact Check

Did Democratic Mayoral Candidates Guess a Brooklyn Home Costs $100K?

Only one candidate guessed correctly.

Published May 12, 2021

 (National Archives at College Park/Wikimedia Commons)
Image Via National Archives at College Park/Wikimedia Commons
In May 2021, two Democratic mayoral candidates for New York City incorrectly guessed that the cost of purchasing a home in Brooklyn was around $100,000.

In June 2021, New York City will hold its mayoral election primaries to select a Democratic and Republican candidate for mayor. On May 10, The New York Times sat down with the Democratic candidates and asked them a number of questions about the city. And some of them appeared to not know enough.

Democratic candidate Shaun Donovan, the former housing secretary under President Barack Obama, had this exchange with New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay. He guessed that the median cost of buying a home in Brooklyn was $100,000.

Mara Gay: Thanks. Do you happen to know what the median sales price for a home is in Brooklyn right now?

In Brooklyn, huh? I don’t for sure. I would guess it is around $100,000.

Mara Gay: It’s $900,000.

Median home? Including apartments?

[Mr. Donovan later emailed to say that his $100,000 answer referred to the assessed value of homes in Brooklyn. “I really don’t think you can buy a house in Brooklyn today for that little,” he wrote.]

Mara Gay: All of it, yeah.

The median sales price for a home in Brooklyn was indeed up to $900,000 at the time of this writing. The average sales price is almost $1 million.

Another Democratic candidate Ray McGuire, who was a longtime investment banker and former Citigroup executive, had a similar answer:

Mara Gay: Thanks. And just answer this to the best of your ability, obviously. What is the median sales price for a home or apartment in Brooklyn?

In Brooklyn, that number has gone up now. It depends on where in Brooklyn.

Mara Gay: Just average for the borough, the median.

It’s got to be somewhere in the $80,000 to $90,000 range, if not higher.

Mara Gay: The median sales price for a home in Brooklyn is $900,000.

Nine hundred. I ——

Mara Gay: What ——

I’m sorry.

Both candidates severely underestimated the sales price of a home in Brooklyn, resulting in mockery and criticism online.

Only one Democratic candidate guessed correctly: Andrew Yang. The others differed in their responses. Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, said he believed the number was around $550,000. Maya Wiley, former counsel to current Mayor Bill de Blasio, said $1.8 million. Kathryn Garcia, a former sanitation commissioner, guessed $800,000, while Dianne Morales, a former nonprofit executive, said $500,000, and Scott M. Stringer, the city comptroller, said $1 million.

Given that the interviews quote them directly, we rate these claims as “True.”

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.