Two NYC mayoral candidates think the median home in Brooklyn sells for less than $100,000. Only Yang guessed correctly.

donovan mcghuire brooklyn housing 2x1
New York City Democratic mayoral candidates Ray McGuire (left) and Shaun Donovan (right).

  • Two NYC mayoral candidates were way off target when asked to guess home prices in Brooklyn.
  • Democrats Shaun Donovan and Ray McGuire were off by around $800,000 on the median sale price.
  • Andrew Yang was the only one who answered correctly during his interview with The New York Times editorial board.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A pair of Democratic New York City mayoral candidates offered drastically low estimates when asked about the median housing price in Brooklyn.

Ex-Citigroup executive Ray Donovan estimated that the middle figure was around $80,000 to $90,000. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan guessed $100,00. Both were wrong – by some $800,000.

The question from Mara Gay of The New York Times editorial board took the pulse of how familiar the candidates are with the Big Apple’s affordable housing crisis.

“In Brooklyn, that number has gone up now,” McGuire said. “It depends on where in Brooklyn.”

Gay reiterated that it’s the median for the borough, meaning the price at which half of homes are more expensive and half are less.

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

To that, Gay said: “The median sales price for a home in Brooklyn is $900,000.”

McGuire did, however, correctly estimate that the median rental price for an apartment in Manhattan is $3,000 per month.

Donovan, who ran the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2014, ended up offering an even lower figure.

“In Brooklyn, huh?” Donovan said in his interview. “I don’t [know] for sure. I would guess it is around $100,000.”

When Gay pointed to the $900,000 figure, Donovan asked if it included apartments. He later emailed the Times saying that his estimate referred to the assessed value of homes in the borough, adding “I really don’t think you can buy a house in Brooklyn today for that little.”

Frontrunner Andrew Yang ended up getting the figure spot-on when he was asked the same question.

“This is, like, blowing my mind, this question,” Yang said in his editorial board interview. “So median home – could be any size, right? So some of them would be very substantial. But you’re looking at the median, so you have to, like, whittle down. I would just say that the median – it’s going to be something, like, much higher than it should be. So the number that popped into my mind is $900,000.”

“That’s exactly right,” Gay replied.

“No way!” Yang said. “I was going to go with $800,00 or $900,000.”

Other candidates in the field overshot the figure, with City Comptroller Scott Stringer pegging it at around $1 million, and attorney Maya Wiley offering the highest estimate at $1.8 million. Meanwhile, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams guessed that it was $550,000, while non-profit executive Diane Morales put it at $500,000.

Kathryn Garcia, former commissioner of the city’s Sanitation Department, said the median housing price in Brooklyn was $800,000. She received the Times endorsement.

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