Buy Curious

Buy Curious: Where in NYC can you get the most bang for your new-condo buck?

By Leah Hochbaum Rosner  | November 7, 2013 - 10:28AM

In this week’s Buy Curious, guest agent Eugene Litvak of Citi Habitats schools a buyer seeking a 2-bedroom in an up-and-coming area in Brooklyn, Manhattan or Queens.  


“I’m looking to buy a new or recently constructed two-bedroom condo.  I'm open to any hip/up-and-coming neighborhood in Brooklyn, Manhattan or Queens. Where can I get the most bang for my buck? Please keep in mind that I want to buy from a developer with a good reputation.”


The residential real estate market in New York City has come back stronger than ever since the recession. Asking prices in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens are through the roof compared to five years ago, and don’t seem to be settling down any time soon. Despite this continued uptick in pricing, there are still affordable options for buyers who don’t mind taking a pioneering attitude by looking at residences in up-and-coming areas. 

In terms of getting the “best bang for your buck,” Long Island City, Queens has several developments that offer resort-like amenities, floor-to-ceiling windows and money-saving tax abatements. In addition, the commute time to Midtown and even downtown Manhattan is often shorter than from many uptown Manhattan neighborhoods.

Perhaps most importantly, L.I.C. offers the opportunity to own property for under $1,000 per square foot. That's pretty much impossible to find anywhere in Manhattan (where the average price per square foot is $1,400, and for new developments can approach $2,000) or northern Brooklyn (where folks should be prepared to pay $1,100-$1,200 per square foot for a newly built condo).

Another bonus for investing in L.I.C. is that as restaurants, retail options and other amenities continue to be developed in the area, the value of residential properties will increase exponentially.

There are other areas such as Greenpoint, Vinegar Hill, Bushwick and Sunset Park in Brooklyn, and Flushing and Astoria in Queens that offer condo properties at “bang for the buck” prices.  Keep in mind that as prices in Manhattan continue to rise due to lack of inventory, increasing rental prices and historically low interest rates, these Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods will do so as well. What happens in Manhattan trickles down to the outer boroughs fairly rapidly.  Now is truly the time to buy.

Here are a few L.I.C. listings for you to consider. Each is priced under $1,000 per square foot and offers a 421a tax abatement, which will further reduce your monthly cost:

  • Long Island City, Queens 2-bedroom/2-bathroom condo, $1,150,000: This 2-bedroom/2-bathroom condo located at 4630 Center Blvd. at 47th Rd. was built in 2008 by the reputable TF Cornerstone. The apartment boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, a gourmet kitchen and Manhattan skyline views, and has a tax abatement, bringing the monthly taxes to just $13 per month. Amenities in this luxury building include a 24-hour doorman and concierge, as well as a fitness center, rooftop garden and spa.
  • Long Island City, Queens 2-bedroom/2-bathroom condo, $1,070,000:  Also built by TF Cornerstone—but in 2011—this 2-bedroom/2-bathroom corner sponsor unit at 2-26 50th Ave. near 2nd St. also boasts amenities galore, including an entertainment room, an outdoor garden and a landscaped roof deck with barbecue pits. 
  • Long Island City, Queens 2-bedroom/2-bathroom condo, $1,150,000: Another 2-bedroom/2-bath unit, this condo at 50-09 2nd St. between 50th and 51st Aves. is located in a gut-renovated Pennsylvania Railroad Power Station, which was originally built in 1909. Building amenities in include a residents’ pool and a Jacuzzi with a waterfall feature.
  • Long Island City, Queens 2-bedroom/2-bathroom condo, $1,097,000: This unit at 48-21 5th St. between 48th Ave. and Hunters Point Ave. features a private outdoor terrace and in-unit laundry. Built in 2007, the building is located just one block from the Gantry State Park waterfront promenade, and boasts a doorman, gym, lounge and landscaped roof deck.
  • Long Island City, Queens 2-bedroom/2.5-bathroom condo, $1,450,000: This is a unique 2-bedroom/2.5-bathroom duplex condo at the popular L-Haus building, which is located at 11-02 49th Ave. at 11th St. The crowning feature of this unit is the 357-square-foot terrace that offers Manhattan skyline views.

Here are a few options outside of L.I.C. You can get great “bang for your buck” on these units, but each has a significant drawback:

  • Harlem 2-bedroom/1-bathroom condo, $675,000: This 2-bedroom unit is located at the Gateway Condominium on 2098 Frederick Douglas Blvd. between 113th and 114th Sts. in Harlem. You can’t beat the price of $675k—and the monthly taxes are a mere $15—but it’s a short sale, so you have to be willing to deal with all the related hassles that come with this type of transaction.
  • Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, 2-bedroom/1-bathroom condo, $528,268: This condo at 423 Hicks St. between Warren and Baltic Sts. in the up-and-coming Cobble Hill, Brooklyn area is located in a renovated residential complex originally built in 1879. The home is well-priced, but it’s a 5th floor walk-up, so you need to be ready for a workout every time you come home.

Buy Curious is a weekly column in which NYC real estate brokers help buyers develop a realistic search strategy. Want some advice on your search? Send us your wish list.  

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