What to know about buying in Flushing, Queens, a budget-friendly area bustling with new development
- You'll find two-bedroom co-ops on the market asking about $350,000
- There are about 270 single-family houses, condos, and co-ops for sale
The north-central Queens community of Flushing, home to the borough’s fabled Chinatown and the birthplace of “Friends” star David Schwimmer and former First Lady Nancy Reagan, is a bustling working-class neighborhood.
The neighborhood, whose population is primarily Chinese, is a fusion of quiet residential areas and a bustling commercial district that people experience when they step off the subway. There are several new developments that mix condos and retail either open now or coming soon.
I’ve heard that real estate in Flushing is not as expensive as some of the other neighborhoods that it’s close to. Is that true?
“It is relatively cheaper than areas like Long Island City and Whitestone,” Hu says, adding that it’s also less expensive than Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn, and Williamsburg.
Where is it?
Flushing is bounded on the north by Whitestone, Malba, and College Point, on the south by Kew Gardens, on the east by Murray Hill, and on the west by Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Why would NYers want to move to Flushing?
“It’s conveniently located, and it has a diversified population, culture, and real estate market,” Hu says. “There is everything from luxury buildings to more affordable options. There’s a lot of activity going on, and there are new residential developments coming on the market. It’s a great time to live in and invest in the community.”
She notes that in addition to New Yorkers, Flushing attracts international students, most of them from China and South Korea.
Calling Downtown Flushing “a stepping stone” for those who want to eventually upgrade to a single-family house, Joa says that “the majority of buyers in Downtown Flushing are Chinese; they are attracted by the new condo developments and the convenience of the restaurants, grocery stores and shops.”
She adds that Downtown also attracts “empty nesters, either in Flushing or other New York City communities, who are selling single-family houses.”
Where in Flushing should you live?
There are three subsections in the community.
Downtown Flushing is the busy metro area defined by new luxury condo developments.
North Flushing, which feels very suburban, has single-family houses.
East Flushing also has lots of single family houses but they are built around streets that are "tighter" than North Flushing, Joa says. It's also a little bit busier than that area.
What are housing and pricing like?
The market, which is comprised primarily of condos and co-ops, is transitioning to favor buyers, Hu says. “It’s a unique market, and it’s still developing.”
However Joa says, “I’ve noticed that some condo developers aren’t willing to negotiate on the price, and if they can’t get the price in the offering plan, they would rather rent the units out.”
There is significant inventory. According to StreetEasy, 269 single-family houses, condos, and co-ops are for sale.
Hu notes that co-ops are “very affordable,” generally selling for $300 to $375 per square foot, with a two-bedroom unit generally going for $350,000.
The condo market offers “a huge range” of choices for various budgets, she adds. Expect to pay $700 to $750 for units in older buildings and $1,100 to $1,250 per square foot in new luxury buildings such as Tangram, the mixed-use, condo and shopping mall development inspired by the traditional Chinese puzzle.
Single-family houses rarely come on the market, Hu says, adding that most of them are rental properties. “Sometimes they are rented room by room,” she says, “with a shared kitchen.” [Editor's note: Rentals by the room are generally illegal.]
When they do come on the market, they typically sell for $1.5 million to $2 million, depending on their condition.
Generally, rents are $30 to $42 per square foot, whether in a single-family house or an apartment building.
Is there a lot of new development?
“A lot of new luxury condo development is happening or will be coming along Flushing Creek,” Hu says. “There are three to four high-rise developments in the works with housing units on the top and retail components on the bottom. They have not been named yet.”
What’s the transportation situation?
The No. 7 line serves Flushing. There also are numerous bus lines: Q12, Q13, Q15, Q16, Q17, Q19, Q20 A/B, Q25, Q26, Q27, Q28, Q34, Q44 SBS, Q48, Q50, Q58, Q65, and Q66.
The Long Island Rail Road’s Port Washington line also stops in Flushing and takes about 20 minutes to reach Penn Station.
“And if you get on the No. 7 express train, you can get to Grand Central Station in 30 minutes," Hu says, adding “It’s convenient for people who work in Manhattan.”
What is there to do?
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the borough’s largest and most iconic park, is within walking distance of Flushing. It has baseball, soccer, and cricket fields, handball courts, playgrounds, green spaces, a skateboarding section, and dog runs.
It’s home to the Queens Museum, New York Hall of Science, Queens Zoo, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home to the U.S. Open, and Mets’ baseball stadium Citi Field.
Covering 325 acres, Kissena Park has a lake, public golf course, baseball, soccer, and football fields, and tennis, bocce, and volleyball courts.
Every summer, a Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival takes place on Flushing Meadow Lake.
The Shops at Skyview, located in the condo development of the same name, is a mall that includes big-box stores Target and Marshalls.
The Tangram mixed-use development features a multi-screen movie theater.
What’s the restaurant/nightlife situation?
The community’s biggest draw is, of course, Chinatown, a prime grocery shopping and dining area. “It’s more Chinese and more authentic than Manhattan’s Chinatown,” Hu says, adding that people come from all over the city to visit it.
The neighborhood’s many restaurants include Asian Jewels (dim sum), Hot Pot (Szechuan), Shoo Loong Kan (in the Tangram condo development), Xi’an Famous Foods (noodles, soups, and sandwiches), Chong Qing Lao Zao (traditional Chinese), Congee Village (Cantonese, known for porridge), and Emperor Seafood (fine dining, dim sum, and as the name indicates, seafood).
Other popular spots are Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ, Spot Dessert Bar, whose menu features Asian ingredients like green tea in cookies and cakes, and Latin Bakery & Restaurant, a Colombian eatery and bakery.
When the weather is nice, there are pop-up night markets similar to those in Thailand and Taiwan that sell not only food but also everything from hair clips to clothing. “The stalls are small tables set up by individuals,” Joa says.
How about grocery stores?
In addition to the small mom-and-pop grocery stores in Chinatown, residents shop at the Asian supermarket SkyFoods, which is part of a chain.
Check out these listings in Flushing.
Listed for $1.288 million, this single-story, single-family house has two bedrooms and one bath. Other features of the 1940 house include a living room, dining room, eat-in kitchen, finished basement, back patio, private driveway, and one-car garage.
This 740-square-foot, one-bed, one-bath new-construction luxury condo, in the Tangram mixed-use building, is listed for $873,572. It has a custom Italian kitchen with high-end appliances, French oak flooring, 9.6-foot-high ceilings, a washer and dryer, and garden courtyard views. The 16-story, 132-unit building, which opened in 2021, features a heated indoor saltwater pool, spa, sauna, two gyms, tennis courts, gardens, a dog park, barbeque area, library, and lounge.
Built in 1950, this single-family detached brick house has three bedrooms, two baths, a finished basement, private driveway, detached garage, and backyard. It is listed for $1.15 million.
This two-bed, one-bath penthouse condo is listed for $738,000. The 724-square-foot unit features an open kitchen floorplan, a large private terrace, and washer/dryer. It is located in the 11-story, 63-unit Sheng Rainbow Plaza building, which dates to 1984.
Listed for $318,000, this 950-square-foot corner co-op has two bedrooms, one bath, an eat-in kitchen, and hardwood floors. It is located one floor above the lobby of the building, which comes with a laundry room, storage space, and indoor/outdoor parking.
Nancy A. Ruhling is a freelance writer based in New York City.
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