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The Market

Long Island City condo market is pricier than Brooklyn's, but renters may find deals

By Lucy Cohen Blatter | April 19, 2016 - 1:59PM

With Brooklyn becoming increasingly unaffordable, many New Yorkers have set their sights on Queens, but there’s one neighborhood in that borough where condo prices have officially surpassed Brooklyn. You guessed it: Long Island City.

The waterfront neighborhood (that happens to be a very quick jaunt on the 7 train from Manhattan) saw its average sales price increase by 30 percent from the end of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016, hitting $1.236 million, according to Modern Spaces’ Orange Report. The average price per square foot was $1,082. (As a comparison,  the average condo price in Brooklyn during the first quarter, according to the Douglas Elliman market report, was $838,651. The average price per square foot was $952).

“Long Island City has been ahead of Brooklyn condos for some time,” says Jonathan Miller, author of the Elliman report. “In many ways, Long Island City is really an offshoot of Manhattan; it’s just one subway stop away and that connection makes Long Island City pricing more consistent with Manhattan than the remainder of Queens,” he says. 

Plus, he adds, Long Island City is dominated by new development.  “In Brooklyn, 16 percent of the condo market was new development," he explains. "Long Island City is well above that.”

The neighborhood's relatively newer buildings may account for the price differential, too. “The oldest condo building in Long Island City is probably eight years old,” says Modern Spaces' Eric Benaim, who also adds that the lack of co-ops explains the higher prices, too. The buildings in LIC also tend to be heavily amenitized (roof decks, gyms and children's playrooms), upping values.

Larger apartments are becoming popular, too, says Benaim. “There’s been an influx of families coming here, and families that want to stay here, and developers are catering to them." And he expects prices will only increase as a result of the expected L train shutdown turning buyers away from neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

But there may be some good news for renters, who are seeing an average of $3,145/month across the neighborhood. "I expect the market to level out soon," he says. The reason: Simple supply and demand. "There are about 15,000-20,000 new rental units coming on the market between the end of 2016 through 2019, as opposed to about 1,500 condos," he says.


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