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Queens prices reach new high fueled by demand for affordable housing

Queens' relatively competitive prices are luring buyers and renters. 

Metropolitan Transit Authority

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A new market report from StreetEasy shows that Queens continues to be the borough on the rise, in more ways than one, as buyers cast a wider net in search of more affordable housing.

The August 2018 report indicates prices for houses in the borough reached an all-time high of $536,028, with a 7.1 percent annual increase. Prices in the borough are now 23 percent higher than they were in 2013. Houses are also changing hands in Queens faster than in Manhattan; houses in Queens moved off the market a month faster than Manhattan listings.

A bright spot for buyers looking to Queens: It also experienced the highest share of price cuts in the city, growing 3.4 percentage points to 10.2 percent. And rents in the borough, while seeing the first annual increase since September 2017 with a modest .5 percent growth, reached $2,164—still significantly less than Manhattan and Brooklyn rents. 

“Queens was hit hard by the financial crisis and had a slower recovery from the recession, but now both inventory levels and prices are on the rise,” says Grant Long, StreetEasy senior economist.

Citi Habitats’ agent Mike Schulte, a Queens native who’s worked in the borough for nine years, sees Ridgewood, Astoria, and Forest Hills as areas with increased interest from renters and buyers, and notes a recent, record-breaking sale of a single family in Middle Village.

The limit of how far out people will go, and how long of a commute they’ll tolerate, “continues to push further and further,” he says. “It’s a byproduct of a city that continues to grow. People need a place to live.”

Meanwhile, prices have plateaued in Manhattan and Brooklyn, reaching $1,154,908 and $726,874, respectively. However rental prices in the boroughs continue to rise: Manhattan rentals reached an all-time high of $3,240, as did Brooklyn rentals at $2,605.