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Astoria Real Estate Market Sees Uptick in Luxury Properties, Report Says

ASTORIA — The trend of luxury condos and rental apartments, now largely the norm on the Long Island City waterfront, is spilling over into neighboring Astoria, according to a new report from brokerage firm Modern Spaces.

The company's fourth-quarter market report for 2012 includes Astoria for the first time, noting that the neighborhood has seen an uptick in the development of high-end properties this year.

"That trend of what started in Long Island City six or seven years ago, we're starting to see that now in Astoria," said Eric Benaim, president and CEO, who said Astoria landlords are looking to attract tenants who want top-of-the-line amenities but who might be priced out of Long Island City.

"Because the prices in Long Island City are rising so much, people are migrating into Astoria, where it's more affordable, but still trendy," he said.

Modern Spaces, which is based in Long Island City and specializes in residential luxury sales and rentals, opened its first Astoria office in January 2012. The firm has sold about 10 units and rented just over 100 in the neighborhood since then, Benaim said.

"These are like doorman buildings, a more modern design and style which Astoria doesn’t really have a lot of it," he said. "Astoria is known for having that old-fashioned construction and architectural style."

Prices in Astoria have increased along with the rest of the city, the report found, though the neighborhood is still a relative bargain compared to Long Island City. The average price for a two-bedroom unit sold in Long Island City in 2012 was just under $900,000, the company found, compared to about $600,000 for an average two-bedroom in Astoria.

One of their more popular Astoria sales listings was Edge 31, a condo development at 23-32 31st Dr., where a one-bedroom starts at $369,000 and comes equipped with a washer and dryer, built-in surround-sound speaker system, video intercoms, private balcony and access to a shared roof deck. The 10-unit building sold out last February, about nine months after it opened, Benaim said.

Astoria has also seen an influx of trendier bars and restaurants over the last year, "that have a little bit of a Williamsburg vibe to them," he said.

And while some Astorians might lament these changes, Benaim says the demand is there: Modern Spaces' Astoria office gets flooded with requests from Astoria residents who say they want to swap out their current apartment for a doorman building in Long Island City, he said.

"We get a lot of people who maybe want to upgrade — they don’t want to live in a walkup building," he said, adding that these space-seekers are perfect for the luxury properties popping up in the neighborhood.

"If they see that in Astoria, and for a discounted price than Long Island City, they might just stay."