Compared to Manhattan’s median sales price of $855,000 and Brooklyn’s median of $570,110, Queens appears a relative bargain. Its median price for the fourth quarter of 2013 was $372,700, which represented a 4.4 percent dip from the year before, according to recent reports from Douglas Elliman. The luxury segment of the Queens market, however, saw a 7 percent spike in median prices to $910,000. Here are three listings in different corners of the borough.
179-11 Anderson Rd., St. Albans, Queens
3 Bedroom/1.5 Bath
1,760 square feet
Taxes: $1,498 a year
Open House: Saturday, Jan. 11 and Sunday, Jan. 12, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Lowdown: This three-bedroom home with a finished basement — that can be used as an income-generating apartment or a giant recreation room — might appeal to those who want an affordable house with a driveway, garage and other trappings of the suburbs, said Steven Christmann, of Warren Lewis Sotheby's International Realty.
"Think about moving upstate: You can get a house that’s $300,000 or $400,000 about 1.5 hours away, and you have no city services," Christmann said.
The first floor has "high end" woodwork that mimics an old English style, Christmann said of the home, which also has a 100-square-foot patio.
The same family has owned the house since it was built more than 70 years ago, so the kitchens — there's one in the basement — could use updating, he added.
"It just needs a modernization," he said. "The bones are good."
Location: St. Albans is a working class neighborhood, once famous for being home to many jazz musicians like Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald. Though many locals drive, it's close enough to public transportation that a car isn't essential, Christmann said. The house is two blocks away from the Q5 or Q85 buses, which are a 10-minute ride to the E train. There's also a Long Island Rail Road stop in the neighborhood that takes half an hour to get to Manhattan.
The home is a 5-minute walk to the Roy Wilkens Park and a 10-minute bus or car ride to the Long Acres Mall in Long Island, he added. There are plenty of stores along nearby Merrick Boulevard.
Why put it on your open house calendar? The house offers a taste of the suburbs in the city at a low price, Christmann said.
63-36 99th St., #7D, Rego Park, Queens
2 Bedroom/2 Bath
1,104 square feet
Common Charges: $506
Monthly Taxes: $57
Open House: Sunday, Jan. 12, 1 to 4 p.m.
Lowdown: This west-facing unit with 10.5-foot-tall ceilings is packed with modern luxuries, including a marble master bathroom with jacuzzi and shower.
"It feels open, light and airy," said Harold Valestin, of MNS.
The building, called Millennium 99, has a gym, roof deck with views to Manhattan and a sauna and steam room.
"You can go downstairs and kick it up a notch with a nice relaxing spa treatment," Valestin said.
The developer of this 66-unit doorman-building spared no expense with the high-end finishes or the ornate lobby, he added. "It’s like you’re walking into the Bellagio."
The condo faced some "pushback from the locals" because prices were higher than other apartments in the area, Valestin acknowledged, but the point of the building was to be different.
"It looks like nothing else in the area," he said. "It looks like Miami. We basically created a new market in that neighborhood. More expensive than others, but higher quality and larger [sized units]."
Location: Rego Park, a middle class neighborhood with a growing population from Russia and parts of Asia, has a mix of quiet residential streets and bustling shopping corridors, including the Queens Center Mall , which is in walking distance, according to Valestin. The building is four blocks to the M and R trains at 63rd Road.
Why put it on your open house calendar? Though pricier than neighboring buildings, the building offered more of a luxe lifestyle, Valestin said. "For the same price point further west in Long Island City, you’re getting 800 square feet, but here you’re getting 1,100 square feet," he added.
48-21 5th St. #2L, Hunters Point, Queens
1,068 square feet
Common Charges: $769
Monthly Taxes: $106
Open House: Sunday, Jan. 12, 2:30 to 4 p.m.
Lowdown: This quiet, east-facing corner unit in the Gantry has a chef's kitchen, new washer/dryer, private 100-square-foot terrace with a gas grill and two bedrooms split by the living room, said Rick Kelly, of Douglas Elliman.
"It’s very compact," Kelly said of the layout. "There’s almost no wasted space."
The building — which has a part-time doorman, fitness center, lounge and roof terrace — has very low turnover. This only the seventh apartment available for sale since the 48-unit Gantry opened in 2007, noted Kelly, who lived there when it was new.
Back then there were only two kids in the building. More than 30 children live there today, Kelly added.
"Now it’s nothing but stroller city," Kelly said.
There are eight years left on the building's tax abatement.
Location: Many brokers are betting on Long Island City as the next "it" neighborhood of 2014. "Long Island City is on fire," Kelly said of the hot market.
The building is a block from the Gantry Plaza State Park, along the East River, and near a burgeoning restaurant scene: "There are no fewer than a dozen new restaurants on Vernon Boulevard," Kelly said.
The Gantry is less than two blocks from the Vernon-Jackson 7 train station, which is one stop from Grand Central in Manhattan. The East River Ferry stop is a 5-minute walk. It's a short bus, bike or boat ride to Greenpoint and Williamsburg. There is also indoor parking.
Why put it on your open house calendar? "It’s a perfect starter two bedroom," Kelly said. The price recently dropped by $60,000, he added, because "the sellers are serious and want to move."