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It's Getting Cheaper to Live in Queens, Report Says

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | July 10, 2014 4:07pm | Updated on July 11, 2014 4:28pm
 A new residential rental development — Pearson Court Square — at 45-50 Pearson Street in Long Island City. For a 1-bedroom apartment, renters have to pay $2,850.
A new residential rental development — Pearson Court Square — at 45-50 Pearson Street in Long Island City. For a 1-bedroom apartment, renters have to pay $2,850.
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Courtesy of Douglas Elliman

QUEENS — Rents in Western Queens — fueled by a move to cheaper, smaller apartments — and sales prices throughout the borough went down in recent months, but real estate experts insist that “over all Queens is doing really well.”

According to a rental report released Thursday by Douglas Elliman, the median rental price in the northwest region of Queens, which includes Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside and Woodside, fell in June by 4.5 percent to $2,830, in comparison with May.

The decline comes after four months of gains and is down slightly — 0.5 percent — compared to June 2013. The average price was down even more sharply, nearly 9 percent to $2,896, the report said.

Experts said that the decrease was very slight and was caused by the fact that in June more renters opted for one-bedroom units, as opposed to more expensive two- and three-bedroom units, which lowered the median price.

The median price for the luxury market was off more than 20 percent from May to June to $4,275 and 12 percent from last year. Three-bedrooms were down 12 percent from last year to a median price of $3,170.

One-bedroom apartments comprised more than 60 percent of rental transactions in June, an increase of 14.2 percent in comparison to May, according to the report.

Luciane Serifovic of Douglas Elliman said that western Queens attracts people who initially wanted to live in Manhattan, but decided to move to Long Island City instead when they realized that prices are cheaper.

Brand new buildings in the area, she said, offer numerous amenities and the ever-changing neighborhood, which has been undergoing a real estate boom, provides many entertainment opportunities.

According to Serifovic, more than 40 percent of apartments in Long Island City are currently in new developments.

She said that renters can also choose more affordable options in the area. “If they can’t afford the hot Long Island City market, then they are going to Astoria, and then Sunnyside and Woodside,” she said.

Sales were also down, both in terms of price and volume, according to a quarterly sales report from Douglas Elliman.

There were 2,404 sales in the second quarter in Queens, 3.6 percent less than in the same period last year and median sales price in the borough also declined by 9 percent to $355,000 from the same period last year.

Prices of condos decreased by 2.7 percent to $415,000 and prices of one- to three- family homes went down by 4 percent to $480,000 when compared with the same period last year.

But at the same time, the co-op market has improved, the report said.

The number of co-op sales increased by 27.7 percent, from 703 to 898 over the same period last year, and the co-op median sales price went up by 4.6 percent from $195,000 to $204,000, according to the report.