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7 Train Real Estate Boom to Rival Hipster Brooklyn After L Shutdown: Report

 Queens neighborhoods along the 7 train are poised to see a real estate explosion similar to that of the hipster enclaves along Brooklyn's L train line, a new report predicts.
Queens neighborhoods along the 7 train are poised to see a real estate explosion similar to that of the hipster enclaves along Brooklyn's L train line, a new report predicts.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

LONG ISLAND CITY — Queens neighborhoods along the 7 train are poised to see a real estate explosion similar to that of the hipster enclaves along Brooklyn's L train line, a new report predicts.

The "L train effect" — which saw residential growth move east into Brooklyn along the train line, from Williamsburg to Bushwick, as tenants sought out cheaper digs — will happen next along Queens' 7 line, according to a report from Ariel Property Advisors.

While Long Island City is already established as an in-demand neighborhood, the firm says the city's next hot spots will begin to move further east to other areas served by the 7 train, like Sunnyside, Woodside and Jackson Heights.

That growth will be accelerated by the opening of the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island next year and the looming L train shutdown, both of which will send more residents to Queens, according to the report.

"Long Island City prices, along with all the other [Queens] neighborhoods, have risen dramatically over the last five years," said Aryeh Orlofsky, director of investment research with Ariel.

"You're going to have people who were set on Long Island City and Astoria moving eastward," and further away from Manhattan in search of cheaper rents, he said — similar to how renters and homebuyers first drove up prices in Williamsburg before heading to East Williamsburg and Bushwick for better deals.

Rent and home prices are already rising in neighborhoods along the 7 line, according to the report. The price per square foot of the average multi-family home in Long Island City went up from $208 in 2012 to $488 this year, according to the data.

Home prices in Sunnyside also jumped from $168 to $426 per square foot during the last four years, while the same period saw increases of $132 to $306 in Woodside, $170 to $302 in Jackson Heights, $204 to $258 in Elmhurst, $222 to $351 in Corona and $190 to $293 in Flushing.

The report also points to an increase in subway ridership in neighborhoods along the 7 line, with the greatest growth in Long Island City, which saw the number of straphangers increase 18 percent since 2011.

The number of riders in Corona went up 5 percent during that time, and Jackson Heights saw a 3 percent jump.

"I think this is just the beginning of what we're going to see," said Daniel Wechsler, vice president of Ariel. "You're going to start to see the infill along those other neighborhoods."

The firm says a number of factors will speed up residential growth in Queens over the next few years, including the opening of Cornell Tech which will bring a new set of workers commuting to Roosevelt Island a short distance away.

The MTA's plan to shutdown L train service for 18 months of repairs starting in 2019 will also likely send a new flock of tenants to Queens as they search for alternative places to live with a better commute, the report says.

"With the L train shutting down, the 7 is an extremely reliable means of getting to Manhattan," Orlofsky said.

Ariel Property Advisors, a real estate services and advisory group based in Midtown, issued the report using data mined from its own research reports, as well as rental data from Streeteasy.com and ridership numbers from the MTA.

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Other real estate experts have made similar predictions for how the L train shutdown will affect markets in Brooklyn neighborhoods, with prices expected to dip in areas served by the line but rise in places like Greenpoint and Bedford-Stuyvesant that have alternative transit options.

And while Queens may see Brooklyn-esque growth in the coming years, experts say the changes will play out in a distinct way, since markets in the two boroughs are so different.

Much of Western Queens, for example, is already dense with existing housing, compared to places like Williamsburg and Bushwick which had a large number of industrial spaces ripe for residential conversions. 

So Queens likely won't see the same kind of new developments pop up as Brooklyn did.

"You're not going to see big towers, but you will see a lot of upgrades to existing building stock," as property owners look to reap higher prices, Orlofsky said. "Modern finishes and kind of a newer look, or a fresher look."