Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Real Estate War!

Now that Manhattan has become an exclusive enclave of the very rich and the very poor, the middle class is being pushed across the bridges and tunnels and into the other four boroughs of NYC.

And most of them are heading into Brooklyn and Queens.

Out of the 8 millions souls in this town, approximately 5 million of them live in these two boroughs. Both have about 2.5 million. Needless to say, this has made real estate in in Brooklyn and Queens very valuable. 

And it's a war! 

Basically, real estate prices in Brooklyn are surging while prices in Queens have lagged. The reason is simple: Brooklyn has become cool, hip, trendy. Places like Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, and Park Slope have attracted rich residents and celebrities and this has had an effect in raising rents and home prices all across the boroughs. Even Williamsburg, that traditional working class neighborhood, has gotten expensive.

Queens is more complicated. It doesn't have any hip neighborhoods. It doesn't have gorgeous brownstones or beautiful parks like Prospect Park (Flushing Meadows park can't compete -- people just go there to go to Citi Field). While it has magnets like the airports, ball fields, and some great museums, it's not a place you go to stroll the streets and just hang. Also, unlike Brooklyn, which is nearly 100% urban, vast parts of Queens are suburban and don't have access to subway lines. (I should know -- I now live in a Queens suburb and take the LIRR, not the MTA, to work.) It's just a very different place.

But I predict that will change. Astoria and LIC are drawing more people to them. They are getting gentrified. Also, prices in Brooklyn will eventually cause the middle class and new immigrants to NYC to look elsewhere. 

This article gives some insight into the real estate battle between Brooklyn and Queens. It more or less confirms what I've indicated here. But it also shows just how ignorant some real estate writers in NYC is -- the reason the Steinway Mansion in Astoria hasn't sold is because it's in the middle of an industrial area, which the author would have realized if she had gone there. Just another example of how Queens gets short shrift. 

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