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It’s Official—Queens Is Now More Expensive Than Brooklyn

A new report shows the median price of rentals in Northwest Queens is now higher than in Brooklyn.

By Jeff Vasishta March 9, 2017

It’s getting confusing. A new report by real estate brokerage Douglas Elliman says that Queens rents surpassed those in Brooklyn for the first time in recent history. But wasn’t Brooklyn supposed to be more expensive than Manhattan? Does it now mean Queens must be more expensive than Manhattan?

The report in question states that median rents in northwest Queens—now $3,016 a month, a 14-percent yearly gain—surpassed those in Brooklyn, where the median rent is $2,968. Not to be outdone, Manhattan rents also rose by 6.6 percent over the last year to a median of $3,418.

“Renters are really swimming with sharks,” Luciane Serifovic, director of rentals at Elliman told the NY Daily News. “We don’t even have to advertise our apartments anymore. We have clients lined up waiting for vacancies.”

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If that’s the case, it’s a sharp turnaround from a few months ago when landlords seemingly couldn’t give apartments away for rent, offering everything but the kitchen sink—and maybe even the kitchen sink.

Queens turbo-boosted increase in rents is due to the demand for luxury family-sized apartments. There are some truly eye-watering numbers. The demand for these type of residences in neighborhoods such as Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside is so great that the median price in the area rose 60.7 percent since last year—to $4,216 a month. In contrast, median prices for studios and one-bedroom homes in Queens rose by 9 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

Whether Queens can continue its stratospheric rise depends on the availability of new apartments of which many are currently being constructed, particularly in Astoria and Long Island City where zoning restrictions are looser than in other parts of the borough. Demand has been fueled by the 7 train’s accessibility to Midtown Manhattan and Hudson Yards.

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“Everyone wants to be part of Brooklyn, but I believe that customers are rediscovering Queens,” said Luciane Serifovic, Douglas Elliman’s director of rentals.

“It’s now becoming a destination for clients: There are a lot of new projects. They’re loaded with amenities. They have water views,” she added. “And Brooklyn is closer to Downtown [Manhattan] but Queens is closer to Midtown.”

While Brooklyn has generally established itself and a trendy/creative and expensive neighborhood, Queens is still in flux, re-branding and rediscovering who it is. What’s not up for dispute is the kind of buildings new residents want to live in. Forty-two percent of the borough’s January rentals were in new developments, according to the Elliman report. And according to DNAInfo, many of these buildings are skyscrapers. In the 11101 zip code, which includes Long Island City and Sunnyside, there were 100 permits for new buildings last year. While 44 permits were for buildings four stories tall and under, nearly 60 others were for taller buildings, up to 54 stories tall.

“Queens has been more erratic because we have a lot of these new development projects,” Jonathan Miller who conducted the Elliman report said. “But prices are rising.” Almost as fast as the borough’s new buildings

Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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