07/22/13 10:00am

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When Sally Jones, a Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn home renovation blogger who writes Renov8or, started looking to upgrade from a one-bedroom (pictured above) to a two-bedroom apartment, she quickly realized that the neighborhood, and even the borough she had long called home, was no longer in her price range. Here’s her tale of finding her new home.

You know the neighborhood in Brooklyn that everyone loves right now — the one near Prime Meat and Buttermilk Channel and Black Gold and Trader Joe’s and Fairway? The one with all those brownstones with front gardens and bathtub madonnas? Yeah, Carroll Gardens. That one. I’m moving out of that neighborhood and I’m heading for Queens.

Crazy, right?

It’s not that I don’t love Carroll Gardens anymore. It’s not the much-discussed-among-the-natives “French” taking over the hood thanks to the immersion schools (though my friends with kids tell me that’s a real game-changer). It’s not even the much-maligned “hipsters” moving in. I welcomed the great restaurants and food shops and vinyl record stores, hey, even the hipsters. Live and let live.

It’s not any of that. To paraphrase a failed candidate for governor: The rents are just too damned high!

And as rents climb, purchase prices follow. A good thing for me The Seller. For me The Buyer, not so much. (more…)

07/17/13 10:00am

astoria_residential_sales
PropertyShark compiled some numbers for us to create a market snapshot of Astoria, looking at residential sales trends in the neighborhood since 2005. Above, you can see the median price for all residential sales hovers around $400,000, despite the boom in 2007 and the expected drop in early 2009. Despite a steady number of sales last year, prices fluctuated from just under $400,000 to just over $500,000. After the jump, check out graphs for the condo and co-op sales trends, as well as the single- and two-family sales trends. Condo and co-op prices also saw huge drops in early 2009. Prices, however, are on the rise this year with a median sales price of $325,000 in the first quarter of 2013. Prices of single- and two-family homes are more stable, mostly in the $600,000 to $700,000 range. The most expensive residential sales in the neighborhood, according to PropertyShark, are 31-30 38 Street for $1,650,000 (purchased in 2006), 30-53 35th Street for $1,350,000 (in 2008), and 25-34 31st Street for $1,300,000 (this April). Currently, you can get an apartment in Astoria for as cheap as $99,000 and a home as expensive as $2,175,990. (more…)

07/12/13 11:00am

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For nearly fifty years, the Bank of Manhattan tower facing the new Queens Plaza and the elevated train tangle was the undisputed king of all Queens buildings. The 15-story building, finished in 1927, looks like something The Fountainhead’s Howard Roark himself might have designed. That year, American architecture was shedding Beaux Arts and adopting the more streamlined motifs of the Machine Age. (more…)

PS1

MoMA PS1 was allocated $3,000,000 from the city budget to purchase a nearby apartment building at 22-25 Jackson Avenue to house new galleries, LICpost reported. The museum is still deciding whether to move its offices from its main building to the new one. The Chocolate Factory Theater also received $1,700,000 to expand at 5-49 49th Avenue. The Noguchi Museum received $600,000 to buy a new generator to replace one damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Long Island City’s SculptureCenter received $300,000 and Queens Public Library received $600,000.

Photo: Roland Li

07/11/13 10:00am

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The soaring real estate market in Brooklyn and Manhattan has moved into Queens, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal and a Douglas Elliman market report released Thursday. The lowest inventory in eight years led to a 10.6 percent increase in the average Queens residential sales price during the second quarter as buyers sought a cheaper alternative to Manhattan and Brooklyn, said the report.

The borough’s average sales price was $441,417, up from $399,154 in the prior year. Inventory plunged 28.9 percent to $6,225 during the quarter, and brokers cited the lack of selection and increased demand as drivers behind the price increase. ”We don’t have employment numbers that are robust enough to create enough churn. If you’re not getting the promotion, you’re not selling your place and you’re not moving,” said Michael Guerra, managing director of Douglas Elliman. As a result, fewer new listings were coming to market.

Demand has also been heightened because of low mortgage rates, which encourage more buyers to seek cheap financing. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was below 4 percent in the most of the second quarter, according to Freddie Mac. Higher rents can also encourage people to enter the sales market, but Guerra said that low availabilities meant many buyers were unable to find a suitable apartment. New York City’s overall average rent, excluding Staten Island, surpassed $3,000 per month last quarter. The median price for Queens one-bedrooms was $1,470, according to the Daily News, and Long Island City’s one-bedrooms were $2,500, as the neighborhood benefitted from its proximity to midtown Manhattan.

Long Island City’s new condo towers have also created new for-sale inventory that’s cheaper than Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, which has spurred buyers who had never previously considered Queens to look in the area. ”It’s clear that the population is increasing. There’s also development pressures in Astoria,” said Guerra, but he added that Long Island City still lacked retail and service options like dry cleaners. After a lift in Manhattan, prices are now rising throughout the New York City region, including in Queens, according to the Journal. “There are tons of buyers coming over from Brooklyn,” the Journal quoted one broker as saying.

Going forward, one of the best indicators of an increase in listing inventory would be improved local job growth, which could spur more people to sell their homes, said Guerra.

You can read more about Brooklyn stats here.

07/10/13 10:30am

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The Business Improvement District (BID) in Jamaica is in the midst of a major marketing campaign aimed at raising the profile of the neighborhood in the minds of shoppers and business owners. As part of a campaign with the tagline “Hip Meets Historic meets Downtown,” the BID (whose website is at jamaicacenter.org) is touting Downtown Jamaica’s demographics (86,000 pedestrians, 260,000 visitors, 158,000 workers), its connectivity (20 minutes to Manhattan, 8 minutes to JFK) and its real estate development pipeline (a 368-block rezoning to pave the way for more than 5,000 new units of housing and more than 1,000 new hotel rooms). The BID has also started a window redesign program to help local merchants–check out one of the before-and-after shots on the jump. And if you are really interested, you can check out the BID’s annual report here.
(more…)

07/09/13 9:00am

Willets Point

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall has endorsed the controversial plan to build a new mall at Willets Point, according to a recommendation obtained by local group Save Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Marshall’s office cited the project’s $3 billion private investment by the Related Companies and Sterling Equities, which would create 12,000 construction jobs and $310 million in tax revenue, as benefits. The recommendation called for funding to prioritize and expedite the Van Wyck Expressway ramps that are crucial for transit access to the project, but didn’t name a specific source of finding. It also called for the development to fulfill environmental LEED standards, hire minority, women and local contractors and be subject to government oversight.

In May, Community Board 7 voted in favor of the project, 22 to 18. Community Board 3 disapproved the project by a vote of 31 to 1. Opponents have protested that the project’s affordable housing component will be delayed until Phase 2, and the developers have the option of not building the housing if the city fails to build traffic ramps. The Department of City Planning will hold a public hearing on Willets Point on Wednesday, July 10. It will vote on the project later this year, and if approved, the proposal will go to a decisive vote by the City Council.

Rendering: NYCEDC

07/08/13 3:00pm

Sunnyside

New residents are flocking to Sunnyside, drawn by affordable rents and easy transit to Manhattan, Real Estate Weekly reported. The neighborhood’s 7 train stops are about 20 minutes from Grand Central, which is attractive to commuters. Median rent in the neighborhood is $1,800 per month, and the typical for-sale unit is $219,000, according to StreetEasy. Typical apartment buildings have smaller units, and the retail is a mix of locally owned stores, ethnic restaurants and only a handful of corporate chains. “In a way, it’s kind of magical,” Elliman broker Harvey Heit told REW. “It’s so nice, I don’t want to sell real estate here myself, I want to leave it alone.”

Photo: Andy Lindgren

07/08/13 10:00am

Picture 8

The Crescent Club, a new residential building at 41-17 Crescent Street in Long Island City, has been sold for $85 million, Crain’s reported. Investor Charles Dayan is buying the property from Simon Development and Meadow Partners, who took over the building after paying lender Citibank $51 million in 2011, after the original builder NCF Equities defaulted on the mortgage. The 130-unit building was originally planned as a condo, but has been operating as a rental. The building announced its 100th lease signing in February. GMAP

Photo: Liqcity

07/02/13 3:00pm

530-47th-avenue-long-island-city-demo
The one-story warehouse at 530 47th Avenue, between Vernon Avenue and 5th Street, is not long for this world. The Department of Buildings issued a demolition permit this May, although the owners were slapped with a stop work order a few weeks ago for not properly installing the scaffolding. In August of last year, the DOB approved a building application for a new four-story mixed-use building with two residential units to rise in the warehouse’s place. The DOB has yet to issue building permits, so there’s no word on how soon a new building’s going up. Of course, this warehouse has to go down first! GMAP