By Victoria Merlino
Western Queens might just be the new TriBeCa, at least according to one real estate website.
Hunters Point joined the ranks of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods this year by reaching the $1 million median property value for the first time, according to a report by PropertyShark.
Belle Harbor median home values increased to $1.18 million in the second quarter of 2018, placing the neighborhood at number 16 in the list of New York City’s priciest enclaves.
The Belle Harbor number might be somewhat inflated, however, because it is based on only five registered sales, PropertyShark said. The website questioned the neighborhood’s staying power in the upper echelon of ritzy neighborhoods.
With a $1 million median property sale, Hunters Point landed at 25 in the most expensive list.
Hunters Point is part of Long Island City, which has outpaced development in all other Queens neighborhoods by a wide margin. The real estate website RentCafe reports that 7,203 new apartments were constructed in Long Island City between 2010 and 2017. Forest Hills, the second fastest-growing neighborhood in the borough, only had 420 new apartments built.
Overall, 11 of the city’s 50 priciest neighborhoods by median home sale are located in Queens. East Flushing and Queensboro Hill tied for the 34th spot, with a $880,000 median price. Auburndale, Hollis Hills, Fresh Meadows, Old Astoria, College Point, Middle Village and Maspeth also made the list. The median property sales increased in all of those neighborhoods except Queensboro Hill.
Of the 10 most expensive properties in the city, nine are in Manhattan, with TriBeCa landing the top spot at a cool $3.8 million median sale price. The home of elite New Yorkers remains in the top spot despite a 26 percent price decrease from the previous quarter. SoHo, the Garment District, the West Village and DUMBO were also among the top 10 in the list.
Brooklyn neighborhoods accounted for 21 of the top 50 communities. Brooklyn neighborhoods included Gowanus, Manhattan Beach and Carroll Gardens. Neither the Bronx nor Staten Island appeared once on the list.
As property values continue to rise across the city, the clamor over the lack of affordable housing grows louder.
In the most recent American Community Survey in 2016, 47.5 percent of renters in Queens paid 35 percent or more of their income toward their rent, compared to 46 percent in 2012. The median gross rent in Queens during the 2016 survey was $1,401, up from 2012’s median rent price of $1,283. In trendy areas such as Old Astoria, median gross rent has increased from $1,365 from 2006-2010 to $1,515 in 2012-2016, according to the survey, which is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The city has attempted to stem displacement by creating moderately priced homes and preserving rent-stabilized apartments.
One such affordable development has sprung up in Hunters Point.
In late June, the city unveiled the second phase of its massive Hunters Point South waterfront park project that accompanies development of new housing, some of it deemed to be permanently affordable with certain apartments designated for seniors and others at varying income levels. However, these apartments are highly coveted, and waitlists for them can be long.
While Bayside and Astoria are named the new “hottest” neighborhoods in the city by StreetEasy, and Flushing, Elmhurst and Woodside are named “neighborhoods to watch,” it is clear that Queens neighborhoods are growing in popularity, just as the trendy Chelsea, Williamsburg and Greenwich Village did before.
With the median household income in Queens at $59,758, according to the 2016 American Community Survey, how the average Queen resident will continue to pay these rents is a question that looms across neighborhoods in the borough.