Residential interest in Long Island City surges 300% after Amazon’s HQ2 announcement

November 15, 2018

Amazon’s decision to divide its second headquarters between Long Island City and Arlington, Virginia was confirmed on Tuesday, bringing with it questions about how the neighborhoods will withstand the influx of 25,000 new workers each. According to a new study from RENTCafé, LIC already has an occupancy rate of 98.2% and about 15,400 units currently either under construction or in a planning phase, so Amazon’s announcement is sure to add fuel to an already bustling market. In fact, according to listings site CityRealty, searches for residential apartments in the neighborhood are up 281% compared to the daily averages prior to the announcement.

It’s no news that LIC has seen a massive amount of development in recent years. Studies have revealed that LIC is the U.S. neighborhood that added the most new apartments after the recession, with more than 12,000 units from 2010-2016. As the Wall Street Journal reports, just days after Amazon made their interest in the neighborhood public, interest in the neighborhood surged. In some cases, brokers have been showing hundreds of units a day to keep up with demand and even closing deals via text message. Robert Whalen, Halstead’s director of sales in Long Island City, reports that traffic to open houses in Queens exploded last weekend with average attendance up nearly 250 percent.

Amazon’s announcement came after the de Blasio administration committed to investing $180 million in the Queens neighborhood as part of a comprehensive plan across seven sectors, focused largely on improving infrastructure. While de Blasio’s plan for LIC’s housing sector identifies that the current levels of high-density, market-rate residential development don’t meet the needs of low- and moderate-income households and will seek to promote tenant protections and affordable housing projects, all signs point to real estate prices in the area going up as Amazon prepares to move in.

With the median rent coming in just under $3,000/month, LIC is already the priciest neighborhood in Queens, so it’s likely that neighboring areas — Sunnyside, Astoria, and Greenpoint — will end up seeing the largest increases in housing demand, as Curbed reports. A similar story might pan out in Crystal City, a neighborhood in southeastern Arlington. In contrast to LIC, no major developments have been built in the area recently, but future Amazon employees are likely to take advantage of the Washington transit system and explore the surrounding metro area, which offers 205,000 rental properties.


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