Crazy prices in LIC: Condo prices fall but luxe rentals skyrocket

By Julie Strickland | October 08, 2013 02:13PM

Real estate prices don’t always make sense, and now is one of those times in Long Island City. While the total dollar amount for a studio fell in the third quarter, the per-square-foot cost edged up, new figures show. And the mixed-up numbers have developers making studios even smaller to keep buyers coming.

From July through September, the average sale price of a condo was $441,667 for a studio, a 27 percent drop from the second quarter average of $607,500; yet, the price per square foot for a studio — $866 — was 1.6 percent higher than the $852 per-square-foot price in the second quarter.

“To keep the units affordable, developers are shrinking them,” said Eric Benaim, president and CEO of Modern Spaces, the Long Island City brokerage that put out the figures. “For example, where a couple of years ago 1 beds were around 750 square feet, they are now 675 or 650 square feet. The sale price might be the same or a little smaller, but they are getting less and the price per foot is increasing, and developers are able to add a few extra units to a building because of this.”

Like studios, the absolute prices for one-bedroom and two-bedrooms dropped. The average for a one-bedroom was $656,468, down less than 1 percent from $663,000; a two-bedroom went for $991,343 , down 4.7 percent from $1.04 million.

One- and two-bedrooms, however, went for slightly lower prices per square foot. A one-bedroom averaged $781 per square foot, a decrease of 5 percent from $825; a two-bedroom averaged $855 per square foot, a 0.9 percent decrease from $863.

In neighboring Astoria, condo prices ticked up. The average sale price for a condo was $240,500 for a studio, $457,932 for a one-bedroom and $737,155 for a two-bedroom. That’s a whopping 42 percent jump for two bedrooms, up from $518,917, and an increase of 4.7 percent for one bedrooms, up from $437,328.

For luxury apartment rentals in Long Island City, the average rate was $2,320 per month for a studio, up 4.2 percent from $2,225; $2,901 for a one-bedroom, a 9.4 percent jump from $2,650; and $4,106 for a two-bedroom, an 18 percent increase from $3,475.

Comparative quarterly data for luxury apartment rentals in Astoria was not available.