Is there an upside to the L train shutdown?

It could be golden opportunity to buy into Williamsburg

New York Weekend Edition /
Feb.February 03, 2018 11:00 AM

View of South Williamsburg. (Credit from left: Pexels, Jaspermaz)

The 15-month shutdown of the train that services Williamsburg could be viewed as a transportation disaster, but there’s some who see an opportunity to buy in at low prices.

“The entire New York subway system is already collapsing,” Michael Cinquino told the New York Post on why he and his wife went into contract recently on an $849,000 apartment in the area. “Our thought was that if we buy along the L now, when the subway comes back up we will own property along the only fully functioning subway line in all of New York City.”

With more than a year of subway construction in the pipeline, one might expect prices to fall in the Brooklyn hot spot, but, of course, things are not what the seem and it’s debatable how low those “low prices” really are.

According to the Post, prices in Williamsburg have not started to discernibly slip. Though the median price of a home in the area was down 7 percent compared to the last quarter of 2016 to $1 million, sales in Brooklyn at large grew 2.7 percent.

But what is definitely down is sales. A new home sat on the market for about 80 days in the second quarter of 2016 following news of the 2019 shutdown and increased to 188 days by the end of 2017.

“We have seen prices come down a little bit,” Corcoran broker Jennifer Carlson told the Post. “Now, whether that has to do with the L or not is unclear. Did Williamsburg just become too expensive? Is it the L problem? Or is it competition from other Brooklyn neighborhoods like Bed-Stuy and Prospect Lefferts Gardens?”

Time will tell — there’s still about a year left until, in spring 2019, the L shuts down. In the meantime, marketers are targeting the area trying to persuade residents to jump ship, as The Real Deal reported. Whether a lull drops prices as the shutdown approaches or not, the fact that the L train’s temporary closure is not a definitive deterrent is what some are really taking away.

“It’s really wild,” said Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel to the Post. “The L train closure really shows just how strong the demand is there.” [NYP]Erin Hudson


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