Sales slumped, prices jumped in Queens housing market

Deals down 60% in quarter, but buyers paid 11.7% more for homes

New York Insights /
Aug.August 31, 2020 07:00 AM
Northwest Queens housing market remains bright in dim market (iStock)

Northwest Queens housing market remains bright in dim market (iStock)

Despite the doomsday projections about New York and people fleeing the city, the northwest Queens housing market shined bright in the second quarter.

Although the total number of one- to three-family home sales dropped almost 60 percent in the second quarter from the previous year, the average price per square foot increased 11.7 percent to $567, according to an analysis by The Real Deal.

And the number of condo deals actually surged, spiking 74 percent to 115 in the quarter. Prices on those sales rose 10.5 percent to an average of $1,063 per square foot from a year ago, according to an analysis by TRD.

Homes have staved off sharp price drops since the onset of the pandemic because inventory in New York has been even more limited than usual. Mortgage rates also dropped to record lows, motivating buyers.

Across the country, housing has been one of the few bright spots in the real estate industry this summer thanks to a limited supply of single-family homes and pent-up demand following coronavirus shutdowns.

The data from six neighborhoods in Queens follows a TRD analysis on Brooklyn home sales, showing the average price per square foot paid for one- to three-family residences dropped just 1 percent to $507 from a year earlier.

The numbers from individual Queens enclaves vary greatly from the totals because of small sample sizes. But collectively, the data show the second quarter was a strong one for home values in the borough.

Steinway Ditmars

Single-family home sale prices increased 32 percent in Steinway Ditmars to an average price of $762 per square foot, making its living space the most expensive, according to TRD’s analysis of the second quarter. But there were just three deals, down from six in the year-ago period. The median price was $1.16 million.

Sunnyside

Sunnyside, where Mayor Bill de Blasio has touted plans for a massive housing development, saw single-family home sale prices increase 9 percent to an average of $722 per square foot. The median price also rose, increasing 5.1 percent to $1 million.

In early March, the city unveiled a master plan to deck over Sunnyside Yard and build a whole community including 12,000 units of housing, office and commercial space, schools, libraries and green space. Decking over the active rail yard would cost $14.4 billion. The project, if it ever happens, is years away, but an opposition group has already formed.

Astoria

Astoria, which is slated for a $2 billion development project, saw home sale prices rise 19 percent to an average of $622 per square foot in the second quarter, according to TRD’s data. The median price of homes rose 4 percent to $1.2 million.

Like other areas in Queens, the total number of deals plummeted, dropping 66 percent to just 22 sales from April through June.

Condo sale prices were unchanged at $872 per square foot.

Long Island City

Northwest Queens’ largest decline in sale price per square foot was in Long Island City, where one- to three-family residence dropped 29 percent to $615 per square foot. But only five homes were sold in the quarter compared with seven a year before.

Aside from large, random variations typical with small sample sizes, the drop in price per square foot could be attributed to speculators who bet on home prices surging when Amazon was expected to build a headquarters in Long Island City for 25,000 highly paid workers. The tech giant backed out on Feb. 14, 2019.

Long Island City’s condo market, despite concerns of an oversupply, fared well in the second quarter with the average price per square foot increasing 10.5 percent to $1,174 from the previous year.

Maspeth

This heavily commercial and industrial part of Queens saw single-family homes sales increase 28 percent to an average of $562 per square foot.

The median price of single-family homes fell 1.6 percent to an average of $753,700. The overall deal count for such homes fell 53 percent to just 16 deals, according to TRD’s analysis.

Woodside

In this quiet residential neighborhood, single-family home sale prices decreased 9.4 percent to an average of $417 per square foot. The median price declined by 8.5 percent to $814,000 and deal volume fell 70 percent to 14 trades in the second quarter.


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