Queens waterfront isn’t dominating I-sales like it once did

Northwest region saw 53% of borough’s dollar volume in 2017, down from 71% in 2016

Clockwise from top left: 131-01 to 131-39 39th Avenue, 711 Seagirt Avenue, 95-25 Queens Boulevard and 184-10 to 184-60 Jamaica Avenue.
Clockwise from top left: 131-01 to 131-39 39th Avenue, 711 Seagirt Avenue, 95-25 Queens Boulevard and 184-10 to 184-60 Jamaica Avenue.

Astoria and Long Island City are still the most popular neighborhoods in Queens for real estate, but the gap between them and other parts of the borough is starting to shrink.

The two neighborhoods, along with Sunnyside, saw 53 percent of the borough’s dollar volume and 58 percent of its transactions in 2017, according to a new report from Ariel Property Advisors. Although this was still more activity than any other part of Queens, the numbers were much lower than they were in 2016, when they saw 71 percent of the borough’s dollar volume and 64 percent of its transactions.

“This is an indication that investors are seeking value outside of the closest neighborhoods to Manhattan, branching out to up-and-coming neighborhoods, such as Ridgewood, Rego Park and Jamaica, to name a few,” Ariel’s Jesse Greshin said in a statement.

For instance, some of the larger Queens sales for 2017 were at 95-25 Queens Boulevard in Rego Park for about $140 million and 131-01 to 131-39 39th Avenue in Flushing for $115 million.

Other notable sales included Treetop Development’s $135 million purchase of 711 Seagirt Avenue in Far Rockaway and Madison Realty Capital’s $78 million purchase of 184-10 to 184-60 Jamaica Avenue in Hollis.

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Overall, dollar volume, transaction volume and building volume in Queens all saw significant drops last year, but prices for the borough’s multifamily and development assets increased, according to the report. Dollar volume was at $3.23 billion for 2017, while transaction volume was at 537, and building volume was at 709. These were drops of 31 percent, 17 percent and 20 percent, respectively, from 2016.

This was in keeping with the multifamily market throughout New York City, which had one of its worst years in recent history in 2017 with significant declines in dollar, transaction and building volume.

Factors such as rising interest rates, a softening rental market and rent regulation revisions contributed to the slowdown in Queens, according to Ariel. Sellers and investors were also concerned about the large amount of new residential units coming onto the market.

The decline in dollar volume was mainly due to a relatively small amount of large-scale transactions. There were just 31 transactions worth more than $20 million and four worth more than $100 million in 2017, while in 2016, there were 45 transactions for more than $20 million and 10 for more than $100 million—three of which were for more than $170 million.

Industrial and development properties in Queens topped the dollar volume in 2017 at 40 percent, followed by multifamily assets at 37 percent.