“You’ve either made the wrong shoes, or you’ve made too many”: LIC faces a serious condo glut

Nearly 60% of units built since 2018 remain unsold, according to one estimate

Nearly 60% of condo units built in Long Island City, Queens, since 2018 remain unsold. (iStock)
Nearly 60% of condo units built in Long Island City, Queens, since 2018 remain unsold. (iStock)

Over the past decade, Long Island City became the ultimate testing ground for New York City’s new development market. Its proximity to Manhattan and mass transit, the availability of relatively cheap land and a promising waterfront combined to create a wave of for-sale towers, each one upping the next in terms of amenities.

How those bets will pan out is anybody’s guess. What is clear now, however, is that there remains a significant glut of unsold inventory in the shiny Queens neighborhood, once a largely industrial area. Out of the 1,945 condo units completed in Long Island City since 2018, nearly 60 percent are unsold, according to Kael Goodman, CEO of real estate analytics firm Marketproof.

“If you’re a shoemaker, and 60 percent of your shoes haven’t sold, you’ve either made the wrong shoes, or you’ve made too many,” he told the New York Times.

The problem, according to some agents who work in the area, is a mismatch between the kind of product buyers want and what’s actually available in the area.

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“There is simply no demand for two-bedroom apartments that are 950 square feet and go for $1.5 million,” the Corcoran Group’s Patrick Smith told the publication. Developers in the area have usually sacrificed interior apartment space and focused more on finishes as well as amenity space.

The pandemic has certainly complicated matters. At the 67-story, 802-unit Skyline Tower, developed by United Construction & Development Group, FSA Capital, and Risland US Holdings, one of the key selling points was access to the subway and features such as a 75-foot indoor pool. But with so many people eschewing the commute to their Manhattan offices and usage of shared spaces temporarily suspended due to state health guidelines, the prices at the tower – ranging from $680,000 for studios to $4 million for three-bedroom pads – become harder to justify.

“Today, if I could get my money out, I’d consider it,” Gary Hirshfield, a recent buyer at the project, told the Times. [NYT] — TRD Staff