BY MICHAEL STAHL
According to a recent StreetEasy.com report, New York City should not expect El Niño-like warmth in the real estate market this coming year, with slower overall growth anticipated in both the rental and sales factions of the market. The site said prices in 2016 will undoubtedly continue to rise, but at a less rapid rate than they did this past year with a 3.5 percent dip in the sales price pace and a 1 percent cooling trend in rent rates across the five boroughs. However, among the more positive notes in the post, half of the city’s ten “hottest neighborhoods” for the coming year lie in Queens County, with Jamaica ranking number one.
Looking at changes in sales and rent prices over the course of this past year, recent population growth and number of page views of listings by neighborhood on StreetEasy, the site determined which areas should receive the greatest amount of attention from prospective property shoppers in 2016. “Jamaica’s rise comes from a number of favorable factors,” Alan Lightfeldt, a StreetEasy data scientist, wrote in an email to the Tribune. He cited “a healthy growth in population, strong growth in interest among buyers and renters, comparatively low prices, and convenient access to New York City Subway and Long Island Railroad systems” as prime elements contributing to the neighborhood’s placement atop their rankings. The adjacent Jamaica Estates plot came in fourth, while Woodside filed in next at fifth. Elmhurst (eighth) and Kew Gardens Hills (tenth) were the other two Queens enclaves that made the top ten list.
“What is true in Jamaica is also true in greater Queens,” Lightfeldt said. “Strong competition in Manhattan and the Prospect Park submarket of Brooklyn will push more buyers to Queens, but there is a pull factor as well.” He wrote that “relatively lower prices, easy access to large job centers in Midtown Manhattan and Long Island City, and more living space” for families will attract a greater number of New York buyers and renters towards Queens this coming year.
The Tribune reported this past August that Jamaica was enjoying a sizable 45 percent increase in the median sales price for all homes sold in the neighborhood through that point of 2015 when compared to 2014 numbers. (That same figure had doubled between 2013 and 2014.) Given the residential and commercial developments there, new anti-crime strategies and local transportation upgrades in the works as part of the city’s “Neighborhood Action Plan” for Jamaica—all of which will be rolled out over the course of the next several years—there’s no reason to think the area’s upward trend in real estate viability won’t persist past 2016.
The StreetEasy report also revealed that Queens renters are expected to be “less burdened” in 2016 when compared to residents of the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Rent rate maturation continues to outpace the city’s income growth, according to the site, and “the typical New York household is forecast to spend 65.4 percent of its total annual income to afford median rent in 2016,” which is up from 58.7 percent last year. Not including Staten Island, Queens is predicted to have the lowest rent-to-income ratio in the remaining four boroughs at 41.4 percent
To read the complete report, visit StreetEasy.com/blog. For more information on Jamaica real estate, visit queenstribune.com/real-estate-spotlight-jamaica/.