BY MICHAEL STAHL
With the Mets’ baseball season coming to an unfortunate close this week, when people read up on anything Flushing related in the coming months there’s a greater likelihood it will be of a real estate focus than one featuring America’s pastime.
A handful of Flushing Commons condos are expected to go on sale any day now, with reports speculating that asking prices for the one- to four-bedroom homes in the development will range between $650,000 and $2.5 million. The F&T Group—the primary developers behind the tremendous five-acre, mixed-use Flushing Commons project—already opened One Fulton Square, another mixed-use development featuring a Hyatt Place hotel and 43 luxury condos on Prince Street off 39th Avenue, one year ago. In south Flushing, the McSam Hotel Group is putting up two residential towers offering a total of 222 new units, while Onex Real Estate Partners is looking forward to phase two of Sky View Parc, which will include three more residential towers, after the success of phase one in 2011. There are the brothers George and Chris Xu, who head the Century Development Group and United Construction and Development Group, respectively, to contend with too. George is currently planning a 210-key Four Points Sheraton hotel with an additional 100 apartment units at 134-21 35th Avenue, while Chris is seeking to redevelop the site of a building-supplies business at 134-03 35th Avenue, with a similar 210-key hotel and 134 separate apartments. All of these projects and scores point more to Flushing becoming an undeniable real estate hotspot, both in the commercial and residential sectors, an area investors should buy into immediately before housing prices begin an inevitable incline.
An exclusive Queens Tribune report from StreetEasy.com with information culled from the city’s Department of Finance shows housing rates have actually slipped over the course of the past 12 – 24 months. During the most recent recession, the median sales price of all Flushing properties sunk to $272,776 in 2009. That figure reached an all-time high in 2013 after a 30 percent year-over-year increase raised it to $464,500. However, a 12 percent decline last year has been followed by another dip this year. Through Oct. 30, the median sales price in Flushing for 2015 sits at just $393,800. When held up against Douglas Elliman’s Queens Quarter Three market report, as well as the latest sales statistics from Trulia.com, the current median Flushing price ranks slightly below that of the borough’s.
The condo market, which accounts for more than half the sales inventory on the StreetEasy report, is the main culprit in Flushing’s slight real estate swoon. While homes and townhouses along with co-ops have seen small surges in price growth this year, condos have lost traction, with the median sales price for 2015 registering at $460,650—nearly $20,000 less than last year’s number.
These declines are likely due to an increase in inventory—Flushing is one of the few places in the five boroughs with such a stockpile. There may also be an influx of sellers who have to reexamine their asking prices, which, according to the StreetEasy report, are at an all-time high. (The median asking price in Flushing this year is $644,944.)
Still, if just a few of those high-end properties are sold by year’s end, the median sales price figure will improve. With many more such investment opportunities on the way, there’s no telling what people will be paying for Flushing homes come 2016 and beyond.