BY MICHAEL STAHL
Over the past two years, there have been reports and proclamations from a gaggle of publications declaring that Ridgewood is the Queens incarnation of a fill-in-the-blank neighborhood of Brooklyn. “It’s only one stop outside of Bushwick on the M train.” “Its prices are rising at a Williamsburg-like pace.” “It’s safer than Bedford-Stuyvesant.” Though all of these statements are true, the comparisons between Ridgewood and those Kings County plots aren’t quite justified…yet.
You’ll get more for your money here,” says Aaron Hillel, co-founder of the Hillel Realty Group located at the cross section of Myrtle and Cypress avenues. “Prices are still better here than East Williamsburg, Bushwick, even Bedford-Stuyvesant. Ridgewood’s also got that historic vibe. It’s not as commercial or industrial; it’s mostly a residential neighborhood with a lot of nice-looking pre-war buildings.”
Lillian Matej of Cooper & Katz Real Estate Corp., who has 13 years of real estate experience, concurs.
“There are a lot of people who are finding value here in Queens,” she says, pointing out that the area is experiencing a “spillover” from Brooklyn where there are a growing number of buyers and renters finding themselves priced out of what are now high-profile neighborhoods.
Trulia.com’s most recent statistics indicate the median home listing prices in Ridgewood top out at $549,000 to a low of $309,000. Those numbers pale in comparison to East Williamsburg’s $2.1 million median home listing prices, not to mention the $1.3 million figures found within Ridgewood’s home borough on the border between Long Island City and Astoria. Ridgewood also ranks among the safest neighborhoods in Queens on Trulia.com and greatly outperforms both Bed-Stuy and Bushwick when it comes to crime rates.
The median sales price of Ridgewood properties has only recently risen to that of the average Queens transaction, while the average price-per-square foot in the neighborhood is barely a tick higher than the borough’s average, surpassing that threshold just six months ago.
“The area’s booming,” Hillel says, adding that people are attracted to the public transportation options, burgeoning retail, the safety of the neighborhood and, of course, the relatively reasonable prices. “Rents are going up, especially over the last two or three years, and we just sold a property on 60th Lane for $21 million, which was unheard of a few years ago.”
He adds that rates will most certainly continue to rise as new developments open their doors, including residential, commercial and retail spaces.
Matej reports a dearth of inventory as another cause of raised rates.
“There’s not enough,” she says. “A lot of people have lived and owned in Ridgewood for 30 or 40 years and they’re not as likely to sell just because there’s demand. A lot of the sales that we get are estates.”
When asked to provide a listing indicative of what buyers can look for in the area, Matej had nothing current to offer, pointing out the furious pace of the market as properties are snatched up after just days of availability.
So, the people in Ridgewood are older, the neighborhood is almost completely residential, crime rates are delightfully low and costs are but slightly above borough average—for now.
The new Brooklyn?
If housing prices keep going up, that’s a possibility down the…err…M train.
Featured Ridgewood Listings:
64-05 Gates Avenue
A two-story, multi-family home with five bedrooms and two bathrooms, this pre-war brick building just hit the market within the past three weeks. There’s approximately 3,300 square feet of living space in the Colonial-style home, a patio, 11 total rooms, hardwood floors, a full basement with a separate entrance, and a private driveway and garage.
17-43 Grove Street
A two-family home, which has been converted into a three-family, income-generating building, this property could be a steal. It’s been on the market for nearly five months, possibly because it needs a fair share of work done on it. A buyer with the means though might want to take advantage of its availability. The property is on a beautiful, tree-lined street close to mass transit, and has a spacious backyard.
For more on these listings, visit Trulia.com.