BY JAMES FARRELL
Flushing leads a group of major cities in terms of affordability, police-to-civilian ratio and education, but lags in job market, crime and arts and culture, according to a new study by EPOS Development.
The study compares Flushing to four other major urban neighborhoods—Manhattan, Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai—on several metrics to assess its “livability.”
Michael Cheng, the principal at EPOS Development, said that he had seen Flushing becoming a global city—as he had seen Manhattan and Shanghai, two cities with which he is very familiar, become more global.
“I saw Flushing as more or less a hybrid of the two cities,” he said. “It’s a combination of East and West.”
He said that he was curious to see which factors were driving Flushing’s growth, particularly the rise in its Asian population.
Cheng found that Flushing’s economic landscape led to higher wages and more affordability when compared to those other cities, while offering some of the familiar amenities of home.
“I think the most important takeaway is that for people who come from some of the major cities in China…Flushing is an ideal place to be,” he said.
The study contends that Flushing “has a much lower overall cost of living than all other compared regions.” While it has a lower household income than Manhattan, it still has a higher income than the other cities. It is also significantly less expensive to live in Flushing than it is in Manhattan or Hong Kong, and while Shanghai and Beijing have lower property prices, they lag behind in disposable income. The study concludes that Flushing scores highest in affordability of the five cities surveyed.
Utilities are the biggest strain on the wallet. The study found that electricity, heating, water and garbage cost Flushing residents more than residents of the other four areas.
Flushing’s job market compares favorably to other parts of Queens, adding jobs at a rate of 3.1 percent since 2005, even as the rest of Queens has shown small declines during that same period. However, it was ranked fourth of the five cities analyzed, with Hong Kong and Manhattan leading the pack.
Despite Flushing’s job-market subpar ranking, the corridor has strong growth potential, with larger corporations expected to slowly take the lead behind a thriving real estate market, the study found. Flushing’s real estate market ranked first out of the five cities.
And since 2008, the neighborhood has seen a strong 16.9 percent growth in wages, which has helped the area take the highest scores in disposable income and affordability.
Flushing ranks fourth overall in crime rate behind Manhattan. But the study notes that while Flushing’s crime rate is higher than that of Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong, it is significantly lower than the rest of New York or other cities in the United States. Additionally, Flushing has a low number of murders, robberies and vehicle thefts—and more property crimes. Flushing also ranked first in the police-to-civilian ratio.
Flushing’s real estate market was its strongest metric. The neighborhood saw high ratings in stability, forecasted performance and affordability when income is factored in. It also shows the lowest volatility ratings of any of the five cities.
Cheng told the Queens Tribune that his study did not look into some of the hot-button issues affecting Flushing—such as overcrowding, congestion and overdevelopment. He acknowledged that as Flushing continues to grow, the city would need to invest time and money into improving its infrastructure. But he saw the overcrowding as a normal growing pain and didn’t think it would affect people’s decisions to live there. People, he said, are more concerned about school quality, crime and affordability.
“People are saying it’s overcrowded, but it’s just because it’s becoming another city,” Cheng said.