Amazon’s big move to Long Island City has caused a major surge in housing interest. According to CNBC, housing demand has grown in Queens’ already-hot real estate market since Amazon announced its plans to build its two new headquarter locations in New York City and Crystal City, Virginia.
Studies show that the average amount it takes to sell a house in the U.S. is $15,200. Long Island City has been the residence of many startups over the last few years and real estate has been booming in the area for the past decade. Long Island City is especially popular with younger New Yorkers, especially those who’ve been priced out of Brooklyn and Manhattan.
StreetEasy reports that the high demand for housing and the neighborhood’s development have caused Queens’ rental prices to rise well-above the borough’s average. In Suffolk County, NY, the median home price is $415,000.
Stephen Albonesi, an urban planner from Localize.city, says that Amazon’s arrival in NYC would have an even bigger impact on the neighborhood and surrounding areas.
“If any area in New York is poised for a major influx in residents, it’s Long Island City,” said Albonesi. “[There’s a] building boom that’s already remaking much of the area and where residents have been grappling with how to meet the demands of thousands of new people.”
Silvette Julian, a real estate agent with Compass Real Estate, said one recent open house in Long Island City was a madhouse. Requests for showings have been surging for the last three weeks.
Shawn Avazeh, another real estate agent with Compass Real Estate, says that he was flooded with phone calls from clients during his honeymoon when the Amazon announced its new headquarters locations.
“I was caught off guard, essentially because most buyers on the market this year were trying to ‘get a deal’ as opposed to trying to actually ‘make a deal,’ having seen this first hand with a couple of my own listings,” said Avazeh.
Avazeh says that buyers who were initially hesitant to invest in Long Island City earlier this year have been putting in multiple offers.
Current residents in Long Island City and other New York City neighborhoods aren’t as excited about Amazon’s big move. Anti-Amazon graffiti has started to make an appearance in Long Island City and anti-Amazon protests were held in Queens on Monday, November 26.
“Amazon is a billion-dollar company,” said Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a recent tweet. “The idea that it will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling and our communities need more investment, not less, is extremely concerning to residents here.”
Residents are also concerned about the impact Amazon will have on New York City’s affordable housing projects. Since 2008, the housing market has grown 11.4%.
The rising housing and rental prices have made it difficult for many Americans to find affordable places to live, especially in major metropolitan areas such as New York City. It’s these rising prices that helped develop Long Island City’s popularity.
It takes a considerable amount of time to develop and construct new housing. A single-family home requires up to 13,000 board feet of lumber on average and there are up to 15 different types of siding. But finding the time and materials to construct affordable housing isn’t the only housing issue NYC is facing.
The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is also in the middle of a repair crisis. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently tallied numerous violations in NYC’s public housing including the presence of lead paint and water damage, 93% of which is preventable.
Some New York City residents believe Amazon’s new headquarters will only make these issues worse and drive up the prices of rental units that would otherwise be affordable. Others believe the real estate market would be booming in Long Island City with or without Amazon.
“I truly believe we would’ve still continued to flourish without the news of Jeff Bezos bringing his company here,” said Avazeh, “but this definitely did help in bringing more attention to this one-of-a-kind, wonderful neighborhood I myself call home.”