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Long Island City Condo Market Shows its Resilience During Pandemic: Report

The Long Island City skyline (Photo: Queens Post)

Jan. 28, 2021 By Christian Murray

The pandemic has taken its toll on condominium prices in Long Island City although the price drops have been relatively modest.

The median closing price for a condo in Long Island City in 2020 was $922,500, down 7.1 percent compared to 2019, according to Patrick W. Smith, who released the 2020 Year-End Long Island City Condominium Report last week.

The decline was less severe on a price per square foot basis, according to the report. The median price per square foot in 2020 was $1,279, down 1.9 percent year-over-year.

Smith, a broker and new development specialist with the Corcoran Group, said the market has proven to be resilient despite the pandemic. He said it has been buoyed by Long Island City renters looking to buy as well as Manhattanites moving to the borough. Furthermore, macro-economic factors such as lower interest rates and sellers being more flexible have helped.

“Many of the buyers have been renters who have jobs that pay well and who have been working from home,” Smith said. “They have seen interest rates drop and sellers willing to negotiate.”

Smith said the price points in Long Island City have also played a role in supporting the market.  Many condos sell for less than $1 million, a figure many people can afford given the drop in interest rates.

The report–based on closed sales recorded with the city–revealed that 335 deals closed last year,  just one sale less than what closed in 2019. The dollar volume of closed deals reached nearly $360 million, the second best year for the Long Island City condo market.

Smith: 2020 Year-End Long Island City Condominium Report

There were 170 one-bedroom condos that closed in 2020 and the median price paid was $866,000–down 4.4 percent compared to 2019.

Meanwhile, there were 100 two-bedroom condos that closed in 2020. The median price was $1,293,000, down 3.5 percent from 2019.

The market held firm throughout the year, with prices paid following the lockdown still fairly strong.

A little over 60 percent of the sales contracts signed last year came post March 15. The average price per square foot post March 15 was $1,224, representing a 4.6 percent decline from the Jan. 1-March 15 period.

The condo market also fared well compared to the rental market, based on reports.

A recent report released by MNS noted that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Long Island City dropped by 14 percent between December 2019 and December 2020. The same report noted that two-bedroom apartments in December 2020 dropped 16.7 percent from December 2019.

Smith said that while 2020 was a difficult year for the Long Island City condo market, real estate in the neighborhood has weathered difficult periods in the past.

“We sold out all inventory during the Great Financial Crisis [of 2008], we bounced back from Superstorm Sandy and we overcame the loss of Amazon,” he said.

For a copy of Smith’s report, click here

Smith: 2020 Year-End Long Island City Condominium Report

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