Despite ongoing struggles across the NYC condominium and cooperative market as a result of both the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple factors depressing those markets even before the pandemic hit, Astoria continues to hold its own. According to Queens-based brokerage Modern Space’s 3rd Quarter Market Report, the number of units on the market in the iconic neighborhood is up 198% and the number of units in contract is up 86% since the 2nd quarter. Surprisingly, contract prices are down only 2% year over year from the 3rd quarter of 2019. When contrasted with the sharp decline in prices elsewhere in New York City - particularly in Manhattan - that’s pretty incredible.
What’s Driving the Market?
One of the factors driving markets in both directions at the moment is the migration of significant numbers of people in the homebuying public to areas where they see themselves living safely. Urban dwellers all over the country have sought to escape to less-dense suburban or exurban environments. In some cases, those with the means and ability to do so have relocated to their second homes in communities such as the Hamptons and the Berkshires - some just for the time being, some for good. Of course, not everyone has this ability. Neighborhoods and suburbs close-in to Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn have seen an increase in interest as well, and homes for sale have sold quickly above asking price, often with bidding wars erupting between prospective buyers. Former ‘white elephants’ - things like in-ground pools, for example - have suddenly become ‘must-have’ amenities for families seeking a home that feels more like a self-contained compound.’
Other factors that have made some units, neighborhoods, and zip codes more desirable include outdoor space, ample parking, and layouts that lend themselves to in-home work and exercise. Intelligent design that includes personal services such as laundry in individual units is highly desirable as well, limiting the contact residents have with neighbors in enclosed common areas - both now, and in the event of another public health crisis.
The Ely & Astoria
What makes Astoria different from other neighborhoods in New York? Why is it more sought-after in light of the COVID pandemic? The simple answer is that the neighborhood offers a middle ground for buyers who still want an urban lifestyle and proximity to Manhattan, but in a less densely developed and populated environment that’s closer than Long Island or Westchester.
“We have always viewed Astoria as underrated,” says Gregory Kyroglou, an agent with Modern Spaces, a brokerage firm located in Long Island City. “Centrally located just minutes from Midtown Manhattan, Astoria offers residents an established and desirable community feel, which we think will always hold and even increase its value in both good and bad times.”