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Real Estate Rap: Manhattan professionals look to Queens nabes

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In fact, rents have increased only marginally this year. Although the number of...

By Joseph Casella

The number of people looking for apartments in western Queens has declined to some extent since last year. This could be interpreted as early resistance to higher rents.

In fact, rents have increased only marginally this year. Although the number of tenants seeking apartments appears to be decreasing, their demographics are appealing to property owners.

The profile of tenants looking to rent in western Queens is primarily 25-35 years old; mostly single, although some tend to have roommates; college-educated, career-minded professionals. Most work in Manhattan and many attend graduate school after work.

Often these young adults are recruited from college by large firms in Manhattan. Many come from out of state. Their first choice is to live in the ì big city for a while but later find that they can save a bunch of money by living just a short distance away.

Astoria and Long Island City are the two towns in Queens that have benefited the most from the exodus from Manhattan over the last few years. The obvious reasons are their proximity to the big city and the abundance of mass transit, not to mention much lower rents and more spacious apartments than Manhattan has to offer.

Tenants are impressed with the ethnic flavor of these neighborhoods ñ the restaurants, grocery stores and the abundance and variety of shopping. Tenants who move here from Manhattan also see their cost of living drop considerably. Besides saving on the rent, they find their groceries; laundry and dry cleaning are less costly as well.

Lately, large corporations do not appear to be recruiting the way they did a year or so ago. As a matter of fact, some companies have begun to downsize. This could lower rents throughout western Queens in the near future.

Manhattan rents also seem to have peaked this year, which would also explain the downturn in the number of apartment seekers into our area. Given a choice, most tenants would still prefer to live in Manhattan as long as the rents are manageable.

Although rents vary according to how close the apartments are to shops and transit and various other factors, the current ranges for apartments in western Queens are: 1 bedroom from $1,000 to $1,200; 2 bedrooms from $1,200 to $1,500; 3 bedrooms from $1,800 to $2,200.

Currently, there is still a steady albeit slower flow of eligible tenants seeking clean, spacious apartments within walking distance to the train.

Joseph Casella is a licensed real estate broker and owner of Castle Realty in Astoria. He is editor and writer of “Market Scope,” a newsletter for property owners.

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