Rent in Queens edged lower last month after Amazon backed out of plans to build new headquarters there.
The median rental price of apartments in northwest Queens fell 1.8% from a year earlier to $2,798 in February, according to a report from the real-estate brokerage Douglas Elliman, marking the first year-over-year decline in four months.
New leases also saw an annual drop for the first time in seven months in February. Concessions continued to rise as landlords tried to keep tenants, but at a slower pace than in the past six months.
There was a shift in the rental market following Amazon’s February 14 announcement that it was cancelling plans to build its second headquarters in Long Island City, said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel Inc. and the author of the report.
While the price decline appeared to be in part due to increasing demand for smaller units, overall sentiment seemed to fall following Amazon’s withdrawal from the area.
“There was a lot of hoopla or euphoria about this,” Miller said. “And then, all of the sudden, they removed it. And we reset back to where we were before Amazon.”
Amazon’s plans to create 25,000 jobs in Long Island City had been a boon for real estate in the area. A flood of new residents and businesses were expected to accompany its arrival, driving up property searches and values.
Hal Gavzie, the executive director of leasing at Douglas Elliman, said that while February’s decline could also be seasonal, he noticed fewer tenant concessions while the e-commerce giant was planning to build in the area.
“We did see a few landlords remove some concessions early on when Amazon announced coming to LIC,” he said in an email.
Still, real-estate prices are expected to bounce back quickly. Long Island City is one of the most rapidly growing neighborhoods in New York.
“For all the reasons they decided on [Long Island City] to begin with, we are confident the neighborhood will thrive well beyond when this fades into the background,” Brendan Aguayo, a senior managing director at Halstead Property Development Marking, told City Lab last month.