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Find an apartment in NYC: Queens offers value, convenience
Since renters tend to stick with their apartments during the winter and seek to relocate in the spring, the next few months make up the hottest season in the rental market.
It's no secret that Brooklyn rental prices are approaching and sometimes eclipse Manhattan prices. If you want to find good value and still live in a convenient location, Queens is worth looking into, experts said.
Recent market numbers show that the difference between rental prices in Manhattan and Brooklyn is shrinking.
The median rental price for a studio in Manhattan in March was $2,401, according to real estate brokerage Douglas Elliman, with the median price in Brooklyn was just a few hundred dollars lower at $2,175.
The numbers do expand a little when you look at bigger apartments -- the median rental price for a two-bedroom in Brooklyn last month was $3,261 and $4,650 in Manhattan.
Mike Slattery, senior vice president at the Real Estate Board of New York, said property taxes, land prices and water and sewer bills are driving up costs to build new projects.
Add to the equation more people moving to the city as the job market improves and rent prices go skyrocketing.
"Demand is certainly not being kept up by supply and we've been seeing increases in rent pretty much across the board," he said. "I just don't think we're going to be able to build our way out of the supply shortages anytime soon."
Yuval Greenblatt, executive vice president at real estate brokerage Douglas Elliman, said he expects prices to rise in Manhattan and Brooklyn as renters hit the market and find little new inventory.
He said new buildings will open in Williamsburg and Downtown Brooklyn, but with only about 180 to 200 units each.
In Manhattan, supply will come in the Financial District and the Hudson Yards area, but he expects the total unit growth in the city overall to be about 2,000 units by the end of 2014 -- not a big number when compared to the city's 8 million residents.
Crown Heights and Bay Ridge are also attracting a lot of renters, experts said.
Queens, however, offers value throughout the borough, with its hot neighborhood of Long Island City and single family homes farther east.
"Queens is another interesting story," Greenblatt said, citing affordable prices and the ease of getting to Manhattan by subway. "We'll see a lot more supply hit that market."
He recommended checking out Ridgewood and Jackson Heights, which have convenient train lines within their borders.
In Long Island City, Citi Habitats' new building No. 3 at Packard Square is a luxury high rise with rents 15 to 20% lower than those in Manhattan, and just a short train ride away, Malin said.
"So there's certainly great value in Queens because the buildings are at Manhattan's standards," Citi Habitats president Gary Malin explained.
If you want to look in Manhattan, check out the upper east and west sides, which are large areas offering both older buildings and new developments in various styles -- doorman, non-doorman, walk-ups, and high-rises with elevators and luxurious amenities.
"On the Upper East Side toward York and First avenues, as you get up into the 80s and the 90s, there's certainly good value up there," Malin offered as a tip.