L train shutdown’s impact on Williamsburg market still up in the air, reports show

Real estate firms seem to see the looming L train shutdown steering the Williamsburg market in different directions.

Market reports showed sales and rental rates dipping in the final quarter of 2017, when compared to the end of 2016, but one analysis showed the condo and co-op market improving. Overall, analysts seem to have a variety of takes on how the area has and will weather the MTA’s plans to cut L train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn in April 2019, which will allow the MTA to conduct repairs for 15 months.

Stribling & Associates’ release on Brooklyn sales during the fourth quarter of 2017 notes that North Brooklyn has “started to feel the effects of the impending L-train shutdown.” The firm’s director of data and reporting, Garrett Derderian, said the median home price fell 15 percent to $899,450 and the average price per square foot dropped 4 percent to $1,121 in the area, when compared to the end of 2016.

“When you compare that to the other markets, all the other markets saw basically, across the board, price increases,” Derderian said. “There’s many factors that go into that, one of them being all the development that’s happening, with inventory online, but we do see the transit starting to impact the market.”

Frank Percesepe, head of Brooklyn for The Corcoran Group, suggested the slowdown already happened, and agents feel the worst is over. Corcoran reported that the median price and average price per square foot increased in the Williamsburg and Greenpoint condo and co-op market in the final quarter of 2017, when compared to that period of 2016.

“As the year progressed, we didn’t know anything about timing; we didn’t know about alternate plans. But as time progressed, we’re hearing more about additional ferry services and bus services,” Percesepe said. “My agents have said that they feel that the worst is over, and they’re already beginning to hear people saying now is the time to buy before prices go up.”

Andrew Barrocas, CEO of the MNS brokerage firm, said he thinks the area might never take a hit from the shutdown. MNS noted that rental prices were down in Williamsburg, but Barrocas believed that was a reflection of tenants having an abundance of choices.

“When people mention it, we tell them that we’ll be providing a shuttle service when the L train is down for 15 months. And ‘OK, no problem.’ And they move on and rent the units,” Barrocas said. “We don’t foresee it being an issue.”