Number of Queens vacation homes soared over past decade, census shows

People investing in condos in Long Island City may be contributing to the growth of secondary homes in Queens.
People investing in condos in Long Island City may be contributing to the growth of secondary homes in Queens. Photo Credit: Comedy Central / Matt Peyton

The number of vacation homes in Queens has more than doubled over the past decade, according to recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The bureau counted 17,790 homes across Queens that were used seasonally, recreationally or occasionally in 2016, according to its annual American Community Survey results. A decade ago, the survey found there were 6,444 such homes in the borough. The bureau said it has not changed its methodology during that period.

Real estate analysts said they were unsure what may be driving the growth in secondary homes and which parts of Queens have been attracting the most part-time residents. Some theorized that people investing in new condos in Long Island City may be driving the trend — or those purchasing beach homes on the Rockaway peninsula.

Jonathan Miller, president of the Miller Samuel real estate appraisal firm, said investors and others buying pied-a-terres in new condos rising in northwest Queens had contributed to the soaring number of secondary homes.

Most of the buyers will likely rent out their units, but the condos had been deemed vacant because the owners had not yet gotten to that stage, Miller said.

“My assumption would be all the development growth in areas like Long Island City and the northwest region — Astoria, Woodside, Sunnyside, but primarily Long Island City,” Miller said. “Because of the sheer number of them [secondary homes], I would think it would be that.”

Miller said he did not think Rockaway had enough dense, residential development to drive a borough-wide trend.

But Grant Long, senior economist at StreetEasy, said he thought more people were purchasing existing homes in Rockaway for recreational visits, now that the area’s beachfront has been substantially rebuilt since superstorm Sandy hit in 2012.

“With incomes rising across the country and the damage wrought from Hurricane Sandy fading in memory, the Rockaways are an increasingly attractive destination for those seeking leisure homes,” Long said.