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Photo via Shutterstock
Photo via Shutterstock

A new report found that Long Island City became the most expensive neighborhood in 2017, beating out 19 other neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

SpareRoom, a roommate finding service, used data from more than 8,500 ads to compare room rent from the first quarter of 2016 to the first quarter in 2017. The data reflects individual bedrooms being rented out in two-bedroom apartments or bigger properties and houses.

In Long Island City, the average rent for one room increased 34 percent since last year and the average cost of renting only one room in the neighborhood was $2,500 in the first quarter of 2017. That number is especially high considering the report also found that the average rent from year-to-year in Queens only rose 1 percent, or $10 more a month.

“SpareRoom’s latest rental index continues to show that room rents have stagnated across New York. But digging deeper, it seems that Manhattan is really bearing the brunt of this, with rents decreasing across the majority of the borough,” said SpareRoom Director Matt Hutchinson. “As people look beyond Manhattan, Brooklyn continues to grow in popularity. But it’s surprising to see Manhattan lose the top spot as New York City’s most expensive area to Long Island City, whose rise over the last year has been dramatic.”

Only three months ago, during the fourth quarter of 2016, Long Island City ranked 11th out of the 20 most expensive neighborhoods in New York. The average room rent in the neighborhood was $1,804. Last quarter’s list also ranked the area including Auburndale, Flushing, Bowne Park, East Flushing and Murray Hill as fifth on the list with average rent for one bedroom costing $1,883. That area in Queens was not included in the most recent ranking.

Hutchinson added that a slow down in rents can be a good thing for New Yorkers but “it masks a bigger problem that’s unfolding in affordability.”

“Rents are rising faster in traditionally cheaper areas than in expensive neighborhoods, making the whole of
New York City less affordable for people on lower incomes,” he said. “The data continues to show a trend away from Manhattan, so it will be interesting to see the impact this has on the makeup of the city over time.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio has made affordable housing a major issue throughout his term. In January, he announced that the city financed more affordable housing in 2016 than in any time in the past 25 years. There have been 62,506 affordable homes financed since 2014 and the mayor set a goal of building and preserving 200,000 units in 10 years.

Some say the definition of affordable laid out by Department of Housing Preservation and Development is not fair for New Yorkers. State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblyman Brian Barnwell in February introduced legislation that would require New York state to calculate a person’s eligibility for affordable housing projects that benefit from tax breaks like 421A to use numbers that reflect the median income of the ZIP code that the project is in.

“There is a noticeable lack of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families in our city,” Gianaris said. “As rents are skyrocketing throughout our communities, we must improve policies that will allow for all individuals to attain a sustainable quality of life.”

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