Long Island City rental market saw the biggest construction boom in the country after 2010: study

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A new report found that a record number of rental units were built in Long Island City from 2010 through 2016, eclipsing other large cities nationwide that also experienced a spike in development.

RENTCafe, a real estate search engine, analyzed construction data from 1,000 neighborhoods listed on Property Shark and Yardi Matrix to figure out which neighborhoods grew the most since the recession. They considered only large rental buildings with 50 or more units located in the 30 largest cities in the country.

Renting an apartment became popular after the housing crash of 2007, RENTCafe argues, and many developers in large cities around the country catered to that trend by constructing rental units at a fast pace.

Long Island City topped the list of 50 neighborhoods with the most new rentals from 2010 through 2016 and greatly surpassed the next neighborhood on the list, Downtown Los Angeles. During that six-year time period, the neighborhood saw 12,533 new units and 41 new apartment buildings being constructed. The report also found that 36 percent of the apartments in the area were built during this time.

“In a matter of just a few years, the neighborhood has gone from dated industrial vibe to gleaming new glass towers, to take the number 1 spot for building by far more apartments than any other neighborhood in the country has done in recent (post-recession) history,” the report found.

In comparison, 7,551 new units were constructed in Downtown Los Angeles during the same time. Long Island City is the only Queens neighborhood to make the list though other neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn make an appearance.

LIC Partnership, the neighborhood’s development organization, released its “Real Estate Snapshot” in April and found that there are about 9,000 new units slated to be constructed in 2017, making it the most number of units in a single year in Long Island City’s history.

Since 2006, the total number of residential units built in Long Island City will total more than 20,000 by the end of 2017.

The neighborhood has continuously been found to be one of the most expensive to rent or purchase a home. Though more residential buildings are being planned, the neighborhood lacks retail space and the city would like to add more commercial space for companies in a variety of industries.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Long Island City might be the home of a new initiative called LifeSci NYC to bring biotechnology jobs to the city.

The city also plans to rezone portions of Court Square, Queens Plaza and Dutch Kills to encourage more commercial tenants even though residents argue that it will drive rent prices further and drive out longtime residents.

“We really want to take a look at the development patterns going on, figure out how to re-establish a balance of uses here and then figure out how we can increase the percentage of affordable units,” said City Planner Penny Lee at a community meeting in February.

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