Image via Google Maps
Detached homes in Howard Beach.

After a decade of uncertainty in the real estate market in Howard Beach, mounting evidence points to a bright future for prospective homeowners in the area.

A pair of recent studies have shown that housing values are not only increasing across Queens as a whole, but Howard Beach remains one of the more affordable neighborhoods in the borough.

Local broker Jerry Fink, owner of Jerry Fink Real Estate, Inc., said that recent sales numbers are as high as he’s ever seen them.

“People love the neighborhood because it’s a very quiet neighborhood,” Fink said. “You get off the Belt Parkway and it’s like you’re living somewhere on Long Island, and it’s a good feeling. I think that’s the appeal, and it’s very close to the water, of course.”

But that proximity to the Jamaica Bay brought the market to a halt in 2012, when Superstorm Sandy made its way up the east coast and devastated many homes in Howard Beach. The entire neighborhood was flooded, with storm surges reaching at least a foot deep in some areas, the power was wiped out and sewers were backed up for days.

In total, the storm caused an estimated $19 billion in damage to New York City.

Before that, the global economic recession in 2008 led to a collapse in the housing market and forced the federal government to bail out several investment banks.

According to Fink, however, those who decided to stay in Howard Beach are glad they did, and the real estate market was back on its feet four months after the storm.

It’s come back to where it is because people understand that Sandy is a once-in-100-year thing,” Fink said. “It will probably never happen again in most people’s lifetime.”

The demographic of the neighborhood plays an important factor in its current position in the market as well. According to an American Community Survey from 2012 to 2016, 94 percent of homes in Howard Beach are one-unit detached structures, and nearly 90 percent of all homes are owner occupied.

That survey also lists the median value of owner-occupied homes in the neighborhood at $667,800.

According to a study by Property Shark, that number is on par with the citywide median as of 2017. The same study, however, only took into account the prices of condos and co-ops that were purchased in 2008 and sold in 2017, and it showed that all 11 such units in Howard Beach decreased in value during that period.

As a whole, the Property Shark study showed that Queens saw an overall increase of 32 percent in prices.

Another recent study by StreetEasy said that Howard Beach is the sixth most affordable neighborhood out of the 53 in the borough. That study only factored in deals made in 2017, and showed that the median price in Howad Beach was $314,950 for those sales, 37 percent lower than the borough median.

Still, the differing sample sizes in each study may account for the slightly conflicting numbers, but Fink maintains that Howard Beach real estate will soon reach its maximum limit.

“There’s not a lot of homes, but when they do go on the market they sell quickly if priced right,” Fink said. “I see it trending upward, but I don’t think it’s going to go much higher.”


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