Did Aborting Amazon HQ2 Affect Real Estate in LIC?

Reports one year later look back on the anxieties and realities of the rise and fall of Amazon HQ

Photo by Juan Beltran – https://flic.kr/p/7Rcf91

(NEW YORK, NEW YORK)— When Amazon announced its new headquarters in Queens at this time last year, long time Queens residents panicked over rising rents and home prices. Then, when Amazon pulled out of the deal in February, brokers and developers lamented the lost opportunity and warned of the dire impact on the LIC real estate industry. A year later, experts have all the information to assess the plausibility of the doomsday predictions coming from all sides. According to a recent CurbedNY report: not much has changed.

StreetEasy economist Nancy Wu explained to Curbed, “One thing that has remained the same is the enormous volume of recent and planned residential construction in the neighborhood which was in the works far before Amazon’s plans took shape. At this time last year, home prices in the neighborhood were already rising at a pace faster than the rest of the city, and we’ve seen that trend continue into 2019.” The statement contradicts Wu’s own forecast from last February, when she predicted that rental rates and home values would “revert back to their pre-announcement levels,” following Amazon’s exit from LIC.

While it’s true that prices in the neighborhood increased rapidly after Amazon announced its HQ2, and developers lost out on a surge of wealthy buyers to relieve its luxury apartment glut, with property values holding and even rising compared to their pre-HQ levels, it seems that New York didn’t need Amazon to revitalize the neighborhood at all. It was central to the Queens neighborhood’s opposition to the deal that locals not only feared the headquarters would drive up real estate values, they were also enraged that taxpayers were subsidizing one of the richest men in the world for supposed community benefit. And for those who lament the loss of 25,000 new jobs, rest assured that Amazon is already making its markon the city, just without the incentives the company would have preferred to have received.

Brokers can rest easy that the LIC market is holding strong and proving profitable even without Amazon HQ, and opponents of the deal can feel vindicated as they watch Amazon HQ2 wreak havoc on Virginia’s housing market instead.

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