With something for everyone, from high-end new construction to affordable prewar stock, the Queens real estate market is having a moment. The highest-priced tier of its rental market has largely recovered to pre-pandemic levels – beating every other borough in making it back to previous peaks. Rents in the middle and most-affordable parts of the market are creeping up, too. But they remain well below their prior highs, offering advantages to bargain-seeking renters.

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    Queens Rentals Under $3K on StreetEasy Article continues below

    Many Queens residences were tragically affected by the record rainfall from Hurricane Ida. But the borough is resilient, and it remains a great option to consider for buyers looking for a home in NYC. On the sales side, as with rentals, it is proving more resilient than other boroughs. Home prices here were not immune to the overall pandemic slowdown. But Queens prices merely stalled during the pandemic, they never really fell. That stands in stark contrast to Brooklyn and Manhattan, where prices were falling even before the pandemic, and continued to do so throughout last year.

    Affordable Rentals and New Developments Coexist in Queens

    Queens was the first of any borough in our analysis to see high-end rents, or rentals above $2,500, recover to 99% of their pre-pandemic highs [1]. This signals that renters searching for an alternative to typically pricier Brooklyn and Manhattan are heading to Queens, driving up demand. Anticipating this demand, landlords of luxury buildings in Queens are raising prices. 
    [1] The StreetEasy rent index traces repeat prices of apartments that have come onto the market at least twice. It does not include new developments, such as the luxury high rises that have completed construction. Thus, rents are rising in the apartments that have already been on the market, independent of new construction.)

    Queens Rentals Under $2,300 on StreetEasy Article continues below

    Prices for the Least Expensive Rentals Remain Low

    The Queens real estate market offers good news for renters seeking affordability. The borough’s least expensive and mid-tier homes still have a long way to go before rents return to pre-pandemic levels. In the more affordable price range, rents have just begun to recover and are doing so at a slow pace. That means these affordable deals will be around for months to come. 

    In addition, renters in Queens areas that have experienced high COVID-19 rates, such as Jamaica Hills and Corona, were four times more likely to face eviction than residents elsewhere. In the face of high eviction filings, the pause on evictions, and a bad economy, landlords would not be able to raise rents much without losing even more renters than they already have.

    All in all, Queens remains relatively affordable compared to Manhattan and Brooklyn. In July 2021, its median rent was $2,200. That figure was $3,000 in Manhattan and $2,600 in Brooklyn. 

    Queens Rents Projected to Recover Quickest from Pandemic 

    While inventory has thus far remained relatively high, and rent growth has remained somewhat muted, this trend is unlikely to last. According to our projections, we expect Queens inventory to come down to pre-pandemic levels by late December. Higher rents should follow, assuming that rent grows as inventory declines. We expect that rents in Queens overall could recover to pre-pandemic levels by as soon as the end of 2021 as well. By comparison, we project inventory to decline much more slowly in Manhattan and Brooklyn. It could reach pre-pandemic levels by March 2022 for Brooklyn, and November 2022 for Manhattan.

    Queens Sales Slowed During the Pandemic, But Didn’t Fall

    The sales side of the Queens real estate market weathered the pandemic better than other boroughs, too. While sale prices in Manhattan and Brooklyn were falling even before the pandemic, Queens prices did not fall. Queens has not seen a sales market slowdown — only a temporary pause due to the pandemic. 

    Queens Homes Under $1M on StreetEasy Article continues below

    Moreover, this pandemic-related slowdown is already recovering. Prices are beginning to grow in all segments except the most affordable. Prices for the most expensive homes in Queens fell by nearly 5% between March 2020 and March 2021, after growing for the past several years. But they have now begun to rise again — a sign of buyers coming from more expensive areas of the city, such as Manhattan and waterfront Brooklyn.

    Meanwhile, mid-range Queens homes did not have a significant pandemic-induced dip at all. These prices have remained steady. It’s possible the prices are just the right fit, both for buyers looking for affordability relative to Manhattan and Brooklyn, and for those seeking to upgrade their space within Queens. 

    The Most Affordable Homes for Sale Are Getting Even Cheaper

    Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Queens sale prices fell the most in the most affordable third of homes on the market. And they are continuing to fall. Part of the reason the cheapest homes in Queens got cheaper is related to the pandemic itself. Its impact had a disproportionate toll on lower-income residents, and the workers more likely to seek and live in these more-affordable homes. 

    Queens Homes Under $600K on StreetEasy Article continues below

    Overall, Queens is a great option for New Yorkers of every budget, both for rentals and sales. And it’s heating up. For renters and buyers out there, we predict that the Queens real estate market will be the hottest in NYC come 2022 — or even as early as this fall. 

    Whether you’re looking to rent or to buyfind your next NYC apartment on StreetEasy.