This week, New York City real estate site Brick Underground teamed up with Streeteasy to evaluate changes in rental prices along the L line, from Bedford Avenue to Broadway Junction, to determine how the impending L train shutdown and generally stagnant prices have affected Williamsburg and Bushwick.
The results, which compare May 2015 and May 2016 rental rates within a five block radius of each station, indicate that the Williamsburg rental market is cooling down. The Bedford stop in particular saw an 11.4 percent drop in median rent from 2015 to 2016—though the rental price per square foot went up by 10 percent (in other words, the prices are falling, but so are the sizes of the apartments, now that developers are squeezing in as many units as possible into spaces which likely cost them more money than the neighborhood’s previous batch of developments).
The Jefferson Street L station’s rent prices went up by just .9 percent— but rental price per square foot went up by 6.1 percent to $38, which is still $17 less than Bedford—so Bushwick rental prices are not getting any higher, but the available units are not getting any bigger, either.
As usual, the best deals are further east in Bushwick. Myrtle-Wyckoff, for instance, saw a slight increase in median rent to 2,567 (2.7 percent change), but the price per square foot was down over 10 percent.
Of course, if the L train shut down does end up driving down prices from Dekalb to Bedford, prices around Myrtle-Wyckoff could rise, because the station’s status as a mini-transit hub might actually come in handy for those of us cut off from Manhattan and school or jobs.
Notably, Morgan Avenue, Wilson Avenue, and Bushwick-Aberdeen are three stops for which there just wasn’t enough data to determine what happened to the prices. Some possible explanations for this: tenants may be staying put near those stations, or perhaps the pace of new developments (both big and small) around those stops has slowed.
We could all use a little bit of rent relief, and as such these results are fascinating, but one possible follow up to this study that could provide more valuable insight into the next five years of North Brooklyn’s real estate predicament could be a look at commercial rentals.
Commercial leases, which are longer, can protect long-time businesses: when the shutdown comes, local businesses may be able to weather the storm better than residents with year-long leases, despite the possibility of less revenue due to less foot traffic. However, businesses with long leases signed shortly before the shutdown was announced might have a difficult time if potential residents and customers ultimately patronize them less frequently due to the reduction in transit options.
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