Photo: Flickr / nyluke
New Yorkers are always debating which hood is the hottest. Is Bushwick the next Williamsburg? NoHo the next Tribeca?
We asked a slew of real estate experts what they think are the best places to invest in real estate for the next decade.
Just a stone's throw from Long Island City, Astoria is building a reputation as one of Queens' hottest neighborhoods for young professionals and families alike.
'There's a new development in Queens Plaza over the 59th Street Bridge that did incredibly well,' Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats, says.
'(People) realise that these areas close to Manhattan with reasonable commuting times also have some sort of views that offer a reduced price, and will also show great appreciation over time.'
Attractions: The Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria Park, Socrates Sculpture Park, and just about every restaurant down the block.
Jonathan Butler of Brownstoner.com is naturally a proponent of what he's dubbed 'Brownstone Brooklyn,' where the streetscapes are varied, historic and quaint.
He's particularly fond of 'hoods that have come a long way in recent years like Crown Heights North, Clinton Hill and Bed-Stuy.
'They have beautiful housing stock, but are a lot less expensive than other housing stock in the five boroughs,' he said. They've also gotten popular with the hipster set, despite their semi-inconvenient subway access.
Perhaps all the retail and nightlife opening up on Atlantic Ave. and Clinton has something to do with it?
With plenty landmarked historical portions, the neighbourhood's distinctive character should be preserved over time, making it a must for investors' checklists.
'A developer lacking good taste couldn't come along and put a tacky development up,' Butler added.
David Maundrell, founder and president of leading Brooklyn brokerage aptsandlofts.com, also has his eye on Crown Heights, Brooklyn for its town homes and budding small businesses.
'As with any evolving neighbourhood, businesses are taking note and bringing new dining, shopping and entertainment to the area to cater to these new residents and further boost the neighbourhood,' he says.
'New development is limited, but there is a nice selection of new condos with high-end finishes and amenities with pricing that beats out renting in many scenarios.'
Faith Conolo, seasoned commercial real estate broker with Corcoran, says the lower tip of Manhattan is brimming with value thanks to its laid-back vibe, easy access to transit and popular attractions like South Street Seaport and Battery Park.
Noah Rosenblatt, founder and publisher of Urbandigs.com, agrees: 'Inventory's tight anywhere in Manhattan, but that's where you'll find the best bang for your buck.'
What you'll get:
-A slice of Americana. Home to the beautiful Trinity Church, Federal Hall and St. Paul's Chapel, the district is also a ferry ride away from the Statue of Liberty and fascinating Ellis Island.
If you love bankers and commerce, there's the Stock Exchange and John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Building.
Your best buy:
'Anything close to the trains,' says Mary Anne Fusco, an Elliman New York real estate agent. 'Battery Park is really flourishing and you're going to see some infrastructure growing there which will drive values north.'
By Zillow's calculations, Greenpoint is the hottest growing NYC 'hood at the moment with 22.2% year-over-year growth.
Doug Perlson, co-founder and CEO of the low-cost alternative brokerage RealDirect.com, chalks it up to the area's crop of luxury developments, decent public schools, copious public transportation outlets -- including the shiny new East River ferry -- and its proximity to other well-established areas like Williamsburg and Long Island City.
'Greenpoint is an attractive buy,' he says. 'The most attractive investment opportunities in this neighbourhood are new construction condos with 25-year tax abatements (which can be rented for positive cash flow), single family homes near McCarren Park, and industrial buildings near the waterfront that may be converted to residential.'
'Hamilton Heights is really picking up,' says Mary Anne Fusco, the Elliman agent. 'It's not fully cooked, but it has good value.'
It doesn't feel like Manhattan, what with its neo-Gothic architecture and Dominican flavour, but the area just north of Columbia--and former home to Alexander Hamilton's country estate--feels strangely idyllic, making it perfect for families.
For those in search of a slower pace, more room for their buck or just a quiet trip to the park, the neighbourhood offers lower rents, plus all of the above.
'It's an old area that's been filled with almost the same people for a long, long time,' adds Fusco, 'but it's stable and along the Hudson River.'
Translation: excellent long-term value--and a view.
Within the last few years, the area's crime has decreased, retail has boomed and construction has picked up on Frederick Douglass Blvd.--all signs of a community on the rise.
Harlem has all of the amenities of a great neighbourhood for a much cheaper price, Julia Vitullo-Martin, director of the centre for Urban Innovation, says. 'You can't go wrong putting money there.'
Public transportation and great parks also make this area an easily accessible, pleasant place to live.
'It has the most beautiful brownstones on the planet,' Vitullo-Martin adds.
While this isn't technically a 'hood' just yet, the areas being developed around the newly installed High Line are skyrocketing in value, Malin says.
'There's been close to $2 billion worth of private development,' he says. 'The average selling price has doubled since the park opened and I just think it's only gonna get better.'
When the High Line Park is complete it will link the entire West Side of Manhattan -- from the West Village, through Chelsea and all the way to the Hudson Yards.
Though Long Island City has seen development in recent years, there are still pockets of the neighbourhood waiting to bloom, says the centre for Urban Innovation's Julia Vitullo-Martin.
'This neighbourhood is now growing on two fronts as the waterfront continues to develop, and now the area surrounding Queens Plaza is busy with new residential development activity.'
David Maundrell of aptsandlofts.com agrees.
'Long Island City is quickly evolving into a well-rounded neighbourhood with new schools, park space, hotels, an upcoming library and more that will continue to boost values in the neighbourhood.'
This neighbourhood by the water has great views and a rustic feel despite its urban setting, Julia Vitullo-Martin says.
It also has 'fabulous' warehouses that hint at its manufacturing past, plus great parks and an ethnic flavour, Vitullo-Martin says.
Though its distance from Manhattan might make it less-than-ideal for those who commute to Manhattan, it's a catch for those who work in the area or remotely.
Attractions: IKEA and the Red Hook Ball Fields, where residents play ball and indulge in the food vendors' famous treats.
Before you call us passé, don't knock the classics, says Urbandigs' Noah Rosenblatt.
In the Tiffany of real estate markets, 'long-term value' still means two 'hoods where inventory's scarce and value's through the roof: West Village and Soho. (And Tribeca if you've got it like Beyoncé and Jay Z.)
'(Manhattan buyers) looking at it from an investment point of view are better off buying lower-priced units in a walk-up type of building or a small condo where you can make the numbers work,' he says.
That's hard to do even in this market, but no other neighborhoods have retained the same level of interest over time, says Rosenblatt.
What you'll get: high-end design, dinners at Nobu, celeb-spotting aplenty and jaunts to the High Line.
'With young first-time buyers fleeing Manhattan for Brooklyn, and prices skyrocketing in areas like Williamsburg and Dumbo, the eastern part of the UES is poised for a comeback,' predicts Doug Perlson of RealDirect.com.
'The new Second Avenue subway will improve access to the rest of the city, and the new Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island will benefit the market in this area as it provides convenient housing for those who will be going to school/work in the new campus, but want to live in Manhattan proper.'
-Strong public schools (public and private)
-Family friendly: 'The discrepancy in price per foot of larger apartments to smaller apartments demonstrates the appeal for families in the neighbourhood.'
Your best buy:
'The best investment opportunities here will be purchasing adjacent smaller apartments for combination, particularly in buildings around the Second Avenue subway stops of 96th Street, 86th Street and 72nd Street, as well around 60th Street near the tram.'
David Maundrell of aptsandlofts.com is calling 2012 'the year for Brooklyn,' especially trendy Williamsburg.
'Williamsburg continues to be an in-demand neighbourhood, but with condo inventory only expected to decrease and pricing to increase, this will especially be the year to buy in the neighbourhood,' he says.
'Williamsburg is seeing a significant inventory crunch as many planned condo projects have switched over to rental and rents are at an all time high, pushing many to reconsider rent vs. buy particularly as they feel more confident about the economy.
Also, there are no major new condo units coming to market in the near future, helping to boost values for current units on the market as well as resales. '
It's also shown 2% home value growth in the last year, per Zillow.
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