When the L Train Shuts Down, Where Will You Live?
A large part of being a New Yorker is adapting to the hustle and bustle of public transportation; but come 2019, that hustle and bustle we all have grown to love may finally reach its tipping point and finally be too much. When the L train shuts down for repairs to tunnel damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers will be forced to figure out new means and routes to commute between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Approximately 78% of housing units in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick are occupied by renters, according to data from the 2014 Housing and Vacancy Survey, and they’re likely to be the among the most affected by transit trauma. Rush hour in the city may not be so charming after all.
Alternative Travel Rather Than The L Train
Alternative means of travel to alleviate the growing concern of Manhattan- and Brooklyn-bound New Yorkers are already being tested. An increased number of buses and a temporary lift on Uber driver restrictions could inspire residents of affected locations to remain in their current homes and continue using public transportation during the 18-month period, but at the moment, it doesn’t seem to be pacifying most. Already, many of the roughly 225,000 people who ride the L train on a regular weekday have begun to look to other areas in the hopes of living closer to easy train access.
Renters who value the ease of inter-borough travel will turn to apartments located nearer to alternative routes in neighborhoods like South Williamsburg and Bed-Sty because of their proximity to several main lines. These areas will experience a surge in home seekers in the next few years, and the migration will certainly increase the property value of the area. Others predict areas such as Long Island City, only a handful of stops north on the G train and only one stop on the 7 train from Grand Central, will see a surge of new renters in search of superior transit. For some, the increase in monthly rent payments will be worth it if it means they can avoid the definite delays the L-train shutdown will cause in daily commuter traffic.
Does LIC Become The New Williamsburg
As people begin to brace for the years to come by exploring other routes and leaving L-train centered neighborhoods, property values have started to plummet even now. Ease of access to the L train, while once a key selling point for some complexes, has become almost meaningless. Movement out of these areas will drive prices down, and landlords and building owners will fight to keep their current tenants and attract new ones by updating appliances, flooring, and adding luxury amenities. The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) in its Q2 market report, found that average price of condo sales dropped from the same time frame last year while the number of condo sales increased (potentially, sellers looking to unload their holdings at a discount before the L train closure begins?). There were a total of 120 sales in the second quarter, a 43% increase from the same time last year. In contrast, the average sales price dipped 13 percent to $937,000. For those willing to forgo convenience and put up with a possibly arduous commute every day, staying in L-train-close apartments could become a really great deal on housing, some studies predicting drops in monthly housing costs of as much as $450.
While much of the city expresses great concern over the 18-month tunnel closure, this approach to tunnel repairs is much more favorable than the alternative: shutting down various tunnels for lengthy periods of time here and there over the course of 3 years. Should this L-train shutdown move swiftly according to plan, hopefully the process won’t be so rough. But by then, who knows what other transportation disruptions will affect the ever-fluctuating real estate market?