What’s Next for North Brooklyn Real Estate After L Train Shutdown Suspension? Is It Still a Buyer's Market Now That Cuomo Reversed Course?

Bedford Avenue 'L' subway station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Wikimedia Commons)

Second of a two-part series; read part one here.

To the major relief of commuters who normally travel between Brooklyn and Manhattan via the L subway, a potential nightmare was averted when Gov. Andrew Cuomo surprisingly earlier this month halted a planned full shutdown of the line. Originally scheduled for April 27 of this year, the shutdown was necessary in order to repair the damaged Canarsie Tunnel. Instead, rehabilitation work for the tunnel will now take place on evenings and weekends, and involve an alternative way of mounting cables (the MTA board will have to approve the new plan).

As widely reported in the media when it was first announced in 2016, the impending closure of the L line also impacted the residential real estate market in North Brooklyn, including trendy and popular Williamsburg.  Some Brooklyn residents who lived near the line actually moved out because of their concern at how their commute would be affected by the rehab work,

But those who opted to stay or considered moving to North Brooklyn were gifted with deals.  According to a StreetEasy report from August of last year , landlords in Williamsburg listed their apartments at lower prices in an effort to attract tenants: “Almost half, or 48 percent, of apartments in Williamsburg that were previously listed on StreetEasy are now renting for lower prices than two years ago, with an average reduction of $250. Before the shutdown announcement, fewer than one quarter of Williamsburg apartments were listed at a lower price than when they previously came on the market.” Meanwhile, those tenants who signed leases for North Brooklyn apartments in 2018 truly benefited from the pre-shutdown hype: the New York Post reported they saved an approximate total of $26.5 million.

It wasn't only just renters who scored deals in North Brooklyn; so did some apartment buyers in the months leading up to April 27, 2019 deadline. According to StreetEasy, following the first announcement of the shutdown in 2016, home prices dropped in North Brooklyn: “Canny New York buyers took advantage of the potential deals spurred by the L train announcement and swooped in to buy properties in North Brooklyn at whatever price point they could afford...the L Train shutdown lit a fire under the North Brooklyn sales market by temporarily offering relative bargains.”    

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