Ah, the Upper East Side!  The faint smell of suburbia in New York City!

Interestingly enough, the UES is home to both some of the most expensive and some of the cheapest real estate in Manhattan south of 100th st or so.  How is that possible you ask?  Location and transportation .  Real estate along the east side of Central Park has long been home to the Gold Coast of NYC– the  highest priced homes in New York City (along with Central Park South).   Only recently has this mantle threatened by places like Tribeca and Flatiron.

A Streeteasy analysis shows that buyers in NYC value time off of their commute so much “that homes sell for a median of $22,172 less for every minute added on a subway ride”.  If true, that could help explain why there have always been some great deals for both sale and rent on the Upper East Side – particularly east of Second avenue.  Simply put, it used to be a huge pain in the ass to live on First avenue, York Ave or East End Ave because you had to walk several minutes to find a subway stop along the 4/5/6 trains or take a bus to the subway.  And even then, the 4/5/6 train only services the east side of Manhattan so to get anywhere else in the city you are doing at least one other transfer..  (Incidentally this is not unlike parts of the Lower East side – the farther east you go..  Also some the cheapest real estate in lower Manhattan).

Then, in the beginning of 2017, the 2nd Ave subway happened.  Here’s an article about the opening of the Q train stops from the New York Times.

And now everything has changed.  Now you can live between First ave and York and be 1.5 blocks from the subway– the Q train that can transfer you to the 4/5/6/ or put you on the west side in Times Square in a few minutes.

Streeteasy report from December 2016 suggested the UES would be one of NYC’s hottest neighborhoods in 2017.  http://streeteasy.com/blog/2017-nyc-housing-predictions/

So its pretty simple, now that the UES has a great, new subway, prices in the areas that used to be hard to get to are going to go up disproportionally faster than other parts of the city (and yes they already have begun).  This means in particular– EAST OF 2nd AVENUE– close to the subway stops at 72nd, 86th and 96th.

Having been involved in some multiple offer situations there over the past year for apartments there, I can say that this is not lost on a lot of people that live and/or work on the UES– but it is not necessarily on the radar for the rest of New Yorkers or people new to NYC. That, coupled with the fact that in-building comp prices (the ultimate arbiter of price evaluation in NYC) will keep the real estate in question from appreciating too rapidly.  But make no mistake, the new subway stops are pushing up prices around them..
And just in case you are still skeptical for some reason, below are some quick stats on price appreciation in the Upper East Side over the last year (11.6%!) which far outpaces most other areas of Lower Manhattan (below about 100th st). Like the Upper West Side (+1.7%), Chelsea/Hudson Yards (+2%) and Tribeca (+6.8%).

As always, I welcome questions, comments and criticisms. You can contact me here.


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He is a highly esteemed real estate professional, widely recognized as a master marketer of real estate and a top 1% performer in New York City and nationally. With an unwavering passion for the NYC real estate market and an exceptional track record of success, Cary is a sought-after expert known for delivering outstanding results to his clientele.

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