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Second Avenue Subway hasn't led to a rise in Upper East Side rent prices—yet

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Rent prices around the new stations haven’t brought the massive spikes that industry experts predicted

Max Touhey

When the prospect of the Second Avenue Subway finally opening after years of planning became ever closer, many began to wonder what it would mean for real estate prices around the neighborhood. Naturally, it was expected that rent prices throughout the Upper East Side and Yorkville would soar as a result of the newfound convenience to a subway line other than the 6 train, but after crunching some numbers, perhaps that assumption was way off target.

An analysis from Crain’s, with the help of data from searchable real estate database StreetEasy, shows that the asking price for many of the apartments around the new Second Avenue stations have defied the odds and actually dropped, and they aren’t talking just a few here and there. According to Crain’s, more than half of the 71 apartments listed on StreetEasy have dropped their asking rent prices between last year and 2017 thus far. During the first quarter of 2017, concessions were offered on 30 percent of listed Upper East Side apartments, which is nearly double that of the year before.

When StreetEasy crunched numbers just last fall, they predicted that the opening of the long-awaited subway line would likely result in an average rent spike of about 27 percent, or as much as $462 a month in some areas, so how could they have missed the mark so severely? Well, many factors could be behind the surprising rent decline. Landlords could have been overzealous when setting rent prices in anticipation of the new subway line, causing them to have to drop prices later on; the initial bump may have happened before the subway’s debut; or perhaps, the rise has yet to come but will eventually kick in. Before you know it, Yorkville will no longer be the Upper East Side’s nest of affordability that it is now regarded as.

"We are getting into our high season and the fact is that the Q train now offers a major convenience to consumers who had to walk 15 minutes to get to the subway," said Douglas Wagner, director of brokerage services for Bond New York.