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How has the Second Avenue Subway affected apartment prices in Yorkville?

Short answer: despite a rising price per square foot, it’s hard to tell

Max Touhey

The Second Avenue Subway has almost always been mentioned in the same breath as real estate prices on the Upper East Side. Even over half a year after its launch and years into the hype, it’s too soon to tell if the Second Avenue Subway is the root of rising real estate prices in the area—an April study of rental prices on the Upper East Side had not increased along with the new transit line—but one thing’s clear: prices are going up on the Upper East Side.

For Curbed’s first-ever Transportation Week, we asked analytics firm NeighborhoodX to pull the stats on housing prices over time in Yorkville, where two of the three new Second Avenue Subway stops are located.

The stats illuminate a trend towards rising real estate prices in the area, but whether or not it’s the doing of the Second Avenue Subway is unclear. "It is difficult to regress for a single variable, like the Second Avenue Subway,” says Constantine Valhouli, Director of Research from NeighborhoodX. “There were other factors at play, like the financial crisis. And these would have different effects on renters—who bear the brunt of short-term annoyances during construction—while the upside goes to owners and developers."

Prices in the area, however, have been trending upward. Between 2005 and 2017, Yorkville prices have increased 90.1 percent, from $767 per square foot to $1,458 per square foot. Since 2014, when momentum started to pick up around the subway line, the gains in price per square foot have made some of their largest leaps: $210 between 2014 and 2015, $124 between 2015 and 2016, and $194 between 2016 and 2017. But, as Valhouli says, its difficult to determine whether that alone is the work of the Second Avenue Subway or some cocktail of other factors at play.

NeighborhoodX also analyzed current pricing in the neighborhood, looking at market rate listings and excluding foreclosures and short sales; income-restricted or HFDC properties; units conveyed with a rent-controlled tenant in place; and certain properties with incomplete or contradictory data.

They found that the current average listing price per square foot for co-ops, condos, and townhouses in Yorkville is $1,458. But even that number doesn’t give a true sense of the range of prices still available in the neighborhood. As of August, some co-ops were selling with a price per square foot as low as $706, while some new development condos had a price per square foot reaching as high as $2,477.