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Brooklyn, Queens neighborhoods to receive bulk of NYC’s new apartments by 2020

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New York City is expected to receive 31,000 new housing units by 2020 and most of it will be outside of Manhattan

Max Touhey

New York City is seeing a construction boom like never before, and though non-residential construction is driving it, there’s still a lot to be said for the residential sector.

According to a report from, a platform that provides neighborhood insights based on available New York City data, the city has already saw more than 12,800 new housing units open in the first half of 2018 and another 31,000 are expected to open by 2020 (h/t Wall Street Journal). In all, it is projected that New York will gain 90,000 new apartments between 2016 and 2020.

Per its findings, reports that the bulk of these new housing units are being constructed in the outer boroughs—primarily in Brooklyn and Queens. In fact, nearly 60 percent of the new units are opening in neighborhoods Brooklyn or Queens. The only Manhattan neighborhood where a significant portion of these 31,000 new units are being added is the Lower East Side. For instance, Long Island City was ranked first among the top ten neighborhoods that are booming with new units, and by 2020, it’s expected to welcome nearly 6,400 new apartments, though Greenpoint is expected to see the biggest burst of new units by 2020. Williamsburg trailed behind Long Island City, slated to welcome 3,470 new units and Bushwick came in third place.

So what’s driving the residential boom? According to Localize, much of it has to do with the tremendous amount of permits filed by developers back in 2015, when there was a rush to get them in before the state’s 421-a tax abatement expired in January 2016. Many of the developments that are under construction now are the result of those permits and the number of new units under construction are starting to level off, though there is an uptick in the amount of units now hitting the market.

But what’s more important than merely the number of new housing that a particular neighborhood will receive is the implications it can have on the community. “New construction could mean different things in different neighborhoods,” says the report. While in the short term, residents may have to deal with the nuisances that come with construction projects (noise, dust, congestion), the long term effects could result in a shift in demographics, burdened transit systems, overcrowded schools, tension between newcomers and longtime residents, and a change in architectural style within a neighborhood.

Nevertheless, the implications could also result in positive changes within the community, such as renovated public spaces, new modes of transportation (take the new ferry stop in Astoria, for example), or expanded schools. Regardless of which way things go, knowing what’s in store can give both current and prospective residents the information they need to make better decisions for the future.

“Buyers and renters sometimes make decisions they later regret because they didn’t know what was coming: noise, poor air quality, fewer parking spots (in the short term) or a changed neighborhood character further down the road,” says president Steve Kalifowitz. “On the flip side, you might be able to find better deals when there’s a glut of new units because of increased competition.”