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As L train repairs loom, rents in north Brooklyn have dropped

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Apartments in the neighborhoods affected by the train’s ‘slowdown’ were re-listed at lower asking rents in the first quarter of 2019

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A new StreetEasy study on the rental market found that rents in neighborhoods served by the L train haven’t rebounded (as was expected) when the full shutdown of the line was cancelled and a “slowdown”—which starts today—was proposed instead.

Earlier this year, StreetEasy’s senior economist Grant Long predicted that rents would “rise sharply” after the L train full shutdown was called off. But it has been the opposite, the new study found: In the first quarter of 2019, apartments that were previously off the market in neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint have now reappeared with lower asking rents.

The study, by StreetEasy economic data analyst Nancy Wu, looked at apartments listed in the first quarter of 2019 that had been on the market during the same period in 2017 and 2018. Of the roughly 4,200 units, 44 percent “appeared at a lower price this year than in past years,” the study reads.

Neighborhoods with the highest share of apartments re-listed at a lower asking rent, according to the study, include Bushwick (77 percent); Williamsburg (59 percent); Greenpoint (57 percent); and Bed-Stuy (54 percent).

“StreetEasy had predicted that rents in these areas would rise quickly,” Wu said in the study. “But residual inventory built up from the anticipation of the shutdown has led to a prolonged slump in the area.”

The study also mentions that the submarket known as North Brooklyn, covering Williamsburg and Greenpoint, was “the only area in the city where rents declined overall in the first quarter of 2019, falling 0.5 percent compared to last year.”