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Long Island City condo scene heats up on heels of Amazon deal

Real-estate brokers have noticed an uptick in Long Island City condo sales due to Amazon.com Inc.’s decision to open a headquarters in the Queens neighborhood.

At least three Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) employees recently bought homes in Long Island City (LIC), according to The Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, one local brokerage firm reported it sold nearly 150 units over four days last week.

That's about 15 times its usual volume.

At the Galerie, a new 11-story condo building in LIC with a pool and interior courtyard, has been a popular spot. Two units were sold just before the first press reports surfaced that Amazon was likely to choose LIC for its new headquarters, the report continued. About 25 Galerie deals were done in the last two weeks.

The surge in sales comes amid a slump in the overall New York condo market. There was also a lack of urgency on the buy side to purchase units under development. That reversed after news of Amazon’s impending move triggered an acceleration in the market. Developers are now holding the line on asking prices and planning increases.

Talk of Amazon's HQ2 search had already led to much real estate speculation when the Seattle-based company first began soliciting bids from cities.

But even without the presence of Amazon, Long Island City’s real estate market has been getting pricey over the past years. Median home sale prices reached a peak of $435,000 in 2017. Year-to-date, however, the median in LIC was roughly $350,000. That's a 20 percent drop compared to 2017.

That will change with Amazon's arrival, PropertyShark's Robert Demeter told me.

The areas along — or near — major thoroughfares, metro lines and bus lines, or those that provide direct access to LIC, will also see an uptick in demand and prices.

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