New East River ferry service drives up rents in some neighborhoods

This past summer, New York City expanded ferry service along the East River and it is having a noticeable impact on certain rents.

Some neighborhoods like DUMBO in Brooklyn and Long Island City in Queens haven't seen rents increase much at all. But in Greenpoint and Astoria, access to Manhattan by boat is both drawing renters and driving up prices.

StreetEasy senior economist Grant Long studied the impact of the expanded East River Ferry service. He says transportation drives real estate demand in New York City, whether it is the subway or the ferry.

Buildings near the new Atlantic Avenue, Greenpoint, and Astoria stops are all advertising ferry service as a perk and rents are going up.

Rents in Astoria are up 1.5 percent in the last year. Rents in Greenpoint and near Atlantic Avenue are up 1.9 percent.

Long says these neighborhoods needed more transportation options, so the added ferry service has made a difference, especially for residents along the waterfront who have a long walk to the subway.

Grant says Long Island City and DUMBO didn't see a spike in rents because they have more transportation access and options.

The Second Avenue Subway had a similar effect on Manhattan's Upper East Side. The subway dramatically reduced commute times for people, especially those further east towards York Avenue.

Grant calls this a game changer in the neighborhood and expects the new service will continue to impact and increase rents going forward.

When L train service stops in 2019, expect the opposite effect in Williamsburg. Grant says prices dipped as soon as the shutdown was announced. He expects to see rents struggle more and more in that area as the shutdown gets closer. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll find bargains in Williamsburg, but prices will come down.

Ferry service is supposed to expand even further into Manhattan and the Bronx in 2018.That should make parts of the city even more accessible, attractive, and likely less affordable.