New L-train plan will boost Williamsburg real estate, experts say

Can Nomer is the director of leasing at Level, a 554-unit high-rise on the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Just a week ago, Nomer was facing some challenges renting apartments because of the fears over the impending 15-month L-train shutdown.

"Less people wanted to live in Williamsburg," said Nomer, who works for MNS Real Estate. "They decided to live in other places."

But just a day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he intended to avert a full shut down of the L-train and instead have repairs done during nights and weekends, the calls started coming.

"I think we saw the weekend's appointments double compared to last weekend," Nomer said of the renewed interest.

It is quite a turn of events. Last year, Williamsburg was the only neighborhood in the city to see a decrease in rental demand, according to listing and data firm StreetEasy.

"In April 2016 to now, rents have gone down 1.5 percent in North Brooklyn, which is the area encompassing Williamsburg and Greenpoint, while they've gone up 3.3 percent in the rest of Brooklyn," said Nancy Wu, an economic data analyst at Streeteasy.

Now that demand is bouncing back, so will prices, she said.

"We anticipate rents to go up again as all the landlords try to recover the revenue they lost," Wu said.

Many landlords are also likely to do away with hefty concessions they were throwing in, like multiple months of free rent and discounts.

Level was offering a $500 Lyft credit to sweeten the deal. While the free rides are going away, Nomer said the free months of rent will stay and he doesn't expect rents will be hiked significantly. At least not yet.

"We're going to test the market by moving things around a little bit," he said. "We're not doing anything drastic at this time but I do believe as demand goes up, prices will go up and concessions will go down a little bit."

Many questions remain about Cuomo's alternate plan for the L train, including how it will be implemented. Until the details are clear, Williamsburg real estate is not likely to make a full rebound.