Thousands of residents fled western Queens in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report published by the real estate group CBRE.
The report — which analyzed 29 million USPS address changes across the nation — found that nationwide people last year vacated large, costly cities in much bigger numbers that in previous years.
The nationwide trend rocked New York City. When the city became the epicenter of the pandemic, New Yorkers left in massive numbers. The Big Apple was second only to San Francisco in terms of the number of people who left large cities last year.
In Queens, most neighborhoods lost residents in 2020. Though the same was true in 2019, the net losses were significantly higher.
Long Island City and Astoria saw a mass exodus last year, the report shows.
Taken together, more than 21,500 residents left the two neighborhoods in 2020. However, on a net basis– people moving in and out– the number approached 7,000.
Many large residential towers in Long Island City saw their occupancy rates plummet in 2020, The Real Deal reported in January.
For instance, the publication reported that the occupancy rate at the 1,871-unit Jackson Park development, located on Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, declined from 96 percent in 2019 to 59 percent in September 2020.
Nearby, Linc LIC, a 715-unit building at 43-10 Crescent Street, saw its occupancy rate decline from 91 percent in 2019 to 67 percent in the third quarter of 2020.
Spurred by the pandemic, many residents ended their leases and moved to suburbs with more outdoor space when the city was largely shuttered, according to the authors of the report. This trend, however, is beginning to reverse.
The Long Island City ZIP code of 11101 saw 6,783 people leave last year, more than any other ZIP code in the borough. Last year — accounting for those who moved into the area — the 11101 district lost 2,278 residents, more than any other ZIP code in Queens.
Both Long Island City and Astoria have a high percentage of adults in their 20s and 30s, census data shows. Many are young working professionals, a group prone to moving, according to the report.
“The increase in moves in 2020 was driven by young, affluent and highly educated urban dwellers,” the CBRE study states.
Does this mean our developer overlords built all these towers for nothing? I'm outraged.