Queens home-sellers aren't waiting for Amazon to raise prices

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Home prices are climbing in Long Island City, giving buyers a taste of what they can expect in the Queens neighborhood as Amazon.com Inc. moves in.

Sellers increased prices on about 19% of listings since Nov. 5, when reports surfaced that the tech giant was planning a new office campus in Long Island City, data from StreetEasy showed. In the previous six-week period, none of the neighborhood’s listings got a hike — in fact, 15% got reductions.

"You're seeing asking prices going up about anywhere from 5% to 15%, but whether they’re getting that at contract is another thing," said Mary Torres, an agent at Queens brokerage Modern Spaces. "You’re going to see a lot more, by percentage of properties, going to ask, where a month ago or six months ago, they were going for 5% under ask."

Long Island City is shifting from a buyer's market to one favoring sellers in the wake of Amazon's decision to build an office hub that would eventually employ as many as 25,000 people. While some homeowners are testing demand now, others have taken properties off the sales market in anticipation of getting a higher price later, according to Torres.

Prices are also starting to rise in nearby Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan neighborhoods that would be just a short commute for Amazon's Long Island City workers, according to StreetEasy.

Whether investors will see the gains they're expecting over the next several years remains to be seen, said Grant Long, senior economist at the listings website.

"A lot more people are speculating on future interest in the neighborhood," Long said. "There’s a lot of people that are placing really large bets right now on Long Island City, so it’s difficult to say how many of those bets will pay off and to what extent."

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