Amazon’s rise to prominence over the last two decades has made a major impact on its home city of Seattle. Not only has the city’s population ballooned, but its economy has steadily grown, traffic has increased, and the local housing market has become far more competitive. Now, with the company opening two new locations—one in New York and the other in Virginia—many are wondering if these areas will experience the same impact.
According to CNN economics writer Lydia DePillis, this is very much a concern, especially for those in real estate. With Amazon poised to split its HQ2 project between Queens, New York and Crystal City, Virginia, people who own property in both cities are seeing shockwaves in the local housing markets. Homes that had been on the market for months with no offers are suddenly attracting hordes of interested buyers.
“It feels like that moment in a horse race where all the horses are lined up in the starting gate,” said Mara Gemond, a realtor in Arlington, Virginia. “They’re just antsy and ready to get going, they’re waiting for that gate to be lifted.”
“It’s incredible news for the rental arena, which had seen a little bit of oversaturation,” added Alexander Pereira, a broker in Long Island City, New York. “I’ve already been getting bombarded by calls from investors, and brokers with investors who want to do tours in my properties.”
The two Amazon locations are headed for two very different markets. Crystal City has struggled economically in recent years. During the third quarter of 2018, 23.3 percent of the city’s office space went vacant, according to CBRE, as there simply weren’t enough employers in the area to fill it. Long Island City, meanwhile, has been a vibrant area, adding more rental units between 2010 and 2016 than any other neighborhood in the country.
With the Amazon news, though, both places will see huge surges in interest. Redfin found that compared to this same period last year, Crystal City real estate is seeing 345 percent more searches, with Long Island City going up 659 percent.