The real estate company Property Club released a report naming 15 Queens communities in their list of the 50 most affordable localities in New York City. Briarwood, Kew Gardens, and Kew Gardens Hills were all on the list as some of the most affordable areas in the borough. Kew Gardens and Kew Gardens Hills took the fourth and fifth place within the borough, and 12th and 13th citywide. Queens can now brag that it is home to the third-most affordable neighborhoods in one of the nation’s most expensive cities.
We spoke with passersby on Main Street who offered their take on the list structure. Barbara F. explained, “I come to Main Street to shop.” She then questioned, “I live in Bayside where one cannot find a home for under $600,000, and that’s on the low end of our homes. How did we make number 15 on this list? Are you sure it’s from 2021?” Keith P., who was waiting on a food pantry line, said, “I live in the apartments a few blocks away, but I have looked into homes here and it seems there is not much here for less than $800,000. Maybe you can find a fixer upper in the $400-500,000 range,” he added. Rebecca C. piped in, “They must be including apartments like yours in these standards. I live in a co-op and it is far from affordable. My husband and I are raising two children and we have zero ownership, only shares and extreme fees levied on us monthly.”
Farther down Main Street we met Avraham, a local business owner, who explained, “Single-family homes in the neighborhood are often well over $500,000.” He then added an interesting bit about the seventh ranking in Queens on the list: “I am happy to see my hometown of Rego Park included on this list. It is quite accurate to say that it is affordable.” Another family, who lives in an elegant detached home off Vleigh Place, overheard our discussion and stated, “This list must be referencing cooperative prices of condo sales, not single-family sales.”
Briarwood is another neighborhood that topped the list. Coming in second in Queens and fifth citywide, Shira D. a resident there, offered insight. “A single-family home in my neighborhood is well over $900,000, often over one and half million dollars, yet our neighborhood is affordable to many because our apartments are beautiful and attractive, with daycare facilities and shul options nearby.”
We then encountered Pinchas S., a post-college graduate who had just bought his first home – a condo. “I think Kew Gardens Hills is fairly cheap to live. You cannot beat the accommodations and the neighbors are friendly. Yes, it’s 2021 and, yes, I was born in 1995, and, yes, the affordability factor seems accurate.” With a median sale price in Queens of $605,000 and median dollar amount in KGH of $338,000, and 298 sales, we ponder what the year ahead will reveal.
The Queens Jewish community has turned to Akiva Teitz since he moved to his street in Kew Gardens Hills some 48 years ago. Dubbed “Mr. Astor” early on, much of the façade of Kew Gardens Hills rests in the hands of Akiva who dedicated his time to helping build the community. Five decades is a long time, and often people forget the influence and reach of Akiva. From our many schools and shuls to the necessary zoning changes required, Akiva often had and continues to influence and provide input into our community. Over the years, especially as the community took off, community leaders and personalities would often turn to “Mr. Astor” for his guidance and direction. Today, as Kew Gardens Hills continues to grow, his opinion generates much interest.
Together with his devoted wife Chanita, Akiva runs Astor Brokerage with expertise and precision. Their daughter Deedee Weiss lived and breathed the business realty all her life; her transition into the family business was natural. As a force, the community quickly embraced her positivity and appreciation for the neighborhoods we cherish.
Chanita Teitz, Licensed Real Estate Broker
QJL: How long has Astor been involved in Kew Gardens Hills real estate?
Chanita: Astor Brokerage has been selling homes in Kew Gardens Hills for almost 50 years, and we have watched Kew Gardens Hills grow to become the unique neighborhood that it is.
QJL: Wow! Half a century is a long time. How have you seen the neighborhood evolve?
Chanita: As the longest established real estate office in Kew Gardens Hills, Astor Brokerage has been instrumental in bringing many of the shuls, schools, and community facilities into the neighborhood.
QJL: What do you think attracts young couples and working families to settle here?
Chanita: Kew Gardens Hills is unique in that it has the advantages of being in the city with close proximity to highways, low real estate taxes, and good public transportation, while having a small-town feel.
QJL: Kew Gardens Hills has long attracted the attention of Jewish families, many being second- and third-generation inhabitants. What do you think credits this continuation?
Chanita: Kew Gardens Hills also has the infrastructure to make it a desirable Jewish community with its many shuls, kosher shopping, and schools. We are city and suburb mixed in one, with most places within walking distance.
QJL: Is the Property Club description of Kew Gardens Hills as a leading affordable hamlet surprising?
Chanita: Demand is high to live here and prices are in line with that demand. There is something here for everyone, from smaller, starter, lower priced homes, to larger attached, semi-detached, and detached homes.
QJL: For someone with some extra money looking to get into the realty market, is Kew Gardens Hills a good bet?
Chanita: Kew Gardens Hills has always been a good place to invest in real estate.
Deedee Weiss, Licensed Real Estate Agent
QJL: Deedee, your influence in Kew Gardens Hills is legendary. The community really enjoys watching your progress and staying updated on your happenings. When did you begin working with your parents?
Deedee: Thank you. I have been a realtor in Kew Gardens Hills for over 25 years.
QJL: Can you tell our readers a bit about your experience as a real estate broker in Kew Gardens Hills?
Deedee: I can honestly say that I am living and working in one of the most desirable and affordable neighborhoods.
QJL: So, what sets our neighborhood apart from others in New York City?
Deedee: The answer is quite simple: Kew Gardens Hills is a very unique and close-knit, growing community.
QJL: Let’s give a final pitch to a budding family looking to settle in Kew Gardens Hills.
Deedee: In Kew Gardens Hills, we are centrally located, have great schools, a shul on almost every block, and a great variety of choices for supermarkets and restaurants. I am sure that most people reading this article either live in Kew Gardens Hills, did so previously, or know someone who has lived here at some point. The homes here are very affordable, and the low taxes make settling here even more advantageous.