Michael Carfagna, principal and founder of MPC Properties LLC, has been selling real estate in Jackson Heights for the past 16 years, and has sold over 450 properties exclusively during that time. His family has been living in the neighborhood since 1985, and he has seen Jackson Heights go through numerous changes, especially in the real estate sector, since becoming a landmark district.
La Guerre: How is Jackson Heights benefiting from the recent buzz about Queens?
Carfagna: As you know, Lonely Planet mentioned Queens as the top U.S. destination next year. Things like that are going to help bring awareness of Queens in general, and I think that’s where we end up benefiting. We get the spill-over effect. Because there will be people looking into Long Island City and Astoria and find quite high pricing based on what they think it could be, and then they’ll drift out this way and find Jackson Heights.
La Guerre: But there is a problem with inventory. Why is that?
Carfagna: We have this great inventory, but we don’t have a lot of sellers. Here’s what’s happening: people are searching, but they don’t see a big selection, so they are keeping Jackson Heights in the back of their minds and then hope more inventory opens up. But we are probably at an all-time low in inventory in the neighborhood.
La Guerre: So you don’t have much diversity then, and there’s not going to be three-bedrooms available, for example?
Carfagna: Well, there are only two of those on the market and I have both of them. And you have a total of maybe five two-bedroom, two-baths, and I believe two are already spoken for. You just don’t have a lot for people to choose from.
La Guerre: And because there isn’t much vacant land and it has the historical district, Jackson Heights won’t transform much. But in your opinion, where will the neighborhood see change in the future?
Carfagna: Anything close to the city like we are is going to pick up momentum, and it will almost be seamless. People will be going back and forth depending on where they work. And so I see Jackson Heights accelerating in price because of that, as well as it should pick up more momentum with—let’s call it a commercial facelift as for the selection of restaurants that will come here and blend in with the existing restaurants that we have.
La Guerre: What has been popular and easy to sell here and why?
Carfagna: Anything that has distinctive quality like The Towers, Hawthorne Court, Elm Court and The Chateau. People have heard about those and they have the larger size apartments. The Towers, Elm Court and The Chateau have fireplaces, so that is an added uniqueness to them.
La Guerre: What about detached or attached single-family homes, how do those sell?
Carfagna: I sold one recently. Only two families had lived in it in 90 years. I may get another one, where it’s only been one [family]. The grandparents had it, and then gave it to the son, and now the grandchildren have it. Those homes don’t turn that often.
La Guerre: I guess it could be looked at as a good thing. People must really love their homes there.
Carfagna: You don’t see a lot of them on the market, because they are generational homes. But that could be the new up-and-coming inventory for us. When you look at the prices and compare them to even certain sections of Brooklyn, such as Kensington, it’s still a great value here—under a million to get a beautiful attached home. These have fireplaces, they have four bedrooms, three baths, very well built. They sold anywhere from $30 to $35,000 in the ’20s. If you look at it from an inflation-adjusted basis, they should be worth well over a million dollars.