June 29, 2006
Hevesi Report: Flushing Anchors Queens Economic Growth
Flushing’s economic growth has been shaped in part by a surge in population. Between 1990 and 2000, Flushing’s total population grew by 13.5 percent—a pace that exceeded the Citywide growth rate (9.4 percent). This growth was supported by strong immigration. In 2000, more than half of Flushing’s population (58.5 percent) was foreign-born—well above the City and Queens’ average. Nearly one quarter of these immigrants entered the country after 1995.
“Flushing has a rich history of tolerance and diversity,” Hevesi said at a breakfast today sponsored by the Flushing Development Center. “This has helped the community evolve into an international destination as immigrants and regional and international businesses capitalize on Flushing’s tremendous assets, including an excellent transportation network, growing financial firms, and proximity to regional attractions.”
The report found that:
“The Comptroller's report confirms what we have known for years; Flushing is booming.” said Fred Fu, President, Flushing Development Center. “Recent growth has been supported by a variety of factors, including the new energy provided by Flushing’s immigrant population; the vision of local developers; and the efforts of our local, City, and State elected officials, who are working together to build a better community. We thank the Comptroller for coming here today to report on the Flushing economy and to witness first-hand the tremendous growth we have experienced.”
“Flushing is a critically important part of the Queens’ economy and the City economy overall,” Hevesi said. “In 2004, Flushing businesses provided nearly 34,000 jobs and generated almost $1.2 billion in annual wages. While this is the most recent annual data available for Flushing, the pace of economic growth for the City as a whole accelerated in 2005 and 2006 and evidence suggests that Flushing has benefited from this continued resurgence.”
As economic growth has occurred, housing values in Flushing have increased. In 2005, the median value for all owner occupied residences in Community Board 7, which includes Flushing, was $450,000—a 50 percent increase from 2002—and higher than the median value of $400,000 for both the borough and the City. While this has resulted in additional equity for homeowners, the need for affordable housing has increased. The report noted that Flushing has the highest median monthly rents in the borough ($1,000), which is equal to the median rent in Manhattan.
“As Flushing continues to grow, serious issues remain that need to be addressed, including affordable housing, an aging transportation network, and traffic congestion,” Hevesi said. “However, recent City and private sector investments have positioned the neighborhood well for the future.”
Other notable findings include:
The Flushing report follows a larger report on the overall Queens economy issued by Hevesi earlier in the month. That report noted that the unemployment rate in Queens fell to 5.2 percent in 2005—the lowest level in 15 years—and that property values grew by 161 percent between 2000 and 2006.