As has always been the case, Staten Island takes pride in our blue-collar population. Each morning, I leave for work in my other career as a Captain in the Police Department, I drive by the home of a fire chief. Across the street from him lives a Port Authority officer, and next to him, a police detective. My mother-in-law’s neighbor is a retired fire lieutenant with two sons, one in city sanitation and the other a fireman. In all, roughly 30,000 Staten Island residents are employed by the city, with over 4,000 of them being uniformed police personnel.
So what does this mean for real estate on Staten Island? Let us begin with the most obvious, crime and safety on our island. In 2018, Staten Island counted the fewest felony index crimes of all the boroughs in NYC, where we ended the year with 2,709 crimes. While 1 is too many, this figure accounts for a mere 2.8% of the city’s total which reached 96,134 crimes last year. Comparing ourselves to our neighbors across the Verrazano, we fall very shy of the Brooklyn South year ending crime number of 13,300. Even though Staten Island deploys police out of only 4 precincts, we have the largest square footage (58.69 mi²) of any patrol borough.
What is the correlation you ask? Common real estate knowledge tells us when crime goes down, property value goes up. We have consistently seen property values on Staten Island increase year after year and we can thank our neighbors who patrol these streets for taking pride in our community while doing their part keeping us safe. This attributes to the positive effect on home values. Remember, while the police officers are not allowed to work in the precinct in which they live, almost every single police officer working on our island lives here!
Another aspect we can use to compare our blue-collared workers to market values is home ownership. We are all here working towards the American Dream, and an integral part of that dream is to own our own home. When we look at the raw data, we see that dream coming to fruition at a much higher rate here compared to the rest of the city. According to census data, the Staten Island population is comprised of 71% home owners and 29% renters. This is a stark difference to the rest of the city where those numbers are nearly flipped around. The rest of New York City averages 34% home owners and 66% renters. Studies have shown that a high density of rental properties can drive down home values. Some reasons cited for this are renters in the neighborhood may be less willing to participate in the community and tenants don’t always maintain homes as a homeowner would. Due to the fact that 71% of Staten Islanders own their home, we tend to take care of them. This includes maintaining the exterior of structures as well as keeping up with the landscaping. How a neighborhood looks affects home values in that neighborhood. When homes get rundown, the whole neighborhood suffers.
Luckily for me, my father owned his own landscaping company for over 30 years before retiring, and he left me with a lot of knowledge on keeping my yard up to par and also how to care for my shrubs, trees and flowers. Unluckily for me, since my father has given me all this knowledge,he wouldn’t be too happy with me if I hired someone else to take care of my yard for me. If you want to talk landscaping tips, you’re currently renting and want to take that next step toward your dream of owning a home or have some crime questions you want to run by me, give me a call (or drive by my house on a Saturday morning as I’m cleaning up the yard)!