Looking for a real estate deal? Try Manhattan

New construction in Williamsburg.

Moving to Manhattan to find a cheap apartment?

That may be against every New Yorkers’ common sense — but real estate experts say it’s happening.

As apartments are snapped up in up-and-coming neighborhoods like Long Island City and Williamsburg, pads are becoming scarce – and rents are going up.

Adding to the increasing rent prices are outer-borough, brand-new developments featuring amenities like gyms and doormen – that then jack up the rent to mirror the perks.

Meanwhile, real estate experts say some New Yorkers can find cheaper rents in Manhattan neighborhoods like Alphabet City and the Upper East Side.

According to a June Brooklyn rental report from real estate firm MNS, the average rent for a studio in Williambsurg was $2,700 – which a spokeswoman noted is $200 more than a non-doorman studio in Greenwich Village.

Real estate agents told Metro that some clients angling for affordability actually choose the city.

Morrel Group real estate saleswoman Leslie Hirsch told Metro that just today, she was working with a buyer with a $600,000 budget and was looking among the Upper East Side, Park Slope, Prospect Heights or Williamsburg. For a one-bedroom with a doorman, she found four options in Brooklyn for about $500,000 — but more than 30 on the Upper East Side, many under the $500,000 mark, she said.

John Brandon, licensed real estate salesman at Citi Habitats, said he has hunted down places for clients who initially assumed a cheap deal would be in Brooklyn.

New Yorkers often consider the outer boroughs the place to look but find that they can secure a cheaper deal with a quicker commute back in Manhattan.

“You’re giving up some space but you’re gaining money back on the rent and time,” Brandon said.

Of course, he cautioned, not all places in the outer boroughs are more expensive – but hip neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Greenpoint have comparable prices to an apartment across the river.

Right now, he said, the average rent for a one-bedrooms in Williamsburg is $3,300, $2,875 in Long Island City and $2,800 in the East Village.

For example, one person he knows lives in Long Island City in a spacious one-bedroom that costs $3,400.  But another just moved to Alphabet City, also living in a one-bedroom and pays $2,400 – and boasts a 30-second commute to work, Brandon said.

“We’re talking the difference between a pre-war walk-up in Alphabet City and a new high rise in Long Island City,” he said.

Where might Manhattan be cheaper?

Brokers told Metro that many clients seeking cheap rents may start off in Brooklyn, but realize they can actually find something more affordable in Manhattan. “They go out there and realize that the price points are so high that they’re equivalent or higher than Manhattan,” said Mark Menendez, executive vice president at Prudential Dougas Elliman. He suggested looking for deals in the Upper East Side, where larger buildings scattered around the neighborhood mean more units. “Just by sheer numbers, you’d probably have a better chance of finding something,” he said.

Where in the outer boroughs is expensive?

“The Williamsburg and DUMBO neighborhoods in Brooklyn,” Menendez said. “DUMBO has also had the attention and higher prices, now the trendiness of Williamsburg has created a demand that keep prices rising.”

He also said Long Island City is “exploding.”

“All the new rental buildings that are being built into the shoreline are attracting so many Manhattan renters,” he said.

And ironically, Brandon added, the people who couldn’t afford to live in Manhattan and sought refuge in Brooklyn are now being forced the other way. “They’re displacing the people that can’t pay that kind of money and they’re putting them back in the East Village.”


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