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Brooklyn rents skyrocketing

Parts of the borough have higher per-square-foot rates than Manhattan. Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Park Slope and now Williamsburg are the most pricey.

Do some research before bidding ciao to Manhattan and moving to Brooklyn for historically cheaper rents. According to a January rental report by New York City residential sales and marketing firm MNS, some Brooklyn neighborhoods have higher price-per-square-foot rental rates than Manhattan.

“It’s always been the case that certain areas of Manhattan are more desirable; now, certain areas of Brooklyn are more desirable,” says Andrew Barrocas, CEO of MNS. “Williamsburg and DUMBO now have that desirability, whereas there are some parts in Manhattan that haven’t kept up.” Barrocas cites Manhattan’s Upper East Side and the Financial District as having considerably lower rents because of transport and building issues.

Amir Korangy, publisher of New York real estate magazine The Real Deal, agrees.

“While most people assume Manhattan is the most expensive borough to live in, areas like Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Park Slope and now Williamsburg are all on par with parts of Manhattan. With real estate in New York, neighborhoods tend to impact the price more so than the borough.”

As millions of development dollars flood both the Financial District and the Upper East Side, Barrocas thinks prices will rise there within five years. In Brooklyn, he predicts higher rents will spread out: “Other areas of Brooklyn will absolutely go up,” he insists.

“It’s interesting,” Barrocas adds. “Twelve years ago, people moved to Williamsburg for lower rent. Now people are moving there because they want to live there and are willing to pay premium prices.”

On the up-and-up

There’s no good news for renters in either Brooklyn or Manhattan.

MNS predicts rents will rise across the board in 2012. 2011 saw mean increases of 9.6 percent for a one-bed in Brooklyn, raising an average rent of $2,018 to $2,211. In Manhattan, rents generally rose by around $200 per month for a one-bed, too, but in the Financial District, less desirable buildings saw rents drop by around 3.6 percent for one-bedrooms.

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