most expensive neighborhoods in new york city
Ever wonder what are the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City? Here's a look. Photo: iStock

New York City is expensive, we all know that. No one chooses to live here because it’s affordable — still, the cost of rent can vary across the five boroughs. So, what are the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City?

 

A report out this week from real estate site RentHop looked at just how difficult it is to find a truly affordably apartment here. Median asking monthly rent prices can range, the site explained, from a pretty expensive $1,975 for a two-bedroom in Flatbush, to a pretty-insanely-expensive $5,914 in Lincoln Square.

 

In order to give an overview of the New York City affordable housing crisis — and see which are the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City — RentHop looked at the price of two-bedroom apartments across the city compared to the data on the median income by zip code.

 

How unaffordable is New York City?

Lots of New York City neighborhoods are costly for the average New Yorker, unfortunately. RentHop looked at more than 90 zip codes across the five boroughs and found that more than half of them (52 percent) had median two-bedroom rents that are higher than half of the median household income in New York City.

 

That means New Yorkers would be spending more than half of their yearly income just on housing, while the standard rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t spend more than 30 percent of your income on rent.

The median household income for New York City residents is $58,856, according to the most recent census data. Across the entire city, the median two-bedroom apartment rent as of June 2018 is around $3,650.

For a New Yorker earning the median income, they’d be spending 70 percent of their income on the median two-bedroom apartment rent.

RentHop says that “the way the math works out, your household’s yearly income should be 40 times the monthly rent in order to to afford an apartment.” This is called this the 40x rule and sometimes, landlords even require that tenants prove they make 40 times the monthly rent.

A New Yorker would have to have an annual household income of $146,000 to afford the median two-bedroom apartment per the 40x rule.

most expensive neighborhoods in new york city

The median price of a two-bedroom in Tribeca makes the Manhattan neighborhood one of the most expensive in the city. Photo: iStock

What are the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City?

That’s only the median two-bedroom apartment price, meaning lots of apartments cost even more. Here’s a look at the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City, per RentHop’s data on the price of two-bedroom apartments:

- Lincoln Square, Manhattan, where the median two-bedroom price is $4,600 in zip code 10023, and $5,914 in zip code 10069
- Tribeca, Manhattan, where the median two-bedroom price is $4,833 in zip code 10013, and $5,498 in zip code 10007
- Financial District, Manhattan, where the median two-bedroom price is $4,723 in zip code 10005

In all these areas, the asking rents for two-bedroom apartments top $4,600, meaning you’d need an income of at least $184,000 to afford these places per the 40x rule.

Residents in the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City do tend to have higher incomes, of course. In Lincoln Square’s 10069 zip code, the median household income is more than $155,702.

What are the least affordable neighborhoods in New York City?

Since the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City are usually home to residents with a higher income, that info isn't practical for all New Yorkers trying to figure out where they can afford to live. Some neighborhoods have high rents, yet median incomes there remain low — meaning these neighborhoods are less affordable to the average New Yorker. Rent for these residents eats up way more than the ideal 30 percent of their income.

Here are the neighborhoods that are the least affordable in that sense:

- East Harlem, where the median two-bedroom price is $2,550. With a median household income of $26,839, that means 114 percent of that income is required to make rent
- Lower East Side, where the median two-bedroom price is $3,300. With a median household income of $35,594, that means 111 percent of that income is required to make rent
- Bedford-Stuyvesant, where the median two-bedroom price is $2,525. With a median household income of $31,549, that means 96 percent of that income is required to make rent

What are the cheapest neighborhoods in New York City?

You're probably not looking to intentionally live in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City, though, so here's some more positive, and perhaps useful, data. According to RentHop’s data, these are the neighborhoods with the cheapest two-bedroom apartments:

- Flatbush, Brooklyn, where the median two-bedroom price is $1,975
- Norwood, the Bronx, where the median two-bedroom price is $1,995
- East Flatbush, Brooklyn, where the median two-bedroom price is $1,999

Check out more information via an interactive map from RentHop here.