Return to Manhattan: 3 Affordable NYC Neighborhoods

Forget Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island City, wannabe Manhattanites can finally return to the island. It's no secret that rents are down and landlords are willing to haggle, wave fees and offer perks. It's great to be a renter once again! Now you can give all those friends who got wrapped up in real estate hype and bought a house they couldn't afford and give them your best I-told-you-so look. Doesn't it feel good?! O.K. stop gloating, you're still in Queens. Now, lets get you to Manhattan.

Here are the top three cheapest New York City neighborhoods right now:
  1. Midtown West, a.k.a. Hell's Kitchen - Average rents start at $1,713 for a studio to $2,105 for a one-bedroom without doormen. Don't let the name scare you. This neighborhood's got location going for it: You can easily get both uptown to work or downtown to party.
  2. Harlem - This semi-gentrified neighborhood has some nice infrastructure with brownstones and other low-rise buildings and you can't beat the price anywhere in the city: $1,276 for a studio and $1,643 for a one bedroom without doormen. The downside: It's way the heck uptown.

  3. Lower East Side - From $1,784 for a studio to $2,289 for a one-bedroom without doormen, not bad if you can stand all the hipsters. The upside: Great boutiques and restaurants; one of the last artsy neighborhoods in the city.
The Real Estate Group's Year-End Manhattan Rental Report is a great assessment of what's happening in the market. Some points to remember:

  • Many renting in these three, more affordable neighborhoods (above) traded up to trendier 'hoods so that meant renters could look for "deep discounts in these traditionally less expensive neighborhoods"
  • In 2009 Manhattan became a "no fee market," so don't pay rental agent fees (no one else is)
  • Individual landlords with smaller properties who have few incentives to offer saw the worst decline in occupancy, so haggle with the small guy, he's more desperate. (Here are some tips for how to haggle.)
Here are two detailed graphs from the report:

via Curbed
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