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Affordability Crisis: Where Can You Still Find A Reasonable Rental?

Affordability Crisis: Where Can You Still Find A Reasonable Rental?

2022 May 6, 2022

Affordability Crisis: Where Can You Still Find A Reasonable Rental?

As rental rates continue to climb amid tight supply and the evaporation of COVID-era deals, renters now face a difficult choice at renewal: pay the increased cost or find alternative housing. For many renters, the likelihood of finding a new home at a more reasonable price, paying to move, and paying a new security deposit make either prospect daunting.
In Manhattan, the median rental rate is up 38% from this time last year and up 17% from 2019, the last normal market prior to the pandemic. Excluding Upper Manhattan, the median rental rate in Manhattan is up an astounding 44% from this time last year. Still, there are great variations by submarket and neighborhood.
Given the challenges, we identified the 10 most affordable markets in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens where renters still may find reasonably priced housing.


If you are faced with a daunting price hike on your rent, your best bet is to look in Upper Manhattan. Rental prices in the submarket are up 10% year-over-year, far less than the 40+% increases in all other Manhattan submarkets. Additionally, the median rental rate in Upper Manhattan is only up 1% from this time in 2019. 
Notably, the top six most affordable rental markets in Manhattan are in Upper Manhattan. Inwood is the most affordable rental market in Manhattan and saw one of the smallest yearly increases in rent.
If you want to look outside Upper Manhattan, head to Chinatown or the Upper East Side. Their median rental rates, while up significantly, are both under $3,500 and well below the borough-wide median rental rate of $3,850.
While Upper Manhattan is expected to see rental rates rise at a more rapid rate in the coming years, it still presents one of the most compelling options for budget-conscious renters who wish to reside in the borough. Many of these neighborhoods also offer access to multiple parks multiple subway lines and other modes of transportation.


Market-wide, the median rental rate is up 19% in Brooklyn from 2021, and up 14% from 2019. If you are seeking affordable options with slightly smaller increases, you will need to look to South Brooklyn. While the median rental rate is up 36% in North and Northwest Brooklyn, the submarkets closest to Manhattan, the median rental rate in South Brooklyn is up just 18% year-over-year and up 13% from 2019 – both slightly below the borough-wide figure.
Bath Beach is the most affordable neighborhood, where the median rental rate is up 3% from 2021. However, there are several neighborhoods that reported median rental rate declines compared to 2019. Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach, and Dyker Heights are currently all more affordable than they were pre-pandemic.
Still, if you are looking for an area slightly closer to Manhattan, Red Hook is the most affordable option between the North-Northwest Brooklyn submarkets. There, the median rental rate of $2,950 is up 28% from this time last year, but just 7% from 2019. Currently, it is the only neighborhood in those submarkets with a median rental rate below $3,000.


Queens still presents the most affordable options among the three boroughs, with the top 10 neighborhoods all reporting median asking rents of $2,100 or less. Borough-wide, the median rental price in Queens is $2,350, up 18% year-over-year and up 7% from 2019.

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