Overview of NYC’s Rental Market by Borough


MARKET TRENDS Overview of NYC’s Rental Market by Borough

In the past decade, the housing market has seen shifts in attitude, especially toward renting, which has become increasingly popular in recent years, with people of various incomes, ages, and professions favoring renting over homeownership. A cumulative factor has been the drop in affordability—fueled by rising student loans, general cost of living, and home prices—combined with the need for flexibility and freedom generated by constant job growth.

One of the most prolific renter hubs that evolved in the last 10 years was New York City, an ever-developing, growing city. In fact, with 77% of its total population renting, Manhattan tops the list of highest renter share in the country. 

To better understand how the rental market of NYC looks heading into 2020, here’s a real estate snapshot of three of the boroughs—Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.

Rental Rates & Home Prices

Home prices have risen a lot between 2010 and 2018, which is one of the reasons for the increase in renter share, as well. In NYC’s boroughs, home prices have increased significantly, reaching $776,500 in Brooklyn (spiking 65%), $565,000 in Queens (a 57% increase), and $1.15 million in Manhattan (up 39%). 

When it comes to rent, the end of 2019 registered the following averages: $2,916 for an apartment for rent in Brooklyn, $2,569 in Queens, and $4,224 in Manhattan. Unfortunately, data for the average rent in 2010 by borough was not available for comparison. 

Renter-Owner Distribution

As mentioned above, Manhattan reached the highest share of renters this decade, yet both Brooklyn and Queens are also home to a majority of renters: 65% in Brooklyn and 52% in Queens in 2018. Interestingly, the data show that these numbers are very similar to 2010, when the proportions were actually slightly higher. 

Renter Profiles

A wide variety of people gave up their homeowner status to choose renting instead. This trend was scattered among different demographics, with gains in the share of wealthy renters ($150,000+ income), as well as Baby Boomers. As apartments became more convenient, attractive, and equipped with all the amenities they could ask for, people decided that this option would best meet their needs. 

The city also saw the largest net number of wealthy, renter-occupied households—approximately 249,000 people. Along the same lines, Brooklyn recorded more than 55,000 more wealthy renters this decade; Manhattan had more than 48,000; and Queens logged more than 23,000 renters with incomes greater than $150,000.

As for generational changes, NYC also reached the highest population of Baby Boomers, with eight out of the 20 most popular ZIP codes for Boomers located in Brooklyn, in addition to two in Manhattan and four in Queens. 

Construction Trends

Furthermore, New York City apartments for rent have become more numerous and more luxurious, yet also smaller during the past decade. In particular, the New York metro added the second-highest number of apartments, with 63,000 luxury units and 62,100 non-luxury units. Queens apartments for rent were actually the fourth-smallest apartments in the country in 2019, with an average square footage of just 721. Similarly, rental apartments in Manhattan were the fifth-smallest, with an average of 722 square feet. 

About the author: Mihaela Buzec is a passionate reader and writer with an affinity for language and linguistics, as well as the latest technological developments. She discovered her passion for real estate at RENTCafé, and you can read more of her articles on their blog.


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