The Rent Conundrum: Brooklynites Are Fleeing Back to Manhattan!


A few months ago, we sadly had to write a post titled “Brooklyn is No Longer the ‘Budget-Savvy’ Alternative to Manhattan.” It revolved around the news that Brooklyn was now the second most-expensive place to live in the country, falling only below its skyscraper neighbor, Manhattan. But what happens when the second-most expensive place to live becomes as costly, if not more, than the most expensive place?

Let’s call it the modern-day urban sprawl.

In a story that would come as a surprise to someone living in 2006, the Daily News reported yesterday that Brooklyn is becoming so damn expensive that recent transplants are actually going back to Manhattan. The slowly, then rapidly developing real estate boom in Kings County over the past decade is now pushing out newcomers as well as longtime residents.

Welcome to the rent conundrum that is New York City.

The News report states that, in the first quarter of 2013, the median price for a home in Brooklyn reached a peak not seen since 2008: a whopping $515,000. Of course, the inventory for these houses has dropped 45 percent–a five-year low for the occupied borough.

And these price jumps in Brooklyn are happening everywhere. Name the region–Northside, South Brooklyn, East Brooklyn, near Barclays–and you’ll see another zero attached to the average rent. This sentiment is perfectly captured in the all-too-common phrase heard nowadays, “Oh, Greenpoint? Greenpoint is so expensive now.” Average rent for the borough? $2,791.

Contrast that with Manhattan: over the past year, the vacancy rate has increased from 1.22 percent to 1.41 percent. The small rise in emptiness could be a memento of the move to Brooklyn or just this general idea to move as far away from Manhattan as humanly possible. But this news of a sprawl backward will most likely reverse the recent trend.

So where does that leave the rest of us? Well, don’t be surprised if you see headlines proclaiming “The Rise of Queens” in coming months.