SOURCE: RentHop

RentHop

September 16, 2013 10:00 ET

RentHop Releases Study on Hottest NYC Neighborhoods for Renters

Five Month Study With More Than Six Million Searches Reveals West Village, Chelsea and SoHo as Most Popular Manhattan Neighborhoods

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Sep 16, 2013) - RentHop, the smarter apartment search marketplace, announced today a study revealing the hottest neighborhoods for renters searching for apartments in Manhattan.

Based on more than six million searches people conducted over a five-month span on RentHop.com, the company has identified the three most searched for neighborhoods as the West Village, Chelsea, and SoHo. The least searched-for neighborhoods are Roosevelt Island, Harlem, and Little Italy/Chinatown.

About NYC's "hottest" neighborhoods and how to find deals

In Manhattan, the hotness factor seems to start in the West Village and extend outwards to other parts of the city. That might not be all too surprising, though, given the West Village's proximity to high-end restaurants and shopping, pretty tree-lined streets and great celebrity-watching. The West Village is a desirable neighborhood that has a limited amount of housing stock (owing in part to a relatively small number of large high-rise apartment buildings), so renters who succeed in finding an apartment there often stay for a long time. Even by New York standards, West Village apartments appear rarely and are rented quickly when they do appear.

Unfortunately, the hottest neighborhoods are also among the most expensive. On average, a one-bedroom doorman/elevator apartment in a "hot" neighborhood will run renters $895 more than one in a "cold" neighborhood or around $400 more than one in a "lukewarm/chilly" neighborhood. It turns out that even a few blocks can make a big difference. Going from one neighborhood to another (even by a few streets) can add hundreds of dollars to apartment prices. A big chunk of this difference comes from the types of buildings in the areas. Places like SoHo (known for high-end boutiques and restaurants) and Greenwich Village (known for historic shops and restaurants) are more flat than tall. There are fewer high-rise apartment buildings, and as a result there are relatively fewer apartments.

Another example of pricing differences between nearby neighborhoods is Murray Hill/Kips Bay and Gramercy (also by around $500 for a one-bedroom doorman/elevator apartment). Gramercy is a historic district with the only private park in the city. Zoning laws in the area have prevented taller buildings, so the available "space" has always been limited. While renters probably won't get a key to the private park, they can still save money and live around the area by looking in Murray Hill/Kips Bay. Similarly, one-bedrooms in Midtown West/Hell's Kitchen are cheaper than those in Chelsea by around $500. Even though the two neighborhoods are only divided by a few underdeveloped blocks (around the 30s), they are still relatively close. The recent developments of the High Line Park and new high-rises in Hudson Yards are bringing the neighborhoods even closer together.

Exceptions to most searched equals most expensive

There are some exceptions to RentHop's finding that the most searched neighborhoods are also the most expensive. For one-bedroom doorman/elevator apartments, Chinatown/Little Italy (the fourth-least searched neighborhood on RentHop.com) is among the most expensive neighborhoods in New York; a one-bedroom doorman/elevator apartment there costs as much on average as a similar apartment in TriBeCa, and more than any neighborhood in New York except for the West Village, Greenwich Village and Nolita / Bowery. However, a one-bedroom in a walkup in Chinatown is, on average, a whopping 33% cheaper than a one-bedroom in a doorman/elevator building there, the biggest difference RentHop measured in Manhattan. Why? Chinatown/Little Italy have very interesting histories and are relatively convenient geographically, but their convenience (they are very near Canal Street, one of New York's key cross-town traffic routes) means that there is often heavy traffic and a lot of tourists to boot. Also, Chinatown/Little Italy's rich histories mean that there are relatively few new doorman/elevator buildings; much of the housing stock is in older buildings in which apartments are smaller and amenities aren't as nice.

It's interesting to compare the Upper West Side (the "UWS") and the Upper East Side (the "UES"). One-bedroom doorman/elevator apartments in the UWS, a "lukewarm" neighborhood, cost on average about 8% more per month than comparable apartments on the UES, a hotter neighborhood; one-bedroom walkups, though, cost on average about 17% more on the UWS than on the UES. Plentiful housing options in the UES, including several high-rise buildings, explain some of this difference. In addition, ongoing construction relating to the Second Avenue Subway line and relatively few public transportation options to / from the UES make commuting from there to midtown or downtown less convenient.

Where to Find Value in the "Colder Neighborhoods"

Two of the "colder" neighborhoods in the city are the Financial District (FiDi) and Battery Park City. However, for doorman/elevator high-rises, these two neighborhoods still provide some of the greatest value. Even though the area might conjure up thoughts of Freedom Tower tourists and office buildings, there are several high-quality doorman/elevator buildings with good-sized apartments and high-quality amenities. While those areas don't have New York's liveliest nightlife, a large number of restaurants, bars, and food options have opened up over the last few years in the vicinity. Plus, the new CitiBike stations near on Pearl Street and on William Street give additional transportation options (aside from the nearly all-encompassing Fulton subway stops). Finally, TriBeCa, one of New York's trendiest neighborhoods, is adjacent to FiDi and provides several more food, shopping and entertainment options.

"We have always strived to be the go to resource for renters to find high quality apartments," said Lawrence Zhou, co-founder of RentHop. "We comb through our vast amount of data and analyze it to provide useful nuggets to the renters that visit our site, and this study of NYC neighborhoods yielded some interesting results with advice to renters on pockets where they could still find great value and a good location."

About RentHop
Founded in 2009 by Lawrence Zhou and Lee Lin, RentHop simplifies real estate decisions using technology and data analysis. It offers the most sophisticated apartment quality ranking algorithms, helping apartment hunters quickly sift through large pools of inventory to find the most appropriate listings. RentHop is funded by Y Combinator and currently serves the NYC, Boston and Chicago metro areas. For more information, please visit www.RentHop.com.

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