If Manhattan Is Cheaper, Why Do You Pay for Park Slope?

If Manhattan Is Cheaper, Why Do You Pay for Park Slope?
“We could afford the tiniest studio you’ve ever seen in Park Slope, or move to the Upper East Side and live in a brownstone”

Today’s Wall Street Journal talks to a number of former Brooklynites who’ve ditched the borough and headed back to Manhattan because they’ve found it’s actually cheaper there.

In many Brooklyn neighborhoods, “the rent just keeps going up and up, even in the sluggish economy, even in the slight downturn in the housing market,” according to Jonathan Bowles, director of the Center for an Urban Future. “For a lot of people that turned to Brooklyn in part because it was a little of a bargain, I think they’re being forced to look elsewhere,” he said.

So it’s not exactly news that Brooklyn isn’t the bargainsville it used to be (see also: all media of the last 5 years). And for anyone that’s been budget-apartment hunting lately, the idea that there are pockets of Manhattan that might make more financial sense than brownstone (or loft) Brooklyn isn’t earthshaking either.

According to the WSJ, rents for Manhattan studios are up 8%, while Brooklyn studios are up 10.4%; Manhattan one-bedrooms rose by less than 5%. Their Brooklyn counterparts? Up by almost 10%. Which means that in cases where rents were more or less equivalent before, the Manhattan apartments are now the more affordable option.

But if upscale 2012 Brooklyn (BoCoCa, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, etc, etc. — like pornography, you know it when you see it) is more expensive than living in somewhat out-of-favor parts of Manhattan (UES, Alphabet City) — is that really such a shock?

Manhattan is still the center of NYC, culturally/socially/economically/whatever-ally, but — at least for some facets of the city — that seems to be shifting. And as Brooklyn neighborhoods become cultural/social/economic (maybe?) hubs, it makes some degree of sense that the rents would start (or rather, continue) to rival the less-accessible neighborhoods of Manhattan.

So here’s the question, Park Slopers: Why do you pay what you pay to live here?


Sign in or become a Bklyner member to join the conversation.