Neighborhood Intel

New York's most—and least—affordable areas, mapped in 3D

By Virginia K. Smith  | December 9, 2014 - 11:59AM

Data maps are getting to be nearly as much of a New York pastime as complaining about the cost of housing, and a new series of graphics is here to help us enjoy both (and in three dimensions, no less). The above map comes courtesy of  Constantine Valhouli, a principal at the Hammersmith Group, a consulting firm that focuses on real estate and market analysis—he's previously released a map of the city's notable musical references. This time around, Valhouli pulled data on average sale price per square foot from Zillow, Streeteasy, and Trulia to show the city's pricing by neighborhood, as represented by height. (The maps themselves were made by designer Cat Callaghan.)

Below, an upside-down view of the five boroughs (and Jersey):

As you'd expect, the prices (much like the actual buildings) are sky high in much of Manhattan and North Brooklyn, but there are a few surprising areas where cost looks comparatively reasonable (and unreasonable). Yorkville appears to be living up to its hype as an affordable alternative to hipper downtown enclaves, and in spite of its easy 10-minute commute to the city, Jersey City prices are about on par with Brooklyn neighborhoods that have commutes three or four times as long.
That spike you see in usually-affordable southern Brooklyn? "One of the most surprising [things we saw] was the Orthodox enclave within Gravesend between Avenues S and U," explains Valhouli, "where houses sell for $10 to $12 million, or about $2,000 per square foot." In the surrounding areas, prices are closer to $470 per square foot.
"We wanted to reconsider the commonly cited statistic that NYC housing prices average $1,200 per square foot," says Valhouli of his inspiration for the project. "We felt that it wasn't a monolithic market, and if people were open to considering different neighborhoods and under-the-radar neighborhoods, then there were pockets of surprising value within a short commute to Manhattan. " By and large, prices do tend to decline as commute times increase, and there are still parts of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx where homes can be found for less than $200 per square foot. And if you're dead-set on staying in Manhattan on a budget? Head uptown—Washington Heights and Inwood claimed top honors as the borough's most affordable areas for buyers.


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