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More NYC renters seek roommates, new neighborhoods, because of the coronavirus

More NYC renters are seeking roommates and turning to neighborhoods like Hamilton Heights and Hell’s Kitchen.

Austin Havens-Bowen for Brick Underground/Flickr

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The Covid-19 pandemic appears to have changed how and where New York City renters are searching for apartments. There’s an increased demand for roommates and renters are searching for apartments in more affordable neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

RentHop’s rental report for the first quarter of 2020 found that eight out of the 10 top neighborhoods for roommate requests saw significant year-over-year increases in renters inquiring about room shares. The report also found that renters seeking entire apartments, instead of a shared situation, have changed their neighborhood preferences to neighborhoods like Hamilton Heights.

All of the top 10 neighborhoods for roommate requests were in Brooklyn and Manhattan, except for Ridgewood, Queens, which had a 71 percent increase. Hell’s Kitchen saw the highest increase in roommate queries, up 227 percent year over year. In Brooklyn, Crown Heights saw the biggest jump in roommate requests, 83 percent year over year.

For renters searching for an entire apartment, the neighborhoods most searched for were in Brooklyn and Manhattan, with the exception of Astoria and Ridgewood, Queens. Yorkville has the most requests for roommates, and saw only a 4 percent increase year over year. Hamilton Heights, searches for roommates were up 61 percent. BedStuy had the most searches in Brooklyn, and East New York saw the biggest jump, up 463 percent.

Some neighborhoods are seeing a decline in searches from renters amid the pandemic, mainly in Manhattan. The Financial District saw the biggest decline with a 35 percent decrease from last year. East Harlem saw an 18 percent decrease and searches on the Upper West Side were down 12 percent from last year. Bushwick saw a 29 percent decrease. 

To generate the report RentHop used traffic and search data from renters who visit their site.