The trouble with starter apartments is that they're usually just lacking in that "wow" factor, the sort of features that would drive someone to give up renting for a reason other than wealth creation. Those apartments are out there, though?they just require some digging, and sometimes, some compromise on practicality. This recently-renovated studio in West Chelsea's landmark London Terrace doesn't seem to compromise on anything except the murphy bed, which is stashed away during the day behind closet doors. Thanks to a separate dressing room, the living area isn't cluttered with storage, making for a better entertaining space than most apartments its size and price, $375K. The location, near the High Line and amid some of the city's more expensive new construction, is prime, and while maintenance is on the high side, at $1,100 per month, at least that includes access to the building's stunning original swimming pool.
? Manhattan-based buyers in the sub-$500K range would be hard pressed to find much in the way of outdoor space, but this one-bedroom Battery Park condo runs just $439K and includes a 10' by 23' private terrace. While that space looks to be sectioned off from a larger public area and doesn't enjoy much in the way of views, there's still plenty of space for grilling and outdoor dining and a potted hedge provides some privacy.
? This near-East Village loft provides the feel of a classic artist's garrett with a mezzanine bedroom and an updated kitchen. Granted the space looks a bit cramped and the views are nothing to rave about, but the prime location just south of Union Square helps explain the $550K price tag. Storage is also at a premium, but the low maintenance of $756 per month should leave a little left over for a storage unit if need be.
? This next place isn't much to look at, in fact, it's one of the worst looking studios we've come across at this price. But, and this is a big caveat, it sits on Gramercy Park North, meaning it's currently the cheapest way to score a coveted key to the private park. Spending $425K to walk between some flower beds—and not walk your dog, mind you—seems a little unhinged, but it sure beats dropping multi-millions for the same privilege elsewhere in the neighborhood. Plus, the price for this studio used to be much lower. In 2011, it was asking just $299K, so maybe the sellers are ready to negotiate the current ask.
? Located in the up-and-coming Brooklyn neighborhood of Fort Greene, this small one-bedroom might not impress buyers with a bargain basement asking price, but the stately building and architecturally-interesting bay window are big draws, as is the maintenance bill, at just $410 per month. There's also a private storage unit in the basement, so buyers don't have to worry about cramming all their stuff into the co-op's 485 square feet. The ceilings also seem tall enough to accommodate a loft bed, should the buyer want to cram a guest into their $319K purchase.