Real estate research site NeighborhoodX has launched a series analyzing the most affordable apartments in different areas of New York, and they’ve begun by looking at Manhattan—better known as New York’s least affordable borough.
For October, they’ve ranked the ten cheapest listings (all from market-rate buildings) based on absolute dollar terms, rather than price per square foot. Apartments range from a $229,000 studio at 70 Park Terrace East, in Inwood, up to a $315,000 micro studio (at 265 square feet!) at 99 Avenue B in the East Village. According to NeighborhoodX, given a conventional lending situation of 20 percent down, these would require a down payment anywhere between $45,000 and $62,000.
Taking price per square foot into context, the numbers range from $482 per square foot (at 70 Park Terrace East) up to $1,188 per square foot (at 99 Avenue B). Through that lens, that Avenue B apartment doesn’t seem like any kind of deal.
Then there’s the matter of maintenance fees, which also make some of these prices a little less appealing. Five Tudor City Place—where there’s a $279,000 studio co-op for sale—is a ground lease building, meaning that it does not own the land on which it is built. And 301 East 63rd Street—which holds a $280,000 studio co-op—was, until recently, a ground lease building. Those units come with disproportionately high monthly maintenance fees to either pay the ground lease, or cover the cost of the building's mortgage to have purchased the underlying land. (The monthly fee at 312 East 63rd is $1,348.) Essentially, the asking price is lower to offset the higher mortgage costs.
Besides those two units, most of the affordable apartments are located in Upper Manhattan: Inwood, Morningside Heights and Hudson Heights. With any properties downtown, you’re either paying crazy high maintenance fees or settling for 265 square feet.