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Wealthy renters move beyond Manhattan, infiltrate Brooklyn and Queens

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Where are they moving? Exactly where you’d expect

The rent may be too damn high, but there are plenty of people in New York City who are willing to pay those astronomical prices, according to a recent analysis by the apartment search website RentCafe.

In fact, NYC has the largest number of high-earning renters in the country. In Manhattan, for example, more than 211,482 households bringing in more than $150,000 annually live in rental housing—vastly exceeding the number of high-earning Manhattanites who’ve opted to buy.

And the percentage of upscale Manhattan renters is on the rise. Census data shows the cohort of wealthy renters increased in the borough by a whopping 86 percent. The number of homeowners in the same income bracket increased, too, but only by a comparatively piddling 18 percent.

Given that the average market rate rent in Manhattan comes in at $4,146/month (according to the study), that makes some degree of sense. Traditional financial wisdom dictates that you shouldn’t spend more than 30 percent of your income on rent—which means that in order to afford market-rate Manhattan digs, you need to be earning more than $150K/year. (If your household earns an even $150k, you can technically “afford” a monthly rent of $3,750.)

In the rest of the city, high-earning owners still outnumber high-earning renters—but that’s starting to change. Rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn has seen a “staggering rise” in the number of affluent renters over the last decade: in 2011, there were about 22,000 high-earning households renting in the borough. The number as of 2015: 52,000, or more than double. And when DNAInfo looked at the specific neighborhoods bearing the brunt of the influx, they found, well, exactly what you would expect: Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights have seen huge increases, as has Bushwick, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, plus Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and parts of Gravesend.

Queens is also not immune: the number of high-earning renters has gone from 8,500 in 2005 to 29,500 in 2015. The neighborhoods most affected: Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, and Long Island City, where new waterfront developments are cropping up en mass.

The shift is less pronounced in the Bronx, where there are relatively few high-income renter households—8,900, per the report—but the percentage of affluent renters is still climbing, growing by 166 percent over the last 10 years, especially around Co-op City. The only borough that hasn’t seen much change? Staten Island, where growth has stayed pretty consistent over the last decade.