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Williamsburg tops StreetEasy’s list of neighborhoods to watch in 2020

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The north Brooklyn neighborhood’s real estate has rebounded from the L train slump in a major way

A bike lane heading south along Kent Avenue, with the Williamsburg Bridge and Domino Sugar Refinery in the background.
After a dip in real estate values ahead of the proposed L train shutdown, Williamsburg has heartily rebounded.
Max Touhey

The high cost of living continues to chase renters and buyers further into the outer boroughs, according to StreetEasy’s roundup of 10 neighborhoods to watch in 2020. The listings website used data on the annual change in user searches on a neighborhood, the annual increases in median asking rent and sales prices, and the amount of new construction in an area to determine what neighborhoods may be luring the most new occupants—and developers, too—in the year to come.

Topping the list is a neighborhood that is none too surprising, given the year it’s had: Williamsburg. The north Brooklyn nabe saw its demand and rental pricing dip somewhat precipitously ahead of the once-planned L train shutdown. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s surprise announcement in early January that the train that crucially serves the area would no longer close for 15 months of repairs reignited the real estate frenzy that’s grasped the neighborhood over the past decade.

Williamsburg’s median rental and sales price grew seven percent and two percent over the year to $3,200 and $1.32 million, while StreetEasy searches for rentals and sales in the neighborhood rose a whopping 48 percent. Last year’s list topper, Downtown Brooklyn, didn’t even eke into this year’s top 10.

Clinton Hill claims the number two spot on the list, with an annual median rent growth of 10 percent to $3,000 and annual median sales growth of nine percent to $980,000. StreetEasy searches in the neighborhood rose 21 percent in 2019 from the year prior.

While the two western Brooklyn neighborhoods seem like more obvious list toppers, the eight that pull up the rear reflect New Yorkers’ perpetual search for affordability. Jamaica, Queens; Midwood, Brooklyn; Highbridge, Bronx; and East Flatbush, Brooklyn carry the third through sixth spots in the roundup. East Flatbush attracted the largest growth in searches between 2018 and 2019 of any neighborhood on the list at 58 percent. Falling right behind is Highbridge, where searches in the neighborhood—home to the Yankee Stadium subway stop—rose 55 percent.

Speaking of subway stops, StreetEasy notes that all neighborhoods on the list offer at the very least decent access to public transportation, proving that folks will move farther from Manhattan so long as there’s a subway, bus, or ferry to get them from point a to point b.

The only Manhattan neighborhood to make it onto the list is Little Italy, where the median sales price rose 66 percent from 2018 to $2.995 million. StreetEasy attributes the neighborhood’s appearance on the list to the price break it offers compared to its neighbor Tribeca, where the median sales price is $3.8 million. (The 66 percent price increase puts Little Italy this year on par with neighboring Soho, where the median sales price is also $2.9 million.)

NYC Neighborhoods to Watch in 2020

Rank Neighborhood, Borough Median Rent Annual Growth Median Sales Annual Growth Growth in SE Searches New Buildings
Rank Neighborhood, Borough Median Rent Annual Growth Median Sales Annual Growth Growth in SE Searches New Buildings
1 Williamsburg, Brooklyn $3,200 7% $1,317,156 2% 48% 41
2 Clinton Hill, Brooklyn $3,000 10% $980,000 9% 21% 13
3 Jamaica, Queens $2,170 5% $649,000 10% 44% 9
4 Midwood, Brooklyn $1,895 6% $758,999.00 3% 28% 18
5 Highbridge, Bronx $1,850 3% $180,000 8% 55% 7
6 East Flatbush, Brooklyn $2,115 1% $645,000 8% 58% 18
7 Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn $2,350 4% $1,297,000 13% 23% 9
8 Glendale, Queens $2,125 6% $829,000 5% 47% 1
9 Little Italy, Manhattan $3,300 10% $2,995,000 66% 24% 0
10 Crown Heights, Brooklyn $2,499 4% $1,072,000 2% 21% 12
Data compiled by StreetEasy

Head this way to see how 2020’s list stacks up to 2019’s.