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New York's best ‘bang for your buck’ neighborhoods

Most New Yorkers agree that the lifestyle and possibilities available to us are unparalleled, but living in the greatest city in the world comes at a price.

New York is consistently ranked among our country’s most expensive places — to both rent and buy a home. While our real estate market is undeniably pricey, there are neighborhoods across the city that offer — comparatively speaking — a better value for your dollar.

I like to say that there are opportunities around every corner in New York City, and these areas give home seekers a chance to find a place they love, at a price that won’t break the bank.

Long Island City

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Do you dream about living above it all in a high-rise with an array of amenities — like a pool, gym and doorman?

If luxury on a budget is your priority, Long Island City, Queens, may be the answer for you. Over the last 10 years, there has been incredible growth in this waterfront community. During this time nearly 10,000 new apartments have been built in this roughly 40-block, triangularly-shaped neighborhood.

Best of all for renters, apartments in L.I.C. can trade at a 20%-25% discount to equivalent properties in Manhattan. Plus, with a local market saturated with new product, building owners will likely offer apartment shoppers move-in incentives to sweeten the deal.

There is plenty to do in Long Island City. Waterfront Gantry State Park offers incredible views of Manhattan, and there is a thriving bar and restaurant scene centered on Vernon Ave.

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While some residents bemoan the lack of shops and services, the commercial sector is also beginning to pick up in the community.

If you are seeking a good deal on your new apartment, these areas make a great starting point for your search. New York City is home a wide array of diverse neighborhoods — each with a unique rental market and one-of-a-kind vibe.

East Harlem

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The original Patsy’s Pizza in East Harlem, 2287 First Ave.

(Richard Harbus/for New York Daily News)

Recently we have seen an influx of renters and buyers (especially first-timers) to East Harlem. Housing in this neighborhood tends to be around 15%-20% less expensive than the other parts of Harlem to the West.

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In addition, East Harlem offers an easy commute via the 4,5 and 6 trains to points Downtown and in the Bronx. The Metro-North Railroad also stops at 125th and Park Avenue — making the whole region easily accessible.

East Harlem is home to a wide variety of great local restaurants — including the coal-oven Patsy’s Pizza, which has been serving the community since 1933.

East River Plaza is a huge shopping center with a variety of big-name chain stores like Target and Costco. Located at 116th St. and the FDR, it’s a good place to shop for everyday essentials at reasonable prices.

Developers have big plans for East Harlem, and many existing pre-war buildings are being revitalized and brought to a modern standard. The city is also attempting to revise the zoning in the area to allow towers of up to 30 stories — and will require up to a quarter of new housing to be deemed affordable. If this plan is approved, construction in the neighborhood will increase exponentially.

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Washington Heights/Inwood

Upper Manhattan is a great option for those in search of value. Much of the housing stock in these communities is situated in large pre-war apartment buildings that often boast some Art-Deco flair.

Typically, these units offer spacious floor plans and vintage detail that appeal to many tenants. Better yet, these properties can rent for a discount that’s nearly half-off the price of the average Manhattan home. Our most recent market report shows the average one-bedroom apartment in Washington Heights rents for $ 1,718 per month — compared to $ 3,040 per month for the borough as a whole.

While many fear the commute from far Uptown, the A train reaches the Times Square area in less than 30 minutes. The local area also has a lot to offer, especially for fans of art and the outdoors.

Washington Heights’ Bennett Park boasts the highest natural point in Manhattan — and the Cloisters is a world-renowned museum of Medieval art and architecture.

Washington Heights in Upper Manhatttan offers many apartments with reasonable rents.

Washington Heights in Upper Manhatttan offers many apartments with reasonable rents.

(Schwartz,Michael ,Freelance,NYDN)


Williamsburg is one of the trendiest and most in-demand neighborhoods across New York City — and has helped define what many perceive as the new “Brooklyn aesthetic.”

As a result of all this hype, our research shows that the average Williamsburg one-bedroom apartment rents for $ 3,232 per month — more than a similarly-sized home in Manhattan neighborhoods such as Murray Hill, the East Village and the Upper East Side.

While Williamsburg is undoubtedly the most expensive area on this list, now may be the time to move if you want to make this neighborhood home.

Because of substantial new rental market inventory and the looming 18-month L train shutdown by the MTA, many building owners are offering generous concessions — like payment of brokerage fees, and in some cases, even several months of free rent to new tenants.

In addition, as the train closure becomes more imminent, asking rents in certain parts of Williamsburg may fall. While the subway shutdown will be inconvenient, there are other alternatives for commuters — including the J train and the East River ferries.

If you are seeking a good deal on your new apartment, these areas make a great starting point for your search. New York City is home a wide array of diverse neighborhoods — each with a unique rental market and one-of-a-kind vibe.

My advice is to keep an open mind — and get out there and explore. Your perfect home may sit around the very next corner.

Gary Malin is president of New York real estate brokerage firm Citi Habitats.

For more DAILY VIEWS, The News’ contributor network, click here.

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