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Brooklyn, NY – The Eastward Expansion of High-Income Newcomers

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Much has been written about the changes taking place in Brooklyn’s neighborhoods in the last decade. We dived into Census data to see how renters are impacting New York City‘s most populous borough. Judging by the explosion of new rentals construction in the post housing-crisis era, there’s no denying that the borough is attracting a new type of residents – higher-income renters.

In one decade Brooklyn saw a staggering 324% rise in affluent families moving here to rent. As of 2015, Brooklyn has over 52,000 high-income renter households, more than the city of Los Angeles, and more than double since 2011, when their numbers started to increase visibly. Moreover, the number of high-earning renters in NYC’s most populous borough is increasing at a much faster pace than the number of homeowners with comparable incomes, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2015 ACS.

[bctt tweet=”Brooklyn, NY has more affluent renters than Los Angeles. ” username=”RENTCafeapts”] If “the arrival of wealthier people in an existing urban district” is a sign of gentrification, then that “district” is Brooklyn. In just 10 years, affluent renters have moved to Brooklyn by the tens of thousands, causing a massive gentrification of its neighborhoods — the Northwestern ones to be specific. This map shows how — in just a few years — neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Downtown, DUMBO, Park Slope, and Williamsburg have become havens for young, hip, well-paid people looking to rent:

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By contrast, the rest of the borough’s neighborhoods lag behind. Brownsville, NE Flatbush, City Line, East New York and Highland Park have some of the highest numbers of low-income renters. Zip code 11212 (Brownsville) has the most renter households earning less than $50K/year. These and many other Central and Eastern Brooklyn neighborhoods are still experiencing low property values and high foreclosure rates, according to data from Property Shark. The lowest median home sale prices in Brooklyn are recorded in the Eastern zip codes 11207 and 11236 (in the $300,000’s), while the highest prices are in the Northwestern zip codes 11231, 11217, 11215, and 11201 (around $1 million), examples of the rift between Western and Eastern Brooklyn.

But the map reveals another interesting phenomenon: the gradual eastward and southward proliferation of high-income newcomers, taking advantage of the lower prices, expanding into Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesand and other once-overlooked areas of Brooklyn. Zip codes 11216 (Bedford-Stuyvesant) and 11214 (Bensonhurst / Bath Beach) are unrecognizable from just 5 years ago, with the number of high-earners now renting here four times higher than it was in 2011. A significant influx of wealthy renters over the last 4-5 years is also visible in 11237, 11211 and 11206.

If a decade ago there were just a handful of well-to-do families renting in Brooklyn, it has become clear by now that the floodgates are irreversibly opened and the demographics in the borough have undoubtedly changed.

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About the author

Nadia Balint

Nadia Balint is a senior creative writer for RENTCafé. She covers news and trends in residential and commercial real estate and their impact on our everyday life, including rental housing, for-sale housing, real estate development, homeownership, market reports, insurance, landlord-tenant laws, personal finance, urban development, economy, sustainability, and social issues. Nadia holds a B.S. in Business Management from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. You can connect with Nadia via email.

Nadia’s work and expertise have been quoted by major national and local media outlets, including CNN, CNBC, CBS News, Curbed, The NY Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post as well as industry publications, such as GlobeSt, Bisnow, Inman News, Multifamily Executive, and The Commercial Real Estate Show. Nadia also wrote for Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive, HubSpot, and more. Prior to entering the real estate industry, Nadia worked in the legal field, where she gained over 10 years of experience in business, corporate, and real estate law.

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