There aren’t too many times where you’ll hear cheap and NYC in the same sentence, especially when it comes to rents. When compared to the national average, the average rent for an apartment in NYC comes in at around $3,000, which is more than double the national average of $1,463. While rent might be the single largest expense for most people, NYC has so much entertainment, amazing food, and great bars that it’s all too easy to spend money.
While you probably won’t find an apartment that’s sub $1,000 if you plan on living by yourself, there are more affordable options and whether you’re saving up for a rainy day or just want some extra fun money, saving a few hundred on rent can go a long way. Below are some of the most affordable neighborhoods in NYC.
Located at the South West corner of Brooklyn, Bay Ridge is one of the best neighborhoods in Brooklyn. It’s often overlooked due to its distance from Manhattan. If you’re okay with having a long-ish commute, then Bay Ridge might be a great option. If you drive, you can hop on I-278 and easily get to Staten Island or Manhattan.
Unlike other waterfront locations, Bay Ridge gives you amazing harbor and bridge (Verrazano) views at a relatively low cost in comparison to places like DUMBO or Williamsburg. Unlike these neighborhoods, Bay Ridge has always attracted families so you see a lot of single-family homes in the Colonial or Tudor styles. Of course, there are apartment complexes, but the cozy homes give the area a more small-town vibe.
Besides having some of the most affordable rents in NYC, Bay Ridge also has great schools and is ranked as the top ten safest neighborhoods in the entire city. There’s also plenty to do if you move here whether you love the outdoors or enjoy some fine dining. While the nightlife scene might not be as vibrant as Manhattan’s, there are some neighborhood bars where you can sip on some tasty cocktails. These factors combined make it a great place for families as well as young professionals.
If you really want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, then Dyker Heights is a great option. Located southeast of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights is the perfect place if you’re looking to start a family. You get a lot of bang for your buck if you plan on buying as you can get an actual house with a yard and detached garage! In a place like NYC that’s limited on space, having any outdoor area is a luxury. One thing you might want to consider, though, is its proximity to the army installation Fort Hamilton, making Dyker Heights a popular place for active military.
Dyker Heights is served by the D, N, Q, and W trains so you can easily get around Brooklyn and Manhattan although it will take you at least 30 minutes to get to downtown Manhattan. It’s a mostly residential neighborhood so if you’re looking for active nightlife, you might want to look elsewhere. However, if you’re looking for something quiet and safe, then this is a great option.
That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. Dyker Heights is home to the Dyker Beach Golf Course where you can knock around some balls. There are a few local watering holes where you can catch a game and hang out with others in the neighborhood. During the winter, you can enjoy the famous Dyker Heights Christmas light show. People come from around the borough (and sometimes state) to check out the installation.
If you stand at the northernmost area of Inwood Hill Park, you’ll be able to see Spuyten Duyvil right across from the Spuyten Duyvil Creek. Located in the Bronx, this neighborhood looks like it belongs more in Westchester than NYC with its mix of large houses and villas. Due to its growing popularity, there has been rapid development of condos and luxury apartments so you’ll be more likely to find a rental here than other desired neighborhoods in the Bronx such as Riverdale and Fieldston.
While Spuyten Duyvil might not be as cheap as Bay Ridge or Dyker Heights, it does have the benefit of a relatively fast commute to Manhattan via the Metro-North Railroad. Unlike regular subways, taking the Metro-North will cost you almost three times as much as a regular one-way subway ticket. If you want to save your money, there are three express buses that take you to Manhattan and local buses that will take you to the 1 train. It’s also directly connected to Manhattan via the I-9A which will take you down the Westside Highway.
As a mostly residential neighborhood, there’s not much to write home about when it comes to nightlife. If you enjoy the outdoors, there is the 9-acre Henry Hudson Park where you relax on a bench or take advantage of the basketball courts, baseball diamond, or handball courts. There are some restaurants in the neighborhood, but you’re better off heading to Riverdale or other neighboring areas for a better selection.
Next to Staten Island, Queens is the next most overlooked borough in NYC. However, it’s home to some of the most affordable apartments in NYC, including Sunnyside. Located between the two popular neighborhoods of Astoria and Long Island City, Sunnyside is more of a residential neighborhood, though it still boasts a diverse ethnic population.
Walking around Sunnyside, you might feel like you’re walking around NYC from the 1800s as it’s home to historic cottages and large trees. Its popularity has risen due to its proximity to the 7 train and there are now more apartment complexes and condos popping up. While crowded during rush hour, you’ll probably get to Midtown faster from Sunnyside than if you were commuting from Brooklyn.
Since it’s a family-oriented community, there aren’t too many bars or clubs though you can travel to Long Island City or Astoria to enjoy a night out. The activities here are more family-focused so think community gardens, local restaurants, and pop-up bazaars on the weekends during the fall.
If you still want to say you live in Manhattan without paying Manhattan prices, then why not consider Inwood? Located at the northernmost point of Manhattan, Inwood offers a quieter, more residential feel. This is due in part to the zoning restrictions that limit most building heights to a maximum of 155 feet and only 85 feet along the shoreline. Combined with the rolling hills, it gives the place a more laid-back vibe.
Rents here might not be as cheap as other neighborhoods on this list, but it’s definitely cheaper than living in the West Village. Like other areas in Manhattan, Inwood has good access to public transportation as it is served by both the A and 1 trains. If you prefer to travel by car, you have easy access to I-9A so you can easily travel to the Bronx or Westchester.
While it might not be as bustling as other areas of Manhattan, Inwood offers a wide variety of activities, restaurants, bars, and more. It’s also home to Inwood Hill Park, home to the last natural salt marsh in Manhattan. This park is one of the last living pieces of prehistoric New York filled with caves, valleys, and ridges. If you enjoy hiking, there are walking and biking trails you can explore.
Living in New York City isn’t cheap, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find a decent, but affordable apartment. In fact, there are many deals you can find so long as you know where to look and who to ask. Once you’ve found the apartment of your dreams, make sure to hire professional movers like NYC Great Movers as we know every nook and cranny of this amazing city.
How do I know what neighborhood is right for me?
You should try to visit each of the areas and see if you like the vibe. If you can’t check it out in person, do as much research as possible and take advantage of Google Maps and Street View to check out the neighborhood.
Can I find a place for under $1,000?
If you plan on living alone, most likely no. However, you can always reduce your rent by finding roommates and splitting the costs.
How much do utilities cost?
Utility costs vary, but you can expect to pay around $50 for internet. Your electricity charges will fluctuate based on you much you use but it generally hovers between $60-$150/month.