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Brooklyn has now surpassed Manhattan in the number of 2- and 3-bedroom rental apartments, according to a new StreetEasy analysis. (Getty Images)

For any New Yorker on an apartment hunt, one key question is where in the city you’ll find the most options that fit your needs.

If you’re seeking a budget 2-bedroom to share with a friend, for example, you may want to look in a different neighborhood than you would if you were seeking a studio in a luxury building. And maybe even in a different borough.

A new StreetEasy analysis finds that Brooklyn has surpassed Manhattan in the number of 2- and 3-bedroom rental apartments in the last few years for the first time, as the demand for affordable, larger apartments grows across the city. Meanwhile, Manhattan still has the highest concentration of studio and 1-bedroom apartments.

These shifts come at a red-hot time for the NYC rental market: Rents across the city have risen 3% since last year alone. But despite rising rents, renters still have more options today than they did a few years ago, as rental inventory grows across the city.

So if you’re in the market for a new apartment and want more space at a more affordable price, Brooklyn now offers the most options. But if you want to live alone in a central location — and have the budget for it — Manhattan has the most selection.

Here, using StreetEasy data from the first quarter of 2010 to 2019, we’ll break down the city housing stock by bedrooms to help New Yorkers discover where to find the most options, based on their size and budget needs.

Brooklyn Still Means More Space for Less Money

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Brooklyn amassed more 3-bedroom rentals than Manhattan in 2017, and more 2-bedroom rentals in 2018. The number of larger apartments is still growing faster in Brooklyn than in Manhattan. 

This year, Brooklyn offered more than twice the amount of 3-bedroom rentals than Manhattan in the first quarter. There was also a much wider selection of 2-bedroom rentals, with 3,700 more to choose from in Brooklyn. 

Not only do Brooklyn renters have more larger apartments to choose from, those apartments also come at a lower price. Median asking rent for a 2-bedroom in Manhattan in August 2019 was $3,986, while in Brooklyn it was $2,651.

Manhattan Is the Place for Luxury Studios and 1BRs

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If you don’t need a ton of space and have the means to live alone, Manhattan will offer you the most apartment options to choose from, with more than twice as many studios as Brooklyn, and seven times more than Queens.

But living alone in central Manhattan comes at a high price. In August 2019, the median rent for 1-bedrooms in Manhattan increased by 7.5% year over year to $3,350.

What About Smaller Apartments in the Outer Boroughs?

Studios are harder to find in Brooklyn and Queens, but the number of 1-bedroom rentals has doubled roughly every five years in these boroughs. Prices there have gone up, too.

This past August, median asking rent for 1-bedroom units in North Brooklyn, which includes Williamsburg and Greenpoint, rose 15.9% year over year to $3,200. In Northwest Queens, which includes Long Island City, the median asking rent for a 1-bedroom rose to $2,195 – up 7.1% from last year.

What This All Means for NYC Renters

More inventory of all bedroom sizes means more opportunities for renters to find their ideal apartment. Though rents are rising, focusing your hunt in boroughs with the most options means a better chance of finding a good deal or an apartment within your budget. 

Which borough is best for you depends on your particular needs and budget. But whether you plan to live in a larger space in Brooklyn or live centrally and alone in Manhattan, you’ll have a lot more variety to choose from in either borough today than you did in past years. 

How We Did It

We used StreetEasy data to find the total inventory of studios, 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom rentals in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Numbers reflect Q1 rental inventory listed in StreetEasy each year. 

Inspired to find your next place in New York? Whether you’re looking to rent or to buy, search NYC apartments on StreetEasy.