image of most expensive neighborhoods in nyc

Which are NYC’s most expensive neighborhoods? We’ve got the list. (Getty Images)

Everyone knows New York City is expensive. But the list of the most expensive neighborhoods in NYC is always changing — often in surprising ways.

Between 2015 and 2019, sales prices rose in almost all neighborhoods in New York City, with a few exceptions. In a handful of New York’s most expensive neighborhoods — such as Battery Park City, the West Village, Dumbo, the Financial District, and Midtown West — median recorded sales prices actually declined.

Meanwhile, areas like Gramercy Park, the Lower East Side, Ditmas Park, and Roosevelt Island saw their home prices rise far more than elsewhere.

The Most Expensive Neighborhoods in NYC, 2015-2019

To understand how the sales market in New York City neighborhoods changed over the last five years, we created a slopegraph, which is a chart that shows the ranking of neighborhoods in 2015 and 2019 in terms of median recorded sales price. (That’s the most accurate average of what properties actually sold for — not what they were listed for — in each area.)

image of most expensive neighborhoods in nyc

Click to enlarge.

The lines connecting 2015 to 2019 show the change in rank. If an area went up in rank, the line points upwards, and conversely, if the rank dropped, the line points downwards. The color of the lines indicate whether the price went up or down year over year. A blue line means the price rose, while a red line means it went down in price year over year. The thickness of the lines represents the number of units that were sold. A thicker line means more units sold.

Prices Doubled in Cobble Hill and Lower East Side, Pushing Them Up the Ranks

Ranked at number 12 in 2015, Cobble Hill rose to become the fourth-most expensive neighborhood in NYC in 2019, as its median recorded sales price nearly doubled from $1.33 million to $2.55 million.

Homes in Cobble Hill tend to spend a short time on the market and continue to be an attractive option for high-budget buyers seeking an elegant neighborhood with convenient transportation.

Manhattan Sales Under $1 Million Article continues below

The Lower East Side also saw one of the largest jumps in rank, from 57th place to 14th place, due to prices doubling from $655,000 to $1.31 million. The neighborhood’s growth comes as no surprise — it had already made the number three spot on StreetEasy’s list of neighborhoods to watch in 2019 for its high volume of new developments coming to market.

The Most Expensive NYC Neighborhoods Are Getting Even More Expensive

While most NYC neighborhoods either rose or fell in rank, the top three did not budge. Tribeca, Nolita, and SoHo remain the three neighborhoods with the highest median recorded sales price in the city over the past five years, with prices having increased in all three.

image of brownstones on the upper west side

Brownstones on the Upper West Side.

Tribeca saw the greatest price hikes — a cumulative 29% over the last 5 years — largely due to the arrival of high-end buildings like 56 Leonard in 2015 and 30 Park Place in 2016. Prices grew only marginally in Nolita and SoHo, rising by 4% and 1%, respectively.

Manhattan Neighborhoods and Dumbo See Prices Drop

Few neighborhoods actually saw median recorded sales prices drop over the last five years — and those that did are almost all in Manhattan. Midtown West had a high volume of sales, as represented by the thicker slope line, but the increased demand in an already-concentrated neighborhood comes from lower prices. They fell in the area by 14%, suggesting many negotiations and price cuts that favor buyers.

Chinatown fell the most in rank, with prices falling by 36%. Prices in the West Village, one of the 10 most expensive NYC neighborhoods in 2015, dropped by 12%, pushing the area down to 22nd place in 2019, despite a high volume of sales.

Dumbo was the only non-Manhattan neighborhood with a drop in median recorded sales price — 8% total, though that still leaves the Brooklyn neighborhood as one of the city’s most expensive. Perhaps many New Yorkers who could afford to buy there are choosing to rent in Dumbo instead, as it saw one of the highest surges in renter demand in 2018.

Regardless, buyers interested in neighborhoods where median recorded sales prices have declined should be prepared to negotiate for a good deal.

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

Brooklyn Sales Under $800K Article continues below