best-of-2016It’s been two years since we launched this blog and in that short time, readers and visitors to the StreetEasy site have shown us what topics, themes and news are most important.

In 2016, just as it was in 2015, renters, buyers and voyeurs of New York City real estate have most often and enthusiastically clicked on items that report on cost and competition.

From Brooklyn’s hottest neighborhoods, to rent affordability, to the best bargain neighborhoods, there’s no escaping the fact that readers are most eager to read about the next best deal or the best-kept secret or ways to get a step ahead of the competition. Reader interest in these areas has helped us tailor our blog topics so we can further engage StreetEasy users in exactly the areas that are the most urgent and popular.

Here, then, we invite you to review StreetEasy’s 10 most popular posts of 2016:

#1. Tipping Point: When Buying Beats Renting in New York City

In every real estate market, analysts can determine the point at which it makes more financial sense to buy a home rather than rent. In this post, our analysts unveiled the tipping point for New York City.

Our findings suggested that if a person intends to stick around NYC for longer than 4.9 years, buying made more sense than renting. That was a lot less time than many might expect! Read more.


#2. Just How Crazy is the Cost of Living in New York City?

If you want to live in NYC, you have to pay. But it was still eye-popping when we wrote about the fact that housing costs in New York eat up almost twice as much of someone’s income as the national average.

A rent-to-income ratio of 30 percent or lower is considered “affordable.” That means a renter should be spending no more than 30 percent of their income on rent, leaving the remaining 70 percent of their paycheck to spend on other costs (food, clothing, transportation, childcare, maybe even a concert ticket or a cocktail). But New York City is in a league of its own. Last year, the median asking rent in the city accounted for a jaw-dropping 65.2 percent of the median income, according to StreetEasy estimates. Read more.

#3. Before & After: Finding Light & Space in a Tiny West Village Apartment

Who doesn’t love a good makeover story? This post showed off a pretty miraculous and inspiring transformation of a very small flat in the West Village by a veteran of small-space living, Megan Hopp, who is also a designer at Homepolish. So what if the apartment has no oven or real kitchen? It works! Read more.

This is the "after" shot for the small-space do-over. The "before" can be seen in the post.

This is the “after” shot for the small-space do-over. The “before” can be seen in the post.

#4. Top Reasons for Co-op Board Rejections

You find your perfect Upper West Side apartment. It’s a co-op. So in addition to getting your offer accepted and financing in order, you must pass the final test. The co-op board.

In this post, we listed the most common reasons why a co-op board might reject a prospective buyer. Read more.

#5. 10 Best Brooklyn Neighborhoods on a Budget

From Flatbush to Bay Ridge to Crown Heights, the race to find the next, affordable BKLYN hotspot went from frothy to ferocious.

While real estate values in places like Downtown Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Park Slope have soared above levels in Manhattan, we dug around into parts of Brooklyn where neighborhoods offered rents under the borough’s median rent of $2,500/month! Read more.

Bed-Stuy's fabulous and relatively inexpensive brownstones have lured many newcomers to this traditionally African-American community.

Bed-Stuy’s fabulous and relatively inexpensive brownstones have lured many newcomers.

#6. State of New York City Rent Affordability in 2016

We are very lucky at StreetEasy to employ an exceptional team of data analysts. Their work delivered the research written about in this popular post that warned that as income growth lagged behind rent price growth, New Yorkers in four of the five boroughs can expect to face a higher rent burden in 2016 than in previous years. According to StreetEasy forecasts of asking rent and household incomes, Brooklyn remains the least affordable among the city’s boroughs. “The typical household in Brooklyn will need to spend 65.4 percent of its total annual income on the median market-rate rent in 2016. Brooklyn is followed by the Bronx (54.1 percent), Queens (51.6 percent), Manhattan (49.1 percent) and Staten Island (27.9 percent).” Read more.

#7. Priciest NYC Neighborhood by Square Foot

This was fun, if you’re the kind of person who likes to see what parts of New York are so incredibly expensive that you could probably never afford a single square inch. Topping the list of the most expensive parts of NYC according to the price-per-square-foot was Central Park South, the area where some of NYC’s best hotels and most exclusive condo and co-op buildings stand. Read more.


#8. Best Neighborhoods to Buy, Not Rent

After StreetEasy data analysts came up with a formula to determine at what point it would be better to rent or buy in New York, our diligent researcher/writer and native New Yorker, Mariela Quintana, did some more investigating. The result was a pretty compelling list of neighborhoods where it actually makes more sense to buy than rent, if you were going to stay for a certain amount of time. Read more. 


#9. Best Bargain Neighborhoods in NYC Right Now

In this post, readers seemed to like the suggestions about where market trends were leading to better deals on rentals. Two key indicators paved the way:

  • Decreasing or flat annual change in median asking rent (i.e., rents are staying the same or getting cheaper)
  • Increasing days on market – (i.e., rentals are sitting on the market longer than before, which is a sign of abating competition)

“The resulting list is an interesting mix of Manhattan and Brooklyn neighborhoods. Many that topped the list are traditionally highly desirable areas that command high prices and offer limited inventory like Brooklyn Heights, Prospect Heights and Carnegie Hill. Our findings suggest that if you’ve always had your eye on these places, but perhaps wrote them off as too pricey or too competitive, now could be the perfect time to swoop in and snag a bargain.” Read more.

Prospect Heights was a good bet in 2016 for renters.

Prospect Heights was a good bet in 2016 for renters.

#10. Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin Lower Tribeca Price

And what would 2016 have been like had we not registered a celebrity real estate post among our Top 10?

In this case, it was the ongoing saga of trying to consciously uncouple from a slick Tribeca condo. The separation of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin took a lot less time than their effort to divest themselves from their formerly shared NYC digs. The list price was dropped from $14.25 million to $12.85 million, but then the listing was taken off the market on Nov. 15, 2016. Read more.

The Paltrow-Martin penthouse at 92 Laight Street was taken off the market in November.

The Paltrow-Martin penthouse at 92 Laight Street was taken off the market in November.

Whew – that’s it! In parting, we want to thank everyone for reading what we produced in 2016. Your interest has only helped to further shape our understanding and ability to make sure this blog stays relevant to what concerns New Yorkers. As we close the books on 2016 and enter 2017, we want to wish all our readers a safe and Happy New Year.