image of neighborhoods to watch in 2020

What are the Neighborhoods to Watch in 2020? We crunched the data to find out. (Getty Images)

The top NYC Neighborhood to Watch in 2020 had a very eventful 2019.

Every December, StreetEasy releases our list of Neighborhoods to Watch in the coming year — the areas of New York seeing the most new interest among buyers, renters, sellers, and developers.

We find these neighborhoods by looking at increases in sales prices, rents, and user searches, and the number of new buildings, then creating an index based on those factors.

Two of our picks from last year made the list yet again for 2020. But the top contender is a neighborhood everyone was talking about in 2019.

image of neighborhoods to watch

After the Canceled L Shutdown, Williamsburg Takes the Spotlight

Only a year ago, the rental market in Williamsburg was declining significantly due to the impending L train shutdown. Even after Governor Cuomo abruptly canceled the shutdown in January, Williamsburg was slow to recover: in April 2019, the neighborhood still saw 59 percent of its rentals listed for a lower rent than the last time those rentals were on the market.

Since then, however, Williamsburg has rapidly rebounded, with median rents increasing by 7 percent since last year. The neighborhood has also regained popularity among prospective renters and buyers, with a 48 percent increase in StreetEasy user searches year over year. Developers have constructed a staggering 41 new buildings, such as 420 Kent Ave. and One South First.

And though the new solution to fixing the Canarsie Tunnel has disrupted access to the neighborhood overnight and on weekends, the combined strength of this recovery makes us think Williamsburg is primed for a big 2020.

Rank Neighborhood Borough Median Rent Annual Growth Median Sale Price Annual Growth Growth in SE Searches New Buildings
1 Williamsburg Brooklyn $3,200 7% $1,317,156 2% 48% 41
2 Clinton Hill Brooklyn $3,000 10% $980,000 9% 21% 13
3 Jamaica Queens $2,170 5% $649,000 10% 44% 9
4 Midwood Brooklyn $1,895 6% $758,999 3% 28% 18
5 Highbridge Bronx $1,850 3% $180,000 8% 55% 7
6 East Flatbush Brooklyn $2,115 1% $645,000 8% 58% 18
7 Prospect Lefferts Gardens Brooklyn $2,350 4% $1,297,000 13% 23% 9
8 Glendale Queens $2,125 6% $829,000 5% 47% 1
9 Little Italy Manhattan $3,300 10% $2,995,000 66% 24% 0
10 Crown Heights Brooklyn $2,499 4% $1,072,000 2% 21% 12

Other Top Brooklyn Neighborhoods to Watch in 2020 Are Farthest From Manhattan

As rents rise across the city, New Yorkers are looking to neighborhoods in the outer boroughs that still offer convenient subway access. Clinton Hill prices and rents increased by 10 percent and 9 percent, respectively, as New Yorkers ventured beyond Downtown Brooklyn and Fort Greene for more affordable access to the A, C, and G lines.

Excluding Williamsburg and Clinton Hill, however, the Brooklyn neighborhoods that dominate this year’s list appear in inverse order of their proximity to Manhattan, with Midwood coming in ahead of Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, and East Flatbush. However far out they may be, these neighborhoods offer residents a reasonable walk to the 2, 5, B, or Q trains.

One Unifying Factor? Easy Transit Access

Transit access is also a theme in the Queens neighborhoods on the list. Jamaica and Glendale both provide proximity to the Long Island Rail Road, as well as the E, J and Z lines (in Jamaica) and the M line in Glendale.

Those who have been to Yankee Stadium know that Highbridge in the Bronx is just a short subway ride from Manhattan via the 4, B, and D lines. Interestingly, Highbridge saw one of the largest spikes in search activity among our 10 neighborhoods, with 55 percent more StreetEasy users searching in the area in 2019 than in 2018.

Little Italy is the only Manhattan neighborhood to make the list this year. Though the small neighborhood had no new construction in 2019, older buildings there were renovated to offer luxury rentals, like the Parioli. The neighborhood also offers downtown cachet — and plentiful transit options — without the much-heftier price tags of SoHo or Tribeca.

How We Did It

We identified the 10 NYC Neighborhoods to Watch in 2020 using an index of four key performance indicators: annual change in median asking rent, annual change in median sale price, annual change in user searches that include a given neighborhood on StreetEasy, and the amount of new construction in the neighborhood. New construction is calculated as the number of residential buildings that received permanent certificates of occupancy from the New York Department of Buildings in 2019.

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