West Harlem tops list of city neighborhoods to watch, according to report

Columbia University's new Manhattanville Campus is helping to transform West Harlem.
Columbia University’s new Manhattanville Campus is helping to transform West Harlem. Photo Credit: Mike Stobe

For years, analysts at the real estate listings firm StreetEasy have tracked those trekking from Manhattan to the outer boroughs, often in search of more affordable homes.

But StreetEasy’s annual ranking of neighborhoods to watch in the coming year places one Manhattan community — West Harlem — at the apex of areas of increased interest.

“The biggest surprise for us was that a Manhattan neighborhood came to the top,” said Grant Long, senior economist at StreetEasy. “We sat down and looked at the numbers … and it makes a lot of sense. … that is in an area that’s changing rapidly, a lot of new construction.”

Long said the StreetEasy team examined which neighborhoods had the greatest change in median asking rent, median sales price, the number of listing views and the amount of new construction undertaken over the course of the last year.

West Harlem, which Long described as sandwiched between Morningside Heights and Hamilton Heights, has begun welcoming parts of Columbia University’s new Manhattanville campus. Long said more residential and commercial buildings seem to be cropping up in anticipation of the forthcoming campus. Meanwhile, median home sale prices have grown 124 percent and median rents have increased 6 percent over the last year, according to StreetEasy.

“It really exemplifies a lot of the larger trends we’re seeing as well, so we are seeing people seek out places that are relatively affordable, but balance that affordability with convenience and a sense of community,” Long said. “Many of these are neighborhoods that have very distinct identities, whether that’s Fort Greene, whether that’s Flushing, whether that’s Brighton [Beach] in Brooklyn, Chinatown in Manhattan.”

Fort Greene, in the No. 2 spot on the 2018 ranking, also landed on StreetEasy’s list of neighborhoods to watch in 2017. Long said several new developments on the northern and western edges of the area have sustained the interest, along with new food halls and other amenities.

The top 10:

  • No. 1: West Harlem, Manhattan
  • No. 2: Fort Greene, Brooklyn
  • No. 3: Flushing, Queens
  • No. 4: Elmhurst, Queens
  • No. 5: East New York, Brooklyn
  • No. 6: Norwood, Bronx
  • No. 7: Prospect Park South, Brooklyn
  • No. 8: Chinatown, Manhattan
  • No. 9: Brighton Beach, Brooklyn
  • No. 10: Woodside, Queens

Here is StreetEasy’s complete list of ten neighborhoods to watch in 2018:

1) West Harlem

2) Fort Greene

3) Flushing

4) Elmhurst

5) East New York

6) Norwood

7) Prospect Park South

8) Chinatown

9) Brighton Beach

10) Woodside

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