Best neighborhoods for college graduates include Morningside Heights, Bed-Stuy, report says

Bushwick ranks in the top five desirable neighborhoods for recent college graduates, according to a study by StreetEasy.
Bushwick ranks in the top five desirable neighborhoods for recent college graduates, according to a study by StreetEasy. Photo Credit: Jamila Davis

Living in New York City is not an impossible dream for recent college graduates — you just need to know where to look.

And you should be looking in Morningside Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, according to a new report released Friday by StreetEasy.

The real estate listing site crunched numbers and examined factors including affordability, commute time and number of young people who live in the area.

It came up with a top ten list that includes hip nabes, such as Bushwick and Gowanus as well as surprisingly pricey ones like the Financial District and Gramercy Park.

“It’s graduation season and we wanted to put this report out to help them find options,” said Nancy Wu, StreetEasy’s economic data analyst and author of the report. “It’s all about trade-offs.”

The report noted Morningside Heights has the highest prevalence of people in their early 20s because it is the home of Columbia University. But the area also attracts grads because of its abundant housing. About 7 percent of its apartments are two-bedrooms that rent for less than $3,000 a month.

Wu said the Financial District, Midtown South and Midtown West likely made the top 10 list because they are flush with new, amenity-packed buildings that allow tenants to use guarantors.

Many apartments in the city require an annual income of 40 times the monthly rent — not an easy feat for graduates, even with roommates. Using a guarantor, such as a parent willing to co-sign a rental agreement, can expand this demographic’s rental options.

“A lot of new graduates on a tight budget would not be able to sign the lease without a guarantor,” said Joe Ben-Zvi, senior managing director of TheGuarantors, a firm that renters can hire to co-sign their lease for a fee.

Ben-Zvi said about 60 percent of TheGuarantors’ clients are foreign nationals or their children who have come to the city for college.

He said many of the wealthier clients want their children in new, luxury buildings in the midtown and Long Island City areas that have doormen, concierges, pools and other extras.

Other clients are just trying to make it on their own in the big city.

“Some are too proud to ask their parents,” Ben-Zvi said. “They want them to think they are in New York and successful.”

Jobs also tend to influence where new grads want to live in the city, according to Rory Bolger, a broker who works with Citi Habitats.

“People in the financial sector want to be in Manhattan, while people in the liberal arts industries will look in Brooklyn,” Bolger said.

He said grads flock to Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant because they have a “hip,” Williamsburg-like vibe, but do not come with nearly as expensive of a housing market.

While Bolger was surprised the Upper East Side did not make the list, he understood why Midtown West landed on it.

“Some of the new buildings have larger apartments and allow people to share,” Bolger said. “If they use walls in the living room, they can make a one-bedroom into a two or a two-bedroom into a three.”