What $500,000 gets you Uptown vs. Downtown NYC

January 30, 2018 | By Evan Paliotta

We all know the almighty dollar ain’t what it used to be.  In the 1940’s the average single-family home in New York sold for $4,389 (just $45,700 measured in 2000 dollars)*.  One quick look at Streeteasy or Zillow and you’ll know those days are long gone.  So for all the first-time homebuyers obsessively scanning for that amazing deal, may I impart some New York wisdom…Fuggedaboutit!  

That being said, scoring a deal is not completely unreasonable.  Investing in an apartment bordering an ‘up and coming’ neighborhood paired with a little foresight and patience can yield respectable gains on one’s real estate portfolio.  Excluding the potential appreciation factor, these fringe neighborhoods actually feel like communities; places where ma and pa businesses have a vested interest in learning your name and where banks, drug stores, and chain restaurants aren’t pandemic.  

So to illustrate the absurdities in current Manhattan real estate prices, here’s what $500,000 will get you in ‘established’ neighborhoods versus the ‘fringe’ neighborhoods that fly under the radar:



Tribeca: 0 listings available

Soho: 1 listing available 

Studio with asking price of $500,000, roughly 360 sq. ft. and $800 monthly carrying costs





Chelsea: 5 listings available:

One studio is asking $500,000, has 288 sq. ft. with $1,400 monthly carrying costs




Greenwich Village: 4 listings available 

One studio is asking $485,000, has roughly 312 sq. ft. and $1,050 monthly carrying costs… good luck seeing the sun with this one



Uptown Manhattan:

Harlem (granted it’s a larger geographical area): 53 listings available

The newest one being a 3 bed, 1 bath asking $449,000 with roughly 1,000 sq. ft. and monthly carrying costs of $937.  Albeit this search included income restricted properties.







Turning income restrictions off, there are still 14 properties available in Harlem.  One listing is a 2 bed, 1 bath coop asking $440,000 with 750 sq. ft. of space, new kitchen with monthly carrying costs of only $540!



Washington Heights: 20 listings without income restrictions, 27 with restrictions:

One of the non-HDFC listings include a 2 bed 1 bath coop asking $379,000.  It’s on the top floor of an elevator building on Saint Nicholas Ave.  There are gorgeous views, southern exposures, a shared outdoor space, 750 sq. ft., and best of all it’s spitting distance from the subway.  


When buying anything, consumers crave 3 things; selection, affordability, and convenience.  If you want a greater selection than a handful of apartments, affordable (by NY standards) prices, and quick access to other parts of the city, consider purchasing in Uptown Manhattan.  In a few years, you’ll wish you had.    


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Evan Paliotta