Brooklyn Make Way: Manhattan’s Financial District is NYC’s Millennial Hotbed

The PropertyClub Team
Jul 2nd 2019
Millennials are strong in New York City; almost 3 million strong. And they’ve changed the way the city looks and feels. There’s a coffee shop literally around every corner, every street is buzzing with young adults, there’s no shortage of talent for the thousands of startups popping up every day, and then there's the food-Well, let’s say the flavors of the world have all met here. But where are Millennials living these days?

Where’s your best chance of finding inspiring people who share your interests if you’re in your 20s or 30s and looking for a new place to live in NYC? If you think Brooklyn, you’re onto something, as the borough has the space and the infrastructure to meet the needs of most Millennial residents, and now houses 31% of NYC’s millennial population. But when zooming in to see which areas are truly dominated by Gen Y-ers, things change. Millennials tend to favor walkable locations that will put them close to jobs and entertainment options, even if that means shelling out a more significant chunk of their paychecks on housing. Where else could you enjoy fine dining and shopping, amazing outdoor activities, great cultural events, and proximity to some of the best-paid jobs in the country, all in one place? Most Manhattan neighborhoods check all of these boxes and more.

Check out the top 10 trendiest millennial ZIP Codes in NYC as ranked in terms of the age group's share of the total population, and scroll down for some more exciting highlights from our research.

7 of the top 10 millennial hotspots in New York City are in Manhattan; Queens’ LIC is primarily dominated by the 20 to 39 age group, as well as Astoria, with nearly half of the area’s population made up of Millennials. 11222 in Brooklyn made the top 10 list with 51% of its residents being part of the Millennial generation.

As the Epitome of Fast-Paced Living, Manhattan Caters to a Generation of Young Renters Seeking Hassle-Free Lifestyles

Even with some of the country’s highest rents, Manhattan continues to attract large crowds, and the majority are well-educated renters. It’s perhaps the living goal of a generation that does not like boundaries and stereotypes and looks for inclusive live-work-play environments that are worth paying an extra dollar for. Like it or not, premium pricing comes with the package. 

It’s no secret that places like the Financial District or SoHo come with some really high price tags, but they also feature high-paying jobs in finance and law and amenities aplenty. The median household income in the 10005 ZIP Code, where 67% of area residents are Millennials, is approximately $150,000. Meanwhile, rental rates for studios in FiDi start somewhere around $3,000 per month.

Millennials Follow the Jobs Trail, Helping Reshape Urban Cores in the Process

There’s been an urban renewal happening all around the country in the last decade – not only in NYC. But as the flagship of urban transformation, the city continues to amaze with its capability to adapt, evolve, and meet the demands of an ever-growing population. And this is the one thing that is common to all the neighborhoods that attracted Millennials in recent years. Developers were intuitive enough to know that housing in the city needed a revamp and started building more in places that benefitted from good transportation options and employment potential. Whether it’s new construction or conversions, the city’s housing stock grew and diversified, turning old, lifeless neighborhoods into vibrant urban centers. Of course, FiDi got some fantastic new structures in response to the tremendous demand, but it’s places like LIC and Greenpoint that draw more attention because the change is more evident – and for the better.

Brooklyn and Queens Get Facelift as Millennials Move in

Long Island City has come a long way in the last decade in terms of new construction, and it’s still primed for new investment, even if the Amazon deal fell through. The area benefits from some solid fundamentals – the same that drew Amazon over in the first place – including a talented workforce, a more relaxed leasing policy, as well as some attractive business breaks for the new companies willing to set up shop here. 64% of residents in the 11109 zip code are part of the millennial cohort, and most of them are renters.

Similarly, Greenpoint has gone through some significant upgrades. The area wasn’t always today’s vibrant, hip enclave attracting the city’s most artistic types. It mostly housed Polish population and its tree-lined streets were lacking character. But once new residents started to move in, new shops appeared; new cafes, new jobs, and new housing options followed suit, all lending substantial appeal to a formerly sleepy neighborhood. The 11222 zip code is now home to over 18,000 Millennials who make up 51% of the area’s population.

Brooklyn Still Home to Large Millennial Cohorts

When looking at sheer numbers, it becomes clear that Brooklyn and Queens haven’t lost their appeal and still cater to most of NYC’s Millennial population. Pricing continues to dictate most of this generation’s housing decisions, and both boroughs are cheaper than Manhattan. But for how long, that remains to be seen, as demand for apartments is spiraling. Add that to a lack of available rentals, and you have a solid foundation for a growing rental market.

Williamsburg in Brooklyn, for example, has gained a reputation for being a chic hotspot filled with trendy boutiques, cozy cafes, and lively street art. It may come as no surprise then that the 11211 area now houses more than 44,000 people aged 20 to 39, the largest number of Millennials in the city in terms of total ZIP code population.  Rents in the area have been relatively stable in the last year, and you still have some room to breathe if your pockets don’t run that deep. A studio down the street from Cooper Park now calls for approximately $2,000 per month, but to enjoy a two-bedroom apartment with some fantastic views of Manhattan, the East River, and Brooklyn, you’ll have to shell out north of $6,000 a month.

Renting Becomes the Lifestyle of Choice For Many Millennials

As one of the largest generations in American history, Millennials have significantly impacted the way our cities look and function, with housing being no exception. Most of them are renters, and their lifestyle preferences have led to the development of amenity-centric communities that boast everything from yoga studios to gorgeous views and common spaces for entertaining. Walkability is also a top priority for this environmentally-conscious generation, as well as easy access to public transport and proximity to jobs, shops, and entertainment. While that resulted in the revitalization of many run-down areas and the expansion of the services industry, gentrification took its toll on housing prices. High rents may not have been an objective, but it certainly is what happens when an entire generation mainly prefers to rent.

Data source:  U.S. Census Bureau, 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Reporting and research performed by Propertyclub.nyc