Living in New York City can be challenging; with rents and home prices higher than ever, the average homebuyer has a hard time finding a decent place to live, at a reasonable price. It's even harder if you're a first time home buyer in NYC. Saving up for down payments can take a (very) long time, and renting is becoming less and less of an option for New Yorkers. That’s why a lot of them are moving, either to a more affordable borough or to another city altogether.
Nevertheless, even with prices climbing higher and higher each year, demand is also on the rise, and homes are selling at a rapid pace across all boroughs. We wanted to see which parts of the city were the most appealing to homebuyers in the past decade, so we extracted a list of 50 NYC neighborhoods that recorded the highest number of home sales from 2010 through 2019. We also looked at which boroughs were most active during these past ten years, and surprise, surprise, Manhattan is not the first, nor the second, on our list.
There’s no doubt that when it comes to home prices, Manhattan is in a league of its own. The other boroughs, while they have also been experiencing a rise in home prices in the past years, don’t even come close to the numbers commanded in Manhattan. So, naturally, if we were to rank boroughs by the total dollar volume recorded over the past decade, Manhattan would come out on top. However, looking at the five boroughs from the perspective of the number of properties sold, two other boroughs seem to have been much more popular since 2010.
As it turns out, Queens was by far the most active borough in NYC in the past decade, in terms of the overall number of properties that changed hands. From 2010 through 2019, the borough sold 108,810 homes for a combined sales volume of $65 billion. Brooklyn follows close, with 95,132 sales closed and a dollar volume of $80 billion. Manhattan, for once, is not the first on the list, but lands at number three, with 61,664 homes sold over the past ten years. However, it is by far the priciest borough of the decade, having recorded a total sales volume of $152 billion since 2010 - the highest dollar volume among the five boroughs, by far.
Staten Island was the fourth-busiest NYC borough in the last ten years, with 40,275 homes sold for a total of $19 billion. Our list ends with the Bronx, which was home to 26,506 sales and a combined sales volume of $11 billion. What this goes to show is that Manhattan is out of reach for the majority of homebuyers, and those homebuyers are flocking to the other boroughs in search of better home prices. Brooklyn and Queens are currently booming with development, both commercial and residential, and glossy new skyscrapers are starting to crowd their skylines. It won’t take long before home prices in these boroughs begin to pick up the pace; it’s already happening in Brooklyn, and parts of Queens, like Long Island City, are starting to catch up.
After looking at the five boroughs in terms of homes sold during the past decade, we zoomed in to neighborhood level to extract the 50 most desirable areas of the city for homebuyers. Manhattan, the magnetic core of the city, seems to have deterred a lot of homebuyers, most likely due to its inaccessible prices. Instead, buyers were keen on Queens over the past ten years, as the borough features 22 neighborhoods on our top 50 list.
The New York City neighborhood that sold the most homes from 2010 to 2020 was, by far, Flushing. This buzzing Queens enclave sold a whopping 11,623 homes over the past years; that makes it the most popular neighborhood on our list by a landslide, as no other contender managed to sell more than 8,000 homes in the same period. The total dollar volume for homes sold in Flushing from 2010 through 2019 was close to $8.8 billion, making it the sixth most active neighborhood in terms of total sales volume.
Queens managed to sneak in 21 other neighborhoods on our list, more than any other borough. The second most popular enclave here during the past decade was Ozone Park, which recorded 5,867 home sales and $2.6 billion in total sales volume. In terms of sheer dollar volume, Bayside is another highlight on our list, closing 4,443 sales for a total of $3.4 billion.
Brooklyn has been steadily growing in popularity over the past years, among Millennials and developers alike. Luxury condo towers and glossy office buildings keep popping up in the borough, which in turn, means that home prices and rents are likely to go higher and higher. That, however, hasn’t deterred homebuyers over the past ten years, as the borough snuck in 15 neighborhoods in our top 50.
Bedford-Stuyvesant closed the most sales in the borough from 2010 through 2019, surpassed only by Flushing in Queens. A total of 7,219 home sales closed in Bed-Stuy since 2010, for a total volume of almost $5.5 billion. It was followed by East New York, which recorded 5,030 home sales over the last decade and landed at #5 on our list, and Borough Park, where 3,958 home sold, landing it at #14.
It’s a rare occurrence that Manhattan isn’t number 1 on every possible list, at least when it comes to home sales. However, because the borough is so incredibly pricey for the average homebuyer, it wasn’t the most popular destination over the past decade. It did, however, manage to land 10 neighborhoods on our list, led by the Upper West Side. Here, 5,375 home sales closed from 2010 through 2019, for a combined dollar volume of over $15 billion. Sure, the number of sales closed is half of that recorded in Flushing, but the prices are beyond comparison.
There seem to be plenty of buyers out there who can afford to invest in a Manhattan home, and they’re willing to shell out big bucks for it. In fact, 5 of the 10 Manhattan neighborhoods on our list sold more than $10 billion worth of homes over the past 10 years. Consequently, if we look solely at the overall dollar volume, Manhattan is once again at the top of the list. It’s just that it’s not accessible to the average New Yorker, which translates into a smaller number of sales recorded.
Data source: NYC Department of Finance Rolling Sales data. Our analysis included all residential transactions to close in New York City between January 2010 and December 2019.