New York is a top location for high-income earners and great job opportunities. But it also has one of the highest costs of living around the world. These, combined with that quintessential NYC vibe, explains why the city is a melting pot of businesspeople, investors, and dreamers. Prospective renters above a certain pay grade find particular areas more desirable than others— and NYC is no exception.
RENTCafé came out with their annual study of the most expensive ZIP codes in the United States, and it looks like New York and California battled it out. More specifically, 28 of the top 50 ZIP codes on the list are in New York— 26 are in Manhattan, while Brooklyn and Queens each have one. Similarly, four Boston ZIP codes are in the hearts of people who want and can afford the good life. By region, the Northeast, California, and the Pacific Northwest emerged as the country’s most expensive.
When choosing a place to live, renters within a higher income category typically look for the same things everyone else does, just slightly upgraded: availability of high-paying jobs, excellent entertainment and shopping options, upscale eateries, premium amenities, and the list goes on.
So, how much is it to rent in the exclusive parts of one of the world’s most iconic cities?
Renting in the 10282 ZIP code in Battery Park City reached $6,211 per month on average. This means that Manhattan is not only home to the most notoriously pricey ZIP code in the country, but also to the ZIP code that broke a new record for the highest monthly rent. Next up is 10013, which is in the epitome of cool that are Tribeca and SoHo, at more than $5,300 per month. Or, if having a view of Central Park is a must, keep in mind that it will cost you more than $5,000 a month—as it does in the 10023 ZIP code on the Upper West Side.
Because Manhattan is widely viewed as a hub for wealth, its expensive ZIP code dominance is not new or unexpected. In fact, much like last year, the winner and the runner-up ZIPs were both from Manhattan. As dreamy as living in Manhattan may sound, not all of us can afford it—even with decreases in average rent. For instance, a 6.1% annual drop in rent kept the 10065 out of the top five most expensive ZIPs. And, despite a 0.8% drop compared to last year, the 10013 ZIP code held on to its status as the second-most expensive ZIP code on the list.
There’s no argument that Manhattan reigns supreme when it comes to exclusive New York City apartments for rent, but two other boroughs are also making noise: the 11101 in Queens and Brooklyn’s 11201 go for around $3,700 a month. This isn’t completely surprising given the influx of new developments and increased desirability of the two boroughs.
For comparison, RENTCafé also listed the 50 U.S. ZIP codes with monthly average rents below $600. The winner of the most-affordable monthly rent nationwide is 67213 in Wichita, KS, with an average of $423, followed by 38106 in Memphis, TN. In fact, there are 10 ZIP codes in Wichita and six in Memphis that have the honor of being listed as the most affordable in the country.
However, affordable ZIP codes are not limited to only smaller cities. For example, renting in the 48234 area in Detroit averages $585 per month. At the opposite end of the spectrum lie several in-demand Manhattan ZIPs, the most affordable of those being 10006, which is located between Battery Park City and the Financial District, with a $3,712 per month average rent.
There are many amazing things about living in New York City. With the best working, educational, and cultural opportunities in your backyard, it’s easy to understand why living here is a dream for many people around the world—some wealthier than others. For those with the means, the experience is greatly enhanced by being able to afford the best views in the best areas of the Big Apple.
Alexandra Ciuntu is a creative writer and researcher for RENTCafé. With a background in e-learning content writing and a passion for knowledge-sharing platforms, she has previously covered topics from prop-tech to renters insurance. She now enjoys researching and writing about the renting lifestyle, renter demographic shifts, and residential real estate market trends and news.