10 Best Neighborhoods to Rent in Brooklyn 2023
Brooklyn is arguably the most desirable outer borough to live in. However, it may be difficult to decide which neighborhood is right for you between Park Slope, Williamsburg, DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Greenpoint, etc.
On top of that, apartment hunting can be a grueling process: spending hours researching, sifting through hundreds of listings, contacting different agents, and figuring out your budget. Prospective renters often make the mistake of thinking they’re all set once they figure out the square footage, the number of bedrooms, and the price they’d like to set for rent.
While it may be a renters’ market, take down a few of these notes, and you may see that finding the apartment right for you may not be as difficult as you think. Getting an apartment in Brooklyn can be just as competitive as trying to find one in Manhattan, so it's best to do your homework before you start.
Best Neighborhoods to Rent in Brooklyn
- Williamsburg: Best for Neighborhood Vibe
- Park Slope: Best for Families
- Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens: Best for Families
- Clinton Hill: Best for Working Professionals and Families
- Brooklyn Heights: Best for Families and Neighborhood Vibe
- Bushwick: Best for Young Professionals
- Bay Ridge: Best for Families
- Greenwood: Best for Families
- Crown Heights: Best for Young Professionals
- DUMBO: Best for Neighborhood Vibe and Stunning Views/Attractions
Before You Start
The most important step in the apartment hunting process is going to be making sure you actually qualify and knowing what to expect from the application process. The process will be roughly the same whether it's Manhattan or Brooklyn.After all, if you don't qualify, you won't be able to move.
While not every landlord's process will be identical, generally, what's looked for is that the applicant(s) earn at least 40 times the monthly rent on a yearly basis and that the credit score(s) is "good" or close to it.
Tip: Try PropertyNest Rent Affordability Calculator
The average credit score in New York is around 680-700, and this tends to be the range many abide by.
You should always check your report before you begin to make sure everything is in order.
If working with a real estate agent, most agencies will take a security deposit at the time of application if you are seriously interested in an apartment.
This is earnest money that shows good faith and a serious interest in the unit. This amount can be anywhere from about a few hundred dollars to a full month of rent. Most of the time, this money will go toward the security deposit.
While some property management companies and brokerages require the deposit or earnest money to be certified funds, these days, some are allowing payment by credit card. To learn more, read up on what is a security deposit.
Make sure the payment is made to the agency's LLC or official company name and that you are signing an earnest money deposit contract that clearly states any refund policy. Never make out payment directly in an agent or broker's name, which can spell an illegal side deal the agent is running or worse--a rental scam.
- Local agents have 3X more listings
- Personalized experience
- Verified agents
Application and Credit Check
Once you fill out an application, normally, this will generate your credit report to be viewed and considered by the landlord. Usually, there is a fee for the application that can be anywhere from $15-$175, depending on the brokerage/management company.
Find out if you're prepared by reading What Does a NYC Landlord Look for in a Credit Check?
If you want to look at your credit report, ask the agent if you can receive a copy. Hopefully, you've already done your due diligence and checked your credit report beforehand, and nothing you see will surprise you.
If you have below-average credit, find out how you can improve your credit.
Preparing Income Documentation
Not everyone's income requirements nor the documentation they ask for will be the same, but generally speaking, you'll need to provide a copy of a government-issued photo ID (such as a state ID, driver's license, or passport), recent bank statements, recent pay stubs, recent tax returns, and some employment verification.
If you receive your salary through direct deposit, you can always highlight the deposits in your bank account or ask someone in Payroll to print out some statements for you.
If you didn't file your taxes yet, you could always put together tax documents such as W-2's or 1099's that show your full income for the year.
Usually, a letter written by your employer stating your position, salary, and start date will suffice as employment verification.
Some corporations provide a number to call, but providing a recent contract or a letter stating a recent promotion may also provide confirmation.
However, the process can be a bit more complicated and less straightforward if you work as a freelancer.
To find out what you need, read How Self-Employed Freelancer Can Get Approved for a Rental Apartment in NYC.
Make sure you have these as digital files that are ready to be emailed or printed out.
The first thing to consider is not necessarily limited to the neighborhood or your budget.
You must first understand what is paramount to your needs and living situation.
- Are there school zones you’d like to live in?
- Do you spend a lot of time at local bars and restaurants?
- Are you primarily looking for a short commute?
- Do you work from home?
- Do you like to spend a lot of time in an outdoor space?
- Are you on a tight budget?
Figuring out the most important aspects of your daily life will be crucial to what kind of place ends up being right for you. Also important to consider are features that would be nice, but you don’t need them.
Especially, with so many businesses not deemed essential during the coronavirus pandemic, many have shuttered temporarily and, in some cases, permanently, so some of these neighborhood features may not be currently in top consideration for people looking for a new neighborhood.
|Affordable rents||Average prices are generally lower than much of Manhattan but some popular neighborhoods can be pricier. Finding apartments well-below these prices in choice neighborhoods can be challenging. Expect to find more deals in Central and South Brooklyn.|
|Parks||Is there a park in the neighborhood? Is it a park where you can carry out recreational activities or exercise? Does the park have a playground for your child?|
|Restaurants||Are there proper sit-down restaurants in the area? How about restaurants to order delivery? Do you need a good variety of cuisines to choose from? Or maybe you'll be doing a lot of cooking.|
|Top Public Schools||If you don't have kids, this might not be a priority for you at all. But if you have school-aged children, you'll want to make sure that you're in a good school district or zoned for a good neighborhood school. If not public, there's always private school.|
|Movie Theaters||If you can find a movie theater in your neighborhood, consider yourself lucky. With well under 20 movie screening venues in all of Brooklyn (much less if you're only counting proper movie theaters), you'll most likely be seeing a movie in the city. Brooklyn is home to more unconventional type venues that either screen rarities or provide screenings in private spaces or rooftops. Neighborhoods with major movie theaters are Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn, Cobble Hill, Fort Greene, and Bay Ridge.|
|Walkability||New York City is the most walkable city in the country, but this can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. Does your chosen neighborhood have lots of shops and restaurants that are easily accessible by foot? Is there beautiful architecture and greenery and easy to get around? The most walkable neighborhoods will have beautiful parks, public spaces, and pedestrian walkways or plazas, with plenty of retail spaces and other pedestrians.|
|Public Transportation/Commute||Obviously, commute time and proximity to transportation is a big factor for most New Yorkers when looking for housing. Depending on your budget and desired apartment size, you may have to sacrifice how close you are to your place of work or far your walk to the train is. Remember, a 10-minute walk to a train station is not the worst or longest walk to a train station (even in Manhattan). Not everyone is lucky enough to live down the street from the train.|
|Parking||Neighborhoods with good street parking has always been an issue in New York, but it's a growing issue especially as Brooklyn becomes increasingly popular. It's not unusual for Brooklynites to acquire cars as public transportation is not as convenient in some areas. FIning a building or apartment with designated parking might something to prioritize. Some people forgo activities or traveling anywhere just because they don't want to lose their parking spot. If this sounds like you, you might need to find a place with a garage or designated parking spot.|
|Music Venues||Luckily, this is an area where you won't have to sacrifice too much. In a city full of talented musicians, there's no shortage of a live music shows or acts. This very true in Brooklyn as well. There a few large music venues such as the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Kings Theater, but you're more likely to be able to catch a show at one of the numerous smaller clubs and venues in your neighborhood.|
|Access to Farmers' Markets||Farmers' Markets in Brooklyn can be found through the Greenmarkets site<www.grownyc.org>. While a farmers market won't be the main reason most are drawn to a neighborhood, it's a definite plus for many, especially if there aren't many great supermarket or grocery shopping choices in the area.|
|Coffee Shops||A definite first sign of gentrification or livability for many is the popping up of a local small business coffee shop (we're definitely not talking about Starbucks here). Coffee shops are a great place for people to interact, work, and find out about things happening in the neighborhood. A coffee shop can be an almost transformational presence a neighborhood where there are little to no retail businesses.|
|Crime||Of course, most people are concerned about crime and want to feel secure enough to wander their area even at night. However, it's New York City, which although relatively safe, is still an urban area with over 8 million people. This means you're just going to have higher occurrences of crime. The good news is that violent crimes are relatively rare. If you check NYC's crime map, you'll be surprised to find that most of Brooklyn is far safer than lower Manhattan.|
|New York Pizza||There is nothing more quintessentially New York than New York pizza, with bagels perhaps at a close second. You can taste the value of a neighborhood in a local slice. Most areas will have the usual staple of old-school New York pizza. However, you can definitely tell a lot about a neighborhood on whether your pizza place offers vegan or gluten-free options or real brick-oven thin-crust pizza. Being able to order pizza from a great place is a huge plus when it comes to picking neighborhoods.|
Besides budgeting for a rental price that you think is reasonable, you need to take into consideration the formula that most landlords are judging your ability to pay the rent.
Make sure your magic number falls within those requirements, and you should be set.
Your annual income, whether it is a salary, freelance work, or just great savings funds in the bank, should equal 40 times the monthly rent.
For example, if the monthly rent is $1,000 a month, your annual income should be at least $40,000.
It should be used as a general guideline as each landlord will have their own individual requirements.
Average Rent Price History by Borough
It’s All About Personality
After determining your needs, it’s time to think about the type of space that would be right for you.
Ask yourself if you prefer something with a more historical character, like a pre-war or something modern.
Are you the type of person that likes a place that needs a little TLC?
- Do you prefer a new development?
- Perhaps something that’s older but gut-renovated?
- Is a loft or a traditional apartment more your style?
There’s everything for a low-to-high maintenance lifestyle--a complete DIY or full amenities life.
You should also assess your ability to get to your apartment in a walk-up or elevator building or a ground-floor or top-floor unit.
Brooklyn's neighborhoods are as diverse as the people who inhabit it.
The different flavors of Brooklyn have something to offer everyone.
However, there are important things you want to consider besides commute time to work for the neighborhood you choose.
If you plan on biking to work, your choice of neighborhood may be more flexible, although it may be wise to have a bus or train backup plan for inclement weather.
|Best for Families:||Best for Young Professionals:||Best for Nightlife:|
|Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens||Williamsburg||Williamsburg|
|Park Slope||Clinton Hill||Downtown Brooklyn|
|Windsor Terrace||Bed-Stuy||Park Slope|
The neighborhoods of North Brooklyn are naturally the most well-known and in demand.
These areas are closest to Manhattan and usually require a short commute to the city. They also tend to be the most developed and picturesque areas of Brooklyn.
Saturated with interested renters and countless new developments, the market is already very competitive in the borough's most desirable areas.
These neighborhoods include favorites like DUMBO, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Park Slope, but also include quainter gems like Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Carroll Gardens, Red Hook, Greenpoint, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Bushwick.
If you're looking for a neighborhood with great nightlife, you can explore Williamsburg.
If affordability is an issue, you might want to try Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and northern Greenpoint, which is also popular area for millennials to live in.
Amazing and acclaimed restaurants lie all throughout North Brooklyn, so take your pick.
Great schools for young families may take you to district 15, which includes Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, and Carroll Gardens.
Still, many options exist for family-friendly areas like the Red Hook, Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene/Clinton Hill area, and Prospect Heights.
Renting in North Brooklyn
North Brooklyn has plenty of parks and waterfront areas for those who want to take a jog, walk their dog, or get some fresh air, not to mention restaurants of virtually every cuisine ready to deliver to your doorstep.
The neighborhoods of Central Brooklyn are ones that people are becoming more and more familiar with as affordability options are gradually disappearing from North Brooklyn.
The most sought-after area outside of North Brooklyn would be Crown Heights, at times out-performing Bed-Stuy with the number of its nest-seekers.
More affordable, with access to a few different trains and right around Prospect Park, Crown Heights is a great alternative to those priced out of Park Slope.
Windsor Terrace and South Slope are not new discoveries for many. A very family-friendly area, right by Prospect Park. Many see these places as an alternative to Park Slope.
Nest seekers are pushing further into Central Brooklyn, particularly Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Flatbush.
When renters go to Flatbush/Ditmas Park, it's for the low prices and large spaces as Brooklyn apartments become smaller and smaller.
If you love vintage townhouses and pre-war buildings, look no further than Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Prospect Park South.
Neighborhoods like Kensington and Fiske Terrace feature sprawling cathedral-like tree-lined streets with historic Victorians.
Renting in Central Brooklyn
Like much of the rest of the city, Central Brooklyn offers a great variety of restaurants, take-out options, and grocery stores.
However, one of the biggest perks might be to live close to an amazing neighborhood amenity like Prospect Park, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, and Prospect Park Zoo.
Wide boulevards like Eastern Parkway and Linden Blvd. give plenty of room for any street traffic and are convenient to plenty of pedestrian space.
While rents have risen over the years in neighborhoods like Winsor Terrace, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, and Flatbush, it still remains relatively affordable compared to North Brooklyn.
The utmost eastern part of Brooklyn includes Canarsie, Brownsville, Cypress Hills, and East New York.
Gentrification and development are quietly moving into far-off areas like Cypress Hills and East New York.
Cypress Hills has attracted spillover from Bushwick. East New York has started courting real estate investors, after the city's rezoning plans.
These neighborhoods are very affordable Brooklyn areas, with good transportation access.
Renting in East Brooklyn
Neighborhoods in East Brooklyn have arguably the most affordable rents in Brooklyn, making it a great place to live while trying to save serious cash.
This is important for many New Yorkers who have either lost their jobs or wages due to the lockdown, or industries that have suffered.
Still, rents have risen over the last few years, especially in East New York, which has had a flurry of real estate activity with new developments that have come to the neighborhood.
South Brooklyn reaches from Sunset Park down to the famous Coney Island and from Sheepshead Bay all the way to Bergen Beach, making this the largest territory in Brooklyn.
Given that most of the neighborhoods have oceanfront makes, these unique areas to explore, especially if you like living by a beach or a marina or enjoy sailing.
These are also historic and affordable areas, which might be the right pick if you don't mind a longer commute into the city or if you can work from home.
Neighborhoods like Mill Basin, Gerritsen Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Bay Ridge, and Marine Park are surprisingly diverse and offer a completely different vibe from the rest of Brooklyn.
The neighborhood of Dyker Heights is an affluent and picturesque area but offers very affordable rents.
They may make you feel like you're in a small town and no longer in the city! These neighborhoods are also great for families.
Renting in South Brooklyn
South Brooklyn, although not nearly as sexy or popular as its northern counterpart, has its perks and upside.
Firstly, it's truly the only area of Brooklyn with beaches and marinas, being wondrously surrounded by water, making this a perfect place to stretch out and get some air if you're feeling cooped up inside.
Secondly, South Brooklyn will offer some of the best rental rates in Brooklyn, even in more affluent areas like Dyker Heights.
|Studio||1 Bedroom||2 Bedrooms||3 Bedrooms|
|Manhattan||370 SF||565 SF||820 SF||1160 SF|
|Bronx||460 SF||640 SF||840 SF||1035 SF|
|Staten Island||580 SF||760 SF||970 SF||1280 SF|
|Brooklyn||380 SF||550 SF||760 SF||965 SF|
|Queens||410 SF||570 SF||795 SF||975 SF|
Maybe you prefer an edgier vibe?
Bushwick may be a great choice, and a hotspot for artists, artisans, and young, like-minded people.
Suppose you’re looking for a diverse and quaint family-oriented neighborhood. In that case, Fort Greene, Sunset Park, Bay Ridge, or Windsor Terrace might be good options depending on your budget and commute respectively.
Average Rent Prices in Brooklyn by Neighborhood
Check out the NYC map of average rent prices by neighborhood.
Average Rental Prices in Bay Ridge
Average Rental Prices in Brooklyn Heights
Average Rental Prices in Bushwick
Average Rental Prices in Carroll Gardens
Average Rental Prices in Clinton Hill
Average Rental Prices in Crown Heights
Average Rental Prices in Cobble Hill
Average Rental Prices in DUMBO
Average Rental Prices in Greenwood
Average Rental Prices in Park Slope
Average Rental Prices in Williamsburg
Deciding on the Best Apartment for You
Now that you’ve put together your checklist ranked them according to importance, and seen a few apartments, it may be difficult to decide which one is right for you.
If you have a short list of apartments, make sure that your top picks include the top three features. Considering extra amenities or features may not be as important in this case.
Think about which apartments in your top two or three actually fit the description of what you are looking for.
If you are working with a long list of apartments (say, over five apartments), you may need to reevaluate your criteria and priorities.
Sometimes it’s not an apartment that checks the most items off your list that wins you over.
It usually boils down to what the most important aspect or two are and how closely a unit actually embodies it. It can mean the difference between a place you like and a place you love.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Bushwick Brooklyn neighborhood safe?
Is Brooklyn more expensive to rent than Manhattan?
Search for Home Rentals in NYC
Search for your next home based on a credit
score, price, neighborhood & more.