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Top 10 Most Expensive & Cheapest Brooklyn Neighborhoods to Rent for 2021

Ruth Shin

Ruth Shin

Learn about the top five on our lists, and how much your combined salaries need to be to afford to live in these neighborhoods. Learn about our calculator and interesting stats on Brooklyn.
DUMBO Bridge

It's a great time to look at the numbers for the past year.

The top 5 neighborhoods probably won't be a major surprise as historically they are usually listed in the topmost expensive neighborhoods in Brooklyn in recent years.

However, you may be curious to find out which are the top 5 lowest priced neighborhoods in Brooklyn, as this subject less frequently discussed. Test.

To put things in perspective, let's look at a snapshot of the rental price averages by the number of bedrooms per apartment.

Apartment SizeOne-BedroomTwo-BedroomThree-Bedroom
Median Monthly Rent$2,303$2,886$3,840
Average Yearly Income Needed$88,320$115,440$153,600

This makes the average rent in Brooklyn among all these bedroom types $3,009 per month and the required annual salary to be $120,360.

Top 5 Brooklyn Neighborhoods with Priciest Rent

We're counting down to the highest-priced area on the borough and taking a look at what it costs to live there.

PropertyNest took the average of all one, two, and three-bedroom rentals to extract our top 5 list.

One, two, and three-bedroom units make up most of the rental market at any given time of the year, which make them a good measure of market activity.

We're also listing the estimated annual income needed to rent a one-bedroom according to the average in the neighborhood using our affordability calculator.

Keep it in mind that you may be able to find an apartment for less or more within each respective neighborhood as these numbers are averages.

5. Gowanus - Median rent: $4,812

fort-greene-neighborhood.jpg

2020 was an unusual year. In comparison to Manhattan where rent and sales prices fell dramatically, Brooklyn seems to have held up considerably better.

We had a neighborhood like Gowanus actually emerge as a top contender in the Brooklyn rental market over the past year.

Over the past decade, Gowanus has slowly but surely become one of those "hip" spots in the borough. With a mix of industrial, and residential, it always had the bones of a real starter neighborhood.

It has a distinctly more urban vibe, closer to the likes of DUMBO, Bushwick, or East Williamsburg but surrounded by the picturesque neighborhoods of Park Slope, South Slope, and Carroll Gardens.

Some of the biggest draws to this neighborhood are Whole Foods and a slew of great restaurants, bars, and bakeries.

The average income needed to rent a one-apartment in Gowanus is $118,400.

Apartment SizeOne-bedroomTwo-bedroomThree-bedroom
Median Monthly Rent$2,960$3,720$5,420
Average Yearly Income Needed$118,400$148,800$216,800

4. Carroll Gardens - Median Rent: $4,896

Downtown Brooklyn

Carroll Gardens is arguably one of the most charming neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Historic townhouses and shops line its quaint streets.

Carroll Gardens is situated near other desirable areas like the Columbia Waterfront District, and fellow price-topper Cobble Hill.

You might feel like you're walking through a quaint town rather than the city when you're walking through much of Carroll Gardens (although there one busy street).

It's also home to some of the borough's best public schools and restaurants.

It's clearly one of the most sought-after neighborhoods to live in Brooklyn, so it's no surprise that rent prices have remained high in this area.

Apartment SizeOne-BedroomTwo-BedroomThree-Bedroom
Median Monthly Rent$2,885$3,845$5,625
Average Yearly Income Needed$115,400$153,800$225,000

3. Cobble Hill - Average Rent: $5,008

Cobble Hill Brooklyn

One visit to picturesque Cobble Hill will make it no surprise at all why this neighborhood has remained in the top five most expensive.

The neighborhood is no stranger to high prices and an active real estate scene.

It once even set a record in 2015 for the highest residential sale for Brooklyn--a townhouse that sold for $15.5 million.

The area's popularity is deeply rooted in its long history of community activism and organizing, which has helped preserve its landmark status.

Cobble Hill is also a base for popular shops, restaurants, parks, and gorgeous townhouses.

A prospective renter will need to earn about $120,800 per year in order to rent a one-bedroom apartment.

Ironically, the average 1-bedroom apartments are lower cost than in Downtown Brooklyn. It's their two and three-bedroom apartments that are the clincher for 3rd place.

Apartment SizeOne-BedroomTwo-BedroomThird-Bedroom
Median Monthly Rent$3,020$4,550$4,785
Average Yearly Income Needed$120,800$182,000$191,400

2. DUMBO - Median Rent: $5,573

Covid has hurt rentals in many markets. DUMBO is no exception to this condition. This year, DUMBO has dropped to

Yet another year has passed with DUMBO sitting at the top as highest average rents in Brooklyn.

Rents only continue to rise and more and more new developments have opened up, with even newer ones yet to come.

The good news is that the neighborhood, long lacking in restaurants and supermarkets is finally getting its day--ironic for one of the most popular areas in Brooklyn.

DUMBO is hot and thriving, not just for people who want to live or work there, but as one of the top tourist destinations in the city.

On average, you'll need to earn $157,200 to rent a one-bedroom in DUMBO. Not too shabby for the top spot.

Apartment SizeOne-BedroomTwo-BedroomThree-Bedroom
Average Monthly Rent$3,930$5,345$8,245
Average Yearly Income Needed$157,200$213,800$329,800

1. Brooklyn Heights - Median Rent: $7,570

DUMBO Bridge

Brooklyn Heights' second-place ranking should come as no surprise.

The neighborhood has been considered the most expensive area of Brooklyn for decades.

It's long been synonymous with Brooklynites who have money. Today's Brooklyn Heights real estate market clearly continues to highlight that.

Only in the past 20 years have we seen other neighborhoods in Brooklyn like DUMBO and Williamsburg rise to dominate the borough in popularity.

The average one-bedroom apartment in the neighborhood can be fetched by an annual salary of $119,000.

Like Cobble Hill, the one-bedrooms start off easy, but the prices get significantly heftier with additional bedrooms.

Apartment SizeOne-BedroomTwo-BedroomThree-Bedroom
Average Monthly Rent$3,650$5,270$12,860
Average Yearly Income Needed$146,000$210,800$514,400

Honorable Mentions of Most Expensive Neighborhoods

Williamsburg and Boerum Hill were just edged out of the top five for most expensive.

The good news for renters regarding Williamsburg is that (possibly due to an enormous inventory) prices seem to have leveled out in the past couple of years or so.

Reports show that landlord concessions are also at an all-time high in New York, especially due to loss of renters, who have lost income due to the lockdown measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other Expensive Neighborhoods in Brooklyn

Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn have both slipped from the top five but still remain in the top ten priciest neighborhoods and are still two of the most popular areas of Brooklyn.

Fort Greene

Fort Greene had formerly made the most significant leap this past calendar year in both sales and rental prices.

While it hasn't been considered one of the most affordable neighborhoods for the past ten years or so, it has even previously beat Williamsburg in both sales and rental prices before.

The rise is probably partly due to the recent development boom in the south end of its borders. Moreover, its proximity to other hot neighborhoods like Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Prospect Heights, and Boerum Hill make it an appealing choice.

You would need to earn approximately a yearly income of $116,920 to be able to afford the average one-bedroom apartment in the area.

Downtown Brooklyn

Perhaps no neighborhood has seen such a dramatic and sudden shift in its market as the Downtown Brooklyn area in the past ten years.

While there has always been a fair amount of activity in the area as it has served as the base for civic and commercial life of the borough, recent rezonings have facilitated significant development coming to the area.

While rent prices have taken a hit during the past year, this area is due for a new landmark event--the birth of the borough's first mega skyscraper when 9 Dekalb complete's construction.

This residential-commercial mixed-used building will be among the city's top ten tallest when it tops out.

The estimated annual income needed to afford a one-bedroom in Downtown Brooklyn is $127,960

Top 5 Cheapest Brooklyn Neighborhoods for Rent

We hear a lot about the hottest and most expensive neighborhoods in Brooklyn, but the most affordable neighborhoods are seldom discussed.

A neighborhood being lower cost may cause anyone to think that these typically be more impoverished income areas or maybe even crime-ridden.

This top 5 list may surprise you as you learn about neighborhoods not as frequently explored.

Once again, we list the estimated annual salary needed to afford a one-bedroom in these areas.

5. Bay Ridge- Median Rent $2,296

While real estate prices have raised somewhat over the years, Bay Ridge has managed to remain affordable.

The big draw to this neighborhood is it's family-friendly vibe, the good public schools, its proximity to the harbor, and the waterfront parks.

Bay Ridge is certainly one of Brooklyn's hidden gems. One of the reasons it probably remains a bargain is because it's not exactly close to Manhattan, however, that doesn't mean commute times are really that long.

Some houses even brag a 20-minute commute to the Financial District.

The community is safe and diverse, making this a very attractive prospect for those who are looking for a great neighborhood with great prices.

You'll just need to earn on average around $74,200 to afford a one-bedroom in this area.

Apartment SizeOne-BedroomTwo-BedroomThree-Bedroom
Median Monthly Rent$1,855$2,340$3,010
Average Yearly Income Needed$74,200$93,600$120,400

4. Prospect Park South - Median Rent: $2,244

Prospect Park South has become a popular alternative for those who are looking around Prospect Park but priced out of Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, or Windsor Terrace.

Situated right below the park's parade grounds and by neighboring Flatbush, this neighborhood has a lot to offer besides affordable rent prices.

This tiny neighborhood is actually jam-packed with beautiful pre-war building and historic Victorians. There are even two train stops in this area!

Restaurants and shops are easily accessible in nearby Flatbush.

One of the reasons this neighborhood has stayed affordable is that it truly is a hidden gem and often overlooked by apartment-hunters.

If you want to afford a typical one-bedroom here, make sure you earn around $80,600.

Apartment SizeOne-BedroomTwo-BedroomThree-Bedroom
Average Monthly Rent$2,015$2,370$2,805
Average Yearly Income Needed$80,600$94,800$112,200

3. Sunset Park - Median Rent: $2,199

When people think of great Brooklyn riverfront neighborhoods, they usually think of DUMBO or Red Hook. However, if you skipped over Sunset Park, you'd be making a grave mistake.

Situated on the other side of Greenwood Cemetary, Sunset Park has more to offer than just bargain rent prices.

Sunset Park is a great spot for a diverse number of restaurants that reflect the diversity of the community.

Furthermore, you have the upside of not only enjoying the gorgeous waterfront of Sunset Park itself.

The best development in recent years has been the opening of Industry City.

It's four and a half blocks of renovated warehouse buildings, transformed into a hub for arts, music, food, businesses, and events.

In order to afford the average one-bedroom in Sunset Park, you'll need to earn around $78,000 a year.

Apartment SizeOne-BedroomTwo-BedroomThird-Bedroom
Average Monthly Rent$1,950$2,155$2,400
Average Yearly Income Needed$78,000$86,200$96,000

2. East Flatbush - Median Rent: $2,180

East Flatbush has remained an affordable option for many over the past ten years as prices rise considerably in neighborhoods in much of North and Central Brooklyn.

However, it may not last on the top five cheapest neighborhoods as development is very much on the rise as bargain hunters expand their territorial search from areas like Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Flatbush/Ditmars.

After being priced out of those neighborhoods, your next logical conclusion would be drawn at East Flatbush, which borders these respective areas.

Much like Flatbush, East Flatbush is full of historic pre-wars and single-family homes.

Despite rising prices and development in the neighborhood, there are plans for a few affordable housing units to be constructed, ensuring that the area still has cheap options for years to come.

Apartment SizeOne-BedroomTwo-BedroomThird-Bedroom
Average Monthly Rent$1,660$2,645$2,420
Average Yearly Income Needed$66,400$105,800$96,800

1. Brighton Beach - Median Rent: $2,151

If you don't know much about Brighton Beach, just from the name, you'd be correct in assuming there is a beach in the neighborhood.

Brighton Beach borders Coney Island, and actually enjoys a beautiful less crowded stretch of beach than Coney Island.

This diverse neighborhood, while remaining relatively affordable, does have its fair share of luxury condos and developments.

Also, unique to this neighborhood is the large number of Russian-speaking populations that hail from former Soviet countries and Russian-speaking central Asian nations; so much so that there's a Little Odessa in the heart of this neighborhood.

The restaurants and shops also reflect the heritage of this area's residents, with much the signage in Cyrillic, and cuisine and groceries hailing from their Russian and Slavic-speaking homelands.

Apartment SizeOne-BedroomTwo-BedroomThird-Bedroom
Average Monthly Rent$1,960$2,380$2,650
Average Yearly Income Needed$78,400$95,200$106,000

Honorable Mentions

Two neighborhoods that just missed the top five for lowest cost are East New York and Brownsville. Another worthwhile mention is Bensonhurt

Bensonhurst

Bensonhurst is not only one of the most diverse areas of Brooklyn, but one of the lowest crime neighborhoods as well.

Similar to lower Manhattan, Bensonhurst has an unofficial "Little Italy" as well as a "Little Hong Kong".

This quaint and quiet neighborhood has plenty of old-fashioned Italian bakeries and shops, as well as Russian and Asian restaurants.

Bensonhurst is a great place to get foods different cuisines as well as attractive rental prices.

A commute to the city will run you about 50 minutes, but the train ride to Coney Island is really quick for some R and R.

Bensonhurst is ideally situated near Gravesend Bay for some fantastic views.

A modest combined income of about $62,000 should suit you well for a one-bedroom in Bensonhurst.

Brownsville

Brownsville's long history of being one of the most impoverished and crime-ridden neighborhoods in Brooklyn might have something to do with the fact that rent prices are historically low in this area.

Crime is still relatively high but gets reported more frequently from this neighborhood because it seems to be a victim of its own notoriety.

An interesting article reveals the media's fixation on reporting crimes from Brownsville despite dips in violent crime.

All in all, the crime rate has dropped down significantly over the past 20 years, and savvy shoppers have begun snatching up real estate while no one was looking.

Rentals remain cheap, but you can actually find plenty of multi-million dollar houses for sale in this area.

While overall rent is cheaper than Bensonhurst or Mill Basin, an approximate income of $88,600 will do you right for a two-bedroom in Brownsville.

East New York

East New York is one of the most notorious areas of the city. Its rock bottom rental prices should come as no surprise.

However, East New York is no one-trick pony. Like in Brownsville, overall crime rates have dropped year after year.

Much of the development is in the affordable housing sector, but it's also cultivated some market-rate development.

An annual salary of $104,400 should comfortably get you a two-bedroom in East New York.

Try the PropertyNest rent affordability calculator and find out what salary you should be making to rent in your desired Brooklyn neighborhood.

Our Methodology

Median rent was aggregated directly from PropertyNest's proprietary data from listing directly advertised or syndicated to the site. The data was collected over one calendar year to reflect seasonal changes.

Some neighborhoods may have been excluded due to scarcity of rental data. Rent prices are based on advertised asking rent prices and may not accurately reflect the final rent on signed leases.

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