Gentrification refers to the influx of wealthier people into an existing urban neighborhood. The process – which brings changes to an area’s character and culture, along with increases in rents and property values – is happening in select metropolitan areas across the U.S., including New York City. A recent report from the NYU Furman Center analyzed gentrification within New York City’s sub-boroughs. It defines “gentrifying” neighborhoods as those that were comparatively low-income in 1990 (in the bottom 40% of the city), but that have experienced higher-than-median neighborhood rent growth in the following two decades.

With these criteria, the report found that of the city’s 55 neighborhoods, 15 were classified as gentrifying. In addition, the report categorized seven as non-gentrifying – neighborhoods that were low-income in the 1990s with no dramatic change in the last 20 years – and the rest as high-income neighborhoods that were already in the top 60% in the 1990s.

Of NYC’s five boroughs, Brooklyn and Manhattan have the lion’s share of gentrifying neighborhoods, followed by the Bronx and Queens; Staten Island did not have any. Here are the 15 neighborhoods, listed alphabetically by borough, along with each neighborhood’s percent change in average rent between 1990 and 2010-2014, as shown in the NYU Furman Center’s State of New York City’s Housing & Neighborhoods report. We also list today's (current as of March 13, 2017) median sales price, rent and household income, according to Trulia.com.  

THE BRONX

Morrisania/Belmont

Percent Change in Average Rent Between 1990 and 2010-2014: 23.5%

Median Sales Price Today: $370,000

Median Rent Per Month Today: $1,975

Median Household Income Today: $24,419

Mott Haven/Hunts Point

Percent Change in Average Rent Between 1990 and 2010-2014: 28.0%

Median Sales Price Today: N/A

Median Rent Per Month Today: N/A

Median Household Income Today: $20,409

BROOKLYN

Bedford-Stuyvesant

Percent Change in Average Rent Between 1990 and 2010-2014: 36.1%

Median Sales Price Today: $712,500

Median Rent Per Month Today: $2,275

Median Household Income Today: $40,625

Brownsville/Ocean Hill

Percent Change in Average Rent Between 1990 and 2010-2014: 20.5%

Median Sales Price Today: $400,000

Median Rent Per Month Today: $1,850

Median Household Income Today: $26,274

Bushwick

Percent Change in Average Rent Between 1990 and 2010-2014: 44.0%

Median Sales Price Today: $793,000

Median Rent Per Month Today: $1,950

Median Household Income Today: $36,406

North Crown Heights/Prospect Heights

Percent Change in Average Rent Between 1990 and 2010-2014: 29.9%

Median Sales Price Today: $955,500

Median Rent Per Month Today: $3,000

Median Household Income Today: $74,205

South Crown Heights

Percent Change in Average Rent Between 1990 and 2010-2014: 18.1%

Median Sales Price Today: $625,000

Median Rent Per Month Today: $3,350

Median Household Income Today: $36,387

Sunset Park

Percent Change in Average Rent Between 1990 and 2010-2014: 23.9%

Median Sales Price Today: $460,000

Median Rent Per Month Today: $2,100

Median Household Income Today: $38,080

Williamsburg/Greenpoint

Percent Change in Average Rent Between 1990 and 2010-2014: 78.7%

Median Sales Price Today: $815,000

Median Rent Per Month Today: $3,600

Median Household Income Today: $32,697

MANHATTAN

Central Harlem

Percent Change in Average Rent Between 1990 and 2010-2014: 53.2%

Median Sales Price Today: $863,500*

Median Rent Per Month Today: $2,500*

Median Household Income Today: $35,866*

*Data for Harlem

East Harlem

Percent Change in Average Rent Between 1990 and 2010-2014: 40.3%

Median Sales Price Today: $863,500*

Median Rent Per Month Today: $2,500*

Median Household Income Today: $35,866*

*Data for Harlem

Lower East Side/Chinatown

Percent Change in Average Rent Between 1990 and 2010-2014: 50.3%

Median Sales Price Today: $1,256,000

Median Rent Per Month Today: $4,500

Median Household Income Today: $38,333

Morningside Heights/Hamilton Heights

Percent Change in Average Rent Between 1990 and 2010-2014: 36.7%

Median Sales Price Today: $980,000

Median Rent Per Month Today: $6,200

Median Household Income Today: $58,445

Washington Heights/Inwood

Percent Change in Average Rent Between 1990 and 2010-2014: 29.3%

Median Sales Price Today: $850,000

Median Rent Per Month Today: $6,500

Median Household Income Today: $34,184

QUEENS

Astoria

Percent Change in Average Rent Between 1990 and 2010-2014: 27.6%

Median Sales Price Today: $662,500

Median Rent Per Month Today: $2,575

Median Household Income Today: $54,020

The Bottom Line

Like many metropolitan areas across the U.S., New York City has many neighborhoods undergoing gentrification. From an investment perspective, buying early in a gentrifying market can make sense, but there are some downsides to consider. While the process can certainly lead to some positive changes in the community – for example, reduced crime, increased economic activity and new investment in area buildings and infrastructure – the benefits are usually enjoyed most by the new arrivals, and not by the established residents.

The PBS film "Flag Wars" shows that a gentrified neighborhood can become a “victim of its own success.” Rising rents and property values, coupled with the “upward spiral of desirability,” can erode the qualities that attracted new residents in the first place. According to the film, “When success comes to a neighborhood, it does not always come to its established residents, and the displacement of that community is gentrification’s most troubling effect.”