Manhattan is pricier than ever, and there seem to be few real “steals” left in the most desirable sections of the city. Buying an apartment below 125th Street generally takes a lot of upfront cash these days considering down payments, closing costs, and moving expenses. One area of the city that seems to have sprung back to life in a response to a hot market is the lower east side. The Lower East Side as recently as the 1990’s was known as home to some of the city’s best kosher and Chinese restaurants, but little else that would attract home buyers. The neighborhood suffered through high crime and stagnating growth through the eighties and nineties, but recently became the epicenter of a downtown renaissance. Its proximity to SoHo, Little Italy, the Village, Gramercy Park, and the Financial District, have given the lower east side a much-needed breath of fresh air.
The Lower East Side, which typically refers to the portion of the city below Houston Street and east of Broadway, has recently been up-zoned and now has several new condo and co-op projects underway. On top of the new buildings that are in the works, the area has a new upscale boutique hotel on Rivington Street, as well as a similar style hotel on Orchard Street. On the weekend the streets are alive with people going out to trendy restaurants, bars, lounges, and fashionable boutiques. All of this has created quite a stir for the values of the property in the lower east side, with rental prices soaring to some of the highest in the city. Retail rents on some Lower East Side streets are actually higher than some areas of the Upper East Side! Condo prices have been noted as reaching over $1300 per square foot in some buildings. The good new is that there are still some steals left in the neighborhood. It seems the sprawl of trendiness edges closer to the East River every few months, and the best buys are along the FDR.

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