There was a time when you could have bought a home anywhere in Brooklyn or Queens for $500 per square foot, and possibly in some parts of Manhattan too. Nowadays, only the Bronx and Staten Island offer homes in this price range in every neighborhood, with the rest of the boroughs having homes listed at $500/sf only in a few zip codes.

It’s no secret that high Manhattan prices increased demand dramatically in both Brooklyn and Queens and gentrified a handful of neighborhoods there. What comes as more of a surprise is just how many zip codes Queens has where you can’t purchase a home for under $500/sf. Almost the entire northern part of the borough has prices above $500, while Brooklyn prices decrease from north to south, although you can buy for under $500 only on the eastern and far south side of the borough.

The 10032-zip code in Harlem is the only location where you can buy for under $500/sf in Manhattan. In fact, you’ll even have a hard time finding a place at $1,000 per square-foot in the borough. For New York City, $500/sf isn’t an extremely high home price, but when you compare it to the national average of $150/sf, it really puts things into perspective.

We split up New York City into zip codes and took a peek at the locations where prices are lower, but also where they are unusually high. Using PropertyShark data, we determined the median price per square foot of each zip from our 2018 closing records. We also included the top zip codes with the highest number of budget-friendly listings.

Key Takeaways:

  • Square-foot prices in the northern part of Queens are above $500 in almost every zip code;
  • In Brooklyn, you can buy a home under $500/sf in eastern neighborhoods;
  • Out of the 5 boroughs, Staten Island has the most budget-friendly listings under $500/sf: 232;
  • In the Bronx, you can easily purchase a house with square-foot prices of around $200/sf;

Gentrification Took Its Toll on Northern Queens

You would assume that apart from the waterfront neighborhoods facing Manhattan, one could easily buy under $500/sf almost anywhere in the borough, especially further east.

The only zip codes where you can buy a home under $500 per square foot in North Queens are 11356, 11368, 11369, 11370, 11378 and 11379. On the entire southern side of the borough, one can easily acquire a house for far below $500/sf. Based on our 2018 sales data, one of the most affordable zips in Queens is 11692, with a median price per square foot of $199.

The most budget-friendly listings in Queens are in 11375, where there are currently 49 properties listed for under $500 per square foot, and 11357, with 32 listed properties below this price.

Brooklyn Isn’t as Green on Our Map as Queens

Most of Brooklyn’s zips have prices above $500/sf, with only a handful of locations offering prices below that figure. The entire western waterfront and neighboring areas of the borough are expensive, although there are a couple of zip codes further south where you can buy a home if you are willing to pay just a little over $500/sf. Eastern neighborhoods tend to be the most affordable in the borough, with prices per square foot hovering around $300 and $400.

The highest number of budget-friendly listings in Brooklyn are in 11375, with 67 properties selling for under $500 per square foot.

The Two Boroughs Where You Can Buy Under $500/SF in Every Zip Code

In most of the neighborhoods in the Bronx, you can easily purchase a house with square-foot prices of around $200. Houses in a few zip codes also sold for less this year, including in 10474 and 10459, where the median square foot price is $142 and $185, respectively. 10463 has the largest number of listings under $500, with 204 homes under that cutoff.

Out of the 5 boroughs, Staten Island has the most budget-friendly listings, and the largest number of homes are for sale being in zip 10321, at 232 listings. Square-foot prices in the borough are above $300 in the majority of the neighborhoods, with 3 northern zip codes having prices just below in the high $200s.

There are still many options to buy homes under $500/sf in New York City, if you avoid the really expensive neighborhoods and don’t mind living a bit further away from the bustling streets of Manhattan. However, don’t expect prices to remain the same in the coming years: some Brooklyn and Queens zip codes are just a few dollars away of the $500/sf mark.


The median sale prices were calculated based on residential property sales closed between January 1, 2018 and of June 30, 2018. Single- and two-family homes, coop units and condos were included in our study, excluding package deals and sales under $10,000. The residential listings included in the budget-friendly zips category were extracted from PropertyShark’s ‘homes for sale’ database.

Robert Demeter

Robert Demeter

Robert is a copywriter at CommercialCafe and brings 3+ years of experience in commercial real estate. He previously worked as a copywriter at PropertyShark, as a senior associate editor at Commercial Property Executive and Multi-Housing News, and also wrote monthly market reports at Yardi Matrix.

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