Why You Should Add Inwood To The List Of Hot NYC Neighborhoods
Relatively cheap, whimsical and woodsy, Inwood may be the best kept secret in Manhattan.
There was a time when venturing above 96th Street in Manhattan, especially after dark, was a risky move. Now, with shimmering, amenity laden condos selling in Harlem for top dollar, venturing uptown is a luxury—not a liability. In fact, with gentrification sweeping up to Washington Heights and beyond, people looking for a great deal are heading to most northerly tip of Manhattan—Inwood.
StreetEasy’s data shows that Upper Manhattan—Harlem, Inwood, Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights and Manhattanville—still has the most affordable median monthly rent in the borough. In a twelve-month period, it increased by 6.4 percent to $2,449—still almost eight hundred dollars less than the median rent in Manhattan. Similarly, the median sales asking price for Upper Manhattan, according to StreetEasy data, is $700,000, and the borough’s median is $1.8 million.
Along with Kingsbridge in the Bronx, add Inwood to the list of NYC’s neighborhoods tipped for “hotness” in 2017 by StreetEasy’s data boffins. Specifically, they cited the fact that in Inwood it would only take 1.6 years for a home owner’s down payment and additional costs for buying a property to equal the amount they spent on rent over the same period. A huge difference compared to the borough-wide tipping point of 9.2 years.
Surrounded by water—the Hudson and Harlem Rivers, Inwood has a quiet, leafy suburban feel—in part, because because of the haphazard layout and also zoning limits building heights. It’s a limitation that residents and The City Council has strenuously fought to uphold, most recently in the light of Mayor de Blasio’s attempts in August to build a larger apartment building at the intersection of Sherman Avenue and Broadway.
“If people are frustrated by gentrification and development, and then turn down an opportunity to create affordable housing, brand-new affordable housing, that does not make sense,” de Blasio told Crain’s. “And now the developer gets to do whatever he wants.”
Assembly member Guillermo Linares saw it differently, “We must turn this tide of luxury housing being built in the working class neighborhoods exiling people who cannot afford to live there anymore,” he said. “I am asking you to take a stand here in Inwood with me to make an example of 100% housing affordability being possible in the neighborhood standing on the verge of gentrification,” he stated.
With accessibility to the rest of Manhattan (around 30 minutes via the 1 or A Train to 42nd Street), the co-op dense neighborhood has managed to keep prices down—in part, because soaring towers elsewhere in the borough are not in Inwood. Whimsical and woodsy, the area has become more of a draw recently because of the increased number of restaurants, bike shops, wine shops, and a Starbucks.
That said, the population is still largely Hispanic—around 73 percent, according to the 2010 census, which may have dropped slightly since then. As well as shopping, other new amenities have included the addition of one-acre Muscota Marsh on land that belonged to Columbia University, which has a large athletic complex next door. The city required Columbia to create the park, in exchange for building its Campbell Sports Center. The park is also part of the complex.
Inwood will continue to attract residents looking for a cheaper alternative to elsewhere in Manhattan or Brooklyn so long as prices are low compared to its neighbors. As long as much of the available housing is older and co-op based, there is chance for that to continue. If glassy towers start to fill the landscape, regardless of the affordable housing component, all bets are off.
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