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The latest real estate report shows that subway stops have a big effect on rent. While two new services — StreetScape and Rent Betta — launch to help New Yorkers arrive at their dream apartment.

How near you are to key subway stations is a big factor in New York rents. Photo: Florian Wehde/Unsplash

When it comes to searching for an apartment, there are a few well-known factors that determine how much you’ll pay — the square footage of units in the area, whether the neighborhood is known for luxurious glass towers or elegant brownstones, and the fickle nature of “what’s cool”

Adjacent to a park? $$. Adjacent to Central Park? $$$. Central Park West Penthouse? $$$$$. 

While nearby parks and green spaces are invariably attractive to apartment hunters, there’s one less-glamorous, yet just as vital consideration — subway adjacency. And according to a report from real estate search engine Renthop, your proximity to certain subway stops can greatly increase or decrease the value of your apartment. 

According to the report, one-bedroom median rents increased along 438 stops across all of the MTA’s train lines — over 90 percent of the system’s total stops. Rents around major hubs like Times Square (where the median rent for a one-bedroom was ~$4K and up 30 percent from last year) have dramatically surged, owing in part to the one-two punch of high demand and fewer rent concessions. The highest increases were at stops closest to luxury high-rises, such as in Hudson Yards by the new-ish 7 train, where the median rent was even higher — listed at $4,153. Midtown West fared better than nabes further downtown — a one-bedroom near the Union Square NQRW stop could cost you as much as $4,600 a month (a 28 percent increase year on year). 

While we don’t discount taxis, walking, or the city’s bus system as a way to get around in veritable subway deserts like Hell’s Kitchen, the train — despite myriad delays ranging from signal failures to chickens crossing the tracks —  is still the fastest method of getting from point A to B (as anyone who has braved the West Side Highway at rush hour can attest). And though the city’s transit system was semi-abandoned at the height of the pandemic, according to the MTA, on March 15 subway ridership hit its single highest one-day total since the pandemic began, proving that for all of its challenges, New Yorkers still rely on the convenience of being near a subway to get where they need to go. 

But what if you want to wander the streets of New York looking for a building that just calls to you? There’s now an app for that (and no, it’s not Co-Star!!). StreetEasy has developed an iOs app called StreetScape set to be released this summer that allows users to tap into augmented reality technology to scan their location for available units. Buildings with available apartments will display a conveniently Sims-like floating icon so that you can knock on the door and ask to move in follow the link to a StreetEasy listing. 

If you prefer a more direct method of checking apartment availability, you’re also in luck! A new service called Rent Betta promises to book apartment tours directly with property owners and managers, for a larger share of no-fee apartments — which, in a city where every dollar increasingly counts, could mean thousands in move-in savings. 

Rent Betta is offering a wide range of no broker fee apartments.

Happy apartment shopping, real estate warriors! And remember…even if you pay more to live near an express train, you’ll save on the taxis you would have taken every time the local line shuts down (here’s looking at you, 1 train). 

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1 Comment

  1. NYC renters are screwed because renting is living in someone else’s property. I bought a house on S.I. in the early 1990s, and I don’t have to worry about some cranky NYC landlord not turning on the heat. Owning a home isn’t cheap but it beats renting shitty apartments your whole life. A I have a private driveway too!

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