Brokes Populi: What do you consider cheap rent in Brooklyn?

Is a $1,600 2BR in Ditmas Park cheap if the kitchen is in a different zip code?

The New York Times had a feature recently on a young art therapist who never pays more than $625 a month in rent. To keep her pledge, she’s moved from Carroll Gardens to Williamsburg, to Bushwick, to Bed-Stuy, where she lives in a sweet-looking room with high ceilings and a garden view. Which brings us to today’s brokepinion poll: What do you consider cheap rent in Brooklyn, and what do you expect to get for that? Let’s go by bedroom. Are you willing to sleep in your roommate’s closet because anything over $150 a month highway robbery? Or anything under $1,000 a month a bargain because you HAVE to have rooftop access? Keep in mind what you get for that rent: outdoor space, neighborhood, subway access, etc. And if you’re a brokester who somehow figured out how to buy a place, what do you pay per month in mortgage and maintenance combined?


  1. Tim Donnelly

    I’d say $600-$800 for a small-to-decent sized room is about in the cheap wheelhouse, though I know people who pay both more and less who would argue differently.

    I don’t get how people live in 1 br apartments and think $1,000 a month is a steal. You have too much money; please share some with us.

    • marti

      $1,000 a month is a steal to live by yourself in a one bedroom. If you know some of these people that are moving out, kindly give them my e-mail, I need a new place.

    • I guess it all depends on where you’re living. If you had a 1br apt in central Park Slope or Brooklyn Heights I’d say that’s cheap for those hoods. If you’re paying under $800 for your share or apartment that’s relatively inexpensive for rent in NYC. I bet you could find some really cheap rent in Bensonhurst but you’d be pretty far out.

  2. iamkellymurphy

    This mostly depends on perspective, right? When I first moved to the city, I paid $550, which felt incredibly expensive since I didn’t have a job. I still probably wouldn’t call $800 cheap unless you have incredible amenities. Like an in-ground pool.

  3. jjhagen

    You can find a cheap room for around 700 bucks but you may not have decent roommates or like a window. I lived in Bushwick for 500 bucks but had six roommates, a plexiglass “window” and had to sleep on the couch during the summer because my room was a sauna. I’m about to pay 900 in rent knowing it’s more than I’d like but it’s a trade off for functional communicative roommates, windows, an area of Brooklyn where I want to live and a place where my cat doesn’t have to live with other beasts.

    Rent and food are where the bulk of my money go while living in Brooklyn and ultimately it’s worth it for me. Besides I’m damn good at thrifting other things. Also, happy hours.

  4. I pay $560 for a room in Sunset Park. The only downsides are the very slanted floor, the neighbors on the other side of my bedroom wall who blare what sounds like Spanish polka music late at night, and the neighbors directly above whose main pastime is throwing furniture-moving parties.

  5. ianmac47

    I think its probably difficult to find lower cost roomshares in part because the lease holders end up exploiting their subletters to cover more than their share of the rent.

  6. the cheapest place i ever lived came out to about 500/br in a great hood, prewar building which has its pros and cons (character! electrical problems!). before that i was around 800/br which was expensive :( but brand new and gorgeous, roof deck, backyard, etc. my first place was 1200/1br, by woodhull hospital with parades every sunday out my front window. lol whatever, we all have to start somewhere.
    i think 500/600 is pretty darn cheap for a livable place in a safe hood. i think once you start going under that you hit serious tradeoffs.

  7. xchristinex

    My rent last year in Bushwick (close to L & M trains) was $700 then lowered to $525 when my roommate’s girlfriend moved in. We had a shared yard, 1.5 baths, two floors (main floor + basement), roof access, and coin laundry in the building. My room was a tad small, but I did have high ceilings and a closet!

    I live about a block away from that apartment now, I pay $485 a month, my room is quite large, with three big windows and high ceilings, and I have a big double closet. I have essentially my own bathroom too (the whole apartment has 4 bathrooms). A couple of my roommates have walk-in closets too. I live right next to the train but it’s worth it. Our apartment is freakishly large and cheap and yet conveniently located. For me, “cheap” is about $700 and under but I am biased because of my good luck with inexpensive rents.

  8. beezy

    There are probably single moms in the outer boroughs with more than 1 kid that survive on less than a $1000 a month combined; poorer than most brokesters.

    I think the real questions are which luxuries would you give up first: are you willing to get your groceries at a bodega, use the public library for internet, and live more than a mile from a subway?

  9. rpenzo

    A very wise friend said to me about rent prices in Brooklyn (or NYC in general): “Anything over $1200/month is ridiculous. You might as well buy something and pay a lower mortgage price.”

    What I’m willing to pay (in my relatively safe, quiet & accessible Greenwood/Kensington neighborhood) depends on what I bring home per paycheck; my rent can’t be more than my check. So far, so good!

    • niko_bellic

      You may want to remind your friend that money is just means, not ends. Eventually, you will have to spend it or something, right? When you do, there will be some fool who doesn’t value the same things you do telling you you’ve been robbed.

  10. versayce

    The most I’ve ever paid was $775 for a shoebox of a room in Williamsburg when I first moved to Brooklyn. It was my first apartment, and I didn’t know any better. The least I’ve ever paid was $550 for a room in Bed-Stuy with no windows and a skylight that didn’t open. Needless to say that was toasty in the summer.

    I pay $675 now for a nice room in Ditmas Park with three windows and a double closet in a very big apartment that’s literally next door to the subway. Can’t complain. I personally think $700 and under is cheap.

  11. goodgod

    I just signed a lease for a 1.5 bedroom place for $1350 in Clinton Hill. It’s a lot, but it affords me a 7 min. commute to work, and a lot of space. This is my first time living alone, would love to hear what others think is expensive for a 1 bedroom.

  12. catherine

    I can’t deal with roommates anymore, even if the rent is a terrific bargain. If I could find a one-bedroom for under $900, that would be ideal. In the meantime, I’m happy with my studio. It’s 550 sq. ft. and I pay $850/mo. for it.

  13. Moving to the city from DC, splitting a JR 1 BR with my partner for $1625 in Boerum Hill. I work from home and his commute is now two blocks, so $812.50 pp doesnt seem expensive at all.

  14. katie

    My sister and I used to share a room in Bushwick for $550 total. We had a decent sized room. No closet and two nice clean roommates. It worked alright because she had a boyfriend.

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