• Dillon Ross

Should You Buy Real Estate in the Upper East Side?

It's no surprise that home sales are surging in the Upper East Side district of New York City.


Upper East Side real estate has long been a crown jewel of the New York real estate market. Professionals, students, and families, both original New Yorkers and transplants, are choosing the area as the perfect place to call home. Living in the Upper East Side provides the ideal combination of classic New York City vibes and a slower-paced suburban appeal.


Have you been thinking about moving to the Upper East Side? Are you ready to make a real estate investment in the area? To make the best choice, you must do your homework and get all the information needed to make such a life-changing decision.


Read on to find out all you need to know about Upper East Side real estate and what to expect from living there.

upper east side real estate

The Upper East Side: A Breakdown


The Upper East Side is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan bordered by 96th Street to the north, 59th Street to the south, Central Park / Fifth Avenue to the west, and the East River to the east.


Once home to some of New York City's most famous families, such as the Rockerfellers, the Vanderbilts, and the Carnegies, the Upper East Side is known for its rich history and sophisticated vibe. It has all the excitement of living the quintessential NYC lifestyle but with a more relaxed pace than much of the rest of Manhattan.


It's no surprise that people flock to the area to purchase real estate. It features historic buildings, access to great schools, cultural and community centers, beautiful parks, and top-notch dining and shopping. Attracting a wide range of interested buyers—families, single professionals, students, retirees, the Upper East Side is, now more than ever, a hot spot in the NYC real estate market.


Living in the Upper East Side is not a passing trend. It is an excellent investment in the quality of life and the real estate market.


Upper East Side Real Estate Costs


The Upper East Side has some of the most impressive buildings and homes that NYC offers. Some of the most luxurious apartments, townhouses, and brownstones are found here, but the district's real estate market includes options for various budgets.


In March 2022, the median price for a home on the Upper East Side was $1.5 million, with a price per square foot of ~$1.4K. The median sales price was $1.2 million. The values are trending upward for the year with 7.2% in a year-over-year comparison.


Because the district covers a large area of Manhattan, there are many real estate options ranging from apartments to townhouses and brownstones, both in historic buildings and new construction projects.


The closer to Fifth Avenue and Central Park, the pricier the properties get. Some properties facing Central Park might be unattainable for most, but other options include many one-and two-bedroom condos for much more affordable prices. The further east and north you go, the more available, affordable options.


While the residents of the Upper East Side have the reputation of being rich and famous, more and more people from all walks of life realize that living there is desirable and within their reach. And so far, in 2022, it's a buyer's market, so now is the time to buy real estate in the area.


Popular Communities Within the Upper East Side


There are diverse areas within the Upper East Side that will impress a wide variety of future Upper East Side residents. Each area is unique and has its flavor and appeal.


Carnegie Hill


Residents of Carnegie Hill love the lifestyle in the prestigious and sought-after area of the Upper East Side. It is known for its quiet tree-lined streets that feature historic homes built in classic European architectural styles and provide a respite from the bustling boulevards and avenues of the city. The higher price tags of the homes in the area are explained by the beautiful balance between the lively city life and quaint, old-world appeal.


Lenox Hill


Lenox Hill, located on the southern end of the Upper East Side, offers a range of real estate options. There is something for everyone here, from late 19th-century renaissance-style buildings to newer, more modern housing options. Lenox Hill is the perfect blend of luxury shops, charming cafés and restaurants, green areas, and impressive architecture, among other draws—it's the epitome of New York living.


Yorkville


Yorkville is a perfect mix of old and new, featuring buildings over a century old and newer constructions. It is located in the northern part of the Upper East Side and was once a rural part of the city, featuring farms and wooded areas. Yorkville is under the radar, disconnected from the hustle and bustle to some extent, but yet is a quintessential New York neighborhood. Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the Mayor of New York City, is also located here.


The Commute


As it is for much of New York City, many transit options to and from the Upper East Side make commuting uncomplicated and easily accessible. Whether you are at work or play or prefer to walk, bike, take public transit or jump in a car, there are many options.


Subway: New York City's renowned subway system runs right through the Upper East Side. The 4,5,6, F, and Q subway lines all run near or through the neighborhood, with several stations. By subway, from the Upper East Side, it takes approximately 15 minutes to get to Times Square and 30 minutes to get to the financial district downtown. Some destinations require line changes, but accessibility and ease of access are unparalleled.


Bus: Bus lines run on most of the main avenues of the Upper East Side, including Fifth Avenue, Park Avenue, and Lexington Avenue. These provide direct access to several New York City locations and provide connections between the subway lines and main train stations of the city.


Bikes: There are bike paths through several Upper East Side streets and easy access to Central Park. Several Citibike bike-sharing stations give you a simple, healthy option—to ride a bike to your destination.


Car and taxis: Similar to much of NYC, taxis, and ride-sharing are easily hailed from the streets of the Upper East Side. The FDR Drive, a 3.5-mile parkway, provides convenient access in uptown and downtown directions.


Walking: Walking is a built-in part of the New York lifestyle, which is true for the Upper East Side. Enjoy casual walks through the many parks in the area, including the famous Central Park, or go for a more brisk walk to the closest subway station or your final destination.


The Lifestyle of the Upper East Side


If there is one reason that the Upper East Side is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in NYC, it's the lifestyle it offers. Part suburban oasis, part luxurious enclave, the area's lifestyle is the big draw.


Shopping


The Upper East Side is the place for world-class shopping. Known for its upscale boutiques, high-end department stores, and specialty shopping, it is a mecca for shoppers. Whether you are shopping for shoes, dresses, handbags, athletic wear, or cosmetics, the Upper East Side is a mecca to get the current trends and the timeless classics. There is also an abundance of specialty shops, markets, and grocery stores.


Dining


There is something for everyone to eat on the Upper East Side. The iconic district is known for the significant number of restaurant options, so you will not be disappointed no matter what you are craving.


Fine dining: Looking for a dining experience that is a notch above the rest? The Upper East Side has its share of fine dining establishments with elegant menus and white-glove service.


Coffee and baked goods: There is no shortage of coffee and pastry shops on the Upper East Side. Have time between work, museum visits, or a shopping outing? Duck into one of the area's coffee shops and enjoy the variety of bread, pastries, confections, and the perfect coffee cup.


Ethnic foods: You name it, the Upper East Side has it. For ethnic foods, the area rivals some of the best in the city. If you are looking for Mexican, Thai, Indian, Greek—whatever ethnic food suits your fancy—you will find it here.


Time Spent Outdoors


While there is one very big park—Central Park—that is easily accessible to all residents of the Upper East Side; many other parks offer pleasant ways to enjoy the fresh air and outdoors. There are playgrounds, sports facilities, river walks, and gardens sprinkled throughout the area, perfect for getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city.


Central Park: The iconic Central Park is a big draw for people looking to buy property on the Upper East Side. Central Park offers bike paths, hiking trails, birdwatching, softball fields, gardens, playgrounds, and grassy hills. The residents often avoid the busier, more touristy southern parts of the park in favor of the quieter, more peaceful central and northern sections.


East River Parks: The East River runs along the eastern border of the Upper East Side and offers several parks with water views, dog runs, and gardens.


Among these parks offering great views of the East River is Carl Shurtz Park. It is built on 15.2 grassy and tree-filled acres featuring arboreal gardens, playgrounds, and pathways, perfect for a waterfront-filled day. Although smaller, John Jay Park is another waterfront park that has outdoor pools, a playground, and a basketball court.


Museums


The stretch of 5th Avenue that runs along the Upper East Side is also called "The Museum Mile." This is due to the number of diverse, world-class museums and cultural centers situated there. Throughout the year, the museums offer many exhibits, special events, and opportunities, making the area unmatched for art and culture. Some of the museums in the area include:

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

  • Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution

  • Museum of the City of New York

  • Goethe Institute

  • Neue Galerie

  • El Museo del Barrio


Nightlife


While not as synonymous with NYC nightlife as other areas of town, the Upper East Side offers many options for a varied taste in nightlife. The area has many Irish pubs and Karaoke clubs, but it is primarily known for its piano bars.


And if the trendy clubs, loud music concerts, or an up-til-dawn nightlife might be more your style, the rest of Manhattan is still within easy reach.


Schools


The Upper East Side is home to the best private schools in the country and some of the finest public schools in New York. The number of high-quality educational institutions within reach is one of the big draws of living in this part of town for families and students of all ages.


Living in the Upper East Side


With its classic, timeless appeal, living in the Upper East Side has many lifestyles and real estate benefits. On the one hand, it's the place of legends, home to the wealthiest New Yorkers, but on the other, it's also home to a wide-ranging, diverse population, all of whom recognize the district's beauty.


More and more people are discovering the best of both worlds on the Upper East Side: the engaging, energetic vibe of New York City enveloped in a charming self-contained oasis.


Are you interested in Upper East Side real estate? Contact us to speak to a qualified real estate professional who can help you navigate the process of owning a property in the Upper East Side.