When people hear of the Bronx, they think of a “rough” borough of New York. Yes, it was entrenched in urban blight in the 1970s, but the Bronx has come a long way. Since 2010, the borough has experienced a steady climb in housing costs and development. In the past couple of years alone, the Bronx has seen new real estate deals from SKF Development, Pantheon Properties, and Sopher Group, to name a few. Does this mean that the Bronx is now a hot market in New York? Yes. Before we dive into the growth the Bronx is enjoying, let’s take a look at its past.
Originally called Rananchqua, the Siwanoy tribe of the Lenape lived in the area. In 1639, Jonas Bronck established a farm in what is now the Mott Haven neighborhood as part of the New Netherland colony. The area was divided by the “Aquahung” river (now the Bronx River) and was originally part of Westchester County. It was named after the Bronx River, from which the city gets its spelling and “the” in its name, as well as after Jonas Bronck. The Bronx was annexed to New York City in the late 1800s and was separated from New York County in 1914.
After World War I, tens of thousands of immigrants flocked to the Bronx because of its affordable housing and subway connections to New York City. In the prohibition era, the Bronx was noted for it high crime rate and speakeasies. In the 1930s, the Irish were the first to leave the Bronx for the New York suburbs. The Germans followed along with the Italians and Jews. Now, the Bronx has a robust Hispanic and African-American population. In the 1970s, the Bronx took an economic downturn due to redlining, arsons, decaying buildings and drugs. However, the Bronx has risen from its ashes over the last decade thanks to community groups, new housing developments and new commercial properties.
In September, a $165 million dollar deal was inked on what is considered to be the largest private development of 1300 rentals to the waterfront. More proof that the Bronx is becoming a hot real estate investment is the 24% increase in approved apartments this year alone. More economic growth is expected not just from new housing, but from the new ferry connecting the Bronx to Wall Street, the overhaul of the Sheridan Expressway and the four planned metro stations. Realtors have recently nicknamed the Bronx “SoBro,” because it’s a great option for those who want to live in Manhattan and Brooklyn but can’t afford their prices. Compared to the other boroughs, the Bronx is the best buy with its new housing and offers an easy commute to Manhattan.