New Yorkers typically choose their apartments based on their location and how close they are to public transport. However, as ridesharing apps such as Lyft, Uber and Via become more popular, finding an apartment next to a subway is now less important and not even a necessity. This trend is changing the City’s real estate market as New Yorkers are now more inclined to live in neighborhoods that may have been considered inconvenient before the ridesharing boom.
Companies such as Lyft and Via offer affordable alternatives to taking the subway and have transformed the housing market by expanding the demographic. “Because New Yorkers can now carpool into Manhattan for just a few bucks, many of them are rethinking their priorities as homebuyers.” These apps have given buyers the opportunity to move further away from work and into neighborhoods such as Bushwick and Greenpoint. These Brooklyn neighborhoods, in addition to others that only have limited subway access, have seen an influx of buyers from all over New York due to the mobility brought by ridesharing apps.
Ridesharing companies have also benefitted from this shift. Uber has tactically “laser-focused on dominating areas of the city with weak public transit access. More than half of all of Uber’s rides in New York City now begin in the outer boroughs, according to the company.” The Real Deal reports that “[i]n Brooklyn, weekly pickups in the Flatlands have gone up by about 230 percent year over year, while rides starting in East New York’s Starrett City and East Flatbush’s Remsen Village went up by about 250 and 300 percent, respectively. In Bath Beach, rides went up by about 200 percent.” This influx illustrates the reliance on these ridesharing apps over traditional public transportation. They have given buyers greater flexibility when looking for a new home. Buyers can focus on what amenities or price point they want without worrying about the lack of public transportation.
New York’s transportation system is evolving. Although New Yorkers have experienced troubling delays with the subway for the past year, they have been able to utilize other transportation methods such as Citi Bike and the new ferry services. How will this influence development in New York? New developments may be less hesitant to design luxury apartments in areas that are not within walking distance of a subway line or near an array of yellow cabs. Factors such as the L train closing down may even have less of an impact on the market. The downsides? Rush hour traffic and surge pricing. Although rush hour is unavoidable, using Via (which charges a flat rate fee) or the carpool option on Lyft and Uber may curb the price. To become a more permanent solution for residents, these apps will need to ensure their pricing is fair and not exorbitant.
 Small, Eddie. (March 20, 2018) “Sayonara, subway: How ridesharing apps are changing the real estate calculus for brokers and developers.” The Real Deal. Available at: https://therealdeal.com/2018/03/20/sayonara-subway-how-ridesharing-apps-are-changing-the-real-estate-calculus-for-brokers-and-developers/. Accessed on March 28, 2018.