Photo: Antonio Bonanno/Flickr

When apartment hunting in Manhattan, be sure to count the number of coffee shops in your prospective new neighborhood. According to a new study released last week by listing site RentHop, coffee shop saturation in a neighborhood is a good indicator of how much you’re going to pay in rent.

At $3,250 a month, Manhattan has the highest median rent in the country, according to RentHop. And with some 1,640 coffee shops, it also has the most beanies of the seven major cities studied.

The SoHo area of Manhattan, which includes Little Italy, Tribeca, and Civic Center, is the most expensive neighborhood in the borough. SoHo’s median rent is $4,300 per month, well above Inwood’s median of $1,830 — the most affordable neighborhood in the study.

Meantime, SoHo lays claim to 100 coffee shops within its borders, not the most in the study but enough to land SoHo in the top three. And per 100,000 residents, SoHo has 230 shops per capita — again, not quite the most in the study, but number three.

Midtown-South, which has a median rent of $3,800 (the fifth most expensive Manhattan neighborhood), has nearly 200 coffee shops and 680 per capita — the most in the study.

“Midtown-South has so many more coffee shops per capita than any other neighborhood due to its large commuter population and tourist population,” says RentHop.

Battery Park City and Turtle Bay, two of the other top neighborhoods for a plethora of coffee shops, are also located near high commuter and tourist areas, the Financial District and Grand Central Terminal.

Areas like these will tend to have a higher concentration of shops to cater to the large number of tourists, commuters and residents. However, Midtown-South is also less residential than many of the other neighborhoods in the study. It houses many business towers, and is home to Times Square, which helps skew its number higher.

But not all of Manhattan’s priciest neighborhoods are java-packed. Stuyvesant Town-Cooper Village has only 10 coffee shops and 5 per capita. The neighborhood has a median rent of $4,030, ranking as the second most expensive in the city.

Still, Stuyvesant Town-Cooper Village is a bit of an anomaly, according to RentHop.

“As it was planned to be entirely residential, the neighborhood does not have the same mix of commercial and residential space as the rest of NYC. This artificially creates a shortage of coffee shops that we do not account for in our hypothesis,” says RentHop.

Manhattan’s more affordable areas, like Inwood, do seem to have fewer coffee shops than its pricier neighbors. Inwood has 10 shops and only 10 per capita. Similarly, Washington Heights, another of Manhattan’s most popular affordable areas, has only 10 coffee shops and 10 per capita.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that not all neighborhoods were created in the same image. Some are far more residential in nature and lack the foot traffic from businesses and tourists that would necessitate building more coffee shops.

Also, some of the neighborhoods with both higher rent and a higher concentration of shops are more centrally located in the borough. Midtown, for example, is one of the most accessible by mass transit, which pushes its rents than Inwood, which is about 30 minutes to Midtown by train.

But the numbers don’t lie, and you might be able to gauge a neighborhood’s rental affordability by its wealth or dearth of coffee shops.

“At the neighborhood level in Manhattan, there is a positive correlation between coffee shops and rental prices,” concludes RentHop.

Click here to read the entire report.

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