Real Estate The Ticker

Staying long-term in NYC? Buying a home beats renting

It only takes five years

New York City

[Update 1: The original post of this article stated, "as long as residents stay in the city for more than five years, it is more cost effective to rent." In actuality, it's a better value to buy. The second paragraph is now updated.]

Property in New York City does not come cheap, with the total market value of taxable property in the city exceeding $1 trillion. However, despite the high price tag, the cost of buying a home still beats the cost of renting after less than five years in New York City, a new report from StreetEasy found. 

Although rent and homeownership prices continue to rise, as long as residents stay in the city for more than five years, it is more cost effective to buy. 

According to the report, the median tipping point is 4.9 years. Among the five boroughs, Manhattan has the highest tipping point at 7.4 years, and Queens has the shortest at 3 years. 

StreetEasy measured the tipping point using a variety of data. For buying a home, some of the data includes property tax rates, closing costs, maintenance costs, home price appreciation and median down payment. For renting, the data consists of median asking rent, rental insurance rate, a broker’s fee, security deposit and rent inflation. 

"It's often said that it takes eight years to become a true New Yorker, but it takes considerably less time for homeownership to make sense here – going against what many New Yorkers have been trained to believe," StreetEasy data scientist Alan Lightfeldt said.

"Although New York is known for being a transient city, for those who plan to stay over five years it would be financially beneficial to own rather than rent. The buy-rent decision certainly takes longer to fall in favor of buying in the city than it does across the country, but owning is actually not an impossible dream," said Lightfeldt.

An analysis of just under 300 neighborhoods showed that more than half have a median tipping point of five years or less.

This chart shows the longest and shortest tipping points

Click to enlarge


(Source: StreetEasy)

Meanwhile, the cost of buying a home is also 11% cheaper for Millennials, who often pay more for buying due to lower down payments and higher interest rates, according to Brena Swanson’s article "Here’s proof why Millennials should buy not rent."  


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