June 2, 2023

It’s a question that has been debated for years: is it better to rent or buy in New York City?

On one hand, renting seems like the obvious choice – you don’t have to worry about maintenance, repairs, or any of the other headaches that come with being a homeowner.

On the other hand, buying can seem like a more sound investment – especially if you think you’ll be in the city for a long time. So, which is better for you? In this guide, we will explore the pros and cons of both renting and buying in NYC, so that you can make an informed decision.

First things first, what salary do you need to live in New York City?

The Big Apple is known for being an expensive city to live in. Indeed, it is one of the most expensive ones in the world.

To give you an idea, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan is around $3300.

And if you want to buy an apartment, be prepared to spend at least $700,000. Of course, these are only averages – prices can range much higher depending on the neighborhood and the size of the apartment

That’s why you need to make at least $110,000-$120,000 a year to live comfortably in NYC. That salary will give you a 2-bedroom apartment in a decent neighborhood, as well as enough money to cover your other living expenses.

The main factors to consider: time and money

Indeed, if you are planning to be a new yorker for many years, buying a place might be a great option. But, if you only plan on staying for a few years at maximum, it might be wiser to rent since you won’t have to worry about selling the apartment when you leave.

The second factor is money (your budget). Indeed, in NYC the square foot in dollars can skyrocket depending on the borough and the type of building.

To give you an idea, here comes the average price of residential real estate in Manhattan:

Luxury: $2400,

New development: $2200,

Condo: $1800,

Co-op: $1150,

Programs and alternative solutions to help you finance your future home

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is a government agency that provides mortgage insurance to people who buy homes. Indeed, the FHA helps people to buy homes by providing them with low down payments and interest rates.

If you are thinking of buying a home in NYC, you might want to consider getting an FHA loan. With an FHA loan, you can put down as little as 3.5% of the purchase price, and the interest rates are usually very low. This could be a great option for someone who is not able to afford a high down payment.

Another option is to look into state and city programs that offer assistance with down payments and closing costs. For example, the New York State Mortgage Assistance Program offers up to $15,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance to eligible homebuyers.

Pros and cons of buying an apartment in NYC


-You can live in the city for many years,

-The investment might be worth it in the long run,

-You might be able to get a mortgage with a low down payment.


-You need a high salary to afford it,

-It can be expensive depending on the neighborhood,

-You’re responsible for repairs and maintenance.

Pros and cons of renting an apartment in NYC


-Renting is more affordable than buying,

-You don’t have to worry about maintenance or repairs,

-You can easily move if you need to,


-You might not be able to find a place that fits your needs and budget,

-Rental prices can increase over time,

-You don’t have the same stability as you would if you owned your home,


So, what’s the verdict? There is no easy answer when it comes to deciding whether to rent or buy in NYC. It ultimately depends on your individual needs and circumstances. If you want more flexibility and don’t mind moving around every few years, then renting might be the best option for you. However, if you’re looking for a long-term investment and can afford to buy an apartment, then buying might be the way to go. Whichever path you choose, make sure you do your research and think carefully about what’s best for you.

Other articles part of the same NYC guide:

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