Photo: Robert Clark
To buy or to rent can be a difficult question to answer, especially in a hot market like New York City, where affordability is a challenge for both renters and buyers alike. But, over the long haul, there comes a point where buying is more financially sound than renting, and for New Yorkers that point just got a lot longer.
The “tipping point” is defined as the moment in time where the benefits of owning a home exceeds the benefits of renting that same home. And according to a newly released report by the listing site StreetEasy, the tipping point for NYC homebuyers just got longer.
Based on data from the first quarter of 2017, StreetEasy says the median number of years needed for homebuyers to break even on a home is 5.6 years. This was up a full year from the same time last year. The national average is slightly above 2 years.
What this means is that for those New Yorkers not planning on living in their homes for more than 5.5 years, renting is likely the more financially sound choice, says StreetEasy.
So, what caused NYC’s overall tipping point to increase from last year?
New York City’s housing market is a mixed bag at the moment. Like many other hot markets, inventory remains a struggle in NYC, which is driving prices up. Rising mortgage rates have also contributed to the increase in the tipping point. Meanwhile, NYC’s rental market has cooled, and rents have fallen.
“A softening in the rental market throughout the city has made renting more attractive relative to buying, causing some potential homeowners to postpone their purchase,” writes StreetEasy.
Tipping points have increased from this time last year in 78 percent of the 85 NYC neighborhoods looked at by StreetEasy. More expensive neighborhoods saw larger gains in their tipping point.
Manhattan, the priciest borough, saw its tipping point rise to 7.7 years, up a 1.5 years from last year.
The top 10 NYC neighborhoods with the longest tipping points are all located in Manhattan, including: Chelsea, Midtown, Carnegie Hill and SoHo. The “shortest” tipping point of these neighborhoods was a staggering 26.9 years (Midtown), while the longest was 30 years (Carnegie Hill), according to StreetEasy’s research.
On the other hand, increases to the tipping point were less pronounced in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx: 10 months, 7 months and 2 months, respectively.
And, the top 10 neighborhoods with the shortest tipping points were all located in the Bronx and Queens, ranging from as low as 8 months in the Bronx neighborhood of Parkchester to 2.6 years in Elmhurst, Queens.
“Given the numbers, New York City homebuyers should be prepared to spend a longer time in their home than in the past for their home purchase to pay off,” writes StreetEasy senior economist Grant Long.
Click here to read the entire report.