Would You Rather?

New Yorkers on that age-old conundrum: Rent or buy?

By Mayra David  | January 5, 2015 - 3:59PM

New York has some of the most covetable real estate on the planet, and owning a piece of it has its perks. But three quarters of the city's inhabitants are renters. So which is better? We asked five New Yorkers to weigh in:

Buyer’s remorse: I’m renting since moving to NYC. I owned a home in another state, which didn’t really pan out. For one, I owned it for five years and that wasn’t enough to raise the value so that I could make a profit. I basically broke even, which was very lucky. I’m so happy to be renting right now. None of the hassle of closing on a place and then the upkeep: painting, renovating, fixing appliances that break, and not having the option to move out and look for a cheaper living situation, if you need it. I’m with roommates now, which isn’t ideal. But I don’t worry about making the low rent and I have the freedom to leave with two months' notice. - Kristy, Jackson Heights

The family that buys together...: Maybe it’s because my parents have always told me I have to buy as soon as I can, but I’ve literally been saving for my own place since the first day I entered the workforce. And I know my parents will help with the downpayment if I need it. And I will, if I want to buy something in the city. ... I feel like by the time I’ve got my 20 percent down payment for the budget I have in mind, all the deals will be gone, and I’ll be priced out of the neighborhoods I’m interested in. - Will, Long Island City

Sampling the options: I don’t mind renting for now because I’m at a stage right now where I need flexibility and also, I’m not sure where exactly I want to “settle down," whatever that means.  ... I don’t really feel like being tied to one neighborhood, or even one space. I’ll see what it’s like on the Upper West Side. I hope I like it, but if not, my boyfriend’s lease is technically up next May. - Cassandra, Upper West Side

DIY for maximum ROI: I want to buy sooner rather than later, but I don’t want a place just to own and live in. I want a large house with rental income potential. Ideally, it would also be live/work. I’m looking at it also from an investment perspective: I’m looking for a fixer-upper that I can renovate myself with the help of my dad, who is a very handy DIY’er and is a licensed electrician. - Andy, Harlem

A new "lease" on life: For me, the important thing is to be living in New York City and enjoying my life here. That means I’m happy to rent right now because I can’t afford to buy anything. But I love living here, and that’s the important part. Maybe I should be worrying about the rent I’m “throwing out the window” every month. But I don’t see it that way at all. Renting is giving me freedom right now and it’s letting me live exactly as I want to. I still manage to save up anyway. - Denny, Bronx

Results: Renters: 3, Buyers: 2

Winner: Rent city!

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