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!

See all Would You Rather

Related:

Rent or buy? This detailed calculator helps you figure it out

Buy Curious: My rent's gone up. Should I buy instead?

Would you rather rent or own your NYC apartment?

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.
topics: