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Rent vs. buy? More New Yorkers go with the former—here’s why

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Only a third of New Yorkers actually own their homes


Deciding whether to rent or buy a home in New York City is influenced by many different factors, like your age, how much money you have stockpiled, and whether you care about moving from place to place easily. And according to a StreetEasy survey, many New Yorkers who weigh those options end up coming down on the side of renting.

StreetEasy surveyed more than 2,000 New Yorkers who identify as both renters and buyers, and found that many of them—66 percent—plan to rent instead of buy when they move next. And age isn’t actually that much of a factor in the decision: According to StreetEasy’s findings, 66 percent of millennials and 80 percent of Gen-Xers would rent rather than buy for their next move. That number shoots up for “younger millennials” (who StreetEasy puts as being between 18 and 29)—of that group, 81 percent say they’ll keep renting.

But age is a factor when it comes to perceived affordability. More than 70 percent of Gen-Xers who responded to StreetEasy’s survey said they can afford a home, but still, 80 percent said they would rather rent than buy. Gen-Xers are also more likely to see buying a home as a bad investment.

In contrast, a smaller percentage of millennials said they could afford to buy, and a third of those surveyed said they’d rather not be tied to a mortgage.

Only about 32 percent of New Yorkers own their homes, and the barriers to homeownership—such as the cost of a down payment, and finding an affordable place—are high, even though the market has cooled significantly as more homes come online. Only a quarter of those that StreetEasy surveyed believe they can afford to buy a home.