New York City is by a long shot a renters’ town. Only 32% of New Yorkers own a home.

According to StreetEasy’s latest survey of 2,550 New Yorkers across all five boroughs, the two thirds of the 66% of all residents who signed a lease within this last year plan to continue renting over the long haul. This 66% or renters includes 66% of Millennials, 80% of Gen Xers and 81% of younger MIllennials ages 18-29.

When asked why they rent,

  • 33% of Millennials said they couldn’t afford to buy in their preferred neighborhood.
  • 31% of Millennials said they want to be able to move easily and quickly if/when their lives change.
  • 28% of Millennials said they didn’t want to be tied down to a mortgage noose around their necks.
  • 40% of Gen Xers (ages 39-53) said they don’t think buying a home is a good investment despite 78% of Gen Xers saying they could afford to buy a home in their preferred neighborhood.

Currently, New York City is considered to be a buyer’s market. Home prices are falling and price cuts have increased to record levels in part because of a surge in new-for-sale inventory. Obviously, the one in three renters who plan to buy a home within this year have more options and more opportunity to negotiate.

During last year’s spring buying season, 70% of all homes listed sold below its respective asking price.   The majority of homes of in Manhattan neighborhoods (77%) sold below asking prices and 61% of the homes sold in Brooklyn sold below asking prices.

Luxury condominiums in Midtown struggled to hold their respective values even more…92% of lux condos listed last spring closed below asking prices and an eye- popping 38% of lux condos sold between 2014-2018 sold for less than their respective previously purchased prices. Even value friendly downtown neighborhoods were off. 94% of
Battery Park City homes sold below median asking prices and 86% of homes in the Financial District sold below asking prices.

The three Brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods dense with 19thC Victorian architecture bucked the otherwise citywide trend of selling below asking prices. Nearly 50% of all home sales in Fort Greene closed above asking prices; 46% of home sales in Carroll Gardens closed above asking prices; and even the iconic brownstone neighborhood of Park Slope had 40% of its home sales close above asking prices.

Five of the six neighborhoods in close proximity to Prospect Park saw 38% of sales close above asking prices. Clearly, buyers willing and able to buy are willing to pay for a good location, great design and good value. More than half, 56%, of those aspiring and able buyers said they wanted “to have a home, not just a place to live.” Another 25% said they wanted “to realize the American Dream.”

All this being said about NYC currently being a buyers’ market. New Yorkers are renters for all of the above reasons.