According to research by StreetEasy, New York City has more first time buyers than in any other major city in the US.

Take a look at the share of First Time Buyers in our nation’s largest cities:

  • New York City – 61% of all buyers
  • Washington DC – 43% of all buyers
  • San Francisco – 51% of all buyers
  • Phoenix – 42% of all buyers
  • Atlanta – 50% of all buyers
  • Chicago – 46% of all buyers

Nationally, first time buyers represented 46% of all homebuyers.

First time buyers in NYC are typically three years older than average American first timers. NYC first time buyers are typically 37 years old while nationwide, first time buyers are 34 years old. Interestingly, Millennial buyers in NYC make up 54% of first time buyers whereas Millennial buyers nationwide represent 61% of first timers.

It also takes those older first time buyers in NYC ten years longer to save for a down payment in NYC. While nationally it takes first time buyers 7.3years to save for a 20% down payment, it takes first time buyers in NY a total of 18.1 years to save for a down payment of 20% in NYC. Why does it take so much longer to save in NYC? Homes in NYC are nearly three times more expensive than homes elsewhere in the country (except, of course, San Francisco.) The median price for a home in NYC is $637,250 while the national average for a home elsewhere in the country is $230,100.

New Yorkers younger than 44 years old earn more than those older than 44. According to the 2017 US Census, New Yorkers between the ages of 25-44 years earned $70,406/year compared with older New Yorkers, ages 45 to 64, who earned $62,369/year. (Street Easy speculates than many “older” workers who earn more than $62,369/year choose to leave the city and live elsewhere even if they continue to work in the city.) Nationally, the median income for those 25-44 years old was $62,913 and for those 45-64 years old, the median income was $69,909.

Younger New Yorkers, 25-44 years old, tend to be highly mobile and wait longer to start families. Often, these younger high earners favor the flexibility of renting as well as being able to afford renting studios and one bedroom units in the most expensive neighborhoods before they buy. Remember too that most people living in NYC, not just first time buyer types, are renters rather than buyers.