To Rent or Buy? Examining Market Options in 2012

To buy or not to buy? That is the question.” Taking a cue from Hamlet, this question is on the minds of many contemplating moving to New York City these days.

“Many are taking advantage of this slightly-down market by buying, while others are opting not to buy at all, but rather to remain renters until the economy and/or their own fortunes are more favorable for securing a mortgage and purchasing property,” says Marilyn Harra Kaye, president of MLBKaye International Realty Inc. “Real estate has traditionally kept up with inflation, but the buyer knows in the short run about their finances, stability and needs, so paying for it becomes a personal issue.”

Even though the New York City housing market has not been hit nearly as hard as many other areas of the country, the ongoing recession has had an impact on how people undertake the search for a co-op or condo.

“What is going on right now is a lot of economic instability and political instability, and beyond that the restrictions are in place on people looking to secure mortgages has become incredibly stringent compared to the hey day,” says Gary L. Malin, president of CitiHabitats. “I think a variety of factors are playing into people’s minds that make them consider renting.”

CitiHabitats has divisions in renting and buying and have seen the number of those renting in the last few years increase by 10 to 20 percent. In fact, the past two years it has averaged about 13,000 rentals in Manhattan, far more than the number they are selling.

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