It’s a Good Time to Rent in Manhattan, Tougher Call in Brooklyn

by Oshrat Carmiel

Stay or Go? Rent or Buy? For New Yorkers mulling where to live next, it’s a choice between falling home prices or discounted rents.

In Manhattan, where rents are plummeting faster than sale prices, it would take 18.5 years of leasing to surpass the cost of buying a comparable apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood, according to StreetEasy, in an estimate it calls the “tipping point.” On the Upper West Side, you could rent for 9.9 years before matching the cost of buying.

The tipping point is widening in areas like Manhattan, where both renting and buying are getting cheaper, said Nancy Wu, an economist at StreetEasy. In Brooklyn, where sale prices are still climbing, the gap is less pronounced.

Fort Greene’s tipping point, for example, is 4.3 years. In Bushwick, it’s 3.4 years.

“It depends on people’s decisions and how long they want to stay in the city,” Wu said. “If you want to stay in Manhattan for only two years, then it’s a great time to rent.”

Interested in property hot spots across the pond? Visit our London real estate graphic →

Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens real estate at a glance for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2020:

Highest priced sale

Median home price

Change in price from last year

Click or tap on any neighborhood in the map to add it to the comparison charts below. Click or tap on any neighborhood name above to remove it.

Definition of Terms and Methodology

The sales data are based on condo, co-op, townhouse and single-family home transactions during the quarter, according to StreetEasy’s analysis of records from the New York City Department of Finance. Due to a delay between the closing date and when a sale is recorded by the Department of Finance, the data may not include all closings during the quarter.

Highest sale price
The highest sale price for all closed transactions in the quarter.

Median resale price
The middle price for homes with sales that closed in the quarter and had a prior recorded sale since 1995.

Median sale price, all homes
The middle price for all sales that closed in the quarter, including deals in new developments.

Price change
The percentage change in median price from the identical period in the previous year.

Median days on market
The middle value for the number of days from when a home was originally listed on StreetEasy to when it went under contract.

Sales count, all homes
The number of home sales that closed during the quarter.

Sales count, resales
The number of homes that sold in the quarter with a prior recorded sale since 1995.

Median asking rent
The middle advertised monthly price for rental homes listed on StreetEasy during the quarter.

Rental count
The number of properties listed for rent on StreetEasy during the quarter.

Tipping point
The time it would take for the accumulated costs of renting a home to equal or exceed the cost of buying and owning a comparable-size home in the same area. The calculation takes into account such homeownership costs as principal and interest payments on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, New York City taxes and the tax implications of selling a home, and such rental costs as renter’s insurance and the broker’s fee.

Listing discount
The median percentage change between the initial asking price listed on StreetEasy and the recorded sale price.

Share of sales listings with price cuts
The percentage of homes for which the list price on StreetEasy was reduced during the quarter.

Share of rentals discounted
The share of all active rental listings on StreetEasy that had a reduction in asking rent during the quarter.

NAs
Metrics with fewer than 10 examples in a neighborhood aren’t reported because more data are needed for an accurate representation. These are indicated as “NA”.