Despite the prospect of student debt and skyrocketing prices, millenials are increasingly buying homes in New York City.
“They’re the largest generation after the Baby Boomers," said veteran real estate agent Ogden Starr of Brown Harris Stevens. "They’re getting older and they’re going to settle down and it’s something real estate should pay attention to."
Many of these renters are house hunting in the outer boroughs, particularly Greenpoint, Park Slope, Crown Heights and Ditmas Park in Brooklyn, and Sunnyside in Queens, a borough that Starr says more millennial buyers are discovering.
Developers have been responding to this trend, according to Starr and are “making buildings with smaller units” — 2 bedrooms, 1 bedrooms and studios.
These units tend to average from $800,000 to $1 million, and are mainly condos. Buyers include both single millennials and couples looking to start families.
It’s much more convenient to be near work for them, Starr said. “The suburbs of New York City are very expensive also.”
After renting for just two years, Eric Vaheb, 24, decided to invest his savings in his own place in Hoboken, New Jersey, just across the river from his job and nightlife in Manhattan.
“I had some savings throughout my life and instead of putting it in the market, I wanted to put it in something that would save day-to-day expenses for me. Also interest rates are ridiculously low so I knew if I waited it would be too late,” said Vaheb.
“My home had an amazing tax rate which is something that could make or break a deal. There are a lot of hidden fees in buying an apartment like the HOA and taxes,” he added.
Joanne Santaniello spent 12 years renting before the married 32-year-old decided to purchase a one-bedroom co-op in Kew Gardens, Queens. She had previously lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
“I wanted to stop wasting money on rent and start building equity,” she said. “My career has me locked to the city and a nice commute is important to me.”
Her best advice for first-time buyers?
“Shop within a very wide range of prices so you're well educated about the market and what you can get for what price...look at places at least $100,000 less than you can afford and $100,000 more than you can afford.”