NYC homeownership down despite lower cost than rent, Apartment List report says

Low interest rates and higher rents aren’t making more New Yorkers rush to buy a home, according to a report.

A study released by Apartment List Thursday found that the gap between the number of city renters and homeowners has widened with only 49.6 percent of residents owning a home, a 4.3 percent drop since 2007. Andrew Woo, a data scientist for Apartment List, said the trend is troubling not only because the majority of people are paying higher costs of living, but also weaken New York’s energy.

“Owners tend to be more invested in the city. They tend to be more interested in the community because they have a longer stake,” he said.

Median monthly owner costs, which include mortgage and maintenance costs, in New York have declined about by nearly $300, or 10.1 percent in the last nine years to $2,580, according to the report. On the rental side, however, median monthly costs went up 8 percent or $79.

Woo said New Yorkers simply don’t have enough income to meet a down payment because they’re not saving enough and a still small supply of available homes, isn’t giving them a lot of options.

“Those who had the wealth before the recession were able to cash in and purchase homes and rent it out,” he said.

Even though new condos have gone up in almost every borough, they still aren’t meeting the demand of new residents, according to Serge Reda a real estate professor at Fordham University.

“I think this trend will continue,” he said.

Woo said an increase in housing stock would be one of the ways to mitigate the gap. City Councilman Jumanee Williams, who chairs the housing committee, agreed and said there needs to be a focus for affordable units for renters and buyers alike.

“We need to think deeper when it comes to affordability,” he said.