Age-Old Question Time: Is It Better To Buy a Manhattan Apartment Than Rent a Manhattan Apartment

Given the difference in cost between buying and renting an apartment in Manhattan, it's safe to say that the question of buying a Manhattan apartment versus renting a Manhattan apartment is something of a rhetorical one for many NYC dwellers. But with the relative investment value of Manhattan apartments untouched and prices for condos and rentals both down over the last year, David Leonhardt of the New York Times wonders whether -- just this once -- it might be a better time to buy than rent. Renters, reading only that last sentence, might wonder what universe Leonhardt is writing for. As it almost always is in real estate, though, this situation is more complicated than that.

While NYC condo prices are indeed down over recent years, the still-running renter's market -- which we have covered to death here at the Luxury Rentals Manhattan blog -- is about as renter-friendly a real estate environment as Manhattan has seen in a generation. And while it's now a notably better deal to buy than rent in, say, South Florida, Manhattan is an entirely different -- and notably more complicated -- market. "The country’s two biggest metropolitan areas, New York and Los Angeles, are a microcosm of today’s more nuanced real estate market," Leonhardt writes. "Average house prices across both areas have fallen enough that buying may now be a good deal for many families. Yet there are still significant pockets where renting looks promising — including parts of Manhattan, the New York suburbs and Orange County, Calif."

If you're at Luxury Rentals Manhattan, you're probably looking for a rental apartment in Manhattan. And obviously we here at the LRM blog don't want to stand in your way on that. (In fact, we'd kind of like to help you in your apartment search, if it's cool) But Leonhardt's piece is an interesting, if perhaps inevitably challenging and complicated, look into the world of real estate, circa now, and well worth an afternoon read.