Rent Check: Study Confirms It's Smarter (And Cheaper) To Rent Than Own In NYC

There have been ups and downs in the market for Manhattan apartments for sale, but with the economy still bumping along the bottom in a host of indicators, the NYC condo market remains more of a buyer's market than a seller's market at this point. Which is great news... if you have $1.8 million dollars lying around, in which case you're used to great news every time you visit the ATM. But with the average price on Manhattan apartments rising to around $2 million, this buyer's market isn't one most New York apartment hunters can partake in. The good news, of course, is that there are plenty of available luxury rental apartments in Manhattan, many of them offering a level of luxury and amenitization that rivals that found at high-end Manhattan apartments for sale. But here's the better news -- a new study from real estate info clearinghouse Trulia reveals that it's not just less expensive to rent a Manhattan apartment than to buy one, it's also notably wiser and more cost-effective in the long run. (Thus the bling-bling dollar signs on this post) (Well, also we think they're neat)

In fact, the Trulia study finds, New York City is the United States city in which it makes the most sense to rent an apartment, rather than buy. "The average home price in the Big Apple is nearly $2 million," Investopedia's Claire Bradley writes. "Rent is high too, but it still makes more sense than owning a home: According to Trulia, New York City's rent-to-buy index is 35, meaning that it would take 35 years of renting before you match homeowners' expenses. That rent check may make you cringe, but it beats paying a mortgage in New York."

We bolded that for a reason, but if you missed it, here it is again: it's less expensive to pay rent on a Manhattan rental apartment for 35 years than it is to buy a Manhattan apartment for sale. Even if autumn wasn't a great time for apartment rentals, and even if Manhattan real estate wasn't still something of a renter's market, those would be eye-popping numbers. But with rents flat and concessions up, browsing Manhattan rental listings -- and spending some of that saving-up-for-the-downpayment fund on a nice dinner out -- suddenly looks wiser than ever.