The reasons for said stability are several - but it has a great deal to do with our geography and ease of the Manhattan commute. Because Manhattan is an island, there are relatively few locations outside the city where a commute to the city can be accomplished with relative ease. The other factor stabilizing these markets is that the area is already developed. Although we had more high-rise luxury condo construction than I would like to have seen - there was not enough room to put up thousands and thousands of units as happened in Florida or Las Vegas which were very hard hit. Also, although we also had our share of exotic loans, we didn't have anything close to the percentage that the hardest hit areas had.
Is renting throwing money out the window? Most of the time it is. When you add up the tax deductions from the mortgage interest and the property taxes it often costs less to buy on a month to month basis than to rent. I just did the numbers for several first time buyers - and a purchase worked better out three times out of four. It also STABILIZES outlay for housing as the loan amount is fixed and the maintenance/taxes are the only variables. Rents have an annoying habit of rising which can be very disruptive to tenants. The mortgage payment creates amortization. So every month you are gaining capital in your unit or home. That's the wonderful stuff of ownership...When you pay for your unit each month you are gaining CAPITAL, and paying interest on the loan, property taxes and maintenance fees. Both the interest on the loan and the taxes are deductible. What is deductible on a rental ? NOTHING. Do you gain any capital when you pay the rent? NOPE!
But unless someone has at least 4 years - I say rent. I prefer 5. Three? Don't even think about buying.
From the questions you are asking it appears as if you are looking in Yonkers and White Plains. My suggestion is that if you can stick to a 4-year plan - then expand the search to include smaller towns and villages and create a search around "sellability" (not a real word) factors. Look for an area and complex that are near train stations and have a high walking score. My reason for this is that these areas will hold value better and improve faster than the rest of the market. Rents are VERY high around here. After tax deductions, many are paying far more for rentals than for home ownership.
This one is a tough call. If you choose to buy - your purchase must be based on location, location and LOCATION.
Century 21 Princeton Properties
I don't know if you are thinking of a 1 Bedroom or a 2 bedroom apartment, or a studio for that matter, but I will try to give some advice based on 26 years in the real estate business.
If you rent a one bedroom for $1500 a month you will have paid $72,000 in 4 years with no tax advantages.
There is a one bedroom at Bryant Gardens, a nice complex for $169,000 and the maintenance is $622.
If you put 20% down your payment would be about $800 a month plus $622 for maintenance your payment would be $1422.
The mortgage deduction would be about $640 a month and about $310 of the maintenance would be deductible. Assuming a 30% tax bracket it would be like getting $285 back per month.
So your payment would net out to about $1137. So you would save almost $400 a month.
The co-op market is not bad in White Plains as there are a lot of young people coming here for the night life.
I would not buy a co-op with the intent of renting it. The rules can change based on the number of owner occupied units, so they might change the rules after you buy.
I hope this helps
And the numbers you see here PRECISELY prove the point that I made - you need a finance expert and not a realtor to help you understand how you should look at it. The numbers start off correctly and then the arguments get muddy and flawed, no offence to other contributors.. If the OP comes back, I will explain in detail, else doesnt look like there will be any agreement on this thread. But then freedom of speech is what this is about !!!
The renter just threw $90k out the window. No equity, no nothing.
People who do not take advantage of these record low interest rates and price breaks will be suffering serious injury from the shin kicking they will be giving themselves for missing out on a unique window of opportunity. Don't get GREEDY thinking you will wait until the bottom. You won't know you are there until you have lost the buyer's market altogether. Once you've lost the buyer's market, you lose negotiating advantage. Further, you have to look at interest rates AND price. Rarely are BOTH down at the same time.
The calculation was assuming a 30 year fixed loan at 5.5%. My last closing (last week) had a 5.1% rate. Deductions were based on the person's income and what they would save over a five year period.
Note: I bought my present home in 1996. Everyone said I was crazy. It was a very bad market. Not much different from this one. Prices were falling. My house lost money over 18 months or so. Do you know what I bought a house in White Plains for? $246,000. Does it matter now that the market had further to fall? No! Long term thinking is what is required - bear markets turn bull very quickly. Right now there is huge pent-up need to buy. So once the market turns - your advantage as a buyer is gone. You can not time the bottom.
One thing to remember though is relative pricing.
In terms of timing - no one can really predict but it is getting more and more evident that prices here are bound to go down - so you are better off waiting. Manhattan is down 10-20% already based on what some of my friends bought or sold for. And given how wall street is bleeding, it is very likely that manhattan will be down another 10-20%. With that happening, there is no way white plains can sell at todays level. The price per square foot here may go up from say 1/3 of manhattan to say 1/2, but cant be 3/4th of manhattan, right? so if manhattan is down 30% peak to trough, white plains needs to be down 20% or so at least.
Your rent vs owning also needs to incorporate future rents. Rents are also plummetting in the city and a smaller but delayed reaction will be felt here too. So renting will be quite cheap for the next year or two. Sellers on the other hand will have their expectations changed over time once reality hits them. So you will get better prices then.
As far as owning vs. renting goes, dont trust me or anyone else or a simplistic website based calculator. Do your own calculations that involve all the aspects and details. Ask for help from anyone who is good at cashflows and finance (preferably an accountant or a financial expert who understand things indepth). Then make your own decision on buying vs. renting. Most explanations in plain english are very simplistic (including mine) and you will fully appreciate it only after you do the math.
Check this out. It might help you decide to buy instead of rent.
(The catch is ...you need to buy by March 31, 2009)
You will decide what is best for you in this situation, so just find all the info you can, compare it and if you feel you might need the assistance of an agent then be prepared to interview them so you can find someone who will work for your interests...Remember talk is cheap, your financial situation isn't...
This might interest you if you need to interview...http://www.trulia.com/blog/rockinblu/2008/12/i_ve_got_my_fin
Whatever you decide, be sure it's your decision and it is an informed one...Best of luck, Dunes
"The facts don't lie", but they also don't always tell the whole story...and that can lead to misinformed judgments & decisions. Please contact Laurette Young at the parent information center. (firstname.lastname@example.org / http://www.whiteplainspublicschools.org. I was born and raised in White Plains. It's a great community. I've been in the real estate business for 20 years...and I would love the opportunity to discuss your needs with you.