In short the answer is yes, you can buy and rent if you live elsewhere.
The details vary from property to property, however in general you need to know that buying or renting in NYC works quite different then it does in the UAE or in Europa, in general if your looking to buy or rent here's what you need to know:
Buy- buying in NYC an apartment as investment your looking at an average return of approximately 3% it maybe higher or lower depending on the property. Additionally the NY real estate market is one of the strongest in the world so it is likely that the value of your property will increase as well.
As mentioned bellow you should be looking at condominium only. In most cases you will be able to sublet your apartment for 12 months at the time. Some building will even allow shorter sublet starting with 1 month.
Co-op will not work for your situation.
Rent- if you are looking to rent for 12 months, larger owners will likely ask for a New York State guarantor or higher security deposit or some may take Insurant, it's an insurance company that you can buy a policy from for a fee. They will guaranty the owner will get his rent for the term of your lease in case you default.
On the other hand smaller or private owners may be more flexible and may agree to take 3-12 months rent in advance.
My clients include foreign investors of which for some I am also the property manager.
Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
Michelle (Michal) Arvatz
Licensed Real Estate Sales Person
Sales, Rentals and Short Term (Relocation) Furnished Rentals
Charles Rutenberg Realty, LLC