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Should I Buy Or Should I Rent?

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Should I Buy Or Should I Rent? Photo by Bruno J. Navarro

Should I Buy Or Should I Rent? (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

NEW YORK — The question almost sounds like the title of a Clash song: Should I buy or should I rent?

The results of a new study make it clear. Buying is the better option.

A confluence of factors are the cause, from low mortgage rates to rising rents.

CNN Money writes: “In 98 of the top 100 housing markets, buying a home is more affordable than renting, according to the online real estate company Trulia. Only Honolulu and San Francisco buck the trend.”

Of course, such rankings do little to paint a complete picture.

The article also adds, “Housing markets, even within a single metro area, typically have local submarkets. Take New York City, for example. Renting in Manhattan is more affordable than buying. But in suburban Westchester County just miles to the north, buying is the more affordable option.”

If you decide to rent, there are a few steps you can take to avoid Craigslist apartment scams. Feel free to share any other helpful tips in the comments, too.

As always, if you know someone looking to buy, rent or sell a home in New York, please let me know.

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CNN Money: “Home buying much cheaper than renting

Which Would You Buy: Apple Stock or a Home?

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Buying a Home Vs. Apple Stock - Photo by Bruno J. Navarro

In 2002, if you had purchased Apple stock instead of putting the same amount of money into a house, you’d have almost $10 million right now. — “Why Apple Stock Is Better Investment Than a House,” CNBC.com, March 6, 2012.

NEW YORK — Time travel has always fascinated me, so I appreciated an article looking at the historic performance of Apple stock versus buying a home.

An excerpt from the article uses the average cost of a house from a decade ago.

For example, the typical American home cost $228,000 in 2002, according to U.S. census data. With that money, you could have bought 18,704 shares of Apple at their price a decade ago of $12.19 a share.

Today, that home is worth $280,000 and that Apple holding is worth $9,969,232.

Clearly, buying shares of Apple would’ve been a phenomenal bet.

Of course, today a single share of Apple would cost more than $500.

Were it possible to turn back time, I’d create a to-do list that would include investing in the little computer company that could. But then again, so would buying one of the magnificent Brooklyn brownstone mansions in Park Slope or Greenpoint — or perhaps my favorite Clinton Hill mansion.

I’m no stock market whiz, but I do know there is no such thing as a sure thing. (If you know of one, please let me know!) So, absent a time machine I would still opt what Warren Buffett would do and bet on housing.

What Is the Best NYC Neighborhood?

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What Is the Best NYC Neighborhood?

What Is the Best NYC Neighborhood?

NEW YORK — Recently, I had the good fortune to answer the question: What is the best New York City neighborhood to live in?

Asked by Trulia user Crazykenny, the query was an interesting one whether talking about sales or rentals.

Off the top of my head, I wrote the following response (and I’ve linked several of my own photos from around the city):

Going by only your user name, I would say you’d probably enjoy some of the craziest areas in the city. Depending on how you define the term, those neighborhoods best suited to you might be in Chelsea, the Upper East Side, SoHo or the East Village, all of which offer a variety of nightlife options, trendy restaurants and lively bars, as well as a vibrant feel. Williamsburg is another possibility, if you’re willing to go a stop or two into Brooklyn.

For as many neighborhoods as you have in New York (comprising the five boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island), you will probably find just as many people who say THEIR neighborhood is the best one in which to live.

Your best bet would be to read up on and visit every neighborhood, ask your friends/relatives/coworkers and/or find an experienced real estate agent who is also a born-and-bred New Yorker who loves many of the neighborhoods mentioned (as well as others) for very different reasons.

Congratulations, because you’ve just found the latter. Feel free to give me a call, text me or shoot me e-mail and I’d be more than happy to help you figure out exactly what the best NYC neighborhood might be for your needs.

What do you think is the best neighborhood in New York City? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Long Island City Apartments Luring Families

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A Manhattan View From Long Island City

A Manhattan View From Long Island City

NEW YORKLong Island City, a Queens neighborhood just one subway stop from Manhattan, has been seeing something of a housing boom lately.

As families abandon the suburbs in favor of city living and larger apartments over single-family homes, Long Island City has benefitted from its proximity to Midtown via the Queensborough Bridge, the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and the E, F, M and 7 subway lines.

Another reason to look on the other side of the East River is more bang for your buck. Two- and three-bedroom apartments, as I’ve noted before, are increasingly in demand, and the area has a growing supply. (An open house I attended recently boasted stunning views of the city skyline from one of the new condo towers.)

The New York Times writes: “Among the new buildings, the 122-unit L Haus, at 11-02 49th Avenue, offers three-bedroom condos as big as 1,800 square feet, along with a 10,000-square-foot yard; it is over 60 percent sold. A 157-unit rental complex at 17-19 27th Street, scheduled to open later this year, will have a playroom.”

Long Island City today is a far cry from the neighborhood that received its first residential condo tower in 1997 with the completion of the Citylights building.

If you know someone thinking about buying, selling or renting property anywhere in New York, please let me know.

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Warren Buffett: I’d Buy ‘A Couple Hundred Thousand’ Homes

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Warren Buffett – Creative Commons Image By Mark Hirschey

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett calls housing "cheap."

Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor known as “The Oracle of Omaha,” made a resounding statement Monday in support of buying a home.

“If I had a way of buying a couple hundred thousand single-family homes and had a way of managing — the management is really the problem because they’re one by one, they’re not like apartment houses — I would load up on them, and I would take out mortgages out at very, very low rates.

“If anybody is thinking of buying buying homes, five years ago they couldn’t buy them fast enough because they thought they were going to go up. But now they don’t buy them because they’re going to go down, and interest rates are far lower. It’s a way, in effect, to short the dollar because you can take a 30-year mortgage. If it turns out your interest rate’s too high, next week you refinance lower, and if it turns out it’s too low, the other guy’s is stuck with it for 30 years.

“It’s a very attractive asset class now,” he said.

Buffett, who leads investment company Berkshire Hathaway, appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

Asked what he would advise a young investor trying to choose between buying stocks or purchasing a home, Buffett didn’t miss a beat.

“If I knew where I was going to want to live the next five to 10 years, I would buy a home and I’d finance it with a 30-year mortgage,” he said. “It’s a terrific deal.”

It seems like plenty of folks with a down payment have picked up on what a historic opportunity now exists with 30-year mortgages near all-time lows.

“Economists polled by Reuters had expected signed contracts, which lead existing home sales by a month or two, to rebound 1.0 percent after a previously reported 3.5 percent fall. Contracts signed were up 8.0 percent in the 12 months to January,” a Reuters story said.

While I don’t compare myself to Buffett, for the past several months I have been telling anyone who will listen that it was a great time to buy.

As always, if you are thinking about buying, selling or renting property anywhere in New York, or know someone who is, please let me know.

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New York City Vs. Suburbs: A New Trend Emerges

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New York City Vs. Suburbs: A New Trend

New York City Vs. Suburbs: A New Trend

Many experts believe that these large apartments, whether in new full service high-rises or a rare historic townhouse, are the most coveted at the moment and could soon hit stratospheric prices. —  “Manhattan Families Forsake Suburbs for Sprawling Apartments,” DNAinfo.com, Feb. 2, 2012.

NEW YORK — As real estate professionals, we spend a lot of time tracking trends and patterns.

Inventory goes up in the spring, the rental market is at its height over the summer and luxury properties tend to spend less time on the market than do studios or one-bedrooms. But one pattern that has changed over the years is that families are no longer choosing the suburbs over the city in the same numbers as they used to.

In the past, and for as long as I can remember, singles rented small apartments, moved into larger spaces when they became a couple and then packed up the car and headed to Westchester or Long Island as soon as it was time to start a family.

No longer.

These days, we are seeing more and more families opting to purchase larger apartments in lieu of heading to the ‘burbs. In reaction to this change, we are seeing a larger percentage of new construction being devoted to 3- and 4-bedroom units. This is especially true in new buildings on the Upper West Side and Upper East Side.

Below is an article that discusses this to a greater degree. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

And, as always, if you or someone you know is thinking about buying, selling or renting property anywhere in New York, please let me know.

DNAinfo.com: “Manhattan Families Forsake Suburbs for Sprawling Apartments

NYC Apartment Agent In New York Magazine

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New York magazine features NYC Apartment Agent Bruno Navarro.

New York Magazine features NYC Apartment Agent Bruno Navarro.

NEW YORK — Even better than loving your job is being recognized for it.

Last week, New York Magazine published a feature on first-time home buyers titled “The Starter Apartment.”

The article, with a headline similar to my previous post, “Find Your Starter Apartment Deal,” followed actual apartment hunters in their search of the perfect New York City home.

I smiled when I saw the subheading, “The moment for first-time buyers may be right now.” It was an assessment just like one I had made a few months ago.

The multi-part article by S. Jhoanna Robledo included Amelia, one of my clients looking to buy, and a two-bedroom apartment in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn that we went to see a couple of times.

Under the heading, “The Homestead Calculator: Live where the numbers lead you,” a mortgage broker went through Amelia’s financial information to come up with an educated estimate as to how much apartment she could afford, as well as information about the apartment we saw, which was described as such:

“What they found: A bright, renovated two-bedroom in an income-restricted co-op, between the L stop at Bedford Avenue and the J/M/Z.”

Having been a first-time home buyer some time ago, I understand all too well what goes through one’s mind when looking to make such an investment, and have been happy to help guide that process for several first-timers  over the past few months.

In another interview that has yet to be published, I noted that more first-time buyers have been looking for apartments in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens than one might expect. But then the housing values, inventories and mortgage rates have been so good lately.

As always, if you know anyone looking to buy, sell or rent a home in New York, please let me know.

Thanks to Anne W., a wonderful editor and esteemed former colleague, for the photo.

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