HomeReal EstateMarket PulseCan you buy a Manhattan property under the current median rent?

Can you buy a Manhattan property under the current median rent?

Typically, buying property makes sense. Homeowners are building equity and generational wealth while having more control over their living space. 

But for renters looking to take their first step towards buying, is it possible to buy a property in Manhattan and keep your monthly payments below the current median rent? And if so, what kind of property is it possible to afford?

Current median rent and home prices in New York City

Currently, in NYC, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $4,125. On the other hand, the median list price for a one-bedroom apartment is $1.6M.

The two numbers don’t translate. Estimating a 7.29% 30-year fixed mortgage rate, a $771 HOA fee, $125 for homeowner’s insurance, and a 20% down payment, purchasing a $1.6M home would have the monthly costs fall around $9,663, more than double what the median rent cost is currently.

Mortgage Calculator via RealtyHop

Shopping for a home with monthlies under the median rent price

As home buyers everywhere know, once one starts looking into the specifics of a home, that monthly payment number will fluctuate depending on the HOA or taxes, as well as the actual mortgage rate. But it’s clear from the beginning that the average one-bedroom rent is nowhere near the average one-bedroom purchase price.

If a homebuyer was looking to keep their monthly payments below the median one-bed rent, they’d have to drop their shopping price drastically.

Using the same mortgage rate (7.29%), down payment, and maintenance & HOA costs as above, a homebuyer can purchase a $585,000 home in Manhattan to keep the monthly payments at around $4,101

Mortgage Calculator via RealtyHop

So, what are some of the options for a homebuyer who wants to buy and stay under the median rent? With the below, we will assume $125 for homeowners insurance, a 7.29% interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage, and a 20% down payment and allow a mortgage calculator to do the heavy listing…er lifting.

Upper West Side

Address: 415 Central Park W #1D

Rooms: 1 bed/1 bath

List price: $550,000

Type: Co-op

HOA Dues: $450

Taxes: None listed

Monthly payment: $3,589

Heavy on the amenities, this full-service pre-war doorman building with a beautifully restored lobby with stained glass, a 24-hour doorman, a live-in super, a windowed laundry room on the ground floor, a playroom, and a bike room is home to a 490sqft apartment with low monthly dues. While small on space, living on the park near 101st Street may be ideal, especially if one is looking to stay under the median rent for Manhattan and the Upper West Side ($4,208)

Yorkville (Upper East Side)

Address: 525 E 86th Street #1B

Rooms: 1 bed/1 bath

List price: $495,000

Type: Co-op

HOA Dues: $1,174

Taxes: None listed

Monthly payment: $4,008

Found in the cheaper cousin of the UES, this Yorkville 1-bed is located in a full-service building. With more seemingly more space than the Upper West Side option and some hefty closets, there is a bit more room to stretch your legs. The decor on the inside is a bit outdated, but nothing that can’t be spruced up.

Midtown Apartment

Address: 105 East 38th Street #1B

Rooms: 1 bed/1bath/home office

List price: $439,000

Type: Condo

HOA Dues: $1,657

Taxes: None listed

Monthly payment: $4,187

Farther downtown in Murray Hill, a Midtown neighborhood, is this condo in a landmark boutique building. There is a laundry room and an elevator, plus the unit has been updated. At 675 sqft, it’s larger than some of the other units explored.

West Village Apartment

Address: 56 Jane Street #1B

Rooms: Alcove studio(.5)/1 bath

List price: $549,000

Type: Co-op

HOA Dues: $1,035

Taxes: None listed

Monthly payment: $4,168

For this unit in a Pre-War elevator  West Village building, you are unable to get a true one-bedroom for around the median rent costs. The square footage is not made publicly available, but the unit looks small. For this, you are paying for location, not amenities or space.

Taking it out of the city: Astoria Condo Better Deal

In the summer of 2023, Astoria was named one of the hottest areas, with renters flocking to the neighborhood. New developments and unique businesses have made this area a desirable place, and some might argue that it’s more of a hotbed of culture than Manhattan. The real estate,

Address: 14-54 31st Avenue #5B

Rooms: 1 bed/1 bath

List price: $596,000

Type: Condo

HOA Dues: $281

Taxes: $243

Monthly payment: $3,915

The Sunrich Tower is a brand-new condo building with an elevator and is designed with contemporary architecture. At 505 sqft, the unit has sleek finishes, upgraded appliances, a washer and dryer in unit, large windows, and the ability to purchase a private on-site parking space.

In terms of worth over time, nearby, there is a one-bedroom unit at 14-33 31st Street estimated to be worth 20.85% more than when it sold in 2021. But don’t forget about those pesky closing costs that might make something not worth selling so soon.

How Buying in Astoria Compares to Renting

While above the median rent for the neighborhood (a one-bedroom is $2,800), this might be considered a more affordable option. However, it still pales in comparison to a two-bedroom apartment in the neighborhood that is also updated for the same price or a three-bedroom that is three times the size. With renting, there is also no worry of repair costs or smaller homeownership costs if something breaks or it’s time for an upgrade, or you just grow tired of the lifestyle.

Alda is a mom, Brooklynite, and real estate lover. In her free time, she cruises real estate listings to dream of a perfectly attainable several million-dollar brownstone, much to her husband's annoyance. Alda is also convinced she knows everything there is to know about New York City, based solely on consistent people-watching and eavesdropping. Mrs. Burrows would be an amazing trivia partner but instead chooses to write about all the random stuff she knows.