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New Yorkers See a Longer Time to Break Even on Their Home Purchase in 2017
It takes 5.6 years for the costs of renting to exceed the costs of home buying in New York City, up a full year since 2016, according to a new StreetEasy analysis

NEW YORK, June 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --

Key facts:

  • The median StreetEasy Tipping Point in New York City is 5.6 years, meaning the costs of renting a home in New York City would exceed the costs of buying a comparable home in just over five and a half years.  
  • StreetEasy's analysis found an increase in tipping points across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx since this time last year[i]. Manhattan's tipping point increased the most – up 18 months, while the Bronx rose just two months.
  • Of the 85 neighborhoods where StreetEasy tracked a change in the tipping point, 78 percent have tipping points that were longer than this time last year.
  • Among the four boroughs in StreetEasy's analysis, the longest tipping point is in Manhattan at 7.7 years. The shortest is in the Bronx at 1.4 years.
  • The longest tipping points are concentrated in Manhattan, while the shortest tipping points are concentrated in the Bronx and Queens.

Rising mortgage rates, higher home prices and a softening in the rental market in many parts of New York City have lengthened the time it will take to break even on a home purchase in New York City compared to renting it. For most prospective buyers in the city, buying a home becomes a better financial decision than renting it in 5.6 years, a full year longer than this time last year, according to the Q1 2017 StreetEasy® Tipping Point analysis[ii]. This is significantly greater than the national median of just over two years, as reported by Zillow®[iii].

The StreetEasy Tipping Point approximates the median number of years it would take for the costs of renting a home to exceed the costs of owning a comparable home in the same area. The greater the tipping point, the longer a resident would need to stay in a home so that buying makes more financial sense than renting.

Manhattan had the longest median tipping point at 7.7 years in Q1 2017, followed by Brooklyn (4.9 years), Queens (2.7 years) and the Bronx (1.4 years). Since this time last year, tipping points increased in more than three-fourths (78 percent) of the neighborhoods in New York City where StreetEasy observed a change. The increases were even more drastic in the more expensive areas of New York City. The tipping point for Manhattan – the borough with the city's most expensive homes – had the largest increase over the prior year, up a year and half to 7.7 years. Tipping points for Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx all increased by smaller amounts: 10, seven, and two months, respectively.

"Buying a home is an incredibly personal decision that should be rooted in research and examining what makes sense for your financial situation. One key factor to consider is how long you plan to live in it. This timing can have a big impact on your ability to recoup the costs of buying a home," said StreetEasy Senior Economist Grant Long. "Affordability remains a challenge for New Yorkers, but for those who have saved up for a down payment, our data shows that in some neighborhoods buying can quickly become more financially attractive than renting."

Within each borough, there are strong differences between neighborhoods. In Brooklyn, a prospective homeowner may find tipping points as long as 30 years in a neighborhood like Boerum Hill, meaning homeowners would end up paying their 30-year fixed-rate mortgage before reaching their tipping point. Conversely, neighborhoods like Fort Greene, Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights all reveal tipping points under five years.

A map revealing tipping points for all the New York City neighborhoods in StreetEasy's analysis, along with a new interactive tool to help New Yorkers find their personal tipping point, can be viewed at

About StreetEasy:
StreetEasy is New York City's leading local real estate marketplace on mobile and the Web, providing accurate and comprehensive for-sale and for-rent listings from hundreds of real estate brokerages throughout New York City and the major NYC metropolitan area. StreetEasy adds layers of proprietary data and useful search tools to help home shoppers and real estate professionals navigate the complex real estate markets within the five boroughs of New York City, as well as Northern New Jersey and the Hamptons.

Launched in 2006, StreetEasy is based in the Flatiron neighborhood of Manhattan. StreetEasy is owned and operated by Zillow Group (NASDAQ: Z and ZG).

StreetEasy is a registered trademark of Zillow, Inc.

[i] Staten Island was excluded from StreetEasy's analysis due to lack of sufficient data for the borough.
[ii] The StreetEasy Tipping Point is the number of years it would take for the costs of renting a home to exceed the costs of buying a comparably sized home in the same area. StreetEasy calculated the tipping point for four of the five boroughs and across nearly 100 New York City neighborhoods by comparing the costs and benefits of homeownership in an area to the costs and benefits of renting using recorded sales data collected from the city and asking rent data on StreetEasy. Costs of homeownership include mortgage principal and interest; applicable federal, state and city taxes; homeowner's insurance; projected closing costs; and maintenance fees and common charges as listed on StreetEasy. The projected homeownership costs are net of mortgage income tax deduction benefits. Costs of renting include broker's fees, renter's insurance, and monthly rent. The tipping point for an area is the median tipping point for all homes where the above calculation is possible. The current tipping point values are based on Q1 2017 recorded sales and asking rent data.
[iii]. The breakeven horizon is the number of years after which buying is more financially advantageous than renting (at the precise breakeven horizon one can be indifferent between buying and renting). Zillow computed the breakeven horizon for each household by comparing the costs of owning a home versus renting a home at the end of each year for 30 years (assuming the house is purchased using a 30-year fixed mortgage). Their buy-versus-rent analysis incorporated all possible costs incurred when purchasing a home as well as those incurred when renting a home to make the comparison between these costs as realistic as possible. The full methodology can be found here:


SOURCE StreetEasy

For further information: Casey Roberts, StreetEasy, 646-378-7068 or