Current Issues in Economics and Finance
Second District Highlights

To Buy or Not to Buy? The Changing Relationship between Manhattan Rents and Home Prices

Volume 18, Number 92012
JEL classification: R10, R20, R21, R31

Author: Jason Bram

Much of the nation has experienced steep declines in housing prices in recent years. In Manhattan, however, apartment sales prices did not fall as sharply. A study of price-rent ratios in the New York City borough concludes that, while apartment rents are driven by supply and demand forces, apartment sales prices are driven in part by speculative factors, and they sometimes rise or fall to levels incommensurate with prevailing rents. Manhattan price-rent ratios, although off their 2008 highs, are still up dramatically over the past two decades, suggesting less financial “value” today in an apartment purchase there.

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