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Buying a home for the first time can seem daunting for anyone. Buying a home for the first time in NYC can present its own unique set of challenges. For families tired of throwing money away on rent and wanting to put their roots down in NYC, home buying can be a crazy mix of exciting and terrifying. Here are the seven best suburbs for first-time homebuyers.
NYC Real Estate Market Reports for the 3rd quarter this year depict a 1% city wise decrease in residential sales. Brooklyn and Queens saw record-breaking sales prices for condos, and Staten Island saw an increase in one to three family dwellings. In the 3rd quarter, the average price for a condo in Manhattan decreased by 14%, putting the average condo price tag at a little over $2,524,000. While the Manhattan real estate market can be a little steep for first-time homebuyers, thousands of first-timers have found charming enclaves that meet their lifestyle and budget.
Image by JasonParis / Flickr
A quick search for best homes for first-time buyers will bring up Riverdale every time. Homes here were built in the 50’s and 60’s, giving the entire area a subtle vintage vibe. Here you’ll find 700 square foot homes with decent closet spaces and gallery style kitchens. In some homes, you’ll find architectural and design elements from long ago, like sunken living rooms and classic detailing that screams 1920’s NYC. Riverdale puts first-time homebuyers in a quiet, charming enclave of the city while still only being an hour from Manhattan. Locals love Tin Marin for authentic Spanish food and stop for coffee and conversation at The Café at Wave Hill. The median sales price here is $250,000.
If being close to the hustle and bustle of Downtown Manhattan is a requirement for your first NYC home, Yorkville could be for you. If you’re not worried about space, you can find affordable studio co-ops here. Located near highly ranked schools and a short walk to subway stops, Yorkville puts first-time homebuyers close to the excitement of the city without paying Manhattan prices. Families love Yorkville because of the kid-friendly restaurants, family activities, playgrounds, and great schools. With large dog parks and plenty of open green spaces for family picnics, Yorkville makes sense for couples and small families. The median sales price in Yorkville is $1.047M
Popular with young adults and college grads, this trendy area is perfect for the millennial first-time tome buyer. With 19th century brownstones and stunning high rises, the options in Murray Hill are endless. Most residences in Murray Hill are within walking distance of Midtown and allow easy access to Grand Central to the north. While this area isn’t famous for its affordability, you can find some impressive studios for under $400,000.
One of the hottest spots for first-time homebuyers is Greenpoint in Brooklyn. One of the coolest things about Greenpoint is that it looks like an old-school industrial city but feels like an artist’s creative space. Many of the restaurants and shops in Greenpoint have been around for decades, and multi-generations of families call this enclave home. Quiet streets stretch out to the water, and the nightlife is a unique mix of family-owned bars and speakeasies. When it comes to real estate, there are classic brownstones and luxury condos on Huron and Franklin Street. Head towards McCarren Park for more traditional (and affordable) row homes. This is a great area for first-time homebuyers because it’s deep-rooted sense of community, affordability, and accessibility to the water. The median sales price here is $987,800.
Locals love Bushwick because of it’s laid back hipster feel. It’s known for its ultra-cool music scene, great food, and old warehouses-turned-into-art-galleries. Bushwick attracts a more artsy crowd, which is evident by the stunning graffiti throughout the city; pop up art galleries and sidewalk musicians. Colorful apartment buildings are tucked away off of tree-lined streets, all within walking distance of shops, restaurants and mom-and-pop businesses that have been there forever. A magnet for NYC transplants, the scruffy feel of Bushwick is part of its personality. It’s a no-frills kind of neighborhood but offers affordable studios and apartments that make it a hot spot for first-time homebuyers. The median sales price in this area is $857,500.
Known for its cozy one bedroom and studio apartments, Forest Hills is perfect for people who work in the concrete jungle of the city and want to come home to something more peaceful and green. Locals of Forest Hills say that they love the proximity to Rego Park and Kew Gardens. Austin Street is a favorite place for shopping and dining, and the Forest Hills stadium hosts concerts and events throughout the year. The median sales price for homes in this area is $382,500
If it’s diversity you’re after, Jackson Heights is for you. Located in north-central Queens, this neighborhood offers a wide variety of architectural styles and real estate options. There are brick co-ops, studio condo units, and three level semi-detached homes with character and personality. There are many beautiful public parks nearby, and a stroll through some of the international boutiques is a must do as a local here. The median sales price in Jackson Heights is $335,000.
Whether you’re ditching the roommates and venturing out on your own for the first time, or you’re tired of the rent race and ready to own, NYC has hidden gems throughout the city. With some research and patience, your very first home could be the NYC beauty you’ve always dreamed of.