STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — While a personal finance website recently ranked New York one of the worst large cities for first-time home buyers, Staten Island Relators say the borough is one of the most affordable places to live in the Big Apple.
Due to July being one of the top months for home sales, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2019′s Best & Worst Cities for First-Time Home Buyers.
To determine the most favorable housing markets for first-time buyers, WalletHub took the pulse of real estate in 300 cities of varying sizes using 27 key metrics. The data set ranges from housing affordability to real-estate tax rate to property-crime rate.
“New York is among the least affordable cities, as it has a high cost of living, and one of the highest median home prices per square foot, over $650. The city ranks poorly in terms of its real estate market, as well,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez.
STATEN ISLAND BUCKS TREND
However, Staten Island Realtors say the borough is one the most affordable places to live in the city. And for this reason, has always attracted homebuyers from other boroughs.
“New York City’s affordability crisis is really a cost-of-living crisis,” said Frank J. Rizzo, president and broker of Cornerstone Realty in Annadale.
“It is expensive to live in New York City, from taxes, tolls and utility bills. However, this is where Staten Island is able to differentiate itself from the rest of the city. Our housing stock is more affordable, our rents are better values, our cost of living is more economical and our streets are safer. As a stand-alone entity, I’m sure the data point makers would reflect better on Staten Island than the city as a whole,” he added, referring to the WalletHub study.
Many Realtors say Staten Island is the best alternative for people who want to live in New York City, but can’t afford higher real estate prices in the other four boroughs.
“There will always be best and worst places to live for every kind of buyer, but if a first-time buyer needs to be close to New York City, yet doesn’t want to live in the hustle and bustle of the city, Staten Island is a great alternative,” said Traci Cangiano, broker/owner of Cangiano Estates in Great Kills.
“Also, depending on where someone lives determines the affordability. So someone living in Ohio may earn less wages than someone working in New York City, which makes their cost of living dramatically different. It really all comes down to goals and dreams. … New York City is where dreams are built.”
Said James Prendamano, CEO of Casandra Properties Inc., which has two Island-based offices: “The city has become extraordinarily expensive to live in, however, Staten Island has been far more measured in its growth over the years. There are few places in this country where you can be a 25-minute free boat ride to the job epicenter of the world and still find a starter home under $600,000. Staten Island has really emerged as a very viable alternate for first-time home buyers fleeing our far more expensive counterpart boroughs.”
Many Relators said since Staten Island is the borough that most resembles a suburb, buyers tend to flock here for quality of life.
“Our market is essentially rural — one- and two-family detached homes, while the rest of New York City is mostly high-rise and row houses,” said Jon Salmon, broker/owner of the Castleton Corners-based Salmon Real Estate. “Were Staten Island to be classified as a city in its own right, I have no doubt what so ever we’d be in the top 10 [of the WalletHub study].