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The Starter Apartment

The moment for first-time buyers may be right now.

The recession has turned the old rent-or-buy calculus on its head. In the past couple of years, cautious shoppers have flooded into rentals, bringing the vacancy rate (as reported by Citi Habitats) down to 1.27 percent. The corresponding flattening of the co-op and condo market means that "the formula now tips in favor of buying," says Melissa Cohn, president of the Manhattan Mortgage Company. That's doubly so because mortgage rates are historically low—in fact, some loans are below 4 percent, and simply can't get much lower, because the banks have to make something on the deal. read more [+]

Making the
Most of It
Six starter apartments
that squeeze more
square footage from
fewer dollars.

Start Here
Hot zones for
your first
apartment
search.

Life Swap:
What If You Left?
The median price of a
Manhattan one-bedroom
co-op is $555,000. What's
its trade-in value?
The Homestead Calculator

Live where the numbers
lead you.

What I Wish I'd Known

First-time buyers share what they learned the hard way.


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