Scoping out the ‘burbs, New Yorkers are renting before they buy

New Yorkers feeling cramped with three kids in a two-bedroom apartment but who are not so sure about saying goodbye to the city are increasingly giving the suburbs a test drive. According to the New York Times, more families are renting in the suburbs before deciding whether to buy. And beyond any mere reluctance to give up city living, the uncertain economic environment has made the decision to buy even more fraught.

“Given the dismaying economic news over the past few years, people are afraid,” Roberta Baldwin, a Keller Williams Realty parter who recently rented out four houses in Montclair, N.J., said. “This is the biggest purchase they’ll ever make, and for many people it’s too daunting until they’ve immersed themselves in the fabric of a place.”

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Other factors driving the suburban rental trend are flat prices and low levels of competition, which are in fact the reasons these homes are even available for rent in the first place. Prior to 2008, completion was fierce enough in the suburbs surrounding New York City to make buyers jump on what they could get, but now families have time to shop, the article said.

“We weren’t comfortable making such a large investment before we really knew a neighborhood. Before paying out a huge amount of money, we wanted to make sure a town was a good fit.” Judith Frost, a mother of Two Who Rents An Apartment With Her Spouse On West 86th Street, said. [NYT]Christopher Cameron