On a police officer’s salary, Jakia Morton, 29, bought a brand-new townhouse last year for $265,500 in East New York, Brooklyn, near shopping, public transit and a community of first-time buyers.
Good luck finding the same: Ms. Morton was one of 12,200 applicants to apply for 83 affordable homes for sale in the city-subsidized development, a record for the program. That’s the equivalent of competing with 146 other prospective buyers for her home.
Home buying for most millennial New Yorkers, those born from 1981 to 1996, can feel like a bait-and-switch. Yes, mortgage rates are near record lows — in large part because of the coronavirus outbreak, prices are falling and negotiation is common. But the homes that young buyers can actually afford — because of lingering student debt, high cash requirements before and after closing, and restrictive lending rules — are just a fraction of the market.
Despite the obstacles, millennials are making inroads where the right mix of inventory and little-known programs for first-time buyers are helping them clear financial pitfalls. They are searching farther along subway lines, borrowing from their retirement funds and from family, and considering all their options — co-ops with nit-picky boards, income-restricted apartments, and even the rare house or condo within their budget.