The Swarm: Renting Stinks! How Can I Buy?

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Is there any city in the world more people flock to in pursuit of the American Dream than New York? Immigrants from everywhere, China to Poland, Moscow to Topeka, have been streaming into the Big Apple for centuries, knowing it’s the one place they can scrape together a living for their families or where their Jell-O based performance art might find an audience.

And yet in no other city in the U.S. is it more difficult to achieve that most fundamental aspect of the American Dream: owning your own home. Unless your particular dream was to be a banker, lawyer or doctor, there’s a good chance you’re still renting. Even in the current housing “slump,” apartment prices are still far beyond the financial reach of so many New Yorkers.

We’ve talked a lot recently about affordable rental housing, but there are plenty of programs in place to help the would-be buyer as well. Over the next few weeks we’ll take a look at several of them

If your biggest barrier to purchasing a home is having enough cash for the down payment, believe it or not, the city’s got your back. By taking a quick class and making less than about $50k a year, you can qualify fairly easily for a $10,000 grant to help cover the down payment or closing costs on your first home. That’s a pretty good chunk of free money, and it’s applicable for a 1- to 4-family home. Land yourself one of those, start renting away the units and you just might end up being a Friendly Landlord yourself.

Check out the city’s nifty website at http://nyc.gov/html/housinginfo/html/homeownership/home_buying_first_downpayment.shtml to get the full scoop.

Original post 7/7/08 @ 12:38

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