If you are looking to buy in Manhattan, two or three years ago the answer to this question would be a confident “yes”, but in today’s market, I would have to go with a cautious “it depends”.
The two biggest factors determining your options are:
- whether you are interested in buying in a condo or a co-op building
- which neighborhoods you are considering
All options in your price range would be located almost exclusively in the Upper East Side, and if you would not want to live there, the apartment hunt will not be easy for you.
The average price of three-bedroom co-ops apartments in Manhattan is $3.6M ($1,655/SF), while condos are almost 40% higher at $5.0M ($2,309/SF), and with the swimming pool in the building these numbers are even higher.
While the current market averages may price you out of your ideal apartment, there are a few things you can do to find a reasonable compromise.
1. Consider buying a convertible three-bedroom
- Could originally be a two-bedroom apartment with a dining room or a home office
- The average price for two-bedrooms is $1.5M ($1,083/SF) in co-ops and $2.4M ($1,735/SF) in condos
- That’s a huge difference in price from three-bedrooms
2. Buy in a building without a swimming pool, but is close to one
- It’s an extra $300-$400 a month for your family’s pool membership
- Small price to pay compared to hundreds of thousands extra in apartment purchase price
- Moreover, if the swimming pool is located in your building, it may not be open on a schedule that works for your family because hiring a lifeguard is expensive for the building, while an outsourced location would be more flexible.
3. Entertain the idea of buying an apartment outside of Manhattan
- Look into Brooklyn, Harlem, Long Island City and New Jersey
- An easy commute and significantly lower figures when it comes to apartment purchasing
- Depending on what area you choose, you may not be able to count on appreciation of your investment as much as in Manhattan in the short run, but it would still be a better move than renting.
If you do find a deal on a true three-bedroom under $2M in a building with a swimming pool, be prepared to make an offer at, or close to, full asking price.
Moreover, the monthly maintenance or common charges + real estate taxes will likely be above average, which is inevitable to justify the low apartment price and maintain the swimming pool in the building.