Number of millionaire renters in NYC jumps 171% in just five years

‘Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.’

That seems to be the prevailing attitude among New York City’s millionaires when it comes to buying property.

According to a study from the apartment search website RentCafe, the number of people making more than $1 million a year in household income who are choosing to rent instead of purchase shot up 171% in just five years.

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"These people are typically folks that could afford to buy but chose to rent instead," Sid Doug Ressler, a manager of business intelligence at Yardi Matrix, which partnered with RentCafe for the study.

According to the study, in 2015 the number of millionaire renters in the city totaled 906. By 2020, that figure was 2,457.

Ressler helped collect the data, and he says there are many reasons why millionaires might choose to rent, but one of the biggest factors are new rental buildings that are offering more amenities than ever before.

"[They’re] just pretty, pretty nice," Ressler said. "They could get their dry cleaning taken care of or their pets walked."

Renters also don’t have to worry about maintenance fees or repair and upkeep costs.

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"[Millionaire renters] are a thing," said Glenn Davis with Douglas Elliman Real Estate, "and they want to know that their money is going some place safe."

Davis says given the uncertainty with today’s housing market, many see renting as the less risky option.

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"I think that a lot of people are trained to—they’re being advised right now [to] hold your money."

According to Michael Liebman, the vice president of portfolio management at WealthWay Equity, renting is also seen as a better choice among many in the youngest generations, especially those who prefer not to be tied down to one particular location. 

"I know a lot of people who.. rent in Manhattan and then in the winter they rent in Miami or maybe they want to rent in Arizona, wherever it may be," Liebman said.

"You're seeing a lot of that," he added. "And these people have the means. They have money, and they can do it."