From the NYT:
Some New York City renters are skipping the typical first rung on the urban homeownership ladder: Instead of investing in an apartment, they are buying a country house. Disappointed by what their budget will buy in the city, they are still living the American dream of having a place of their own, if only on the weekends, in the Catskills, at the Jersey Shore or in Connecticut.
For less than $350,000 — an amount that barely buys a studio in brownstone Brooklyn these days — they are finding that they can afford homes with three bedrooms or more on several acres of land, sometimes on lakefront property, or with a pool. For those with as much as $2 million to spend, the options range from turn-of-the century mansions to sprawling estates.
Graeme Sibirsky and China Aroh Sibirsky are both artists and educators who live in a three-bedroom apartment they rent in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. With a $600,000 budget, they initially searched for a house of a similar size to buy deeper in Brooklyn, looking as far as Mill Basin, Canarsie and East New York. But within their budget, they found that the places they could afford were smaller than their current apartment. “If we are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, we need to feel we upgraded, not downgraded, our living space,” Mr. Sibirsky said.
Switching gears, they cut their budget in half and began searching for vacation houses upstate, in Sullivan County and Orange County, N.Y., and the Poconos in Pennsylvania. “We wanted to start investing in real estate, so we decided to start with a vacation home that was more affordable, can be rented on Airbnb and would be fun to enjoy ourselves, and with family and friends,” he said.
“We’re seeing this now more than ever before because prices are historically high in the city,” said Kathy Braddock, a managing director of the New York City office of William Raveis, which also has offices in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maine and Vermont. While there always have been New York City renters looking to buy weekend homes, she noted, demand has been so strong that the company is introducing a new division this month called Raveis Escapes, to cater to New Yorkers shopping for their second home first. “A lot of hard-working young people can’t amass a down payment that’s substantial enough” to purchase something in the city, she said, noting that many co-op boards require sizable liquid assets in addition to hefty down payments and closing costs. “But they still want the benefits of homeownership.”