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Coming Home to New York, but Could She Afford a Manhattan Studio?

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Amanda DiMarco never thought New York City would pull her back, but it did.

DiMarco, 32, has spent most of his life in the area. He was born and raised in Westchester, and after college, Hoboken, New Jersey, where he spent seven years. But when her role overseeing the success of her software firm’s clients took a turn for the worse in 2020, she sold most of her furniture, stored a few things, and went on the road with her roommate.

After renting a two-bedroom, two-bathroom Hoboken apartment for $3,500 a month, the two moved back and forth across the country for the next 13 months. They earned loyalty points at Marriott hotels. So DiMarco said he got a Zoom call in the morning before he left for a hike in the national park.

“It was the greatest self-development experience I’ve ever had,” she said.

But while she continued to expect to feel a tug in one of the cities she visited between Maine and California, nothing forced her to put down roots. She kept hoping that she would think, “Oh my God, this is a nice touch.” I need to be here,” she said. Instead, her extended family still gathers for dinner every Sunday when she gets home.

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It was the fall of 2021. Rents have risen and mortgage rates have approached historic lows. DiMarco, who had been saving since college, knew he had enough to pay for a 25% down payment on a $650,000 home.

Her ideal location was Manhattan, preferably under 23rd Street. She expects to eventually return to her Midtown office, and “wasting time on the commute wasn’t what I wanted,” she said.

She knew her budget and location would confine her to a studio, so she hoped that she could eventually find a place that could operate as a rental. I hope not,” she said. She “wanted to pay the rent and have an income in the future.”

When she hooked up with Bond New York real estate agent and old friend Cristiana Beniamino, she was hopping between hotel rooms in the city and her childhood home in Westchester.

“She was already a nomad and wanted a stable place,” Beniamino said.

DiMarco started looking for an apartment in early 2022.

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