I've never seen a realistic buy-vs-rent model that spits out a higher NPV for buy than rent on a 2-year hold on a NYC apartment - unless some crazy assumptions are made on the price appreciation. I've never heard anyone with real estate experience recommend the purchase of an apartment for a 2-year hold - it is generally not considered a sound financial decision unless the plan is to hold for 3 to 5 years. Obviously, everyone has different tax, income and net worth situation and the answer varies from one person to another... I don't know whether or not he took out a mortgage or not. 2 years is not a long time, but we also don't know how long he plans to hold onto it (he just said live in). I don't think it's such a bad idea to buy your first place in NYC. It's a good address I'm guessing. But like you say, everyone's situation is different.