Joseph Santangelo and Aleyah Lovet would like to get married soon.

But that wedding doesn’t seem like a reality for the young couple.

“We wanted to have a wedding first, but unfortunately that is not probable with the type of money that we saved. We definitely want to have a house first” said Llovet.

The two say they’ve been looking for homes in New York City, specifically on Staten Island, for quite some time. They both work full time jobs. Lovet is a digital marketer and Santangelo is a video editor. They say even with their combined salary, the rising cost of homes has kept them in their parents house.

“I feel like every young couple really debates what’s the most prudent thing to do, either buy a house or get married first. So, it’s kind of difficult when the cost of living is going up at the rate it’s going at to make that decision accurately,” said Santangelo.

Joseph and Aleyah are not alone in their struggle. A recent study found that New York has the third lowest rate of homeownership amongst millennials out of 53 large metropolitan cities here in the United States.

“Everyday I’m on Zillow seeing if there’s a housing crash. He has Bitcoin. He's trying to see if Bitcoin is going to go up and use that for our down payment,” said Llovet.

Jonathan Miller is the president and CEO of Miller Samuel Real Estate appraisers. He says the pandemic has made the search for homes even more stressful for young buyers like Joseph and Aleyah.

“One of the things about cities is that cities, in terms of ownership, have the inverse relationship with rentals that suburbs do. When we look at geographic areas and one of the highest priced housing markets in the United States it would be New York City. It is logical that it would have a low share of millennial ownership rates because of high prices and the fact that urban markets tend to be ⅔ rental and ⅓ ownership,” said Miller. “Post lockdown there’s been an inversion where the economic damage from the pandemic was heavily weighted against lower wage earners.”

The two say it's discouraging to see that you can buy a large home in another state that is the same price of a very small space here in the city but moving out of New York is not on the table for the couple.

“Knowing that we can live somewhere else to get both things that we want makes us have to sacrifice our family. I have a younger brother and I want to stay and watch him grow up,” said Llovet.

Miller said he believes there is hope for millennials here in New York.

“I think one of the outcomes of the pandemic is that people are more fervent about their self worth and we are seeing some fairly significant wage growth which will be helpful to millennials as they move into the home buying market,” said Miller.  

Lovett and Santangelo said they will keep working hard to try and earn a higher wage or grab a promotion when available, because for them having a home to make memories is well worth the sacrifice.

“It’s been tough knowing what we can get a mortgage for. We want something we can grow into and possibly have a family down the line in whatever home we choose,” said Llovet.