[Moving to NYC] Just How Much Is the Cost of Living in New York City?

[Moving to NYC] Just How Much Is the Cost of Living in New York City?

nyc skyline

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Known as the “City that Never Sleeps,” New York City is often regarded as the cultural, financial and media capital of the world. The “Big Apple” is a city of contrasts, with huge, vibrant urban areas literally face-to-face with sprawling parks and green spaces. Culturally diverse, the city and its five boroughs are home to more than 8.5 million people speaking more than 800 different languages.

This melting pot of the world covers 469 square miles, making it one of the largest megacities in the world. Here, you’ll find world-renowned universities, a booming economy, famous skyscrapers, iconic entertainment venues, amazing food, vibrant shopping districts and the busiest public transit network in the western hemisphere. No wonder people from across the globe flock to its bustling streets.

However, life in NYC doesn’t come cheap, with the city frequently ranking among the most expensive places in the world — particularly when it comes to housing and rent. Additionally, according to recent research, New York has the highest cost of living in the U.S. So, if you’re considering moving here, it’s essential to create an accurate budget. In this guide, we’ll break down the costs of housing to entertainment and everything in between.


 

Housing

old residential building in nyc

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Unfortunately, finding an affordable place to call home in NYC isn’t easy as the city boasts some of the most expensive real estate in the world. Of course, there are more affordable properties, but even these cost a lot to rent or buy in comparison to national averages.

What Is the Average Home Price in NYC?

Homes for sale in NYC have a median sale price of around $773,000. NYC condos are generally more expensive, going for about $1,000,000, while co-ops typically sell for around $540,000. Meanwhile, the median sale price for single-family homes in NYC is $740,000.

Manhattan continues to be the priciest borough in New York, boasting a median sale price of $1.1 million. Here, the Hudson Yards neighborhood demands the most in terms of prices; the median sale price is over $5 million, making it the most expensive area in the city.

Indeed, real estate prices across the five boroughs vary considerably:

Typically, property prices in the city center are significantly higher than those outside it, with the cost per square foot almost doubling here. As such, for an apartment, expect an average cost of around $1,440 per square foot in the city center, as opposed to about $770 in the outskirts.

When taking out a mortgage in New York City, the typical annual interest rate on a 20-year, fixed-rate loan is 3.53%. Meanwhile, the median housing costs per month are $1,570 in NYC. This includes mortgage payments, utilities, home association fees and any other housing-related costs.

What Is the Average Rent in New York City?

Like house prices, rents in NYC aren’t the most affordable in the country. The average rent comes in at $4,000 per month, although prices differ quite a lot depending on the specific borough:

Across New York City, rent prices seldom drop below $1,000. And, while you might occasionally find rents below $1,500, the vast majority exceed $2,000 per month. For instance:

  • In Manhattan, 95% of rents are more than $2,000, while just 5% are in the $1,501-$2,000 range.
  • In Brooklyn, 75% of rents are more than $2,000; 17% are between $1,501 and $2,000; and 7% are between $1,001 and $1,500.
  • In Queens, 65% of rents are more than $2,001; 30% are in the $1,501-$2,000 range; and 6% are in the $1,001-$1,500 range.
  • In the Bronx, 78% of rents are between $1,501 and $2,000, while 22% are between $1,001 and $1,501.

The average rent for a studio apartment in NYC is between $2,060 and $20,510, while a one-bedroom apartment in New York is between $2,180 and $8,870. You can also find two-bed apartments in NYC ranging from $2,180 to $20,510, and three-bed apartments in New York from $3,210 to $20,430.

Some of the most affordable neighborhoods in NYC are:

  • Hollis – Queens: $1,080 per month
  • Kingsbridge – the Bronx: $1,620 per month
  • Kingsbridge Heights – Jerome Park – the Bronx: $1,620 per month
  • Riverdale – the Bronx: $1,620 per month
  • Spuyten Duyvil – the Bronx: $1,620 per month
  • Marble Hill – Manhattan: $1,620 per month
  • Madison – Brooklyn: $1,720 per month

Meanwhile, the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City are all found in Manhattan and include:

  • Little Italy: $5,220 per month
  • Tribeca: $5,220 per month
  • NoLIta: $4,950 per month
  • SoHo: $4,950 per month

What Is the Average Cost of Utilities in NYC?

While housing and rent prices might be rather high compared to national averages, utilities are actually a little more affordable. For example, two people living together can expect to pay around $200 per month on basic utilities in a 900-square-foot apartment in NYC. This includes water, heating, cooling, electricity and garbage disposal.

Similarly, one person in a smaller, 480-square-foot apartment should expect to spend around $100 per month on utilities. Meanwhile, an average internet connection will generally cost around $70 per month, while a prepaid, local, mobile tariff will typically cost $0.10 per minute.

Incomes & Taxes

statue of liberty next to nyc skyline

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New York’s booming economy employs more than 4 million people across a wide array of industries and sectors. The average wage is higher than the national average, which helps keep rent and mortgage payments affordable. However, the Big Apple is considered one of the least-livable cities for minimum-wage earners, making it difficult for non-specialist workers to stay afloat.

Taxes exacerbate the situation, and New York state is widely known for having high base taxes. Plus, in New York City, almost all taxes are higher than they are in the rest of the state.

What Is the Average Salary in NYC?

New Yorkers can expect to earn an average monthly net salary of $5,800 after tax, which is considerably higher than the national average of $3,500. And, the median household income in the city is $66,500 — slightly higher than the national figure of $62,000 — while the average household income is higher still at $105,100 per year.

Nearly 11% of the workforce is employed in office and administrative support, making it the most common job with a typical annual salary of $41,600. Next, employing 10% of the workforce, management occupations are the second-most common role, with an average annual salary of $146,400. Notably, New York has more people working in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media occupations than most other places in the country. A typical wage for these roles is around $67,300 per year.

How Much Is the Income Tax in NYC?

The state of New York applies a progressive income tax on earners, with a top rate of 8.82% for those earning more than $1,077,550 of taxable income. The lowest tax bracket is 4% and is applicable up to $8,500. However, NYC collects its own income taxes in addition to the state tax. This ranges from 3.078% (up to $12,000) to 3.876% ($50,000+).

But, there are lifelines in the form of New York tax credits, which reduce your income taxes by the full amount that the credit is worth. For example, if you owe $6,500 of income tax and you have a tax credit of $500, you only need to pay $6,000 in tax. The majority of tax credits target low-income households.

How Much Is the Sales Tax in NYC?

New York state has a base sales tax of 4% — among the lowest in the country. However, each county is able to levy additional sales taxes. As a result, all five of the counties that make up New York City add an additional 4.875% sales tax, bringing the total sales tax up to 8.875% — well above most of the country. Part of that rate (0.375%) includes a charge for the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District. Finally, while most goods are subject to sales tax, there are some exceptions. For example, food and ingredients bought at grocery stores are generally exempt, and clothes and footwear up to $110 are also tax-free.

How Much Are Property Taxes in NYC?

Conversely, NYC actually has some of the lowest property taxes in the state. On average, homeowners here pay just 0.9% of the house value in property taxes — considerably less than the rest of the state, as well as many other parts of the country. This is because the taxable value of most apartments and homes in NYC is just 6% of the total market value. Despite this, high property prices result in the majority of property taxes exceeding $3,000.

Transportation

brooklyn bridge in nyc

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Bustling NYC is a mixed bag when it comes to transportation. On the one hand, the average commute time of more than 40 minutes is well above the national average of around 25 minutes. On the other hand, the city is considered the most walkable large city in the U.S. It’s also great for cyclists and boasts an excellent public transit system. But, with so many people, it’s only natural that congestion on the roads, rails, buses and metro is a common issue.

How Much Does Owning a Car in NYC Cost?

Most New Yorkers will advise against driving in the city. But, if you do plan to purchase a private vehicle in NYC, expect to pay around $22,000 for a Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (or equivalent), or $21,000 for a Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (or equivalent). On average, a gallon of gasoline costs around $3, which includes a gas tax of $0.4541 cents per gallon, the seventh-highest in the country.

Parking in NYC is difficult at best and also typically expensive. However, you can find affordable street parking in certain areas, mostly outside of central locations. Metered parking rates typically range from $1 to $8 per hour and operate in a zone system, with busier areas (Manhattan) more expensive than quieter neighborhoods. There are also numerous parking garages throughout the city. Occasionally, you can also find free parking at certain transit stations as long as you’re a paying customer. However, in general, expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $54 per hour.

What Is the Cost of Public Transportation in NYC?

New York City is home to one of the busiest and most complex public transit networks in the world, incorporating rail, rapid transit systems, buses, trams, ferries and more. The New York Subway is by far the most common and well-known and is operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

In general, the standard fare for most MTA subway and bus services is $2.75, while express buses normally cost $6.75. However, unlimited passes are also available, from a one-day pass costing $10 to a 30-day pass for $127. Regular public transit users can obtain a Metrocard for $1 and purchase the passes that best suit their needs.

Taxis are another great way to get around NYC, and the iconic yellow cabs are almost everywhere you look. These typically start at $3, plus $3 per mile.

Healthcare & Childcare

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Healthcare costs in NYC are a little more expensive than the national average. Specifically, visits to healthcare professionals and over-the-counter medicine both cost more in the Big Apple compared to most places in the U.S.

Note that private childcare costs can be quite expensive in New York, but the city does offer a number of free and low-cost alternatives for families that meet the required criteria.

How Much Does It Cost to See a Doctor in NYC?

A typical 15-minute visit to the doctor will cost around $190 on average. A visit to the dentist is less expensive at $130, while the cost of a visit to an optometrist is lower still at $110. Medicine costs around $25 for a pack of antibiotics (12 doses), while 6-days’ worth of cold medicine, such as Coldrex or Frenadol, comes in at $10 on average.

What Is the Average Cost of Childcare in NYC?

The cost of childcare in NYC differs widely by location. But, on average, parents spend around $15,000 to $25,000 per child per year on daycare. In Manhattan, average monthly fees range from $1,300 to $2,500. This is significantly higher than college tuition in New York and also approaches or exceeds the median rent, depending on the area.

However, there is some respite for low-income families, and a number of programs operate to ensure daycare costs are low or even free. The EarlyLearn NYC program is one example. It provides free or low-cost daycare for babies and toddlers, as long as families meet income and other eligibility requirements.

Preschool is free for all four-year-olds in NYC. Some districts are also introducing free preschool for three-year-olds, with a goal to provide city-wide coverage soon. Enrolling your child in a private preschool will typically cost between $1,500 and $3,500 per month. Meanwhile, annual fees for a private primary school in NYC average around $39,200.

Food

nyc-style bagels

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With a significantly diverse culture, New York is home to tastes and flavors from across the globe. If you can think of it, you’ll find it here! From all-American classics to ethnic dishes from every nook and cranny on earth, this melting pot provides a stunning food scene. Grab a classic New York Reuben sandwich, a world-class Italian dinner in Little Italy, a slice of cheesecake or a tasty bagel as you jump onto the subway.

Local delis, grocery stores and markets can be found throughout the city, offering fresh and imported produce alike. And, various specialty supermarkets grant you access to rare ingredients so you can make dishes from around the world in your own home. Farmers’ markets are also available to showcase local produce, as well as artisan goodies and regular grocery stores like Trader Joe’s are also common.

How Much Does Dining Out in NYC Cost?

Eating out in New York City doesn’t have to be overly expensive, and there are a wealth of filling, yet affordable, street food options and budget restaurants across the city. On average, a basic lunchtime menu with a drink will cost about $20.

If you’re planning to treat yourself and your loved one, a three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant will typically average out at around $120. Dinner for two in a more modest neighborhood joint will normally cost around $60.

Expect to pay around $5 for a coffee in a cafe or restaurant, while a 12-ounce bottle of Coke or Pepsi should be around $2. A small bottle of water also runs at about $2.

What Is the Average Cost of Food in NYC at the Grocery Store?

Grocery prices are a little higher than the national average in NYC, while produce from farmers’ markets and local delis might be higher still. In general, expect to pay around $3.40 for a loaf of fresh white bread, $3.50 for a dozen eggs, $6.40 for a pound of chicken fillets and about $4.50 for a gallon of milk.

A pound of common fruit and vegetables — such as onions, potatoes, apples, bananas and tomatoes — will typically cost between $1.20 and $2.80. Finally, a 1.5-liter bottle of water costs around $2.10 on average.

Shopping

two young women shopping in mall

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New York’s Fifth Avenue is one of the most famous shopping streets in the world. Home to a variety of top-end brands, it’s the ideal place for window shopping. But, shopping in NYC doesn’t have to break the bank, and there are several other fantastic shopping districts.

For instance, the Flatiron District is a great place to grab lunch and also offers stunning shopping options to accommodate all budgets. Here, you’ll find small, independent boutiques showcasing the wares of talented local artisans, as well as larger chain stores. Meanwhile, bargain-hunters should head to Canal Street, a bustling mecca with a marketplace vibe where bartering is the norm.

What Is the Cost of Clothes in NYC?

Updating your wardrobe isn’t overly expensive in NYC when compared to other cities. Here, you can usually find a decent new pair of jeans for around $60, while a summer dress should cost about $40. A pair of brand-name sneakers will generally run around $90, while a pair of leather business shoes average out to around $130.

How Much Do Personal Care Products Cost in NYC?

Staying fresh is relatively affordable in NYC, with prices about the same as national averages. Specifically, a bottle of shampoo should cost about $7, while a roll-on deodorant will be around $4. Expect to pay $5 for four rolls of toilet paper and just about $2 for a tube of toothpaste. A trip to the barbershop will generally cost around $30 for a standard men’s haircut in NYC.

Leisure

nyc central park

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NYC attracts upwards of 65 million tourists and visitors each year, lured by a stunning array of things to see and do. There’s truly something for everyone here — from museums, art galleries and theaters to parks and sports. And, let’s not forget top attractions such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building or Central Park.

What Is the Cost of Entertainment in NYC?

Catching a movie in NYC is an experience like no other. Plus, there are many different types of movie theaters — from old school drive-ins to luxury cinemas — showcasing the latest premieres. On average, a couple of tickets to the movies will cost around $30. Alternatively, if you’re lured to Broadway, expect to pay around $460 for two tickets in the best seats in the house for one of your favorite musicals, plays or shows.

There are also a ton of free things to see and do in New York City, including walking tours, TV show recordings or some of the many parks. Plus, museums and art galleries occasionally offer free admission. It’s even free to enter the Statue of Liberty, although you’ll need to pay the ferry fare of $12 and an additional $22.25 to climb up to the crown.

What Is the Average Cost of a Gym Membership in NYC?

If you’re looking to stay fit in NYC, a typical gym membership costs around $90 per month. Alternatively, tennis fans can rent one of the many courts available in the city for about $40 per hour on average.

Looking to save the money and shed the pounds? The NYC Parks and Recreation Department offers “Shape Up NYC” group fitness classes for free across the five boroughs, where you can enjoy everything from aerobics to Zumba!

Methodology

The information on this page was compiled using data from the following sources: