Cost of Living in NYC

By PropertyClub Team
Apr 7th 2021
New York City is home to nearly 8.5 million people. It’s one of the most famous cities in the world, and also one of the most expensive. Let’s be honest, living in NYC is going to burn a hole in your wallet. It isn’t cheap, but it certainly is worth it. There’s great food, adverse culture, beautiful art museums, Central Park, and hundreds of other fantastic attractions and benefits. But if you’re considering making a move to the big apple, you need to carefully consider the realistic cost of living there.

hash-markHousing Prices in NYC

Most people are somewhat prepared to fork out a significant amount for housing in NYC. It’s well known that finding a home is probably going to be your highest cost. To give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay in each of the five boroughs, here are the median rental prices:

  • Manhattan - $3,628
  • Brooklyn - $2,655
  • Queens - $2,433
  • The Bronx - $1,620
  • Staten Island - $1,600

What if you’re looking at buying a house? That’s going to be an expensive venture in the city that never sleeps. Housing prices are, frankly, exorbitant. Buying a house in the most exclusive Manhattan neighborhoods, like NoHo, will cost you about $3,000,000. If your budget isn’t millions, you might be limited in what you can afford in Manhattan since even the less exclusive neighborhoods have an average house price of $1,000,000. There are certainly some cheaper neighborhoods, but the average housing price in NYC in 2020 was still a whopping $700,000.

If you just can’t afford those kinds of prices, which most people can’t, then there are some options you can consider to make it more affordable to live in the big apple. Sharing a room in a house or having roommates is a great option, especially if you’re living in the city alone. It's easy to find roommates in NYC and can also be beneficial for helping you make friends and meet new people. It’s also advisable to look into low-income housing options.

hash-markThe Cost of Transportation

Having a car in New York is a luxury. Parking is expensive, like pretty much everything else. If you need a car and intend to buy a home, apartments with private parking will probably cost about $60,000 to $150,000 more than those that don’t. If you want to rent in a building with a garage, you can expect to tag about $100 to $1000 onto your monthly rent for a parking spot. Those costs aren’t even factoring in how much you’ll pay to park for the day in the city if you take your car somewhere.  

Fortunately, NYC has an elaborate and mostly well-run subway and bus system that can get you anywhere you need to go. Public transport is a savior in the big apple, and it’s certainly the least expensive way to get around. A single-day adult ticket for the subway will cost you $2.75. And if you buy an unlimited monthly pass, you can expect to pay $127. 

Of course, ridesharing is an option if you need to get somewhere and public transport isn’t an option. Taking Uber or Lyft can be a practical option. To give you an idea of what you can expect to pay, the NYC UberX base far is $2.55, and you’ll pay $0.35 per minute and $1.75 per mile on top of that.

hash-markThe Cost of Living

Housing prices aren’t the only thing that you’re going to pay more for in New York. It’s an expensive city to live in all around. You have to eat, and the average monthly grocery price for a single person is about $470. Restaurants are 24.51% more expensive than they are in Los Angeles, too. You can also expect to pay $5 - $7 for a pint of domestic beer at a local bar. 

If you’re a renter, utilities are the one thing that isn’t more expensive than the rest of the United States. The average cost of utilities, including water, electricity, garbage, and heating for a 915-square foot apartment, is $7 less than the national average, at $145.55. If you own a home, though, electricity in NYC is about 40% more expensive than in the rest of the U.S. Then, there are other miscellaneous costs to consider. Movie tickets are between $13 and $16, and a short doctor’s visit costs an average of $176. 

If you have kids, you need to consider the costs of childcare and school, which also don’t come cheap in NYC (surprise, surprise). The average monthly cost of preschool or kindergarten for one child is $2,616. 

hash-markNew York City Tax Rates

You’ll fork out 8.5% in sales tax in New York City. 4% for the state sales tax and an additional 4.5% for the city sales tax. There are also commuter taxes that need to be paid if you are self-employed and earn over $50,000 per year. These commuter taxes are required and help the city fund and upkeep its extensive (and well-used) public transport systems. Fortunately, you’re off the hook for commuter taxes if you’re employed and receive a W2 since your employer will have to pay instead. 

New York City residents have to pay both state and federal taxes. What you pay in state income tax will depend on how much your annual income is, but it’s about 4% to 8.8%. Property taxes, shockingly, are relatively cheap in NYC compared to the rest of the United States. Of course, this too depends on your circumstances, such as the size and location of your property. The average property tax rate in the city is, however, just 0.88%. 

There’s really no getting around the fact that living in NYC is pricey. If you’re planning to live there, make sure that you budget very, very wisely to ensure you don’t end up getting in financial hot water. The estimated monthly costs for s single person to live in New York City without rent are $1,347.06. That’s a pretty penny, but the city that never sleeps is certainly well worth the expense.