New York City's High Cost of Living

Jun 04, 2023 By Susan Kelly

It's common knowledge that maintaining a New York City lifestyle is a costly undertaking. High state and local taxes mean that most of a New York City resident's paycheck is already gone before it hits the bank. In addition, the region has some of the most expensive housing in the country for potential newcomers to consider. Those who move to New York City and prioritise living at the centre of the action might consider moving to Manhattan.

New York City Rents

The expense of living in New York City is well-known to be high, and rent is no exception. New York City is mostly a rental market. According to the real estate database StreetEasy, the median asking rent for a one-bedroom flat in New York City is $3,950 in Manhattan and $1,500 on Staten Island as of May 2022. The average monthly rent for a two-bedroom flat is anywhere from $2,000 to $4,750.

According to the apartment-hunting website ApartmentList, ninety per cent of New York City apartments have monthly rents that exceed $3,000. It reports that one-bedroom apartments make up 44% of the city's rental stock, with studios and two-bedroom flats each accounting for 22%. Only 12% of available flats in the city are three-bedroom units.

The epidemic may have had a short-term depressing effect on rental rates, but those rates are already rising again. However, you can reduce your costs by moving your search to a less expensive borough or even a cheaper neighbourhood within the same borough. Location inside the city has a major impact on the cost of living.

Upper Manhattan is the best bet in Manhattan, the priciest borough if you're set on living there. Inwood and Washington Heights, two of the more reasonably priced neighbourhoods, have median one-bedroom rents of $1,733 and $1,850, respectively.

New York City Transportation

For most people in the United States, transportation costs are second only to housing. That includes the price of the automobile itself, as well as repairs, insurance, petrol and garage space. You'll have to pay for a transit pass if you use the bus or train, and you might have to pay for parking if you drive somewhere to catch the bus or train.

Car owners in New York will have to spend a lot of money on parking. One analysis estimates that by 2021, the monthly cost of parking in Midtown Manhattan (the most costly area of the city) will have risen to $562. In comparison, the national average monthly cost of parking is close to $167.

Parking isn't the only thing that costs more in New York than the rest of the country; petrol is, too. According to statistics collected by GasBuddy in March 2022, the price of a gallon of petrol varies from $4.09 in Staten Island to $5.59 in Manhattan. At the end of March 2022, the average retail price of regular gasoline in the United States was $4.25, as reported by AAA. According to, the average cost of car insurance in the United States is $1,483, while the cost is $1,582 in New York City.

Cost Of Food In New York City

The average New York City resident spends $486.71 monthly on food and drink, as reported by in March 2022. The national average in the United States is $348.34. Of course, New York City is well-known for its restaurants, so those who decide to eat out regularly will see their grocery bills skyrocket.

New York City's high food and production costs can be attributed to various factors. One major factor is that food-selling businesses must pay substantially more rent and wages in the area than in other parts of the country. The city's high population density might be challenging food delivery in Manhattan.

NYC Housing

Expect no savings if you buy a property in New York City instead of renting, as real estate costs are among the country's highest. StreetEasy reports that in April 2022, the typical asking price for a property in New York City reached $995,000, the highest level since January 2019.

However, costs again differ significantly between districts. The typical asking price in Manhattan was $1.5 million in May of 2022. The median price was $995,000 in Brooklyn, $699,400 in Staten Island, and $625,000 in Queens. In May, the Bronx had the lowest median asking price of any New York City borough at $388,000, much below the national average.

Despite the city's high property prices, the market is nevertheless thriving. Properties in this area consistently increase in value, and they sell rapidly. The average home was on the market for roughly 46 days in April, down from about 60 days a year earlier. However, the high cost of housing affects the standard of living, as just 33% of inhabitants are homeowners.

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