Living in New York City can be an attractive choice because of all of the culture and opportunities that exist there. However, it is important to consider what your budget will allow before moving to The Big Apple.
So how much is the cost of living in New York City? If you want to compare your salary to how much the cost of living is in NYC, it can be helpful to know that the average cost of living in New York City for a single person a month is estimated to be around $1,814.00 without rent (and that’s on the conservative side).
Therefore, if you are considering a move to NYC, or if you currently live here and want to know how your budget will be affected, this article may be helpful. We answer questions such as: How much does rent usually cost per square foot in NYC? What is the average salary for someone living in NYC? And—how do these compare to other parts of New York State?
Cost Of Living in NYC vs. Upstate New York
The cost of living in New York City is nearly double that of Upstate New York. This can be explained by the fact that you will find more high-paying jobs and opportunities for career advancement within Manhattan than in any other part of New York State. To give you some perspective on how “big” the Big Apple is, the city covers 302 square miles within its five boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan (the most expensive area), the Bronx and Staten Island.
Common New York City Expenses
To give you an idea of what to budget for if you move to NYC, we’ve listed the most common categories of expenses:
- Rental and housing costs
- Property and income tax
- Utilities, cell phone and internet
- Food & groceries
- Fitness and entertainment
It’s important to choose NYC rental property that is within your budget, and rental prices can vary dramatically by NYC borough. For instance, if you reference the table below, you see that the average asking price for a one-bedroom unit rental is $3737 in Manhattan, which is more than double the price for the same sized unit in the Bronx that is $1745.
Average rent prices in NYC boroughs (2021 Estimates)
|Borough||Average 1-Bedroom Rent||Average 2-Bedroom Rent|
Also, the median rent in NYC is $3,805 for a one-bedroom unit and $5,748 for one that has two bedrooms.
Another thing to consider when you are shopping for NYC rentals is that apartment and office space prices that were down because of quarantine are starting to inch up again. As such, now might be the right time to move to the Big Apple and lock in lower rental rates.
Cost of Housing in New York City
The median purchase price for a home in Manhattan is $917,000, but there really aren’t many hardly any single-family homes there. Instead, they are more commonly found in less densely populated areas of the city such as Staten Island. In addition, the median single-family home purchase price in NYC is $571,000. Co-ops and condominiums with a median sale price of $537,000 make up the rest of NYC’s housing market.
Cost of Taxes in NYC
If you own your own home in NYC, then expect to pay a city property tax rate of about 0.80%. That’s roughly $8000 per year for a home worth $100,000 in the state’s most populous city. Also, expect your income taxes in New York City to be around the same as any other city across America at about 32%.
Utilities, Cell Phone and Internet
For considering the cost of utilities in NYC, you can consider the fact that a 915 sq. ft. apartment will cost around $165 in utility costs monthly, and this includes basic utilities that include water, electricity, and gas. That figure may be a little conservative, though, and many put this estimate at a little over $270 monthly.
Factors that may also influence your utility bill include your personal preferences, apartment size, and your rental agreement —where landlords bundle some or all of the utility costs in them at times.
Of course, it’s also important to include cell phones and internet service when you estimate utility costs. The average US resident pays $94 monthly for their cell phone service and around $45-$50 for internet service, meaning you’ll need to account for an additional $139 in your budget.
If you want Cable TV with two premium channels to add entertainment to the utility category, you can expect to add around $60.00 per month to $139, meaning you’ll need to budget around $200 to account for that part.
Cost of Transportation in New York City
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) transports commuters all over the New York metro area by subway, bus and commuter rail. Fares start at $2.75 for a bus or subway ride, and a monthly pass on the MTA is around $130.
Commuters can also take the NYC Ferry, and its routes serve all five boroughs. Costs are the same as the MTA at $2.75 one way; except for the one that serves Staten Island Ferry (it’s free).
If you own a car in NYC, know that the roads are narrow in some parts of the city, and the parking fees are steep. For instance, garage parking costs in Manhattan ranges from $300-$900/month, while in Brooklyn they range from $150-$500/month. Prices in the other boroughs are less, and you’ll find street parking opportunities are more readily available.
Food & Groceries
One of the most important parts for figuring up the cost of living in New York is food and groceries. For one person, it would cost around $50-75 per week to eat all your meals at home or take your lunch, while eating out once or twice a week can add considerably more to your monthly bill. New York City has excellent food, and residents tend to spend a lot more on dining out than the national average.
New York’s health premiums remain among the highest in the nation, with the Empire State’s high cost of living being a major factor, especially in the NYC area. The average cost of healthcare coverage for a single person is $7,890 (around $660/month), which is 13% above the national average. Only Alaska and Delaware healthcare premiums are more costly.
State policy is also a factor behind the state’s high price tag for coverage, and it drives up health insurance premiums by heavily taxing healthcare and continually adding to a lengthy list of healthcare coverage mandates.
Fitness & Entertainment
Fitness and entertainment opportunities in Gotham are quite pricey compared to the national average. What follows is what you can expect to spend if you want to partake in some of New York City’s fitness and fun.
NYC residents are big on keeping fit, and they pay for it. The national average cost of a gym membership is $37/month— in New York City that jumps to an average of over $80 per month! NYC’s active population makes the city home to many gyms (and keeps them busy), which drive up costs across the board. Not to mention, New York’s many yoga studios and fitness centers keep the prices high as well.
New York City is a mecca for establishments that host concerts, art exhibits and Broadway shows. If you want to splurge, the average ticket price for a show on Broadway will run between $80-200, while sports events or art shows are usually more affordable. Expect tickets for those venues to run around $30-$40.
The cost for a movie ticket is around $15.00 and Netflix is around $13.99/month. So you can get by seeing one sports event, a movie every week and unlimited shows on Netflix for around $60/month. These expenses can vary and depend largely on what you like to do and how often you want to go out.
Calculating Your Average Monthly Expenses
What follows is a ballpark calculation for average monthly expenses.
Utilities – $270, Transportation – $130, Groceries – $300, Healthcare premium – $660, Fitness – $80, Sports event – $30, Internet/cell phone/ cable TV/ 2 premium channels – $200, Netflix $14, Dinner ($25) once a week (e.g. Pizza and beverage) $100 and a movie at a theatre twice a month – $30.
To get a baseline of the monthly cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn and pay average monthly expenses, take $2,866 rent costs and add it to the monthly expenses from the above paragraph: $2866 + $1,814 = $4,779/month or $57,348 annually. It’s also good to add in a factor of 4-5% in case you went too conservatively and to account for unanticipated expenses.
Nightlife Costs add Up
Many people enjoy the hopping nightlife and entertainment you find in New York City, but the price of the tab can often linger much longer than the hangover. For instance, high end restaurant food with signature cocktails at $18-$25/glass can add up and wreck a budget after a while.
Moreover, a night on the town can easily wind up costing $130-$160, and you can come out of these places spending more in 3 days than you budgeted for a whole month of groceries.
If you are inclined to soaking up the nightclub scene and ritzy restaurants, then be sure to add this to your budget.
Recommended Salary for Living in NYC
Google “the recommended salary in NYC,” and you’ll find many real estate experts recommending that a single person make at least $80,000 a year to live there.
However, that figure is based on the assumption that someone is staying in a Manhattan studio apartment that costs $2,000/month. That figure is also based on the low range cost for that type of apartment in that part of the city, and some estimates put the price of the average rent for a studio apartment in Manhattan at a more expensive $2400 per month.
More importantly, $80,000 will not work out too well for any scenario that is more than the cost of the Queens 1-BR apartment in the table.
So why doesn’t it work out? Remember where the budget for Brooklyn living came in at $57,348? In other words, figure up the $80,000 minus the NY income tax rate of 32%, which turns out to be $25,600. So $80,000 minus $25,600 = $54,400.
In a nutshell, doing the math shows that you’d be able to afford rent and expenses and your budget will go further if you live in a 1-BR apartment in Staten Island, The Bronx or Queens.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to squeak by in Brooklyn since the cost to live there is $57,348 vs. only netting around $54,400 or a little more or less, depending on how your withholdings are structured.
You’d need to make a lot more than $80K to live in Manhattan too—somewhere in the range of around $90K-$100K to live comfortably and put some money away for emergencies, savings or retirement every month.
Which Professions Can You Find in NYC?
New York City is a magnet for high-wage earners, business owners and start-ups. The most common occupation in New York City is Management, Business and Financial Operations. The second largest group is Sales & Related Occupations. Another popular profession for NYC residents is Business Operations Specialists.
We Can Help You with Your Office Space Needs
If you are a professional or business owner thinking of moving to NYC, then you may be looking at office rental costs in addition to home living costs. If so, Corporate Suites can help you find the best options in New York City.
We have over a decade of experience managing hundreds of executive office suites throughout the city, and we can provide you with a wide range of office and coworking space options that include affordable pricing, great amenities and flexible terms. Give us a call at (212) 257-3063 and learn how we can help grow your business.