So you’ve decided to move to New York, inspired by all the amazing things you’ve heard about the city. Although it’s truly a great place to live, keep in mind that life here comes at quite the price. In fact, this is one of the most expensive major metropolitan areas in the country. Things like food, entertainment, beauty remedies, transport, and rent are all more expensive in the Big Apple. In this article, we’ve explained the average prices so you have an idea of what to expect. Read on to discover the true cost of living in NYC.


How much will a roof over your head cost?

One of the areas where you’ll have to shell out a pretty penny is housing. Whether you’re looking to rent or to buy, it’s best to create a budget with at least a little flexibility. 

The cost of renting in NYC

living room and dining area in New York City by Blueground with a dark blue accent wall behind a grey couch with colorful throw pillows. There is a wooden coffee table with decorative items on tip which sits on a blue Turkish style rug. There is a large TV on a wooden stand next to a large black bookshelf and Marshall speaker.

According to Zumper, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in New York City is $2,750, making it the second most expensive city in the United States. It’s outranked only by San Francisco, where you can expect to pay $3,500. By comparison, Los Angeles ranks fifth, at $2,420, whereas Chicago comes in 18th at $100.

If you decide to rent, you might find that you have to pay an additional fee to a broker, which is generally between 10% and 15% of the annual rent. Unfortunately, there is a lot of competition, which means finding an apartment can be very difficult and finding one for which you won’t have to pay a fee is almost impossible. Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities. One way to get around this broker’s fee is to work with a company like Blueground. They offer stunning apartments all over New York City, which you can rent directly from their website without having to pay any additional fees to a broker. Considering the high rental prices in New York City, saving a fee that equates to 15% of the annual rent is nothing to scoff at.

The cost of buying a home in NYC

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median home price in New York is $428,200. However, this really isn’t a completely accurate figure because it takes into account the far cheaper suburbs.

If you’re looking to buy in Manhattan, for example, the average value of a property is $848,600, whereas buying in Brooklyn will set you back $557,000, on average. Clearly, regardless of where you decide to invest, buying a property in New York City proper is an expensive undertaking.


How much will you be paying in taxes in NYC?

Two things in life are certain, and one of those is taxes. As a future New Yorker, you will have the privilege of paying three income taxes, rather than just two, making the cost of living in NYC even higher. You’ll not only have to pay the federal income tax and the state income tax, but also the city income tax. Overall, depending on how much money you make, you can end up paying a total of over 50% in income tax. The sales tax is slightly higher in New York City, as well, sitting at 8.875%, though the difference isn’t that significant from the rest of the country.


How much will transportation cost you in NYC?

Less than half of the population here owns a car, and this is for a number of reasons.

First of all, owning a car in New York City is a very expensive proposition, as you’ll have to pay far more for insurance than you would in most other metropolitan areas. Also, you’ll have to deal with the cost of parking, which can be as high as $533 per month in downtown Manhattan.

A busy road in New York City with lots of yellow taxis driving down next to a large bus which is stopped at a bus stop. There are lots of pedestrians on the left side of the photo and tall office buildings in the background.It isn’t unusual to spend more than half an hour every evening trying to find a place to leave the car.

Fortunately, the public transit system in New York is excellent, especially the subway.

While you still have to pay for the privilege of using the transit system, and the cost is significantly higher than the national average seeing as a monthly transit pass will cost you $116.50 per month. In Los Angeles on the other hand, it will cost you $100, which is still a far cheaper option than owning a car. It’s certainly far less aggravating since you won’t be dealing with the train delays, horrendous traffic, or trying to find a parking space.


How much can you expect to pay for utilities in New York?

The one area where this city is slightly cheaper than the national average is when it comes to the cost of utilities. According to, for an apartment of 915 square feet, you can expect to pay $142.35 every month for electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage -which is 14% cheaper than the national average. An Internet connection, on the other hand, will cost you around $62 per month, compared to the United States average of $52.


How much will you pay for food in New York?

Groceries in New York are also more expensive. In fact, you can expect to pay between 28% and 39% more at the supermarket, based on exactly where you live. This one aspect significantly increases the cost of living in NYC.

An outdoor dining and seating area in the middle of NYC with wooden tables and large wooden umbrellas. There are buildings all around and people sitting among the benches and chairs.

Eating out at a restaurant is also more expensive. A meal at a budget restaurant will cost around $15 (50% higher than the national average), whereas a dinner at a moderately expensive restaurant for two will cost around $75 (67% higher than the national average). Of course, you always have the option to order food and dine at home but that can really add up if you make it a regular occurrence. 


How much can you expect to pay for entertainment in New York?

The average price of a movie ticket in the United States is $10, but since you’re living in New York, you’re going to have to pay around $14. New York does offer a lot of free entertainment which will definitely help lower your cost of living.

So, instead of going to a movie over the weekend, you could opt to attend one of the many free concerts held during the summer or check out one of the various musical performances that take place on subway platforms during the weekends.

The cost of living in New York City is obviously quite high, but all you really have to do is make a budget, get creative and then you’ll be able to save quite a bit.  

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