You’ve decided to move to New York, inspired by all the amazing things you’ve heard about the city. It’s a great move because New York truly is a great place to live. The awesome life New York offers, though, comes at a price, as the city is one of the most expensive major metropolitan areas in the country. Everything from food, entertainment, beauty remedies, transport, rent, etc. is more expensive in the big apple. Read on to discover the true cost of living in NYC.


How much will a roof over your head cost?

New York isn’t cheap, and one of the areas where this is highly apparent is the cost of housing. Whether you’re looking to rent or to buy, be prepared to shell out a pretty penny.

The cost of renting in NYC

living room and dining area in New York City by Blueground

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 US, 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 $1,500.

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 on the market, 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 right from their website without having to pay any additional fees to a broker. Considering the 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, buying a property in New York City 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 over 50% in income tax. The sales tax is slightly higher in New York City, as well, at 8.875%, though the difference isn’t that significant from the rest of the country.


How much will transportation cost you in NYC?

a busy road in New York with taxis and buses

In New York, less than half of the population 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, between having to pay far more for insurance than most other metropolitan areas and the cost of parking, which can be as high as $533 per month in downtown Manhattan.

That’s when you’re lucky enough to find parking because it isn’t unusual to spend more than half an hour trying to find a place to leave your car in the evenings.

Luckily, though, the transit system in New York is excellent, especially the subway system, which is why so many people don’t own a car.

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, for example, it will cost you $100 – it’s still a far cheaper option than owning a car. It’s certainly far less aggravating since you won’t be dealing with the 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 New York is slightly cheaper than the national US average is in the cost of utilities. Thus, according to, you can expect to pay $142.35 per month for electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for an apartment of 915 square feet, which is 14% cheaper than the US average. An Internet connection, on the other hand, will cost you around $62 per month, compared to $52, which is the US average.


How much will you pay for food in New York?

outdoor dining in new york city

Groceries in New York are also more expensive than the US national average, and you can expect to pay between 28% and 39% more, based on where you live. This, of course, significantly increases the cost of living in NYC.

Eating at a restaurant is also more expensive because a meal at a budget restaurant will cost around $15, which is 50% higher than the national average, whereas a dinner at a moderately expensive restaurant for two will cost around $75, which is 67% higher than the national average. You always have the option to order food and dine at home but that will come at a cost too.


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

The average price of a movie ticket in the US is $10, but since you’re living in New York, you’re going to have to pay $14.

Even things like bowling are far more expensive, though New York does offer a lot of free entertainment too, which will definitely help slightly lower your cost of living in NYC.

So, instead of going to a movie, you could always opt to attend one of the many free concerts held during the summer or check out 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 it is still a great place to live. And all you have to do is get a little creative, and you will be able to save quite a bit of money.

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