Its Expensive To Live In New York
Just how much money you need to stay afloat. When you first hear that you need 40x your monthly rent in annual salary to get your own lease it sounds ludicrous. But turns out thats what you need to make to not be watching every cent. If you dont mind roommates youre golden but in my mid 30s I didnt want to go down that path. If youre lucky enough to be on a salary of 85-90k or more, youll be fine even by yourself. Just dont expect to save anything
What Do You Wish You Knew About Living In New York Before Moving In 2021
All the research in the world cant prepare you for that first day in a big city. If youre anything like me, youve come from a place that is nothing like New York City and while you know everything on paper, that first time you fall into a New York puddle, you realize youre in a different world.
So what does the community at large think you should know before you move to New York City?
How Is The New York Real Estate Market
New York State has a seriously polarised real estate market. On one hand, there are the sky-high property prices of NYC, where a square foot of land goes for an astronomical amount of money, and on the other, there are some serious bargains to be had in the northern reaches of the empire state.
In the Big Apple, the median home price is currently around $760,000, but once you get out of the city, things get a heck of a lot more affordable the average cost of a home across the rest of the Empire state is $290,000, just a smidge above the national average.
As far as market outlook goes, local variations will rule the day, so always do your own due diligence in the specific neighborhoods youre considering a purchase in. That said, the overall residential market in NY has decreased -1% over the last year, with a projected drop of another -3.3% potential in 2020. This may represent a value market for buyers looking to move to the state, in what is a normally HOT and high-priced market.
When it comes to renting, the pattern is pretty similar. NYC is a city with a huge proportion of renters rather than homeowners, and the median cost of an apartment is just under $3,000 a month. Certain districts, especially Manhattan, are even more expensive.
Once you get out of NYC, rental costs diminish pretty quickly. For example, renting an apartment in the state capital of Albany will cost a much more affordable $1280 per month, and in Buffalo, its even cheaper, at just $1080 per month.
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Put Your Documents Together
If you find the apartment you like, now its time to put together an application to prove that you are a good tenant and financially stable. Some of the essential documents are as follows.
Last Three Months Pay Stubs: This is essentially to showcase your ability to make rent. Normally, it requires the tenant to make an annual salary of at least 40 to 45 times the monthly rent. This might be a bit hard for folks who want to live alone. However, you can use a guarantor or pay a years rent upfront to pass this. For those who plan to have roommates, this shouldnt be an issue.
For freelancers or self-employed people, it is best to provide a detailed letter of your income sources and recent invoices, including PDFs and commissioning letters.
Bank Statements: Again, most buildings require bank statements from the last three months as part of the application. If you have multiple banks, try to be transparent and give them all. But, usually, I will only give the one with the most money and least fluctuations.
A copy of a valid US drivers license or passport.
Tax Return: I have never been asked this before. But if you have this lying around, grab them just for the comprehensiveness of your application.
Recommendation From Your Previous Landlord: this is another evidence to showcase that you will be an excellent tenant. If you have any, it wont hurt to add them in.
Youre Going To Need A Job Asap
Trust us, you do not want to find yourself broke here. Any kind of work will do you good. Coming here alone asks for leaving your ego behind and start working in delivery or a cafe if thats going to bring you money. If you came with big dreams for developing your career, having some savings is way more important in the beginning . Coming unemployed can cause stress because of the uncertainty, so it still would be best to try and get a job before you move. Anyhow, living in NYC gives you a big advantage compared to those who live somewhere outside and apply for the same position as you.
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Fun Facts About The Empire State
To wrap up our overview of moving to New York state, here are a few fun facts that may surprise you about the Empire State.
- New York was the first state in the nation that required vehicles to have a license plate.
- The first pizzeria in the country was opened in NYC way back in 1895.
- The smallest church in the world, The Cross Island Chapel, is in the town of Oneida, New York.
- 1 out of 24 people in NYC is a millionaire.
- Around half of the residents in NYC have a native language other than English.
- Americas first-ever railroad ran from Albany to Schenectady and was just 11 miles long.
- The Empire State Building has its very own zip code.
Moving To Nyc Alone: What Stories Should You Believe
Many TV shows like How I Met Your Mother, Sex and the City, or Friends have shown to the rest of the world what living in The Big Apple is like when youre young, but was that really the truth? Lets see what myths we can debunk and what your expectations should be.
- Myth: Youll get a huge beautiful apartment for the expensive rent youre paying. Heres the truth: Based on the experience of millennials who came to The Big Apple and rent their places, its rarely true. The cost of the rent and the size of the place are rarely equal. Most people that rent apartments set up the price high because of the location and spaciousness, but the rent here is high, no matter what.
- Another urban myth is that dating is super easy here, whether via dating apps or in-person. That happens to be the truth single people here are very open, and its not difficult to start a conversation and get somebodys attention, and eventually a phone number.
- Theres another myth thats transport-related: The easiest method of commuting is by train. Thats proven not to be true. Biking, walking, and skateboarding are faster than using a train.
- People usually say that this place never sleeps, and its 100% true. Any time of any day you can find some fun events going on and join them. The parties really last all night long, and the atmosphere is so uplifting.
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Convenience: Everything Youll Ever Need Can Be Found In The City
New York City is a city of convenience. Where else can you get premium steaks at midnight, or manicures before the sun is even up? It is almost a guarantee that you will find everything that you could ever possibly need within a 5-block radius of your apartment. Not only that, NYCs transportation system is one of the best in the world. Say what you will about the subway systemyou know it gets the job done. Furthermore, New York is also an incredibly walkable city, so between that and the citys public transportation system, you never ever have to worry about getting around.
The Five Boroughs Of New York
New York is split up into five boroughs, each with their own distinct vibe. Have a think about which sounds most up your street.
Manhattan is the smallest and the swankiest of New Yorks boroughs, brimming with the things that the city is famous for. Step out of your apartment in Manhattan and youll be walking distance from Times Square, Central Park, Wall Street, and a lot of tourists. Manhattan is also the most densely populated of the citys boroughs, so you can forget about personal space.
Brooklyn is much cooler than Manhattan, home to an edgy, independent art scene and a long beachfront. There are loads of suitably cool things to visit, including the spacious Prospect Park, the Coney Island boardwalk, and of course the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Brooklyn is New Yorks most populous borough, so it must be good.
Queens started out as a collection of Dutch-founded towns and villages, but the Dutchness has steadily drained away. Its New Yorks largest borough, and its regularly named one of the most ethnically diverse urban areas in the world. Queens is particularly good for sport, being the home of the New York Mets baseball team and the US Open.
The Bronx definitely wins the cool award. This is the place where hip-hop was born, and its name doesnt even sound like a borough. The Bronx also has the largest metropolitan zoo in the world, so its a great place to live if you like trendy music and exotic animals.
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Cost Of Owning A Car And Driving A Car In New York
Everyone in the US drives on the right. Driving in most parts of New York is a nightmare and fewer people use their cars for getting to work compared to most other US cities.
If youre moving to New York from within the US, youll be able to keep your license but need to update your address to your new one.
You can drive on a foreign license for up to 12 months as a tourist but after that you will need to get an American license. If you are working or studying in the US, you can drive on your foreign license for 30 days. If you want to exchange your foreign drivers license you have to follow the process here.
Here are some other sample costs of owning and operating a car in New York:
- Volkswagen Golf: $23,000
- 1 litre of gas : $0.67
- Other fees : The average cost of state and local taxes, license, title and registration fees is $665 per annum
Ways to save money driving in New York
- Car sharing or pooling is one way to save money. Try Car Pool World, New York Ride Share, Carpooling and Ridesharing, eRideshare and Commuter Link.
- Taxis can sometimes be a cheaper option, especially if you are going to have to park all day. Try UberPool, Lyft, Via, Gett.
Need your car/vehicle moved to NYC? Then read our guide to: Car Transport & Vehicle Shipping
How Do I Get Around New York City
One of the best perks of living in the Big Apple is that public and private transportation is plentiful. In most cases, you wont need your own car, and having one may actually be a burden due to heavy traffic and limited parking. The average commute time for a New Yorker is 37 minutes.
Many New Yorkers prefer to use the citys buses and subways as their primary form of transportation not only is public transportation more affordable than traveling by car, its often much faster with traffic. Google Maps estimates that a commute from Lower Manhattan to Rockefeller Plaza only takes 15 to 20 minutes by subway during morning rush hour, while the same journey can take up to an hour in a car or taxi.
If you purchase an Unlimited Ride MetroCard, you can use the Metropolitan Transportation Authority buses and subways as many times as youd like for a flat weekly or monthly fee. The cost of a 7-day pass is $33, while a 30-day pass is priced at $127.
If taking the subway isnt your thing, ridesharing apps and taxis are also readily available. Prices for each can vary, and each charges riders in different ways. For example, Uber uses surge charging when things get busy, while taxis instead charge a higher rate if the vehicle is moving slowly in traffic.
The city has also teamed up with Citi Bike to create a bike-sharing system with over 13,000 bicycles.
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New York City Housing Costs
Theres only one word you can use for describing housing costs in New York City expensive. Many people rent apartments all their lives rather than buy due to the high cost of purchasing.
There is also a very high demand for accommodation and it goes the minute its advertised.
Monthly Rental Prices in New York City
- 1 bedroom apartment in City Centre: $2000+
- 1 bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: $1400+
- 3 bedroom apartment in City Centre: $4000+
- 3 bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: $2,176+
New York City Home Purchase Prices
- Price per square metre to buy in City Centre: $8,488.05
- Price per square metre to buy outside City: $3,229.17
New York City Housing Cost Comparison
This is how rents in New York compare with other cities around the globe.
London is 30.10% cheaperLos Angeles is 33.04% cheaperToronto is 60.22% cheaperNumbeo
How to Save on Housing Costs
Stand Clear Of The Closing Door
Public transportation is your best friend/worst enemy, and you have lots of options. The New York subway is the most impressive system in the world, but it will cost you big time if you dont have a monthly pass. Bikes are fast so its important to watch out for opening car doors. Ubers and cabs are available at the drop of a hat, but they too will break your bank if you rely on them too much. The bus is slow but reliable. As for driving your own car? Just dont.
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New York Alcohol Costs
New York has more bars than any other city in the world. Bars are part of New Yorks psyche, where people go to party, enjoy a drink with friends or have a quiet drink on their own all are acceptable.
- Pint domestic beer at a restaurant/pub: $5.00 $7.00
- Bottle of imported beer at a restaurant/pub: $6.00 $9.00
- Pint domestic beer at a supermarket: $1.00 $3.00
- Bottle of imported beer at a supermarket: $1.25 $4.00
- Mid-range bottle of wine at a supermarket: $7.00 $15.00
How to drink for less in New York
- Keep an eye on the local papers and websites for specials over weekends and public holidays.
- Many bars and restaurants have specials after work. Try Alameda between 5pm and 7pm where you can get a burger and beer or boquerones and prosecco for around $12. Allswell gives you a beer and a shot for $7 between 4 and 7 every day. If wine is your favourite tipple, try Amelie between 5 and 7 and enjoy a glass of wine for $6. Go to Time Out and Four Square for more ideas.
Copyright MTA, see full map here
Most New Yorkers use the subway and buses to get around the city. The New York subway system is the largest in the world, when you measure it by the number of stations. It runs 24 hours a day. Buses are generally used for small hops, such as going from one shop to another.
Here are some example ticket costs.
- Adult Single Metro $2.75
- Monthly season ticket, unlimited $116.50
How to save money on public transport
If You Live In Nyc Prepare To Be Labeled A Workaholic
Theres no way around this. New York City is a hard working city. 40 hour work week? Sounds like a distant dream.
Living in NYC is not for the faint of heart, most come here to make a name for themselves, and it shows. Expect to put in long hours.
For example, both of our long-term NYC friends work until 8-9pm in the evening. They joke that they can hang out during the other 9-9. Its not uncommon to find them answer emails on the weekends or checking their phones during happy hour.
Some days it feels like anxiety is a second language and we are all proficient in it.
You can to hustle to make it here and everyone works hard. Some people work 150 hours a week, others have 2-3 jobs to scrape by.
Whatever you do, secure a job before moving to New York City.
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Communal Living Is Tricky
This city, especially real estate, is EXPENSIVE. Most young people come here expecting to share an apartment or loft with several other aspiring New Yorkers at the same time. This can be harrowing or awesome depending on how reliable you are with monthly rent and how respectful you are of chores/cleanliness/property . Nothing will ruin your stay faster than being loathed at home. And heads up, prepare yourself for the infamous brokers fees as well.
Nyc Has Some Of The Highest Taxes In The Us
There are three different income taxes paid by New York City residents: the federal income tax, the state income tax and the city income tax. Depending on your income, tax rates can be higher than 50%. The sales tax in NYC is quite high too, at 8.875%, although New York property tax rates are actually fairly reasonable .
Calculate what your NYC income taxes will be with our New York tax calculator.
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