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Cost of Living in New York City

By Joshua Wood, LPC

GeoBlue International Health Insurance

Summary: New York City is one of the most "international" cities in the world, but expats there also contend with one of the most expensive costs of living at the same time. Here's what you need to know to get a general idea of what those costs are.

The cost of living in New York City is very high - it's routinely ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world. Below you will find details about the expenses for living in New York City, and how that might impact your budget as an expat in NYC.

Cost of Renting

The cost of housing in New York City is high. Even for a studio, rents will push close to $2000 or more. For a 1 bedroom in Manhattan, you'll be up over $2000 for a median cost. And for a 2 bedroom, you'll hit at least $2500. Of course these are just median costs and in New York City the sky is truly the limit in terms of how high rents can go!

These numbers were taken from Apartment List Rental Data, where you can see updated numbers on U.S. states and cities.

According to Street Easy's August 2019 Market Report, rents have been surging for quite sometime.

Cost of Purchasing a Home in New York

You can use Street Easy's Data Dashboard to view current asking prices and much more in New York City. In all of New York City it's a little less than $1 million at $995,000, while the average cost for Manhattan is about $1.6 million.

According to Numbeo, the cost of purchasing a home in New York City is $1,326.48 per Square foot to buy an Apartment in the "city center," while it can dip as low as $594.70 per square foot in other parts of the city.

In an article titled Want to Buy a Home in NYC? Renting May Be a Better Bet on Bloomber.com, it's revealed that "In much of Manhattan, it would take a decade or longer for buying an apartment to make financial sense over renting. It's a different story in Brooklyn and Queens, where buying beats leasing in as little as 1.4 years."

Cost of Utilities

Utilities are generally very reliable in the United States and that includes New York City.

According to Zillow.com The cost of utilities in apartments will average about $200 per month without cable. This includes Heat, Air Conditioning, electricity, gas, internet and renter's insurance. Cable could add $20-$150 or more if you're not careful when signing your agreement.

There are all kinds of services available in the New York City area (and the United States) that can serve alternative services to cable.

Cost of Transportation

Here is New York City Subway and Bus Fare information.

New York City generally has good public transportation on its Subways and Buses, but it is also crowded at peak hours and there are sometimes outages that require changing subway or bus lines.

Cost of Food

Eating out in New York City is what you want to make of it.

Estimates of the average cost of a dinner in New York City is about $40-$50, but don't let that scare you. Those determined to get good eats for less absolutely will find seemingly limitless options. A slice of pizza for ONE DOLLAR is a real thing in New York City. And it is magical! You can also get tacos for a dollar, or spend just a little extra for Dorado Tacos.

For those looking to spend serious cash for high-end dining experiences, there are all kinds of options available in all kinds of cuisines that will cost you hundreds of dollars per person or more!

Cost of Entertainment

The cost of movie tickets in New York City varies between about $12.55-$15.25 according to Value Penguin.

While it is generally very expensive, there are ways to at least minimize the cost of getting tickets for a broadway show. Don't just run to Ticketmaster... do research and plan to attend around peak times to avoid peak ticket prices. Expats in New York City (or near it) have more flexibility than tourists who are confined to the dates of their vacations... take advantage of it!

There are loads of opportunities in New York City for free entertainment. Central Park has performers throughout all of the time - especially on the weekends. You'll also see extremely-talented performers on the street and the subways on a daily basis. It adds a lot of flavor to the city!

Expats can also take advantage of free museum and pay-what-you-wish museum days in the city.

More Specific Cost of Living Information for New York City

You can look at updated cost of living data for New York City on Numbeo.com.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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GeoBlue International Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in United States from our partner, GeoBlue.
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