The Cost of Living in New York in 2021

June 24, 2021 Marcus Terry 0 Comments

No matter how many movies you’ve seen with the New York skyline in the background, you can’t quite get over the magic of the city. Whether you’re a born-and-raised New Yorker or you’re dreaming of moving to the Big Apple, it’s no secret that the cost of living in New York gets expensive.

According to 2020 Cost of Living data, the cost of living in New York is 144.7 percent above the national average in Manhattan. In terms of housing, Manhattan is 442.3 percent above the national average.

But New York City also offers an excellent walk score of 99, thanks to its expansive public transportation and bike infrastructure, saving you costs in transportation. Not to mention New York provides access to music, culture, plays and everything in between daily.

Keep on reading below so you can learn more about the cost of living in New York beyond the expensive rent headlines.

  • Housing costs in New York
  • Food costs in New York
  • Utility costs in New York
  • Transportation costs in New York
  • Healthcare costs in New York
  • Goods and services costs in New York
  • Taxes in New York
  • How much do you need to earn in New York?

Housing costs in New York

Between brokers fees, rent-controlled apartments and often unregulated landlords, finding somewhere to live in New York can sometimes feel like a full-time job.

One-bedroom rents in New York have decreased 15.2 percent year-over-year. In contrast, two-bedrooms are seeing a steep increase of 15.3 percent since Spring 2020, most likely due to the pandemic. The average rent for a one-bedroom in April 2021 is $3,684 per month.

East Village, downtown Manhattan and Lincoln Square top the most expensive neighborhood in New York, with average rents of $5,600, $5,565 and $4,453 per month, respectively.

When looking for New York neighborhoods with lower rents, try downtown Brooklyn ($3,081), East Bronx ($2,725) and Rockaway ($1,637) for closer to the average rent in the city.

If you’re looking to buy, you’ll see that sales prices have gone up 5 percent since last year, and most homes spend 98 days on the market, on average. The average sales price sits at $755,000, according to Redfin.

cost of living in new york.

Food costs in New York

New York has some of the best chefs in the world, serving delectable food in everything from a small bar to a high-end restaurant. Due to sales tax, overall rent prices and other factors, food is more expensive when eating out. A basic dinner at a small pub for two will cost around $60 on average.

Groceries are also on the high end of the spectrum — 48.1 percent above the national average. A steak in Manhattan at the grocery store will cost $14.38 per pound versus the same steak in Austin, TX ($9.67). Expect to see a dozen eggs cost $2.92 and bread at $4.48.

Utility costs in New York

Winters, where only the landlord has access to the thermostat, and summers, spent in line purchasing a new air conditioning unit — New York’s seasons are an exercise of extremes.

Fortunately, utilities in New York are 1.7 percent below the national average. For energy costs, most residents see a bill of around $157.70 per month.

For high-speed internet, 83 percent of residents have access to fiber. Most residents will pay between $40-$60 for basic internet, with fiber internet being closer to $150 on average per month.

NYC subway.

Transportation costs in New York

New York City public transit comes immediately to mind when we speak about the extensive rail. The subway (regardless of how you feel about maintenance and delays) does go everywhere, allowing residents to forgo a car. Transportation in New York lands 31.7 percent above the national average.

The average commute for a New Yorker is 40 minutes, according to a recent study.

New York has a 100 transit score, thanks to the MTA. A one-way ticket on the subway costs $2.75. A 7-day pass is $33, and a monthly 30-day pass is $127 with unlimited swipes on the buses and subway.

You can navigate the city’s perfect grid by foot too with a 99 walk score. Or if you prefer two-wheels, NYC’s bike score is 86 with plenty of infrastructure for bikes.

Those who just can’t avoid driving in the city expect to pay $33 on average for two hours a mile from the city center. You’ll also spend nearly 107 hours a year looking for a parking spot — about $2,243 lost time cost per driver.

Healthcare costs in New York

Between insurance, pre-existing conditions and changing prescription prices, it’s hard to navigate the healthcare system — no matter what state you’re in. Here are a few general guidelines on New York healthcare.

In Manhattan, you have access to more than a handful of hospitals depending on where you’re located on the island. You have access to quality healthcare at Mount Sinai, New York-Presbyterian and Lenox Hill, among others.

The cost of living in New York for healthcare costs is about 9.8 percent above the national average. A doctor’s visit will set you back $106.72 on average, while a prescription drug, without insurance, costs upwards of $442.91 on average.

Central Park in NYC.

Goods and services costs in New York

New York remains 32.8 percent above the national average when it comes to goods and services.

Are you thinking of taking your date to the movies? Get a haircut for $23.25 on average, and then grab a movie ticket for $16.31 each for new releases.

If you’re into yoga, a class costs $20.49 on average. Luckily, you can also get in your steps on the way there and back — thanks to the city’s walkability.

Enjoy a long walk through Central Park or the Highline with your pup on the weekend. In case your four-legged friend needs a regular check-up, you can spend $91.29 per visit at the vet’s office.

Taxes in New York

The state sales tax is currently 4 percent, plus any additional tax imposed by the city, county or local district. The total sales tax is 8.875 percent — 4 percent for the state and 4.875 percent for the city — in Manhattan. If you go out to brunch and your bill is $100, your total sales tax will be $8.88.

New York is also a retail destination tax, meaning that if the package’s destination, even when ordered online, is within the state of New York — expect the order taxed accordingly.

At the highest income level of $25,000,001 and up, the state’s income tax is 10.90 percent currently. You have to file a New York state tax return if you’re a resident or conduct business with a company based in New York.


How much do I need to earn to live in New York

The current average rent in April 2021 of a one-bedroom in New York City is $3,684 per month, $2,021 above the national average. But the city saw a rare decrease of 15.2 percent, year-over-year, in one-bedroom average rents.

If you follow the advice of most financial experts, you would need to make more than $100,000 annually to afford an average one-bedroom at its current price. They recommend that you keep your rent payment at 30 percent of your gross income or less.

On average, New York’s median household income is $63,998, according to the 2020 Census. You can calculate your budget with our rent calculator.

Living in New York

While the winter is often challenging to get through, New York makes the other three seasons count with Broadway plays, picnics in Central Park, excellent dining and more. Every single one of those amenities balances out the city’s high costs and makes it worth living in New York.

As Frank Sinatra sang, if you can make it there, you’ll make it practically anywhere. Find great apartments for rent or homes to buy in New York today.

Cost of living information comes from The Council for Community and Economic Research.
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments in April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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