New York, New York. It is probably the most vibrant and diverse city in the world. It is described as the city that never sleeps. It houses the world’s largest financial centre and has the dubious honor of being the world’s most expensive city to live in.
If you are considering moving to New York, the various costs listed below will help you make an informed decision on what costs are involved when moving and living in the Big Apple.
Quick New York City Facts:
- Population: 8,550.405 (2016 estimate) and 20.2 million in the greater New York metropolitan area.
- Official Language: English (de facto)with 800 languages being spoken in New York City
- GDP Per Capita: $63,925 USD
- Hot dogs: It costs almost $300,000 to operate a hot dog stand around Central Park
- Currency: US Dollar (US$). As of early 2017, £1 = $1.25, €1 = $1.08, $1 CAD = $0.75, $1 AUD = $0.77
1. Moving and Shipping Costs to New York City
- Los Angeles – $695+
- Canada (Vancouver) – $1,505+
- UK (London) – $1,155+
- Australia (Sydney) – $2,735+
- Ireland (Dublin) – $1,293+
- New Zealand (Auckland) – $3,207+
- Hong Kong – $1,598+
- Dubai – $2,493+
- Singapore – $2,563+
2. New York City Housing Costs
There’s 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 it’s 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 (10.7 square feet) to buy in City Centre: $8,488.05
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) 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% cheaper
Los Angeles is 33.04% cheaper
Toronto is 60.22% cheaper
Sydney is 33.83% cheaper
Paris is 57.01% cheaper
Dubai is 26.99% cheaper
How to Save on Housing Costs
- Share an apartment or house. Unless you are well off, the chances are you will be sharing an apartment with at least one other person. A cheaper option is to share a room. Have a look at the following sites to find your perfect room mate: Spareroom, NY Habitat, New York Apartment, Brick Underground and Metro Roommates. You can also read this guide to How to Find a Roommate from StreetEasy.
- Different areas – different prices. New York City is made up of five boroughs – Manhattan, The Bronx, Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn. The cost of living in each borough and within each borough varies enormously. Manhattan is obviously the most expensive borough and The Bronx has the cheapest housing. It’s important to research each area carefully before you commit yourself.
3. New York Food, Grocery and Restaurant Costs
New York is heaven for everyone who enjoys their food. Restaurants range from fine dining establishments to award winning street food. The range of foods in the shop is extensive, in fact, you will be able to find ingredients for every food on the planet somewhere in New York.
- Inexpensive Restaurant: $12 – $25
- Takeout Coffee: $3.00 – $5.00
- Bottle of Coke: $1.25 – $3
- 1L (1/4 Gallon) of milk: $0.79 – $1.52
- Loaf of Bread: $2.20 – $5.50
- 12 Eggs: $2.40 – $4.89
- 1kg Chicken: $6.59 – $17.64
- 1kg Beef: $6.61 – $24.25
- 1kg Apples: $2.43 – $8.82
- 1kg White Rice: $3.31 – $8.80
This is how restaurants and food prices compare with other major cities in the world.
- London restaurants are 10.27% cheaper and groceries are 40.57% cheaper than New York.
- Los Angeles restaurants are 18.31% cheaper and groceries are 24.51% cheaper than New York.
- Toronto restaurants are 33.97% cheaper and groceries are 36.88% cheaper than New York.
- Sydney restaurants are 25.23% cheaper and groceries are 19.36% cheaper than New York.
- Paris restaurants are 17.97% cheaper and groceries are 23.30% cheaper than New York.
- Dubai restaurants are 35.75% cheaper and groceries are 42.11% cheaper than New York.
Bonus Tips for Cheaper Food, Restaurants and Groceries
- Know your supermarkets: New York has an exceptionally large number of independently owned grocery stores as well as the usual supermarket chains. New Yorkers tend to shop that the local store on their way home from work rather than carry a week’s shopping on the subway. Popular supermarkets are Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Union Market (great for instant home catering), Best Yet Market and Fairway Market (good selection of food at reasonable prices). For those of you with an unlimited budget, try Dean & Delucca and Citarella Gourmet Market
- Find Cheap Eats: There are plenty of places to find cheap eats in New York. Looking for queues outside restaurants or at street vendors is often a good sign. Or find them at Refinery29, Trip Adviser, Buzz Feed, Huffington Post and Grub Street.
4. New York Alcohol Costs
New York has more bars than any other city in the world. Bars are part of New York’s psyche, where people go to party, enjoy a drink with friends or have a quiet drink on their own – all are acceptable.
- Pint (0.5L) domestic beer at a restaurant/pub: $5.00 – $7.00
- Bottle of imported beer at a restaurant/pub: $6.00 – $9.00
- Pint (0.5L) 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.
5. New York Transportation Fares
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
- One day ticket – $5.50
- Monthly season ticket, unlimited – $116.50
How to save money on public transport
- Buy a Metrocard and get 11% extra on every $5.50 spent
- Buy an Unlimited Metrocard – $31 for 7 days travel
- Buy a bike. Depending on where you live and work, cycling around the city may be an option.
- If you live relatively close to where you work, try walking.
6. Cost of Internet in New York
Internet prices in the States are expensive compared with many other countries in the world. Here are some sample broadband internet prices from early 2017 for unlimited downloads, based on a 12-month contract:
7. Cost of Clothing, Personal Items, Gym and Leisure
New York has four very distinct seasons. January is its coldest month with an average temperature of 36°F (2°C) and possibilities of snow. July is the hottest month where the average temperature if 77°F (25°C) and where it remains hot overnight.
The wettest month is May where there is around 4.5 inches (114mm) of rain.
Here are some clothing prices, together with other useful prices.
- Pair of Jeans: $35 – $80
- Summer Dress: $25 – $65
- Running Shoes (Trainers): $60 – $100
- Business Shoes: $75 – $200
- Short Doctor’s visit (15 mins): $184
- Deodorant: $3.83
- Shampoo: $5.56
- Toilet Paper (4 rolls): $3.68
- Gym membership: $25-$130 per month
- Movie (cinema) ticket: $13-$16
8. 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 you’re moving to New York from within the US, you’ll 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 driver’s 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 (¼ gallon) of gas (petrol): $0.67
- Other fees (if any): 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.
9. Taxes in New York
Sales Tax in New York is 8.875% and is added to most goods and services. Generally, the price you see on an item does not include sales tax.
If you own your home, you will be subject to property tax based on the area in which you live and the size of the property you live in. Learn more about property tax in New York at NYC.gov.
Finally, if you decide to buy an apartment or house in New York you’ll have to pay real estate transfer tax.
10. Flight Costs from New York
If you do make the move to New York, here’s approximately how much it will cost to fly to other major world cities based on lowest, one-way fares from Skyscanner as of early 2017:
- London: $155
- Los Angeles: $136
- Toronto: $80
- Vancouver: $174
- Dubai: $371
- Sydney: $485
- Melbourne: $468
- Cape Town: $488
- Hong Kong: $357
Other New York Relocation Tips
The costs and pricing above should give you a good idea of the cost of living in New York but perhaps the following extra tips will make your move go smoothly.
11. Moving to New York Alone
Moving anywhere can be a lonely experience, but moving to a new city, especially one a large as New York, can be rather daunting. Here are a few tips about settling in New York.
- Meetups: New York has many Meetup groups covering a wide range of activities from quiz nights to flower arranging.
- Attend local events: There is always something going on in New York and many of the activities are free. Have a look at these sites to get inspiration on what to do during your free time – Trip Adviser, Time Out and Travel US.
12. Relocating to New York with a Family
New York has a lot to attract families. There are museums, art galleries, shows, plays, ice skating, swimming, sailing and, of course, Central Park.
- New parents (or parents to be):Check out New York Family for advice, courses and ways to meet other parents or parents to be.
- Live in a family friendly area: Forest Hills (Queens), Brooklyn Heights (Brooklyn), parts of Staten Island and Riverdale (Bronx) are popular with families as the kids have more green space to play in. If you afford it, living in the Upper East and West Sides are perfect for families as they are right on Central Park.
- Find things to do with the kids:There is so much for children in New York. Have a look at Time Out, My Little Nomads, Mommy Poppins and NYC Go
13. Moving to New York for Work
Moving to New York for work is one of the most common reasons people choose to move. While it is possible to move without a job, it makes sense to ensure there are jobs in your field before you make the move.
New York is the home of Wall Street and many financial institutions. There are jobs available but the competition is tough. The hospitality and service industries also employ a large number of people in New York. Many people say that there is so much going on in New York, you will always find a job.
Here are a few things to consider when moving for work:
- Salary: Salaries in New York are high. The costs we outlined above should give you a rough idea, how much more you’ll want to be making to make the move worthwhile. You can also check salary ranges on sites such as Glassdoor and Payscale.
- How to find work: If you want to have a job lined up before you move to New York, but aren’t sure where to begin, the following sites are good places to start: Monster, Indeed, Snag a Job, Craigs List and Career Builder. You may also want to google recruiters in your industry, as they can often help land you some initial interviews as well.
14. Moving to New York from Australia
There are around 20,000 Australians living in New York. If you are thinking of moving from Australia to New York, here are a few things to consider.
- Size comparison: If you compare the population size of New York City with a city in Australia, then the closest would be Sydney, although Sydney’s population is over 3 million less than New York.
- Join expat groups: MeetUp, InterNations and AU Community offer ways of meeting up with other Australians in New York.
15. Moving to New York from Canada
There are over 21,000 Canadians living and working in New York. If you’re considering making the move from Canada here are a few things to consider.
- Size: Toronto is Canada’s largest city with a population of almost 5 million, that is almost 4 million people short of the population of New York.
- Expat groups: Meeting up with fellow Canadians helps the moving process. Link up through sites such as InterNations, Meet Up and Canadian Association.
16. Moving to New York from the United Kingdom
New York attracts a lot of people from the UK. In fact, there are over 120,000 living in the city, so if you’re considering joining them, here are a few bonus tips:
- Size: If you look at the population size of London and New York, there is only a couple of hundred thousand difference with New York being the bigger city.
- Expat groups: If you want to get together with others from the UK who are experiencing the Big Apple, then go to InterNations, Big Apple Brits and MeetUp.
Hopefully, the tips and costs above are helpful. If want to get started pricing out how much it will cost you to move to New York you can start by comparing moving quotes here.
Guides to moving and living in other American cities