Average Cost of Living in New York

Living costs in New York, New York, and other popular cities in the state are some of the highest in the nation. With a booming real estate market, high transportation costs, and a tourist-focused economy driving up food and shopping costs, the average cost of living in New York is extremely expensive. 

Here’s what you need to know about the affordability – or lack thereof – of the cost of living in New York.

Real Estate Market in New York

Real Estate Market in New York

After several years of stagnation due to inflation, the New York real estate market seems to be on a massive upward trend. Interest in buying and renting a property in the state has gone up dramatically, and the average cost to sell a house in New York has gone down. If you’re looking for the best time of year to sell a house, now is the time.

Unfortunately, if you’re looking to move into the Big Apple, you’re probably going to be paying quite a bit. According to one report from CNBC, the average house sale price in Manhattan in mid-2020 was up 12% from the previous year, topping out at $1.9 million. The most expensive home sales were even higher for a new home.

Other boroughs, such as Brooklyn or Queens, and cities weren’t experiencing such severe jumps, but they have still been growing steadily in price. Still, some research suggests that overall, the average house price in New York is more affordable now than it’s been in recent years, so if you’re looking for someone to buy your house in Brooklyn, chances are high.

Cost of Living in New York

The average cost of living in New York is going to vary depending on where in the state you choose to live. Big cities will, of course, be more expensive than smaller towns, and, of course, New York City is the most expensive place to live.

What’s the cost of living in New York? Let’s break it down into bills and utility costs, transportation costs, housing costs, food and shopping costs, and health and medical costs.

Bills and Utility Costs

The cost of utilities tends to be a relatively small portion of expenses, though the actual price is still pretty high. The average cost for water, electricity, gas, cable, and internet – a standard array of utilities – is nearly $500 per month, grossing at the fifth-highest utility rate in the nation.

Transportation Costs

Transportation costs in New York depend largely on whether or not you choose to own a personal vehicle or use public transport.

The fees for a personal vehicle in New York are about $50-100 a year. Gas costs another $1,200 per year, and the average cost of maintenance is around $760. One calculation puts the cost of owning and using a car in New York for five years at about $17,600.

Of course, you could also choose to use public transportation. The state has a fairly comprehensive system of subways, trains, and busses that get more detailed in larger cities, with standard fees in Manhattan and similar metro areas around $2-6 per trip, or a monthly cost of $116 for a metro card. Still, this is 75% higher than most of the rest of the country. 

Housing Prices in New York

Paying rent in New York City takes up the majority of the average person’s monthly expenses, according to some calculations. RedFin states that the average price for a house in New York in the last year was $782,000, with the average time on the market around 100 days. As mentioned, these home prices have gone up significantly, only slowed by the pandemic.

Another calculation puts the cost of living in New York City down to its high appreciation rates and income tax for homeowners. They say that the value of a property in the city goes up about 4.52% annually, and that rate can be higher if you’re closer to the city center. This can help account for NYC being one of the most expensive cities in America to live in.

The cost of renting in New York is also extremely high, the monthly rent averaging at its highest around $3,700 for a one-bedroom apartment in New York City (around $600 per square foot), and at its lowest around $1,700 in Staten Island. The average rent price of a two-bedroom apartment nearly doubles this cost.

Food and Shopping Costs

Food and shopping costs tend to be a large portion of monthly expenses when talking about the cost of living in New York, especially if you’re living in a larger city. The tourist-catering economy tends to mean that high-cost goods are more common than they would be in residential economies.

For instance, one sample grocery store bill for a single person in New York calculated it to be roughly $90 with standard purchases such as milk, bread, cheese, fruits, veggies, meats, and even toilet paper. If you consider these food costs as standard for weekly shopping, then the average monthly grocery bill for a single person would be roughly $355 in New York City. 

This cost of living calculator doesn’t even take New Yorkers dining out or ordering from food delivery services into account, both of which are more costly in the state’s major cities. It suffices to say, your food bills will be much higher with this lifestyle.

Shopping is also more expensive. New York is a fashion hub, meaning that you’re more likely to find designer and specialty brands and storefronts across the state, the prices of which are higher than for regular clothing and accessories. Though there are economical options available, they are still generally sold at a higher retail price than in other states.

Woman Computing Health and Medical Costs

Health and Medical Costs

If you have a continuous-care medical condition, then living in New York might be more costly for you. Recent data shows that the average cost of healthcare in the state has gone up significantly compared to the national average, with New York having some of the highest health insurance premiums in the country, at around $22,874 a year for family coverage.

There are low-cost options available through the New York state healthcare program, which caters to those with little or no income. The state sponsors Medicaid, Child Health Plus, an Essential Plan, and a Qualified Health Plan. 

Average Cost of  Living in New York

Looking at the bigger picture, it’s easier to see that the cost of living in New York is high. Almost anywhere you move in New York, you’re going to be paying significantly more than the national average for…well, everything. To answer the question, “Is New York an expensive place to live” simply, yes. You’re not going to be getting by on a part-time job anytime soon.

Nearly every major city in New York has a cost of living index that is significantly higher than the average in the United States, with some cities like New York City, Brooklyn, and the Bronx standing at an index as high as 180%. 

The only exceptions to this are Buffalo, which stands at 98% of the national average cost of living index, Niagara Falls, also at 98%, and Jamestown, which is at 89%. This is still a high cost of living.

If this is enough to consider companies that buy houses in New York so you can find more affordable areas to live, consider cash home buyers in Nassau County, and surrounding areas. This is a quick and easy way to sell your home without involving the high real estate costs that come with a home sale in New York. 


The cost of living in New York is expensive. While the real estate market in New York is booming for those who want to sell, it can be more difficult if you’re looking to buy homes in New York. Coupling that with the cost of bills, utilities, food, transportation, and healthcare means that the average living costs are going to start piling up.

So, is New York an expensive place to live? Yes. Is it worth it? Also, yes, depending on who you are. New York is full of opportunities, not just in the real estate market, but in all sectors of business. 

It’s a great place to work on a startup or dive into the business world, and there’s no better place for someone in the fashion industry to set up a base. However, if you’ve experienced the lifestyle and are ready for a shift, consider selling your home in New York while the market is hot.

The Average Cost Of Living In New York