HomeRenters InsuranceThe New York City Economic Tracker: February 26, 2024

The New York City Economic Tracker: February 26, 2024

The New York City Economy Tracker is a joint project between Investopedia and NY1, using publicly available data to evaluate the economic health of the city across a variety of metrics.

For the week of February 26, 2024, we’re looking at how New York City is one of the most expensive cities for renters, and how much New Yorkers spend on housing costs each month.

Housing Is the Biggest Expense for Most New Yorkers

If you’re tallying up expenses for New Yorkers, housing takes the top spot on the list. Housing was the largest expense for households in New York throughout 2021 and 2022, accounting for 37.6% of average annual expenses, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey. This was significantly higher than the 33.5% average share for all U.S. households.

Rent is one of the biggest housing expenses and New Yorkers are paying a premium for it. Since renters make up over 67% of New York City’s housing units, the cost of rent has a significant impact on most residents in the city. Median monthly rents paid in 2023 ranged from $1,280 in the Bronx to $2,148 in Manhattan, according to data from the NYC Housing and Vacancy Survey.

However, these average rent figures are influenced by the mix of housing unit types that make up NYC’s rental market. In 2023, about 50% of the city’s almost 2.4 million rental housing units were either rent stabilized, rent controlled, or public housing. Almost all of the other half is made up of market rental units that are prone to bigger and more frequent changes in price, and easier to obtain leases for on an ad-hoc basis.

Most of the units found on popular rental platforms like StreetEasy, Zillow, and Douglas Elliman are market rentals and median monthly rent data from those platforms show that in 2023 rents ranged from $2,166 in Staten Island to $4,145 in Manhattan. These extremely high market rents are a major driver of the fact that almost 49% of renter households in NYC are cost-burdened, where housing costs constitute more than 30% of household income.

NYC Is One of the Most Expensive Cities for Renters

Compared to other big cities in the U.S., New York City is one of the most expensive cities for renters. According to data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, average monthly costs for renters in NYC were $1,688 in 2022. The only major city with higher monthly housing costs than NYC is Los Angeles, where renters pay an average $1,788 for housing. Renters in Phoenix, Chicago, and Houston pay between 12% to 26% less than New Yorkers do for housing costs.

Rent is not the only housing expense for New Yorkers, and while other costs aren’t nearly as much, the cost of utilities can significantly add to the bottom line each month. Data from the Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey shows that the average monthly amount paid by NYC for renters insurance is $21, $60 for electricity, $25 for trash collection, $25 for gas, and $83 to heat your home with fuel oil. The average water bill for New Yorkers is an additional $53 a month. While renters don’t typically pay for every utility expense for their housing, the average amount paid for all utilities by renters in NYC comes out to an additional $86 a month. 

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