We know that New York City is in the midst of an affordability crisis, and that housing costs are skyrocketing. But housing is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to affordability in cities, with other factors—transportation, food prices, and other goods and services—all factoring in. When all of that is taken together, how does New York City compare to other cities?
A new study by the Citizens Budget Commission, “Rent and Ride: Affordability Is About Both,” sought to answer that question, and found that—surprisingly!—New York City is the eighth most affordable large city in the U.S., when you factor in housing and transportation costs alongside the city’s median income.
The CBC focused on the 20 U.S. cities with the largest economies (including places like Miami, San Francisco, Detroit, and Washington, D.C.), and compared that to the percentage of income residents spend on both housing and transportation. According to its research, the high cost of housing and the relatively low cost of transportation in NYC end up canceling each other out. Those factors, along with the city’s median annual income of $69,211, mean that New York households spend 45.3 percent of their income on housing and transportation, which makes it the eighth most-affordable among the 20 cities surveyed.
The top three most affordable cities with housing and transportation costs combined are Washington D.C., San Jose, and San Francisco, while the least affordable ones are Phoenix, Detroit, and Miami. This may seem surprising, but the report explains that cities with robust public transit systems tend to be more affordable (especially for low-income households), transportation-wise, while cities where a car is necessary tend to be less affordable.
“For many New Yorkers, the city’s high housing costs are offset by its lower transportation costs and higher household incomes,” the report reads. “Still, for low-income New Yorkers, high housing costs, even when combined with relatively affordable transportation costs, often break the bank.”
New York has always been a city of highs and lows when it comes to costs vs. benefits. It can be incredibly expensive for many things, including real estate, but it also features an amazing array of free and affordable venues and events, including the always incredible Central Park, concerts throughout the city’s parks, art museums, and street fairs. The city has been through a critical time in its history, but on balance, New York remains a city that is full of promise, opportunity, and beauty. Our team is always here to help you to find your place in our city; please reach out as we always love to hear from you.