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Finding an apartment in New York City can be a difficult and expensive challenge, whether you are moving out on your own for the first time or you're looking to buy a home of your own. Here are some key facts for NYC renters to keep in mind as they navigate finding a new home.
Quick facts on renting and homes in NYC
|What percentage of homes are rented (not owned) in NYC?||67.2%|
|What is the median monthly cost of rent in NYC?||$1,489|
|What is the median monthly cost of owning a home in NYC?||$2,791|
|What is the median home size in NYC?||2 bedrooms|
|What is the median home value in NYC?||$635,200|
New York City includes the five boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island, but no other parts of Long Island or New Jersey.
Do more people rent or own in NYC?
Renting is vastly more popular than owning in New York.
Of the 3,191,691 occupied housing units in New York City, a little over two-thirds are rented, while less than one-third are owned by the people who live in them.
This is a stark contrast with the U.S. as a whole, where 64.4% of homes are occupied by their owners.
Rented homes in New York City tend to have slightly fewer people living in them than owner-occupied homes. The average rental unit has 2.45 occupants, while an average owner-occupied unit has 2.82.
Costs of renting vs. owning
Owners pay more for housing, but renters put more of their income towards their homes.
In New York City, homeowners tend to spend substantially more per month on their total costs of housing than renters do. The median monthly cost of homeownership (with a mortgage) in New York is $2,791 per month. And 43% of homeowners spend more than $3,000 per month on housing.
Meanwhile, the typical rent in NYC is only $1,489 per month, and 24% of New York renters spend less than $1,000 per month.
However, the discrepancy in housing expenses evens out considerably when looking at how much of their income New Yorkers spend on housing. In fact, renters tend to spend a slightly higher proportion of their overall income on their homes. While both owners and renters in NYC commonly spent more than 35% of their income on housing, renters did so more frequently (43% of the time versus 35%).
Conversely, renters are less likely to spend under 20% of their household income on housing than homeowners are: Only 26% of renters meet that threshold, while 35% of homeowners do.
Note that in all cases above, "homeowners" only describes homes with an active mortgage.
Home size in NYC by bedroom
Home sizes in New York City vary considerably, but they tend to be on the smaller side compared to the national average. Out of the 3.45 million homes in the city, 69.9% have two bedrooms or fewer. And 8.4% of New York City's homes are studios (one-room apartments), which are nearly four times more common in New York City than throughout the U.S. as a whole.
Homes by number of bedrooms in New York City
Building size in NYC
While individual homes in New York may be smaller than homes throughout the country, the buildings themselves are anything but. Most New Yorkers live in large buildings: Nearly half of all homes are contained in buildings of 20 units or more.
In fact, New York City accounts for about 13% of all apartment buildings that have 20 or more units in the entire country. In the rest of the U.S., 61.7% of all homes are detached single-family structures. An average New Yorker is about three times more likely to live in a multifamily building than a typical American.
Number of units in NYC buildings and homes
Number of units
Number of buildings
Percentage of NYC homes
|1 unit, detached||323,023||9.2%|
|1 unit, attached||250,457||7.1%|
|3 or 4 units||328,432||9.3%|
|5 to 9 units||229,402||6.5%|
|10 to 19 units||225,891||6.4%|
|20 or more units||1,703,491||48.4%|
Value of NYC homes
New York City is famously home to some of the most expensive real estate in the country, but there's a surprising range of home values in the city. Out of the 1,048,262 owner-occupied homes in the city, about 45,000 are valued at less than $100,000. More homes are worth less than $500,000 (369,302) than homes worth more than $1 million (227,495).
That doesn't mean housing in NYC isn't expensive, though; the median home price of $635,200 is nearly triple the national median price of $229,800.
The data in this report is based on the U.S. Census' Annual Community Survey (ACS) five-year estimates for 2016–2020.
In all cases, the study is limited to the five boroughs of New York City: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island.