Can You Afford to Live in NYC?

Dec 23, 2009

As a general rule, your rent should not be more than 30% of your yearly income. This interactive map by Envisioning Development shows you the economic makeup and how much rent would be in different neighborhoods.

The map is part of a larger program to provide clearer information in the push for more affordable housing in New York City by answering the question "Affordable to whom?" While it demonstrates income disparities throughout the city and housing costs for a family of four, it is also a great tool to gauge how much it would cost for you to live in certain communities.

How to use:

1. Click on the area you are interested in living in. The bottom bar will show how many people from each income bracket live in that area and the median income of that community.

2. Click on "Who Can Afford to Live Here?" The bottom bar will show average rent for different sized apartments. Slide the arrow along the bar to see how much your rent should be for your income in that community. It will also show you how many families CANNOT afford that amount of rent in that community (useful to see if you fall into that category).

What to take into consideration:

Be mindful that the categories used (extremely poor, poor, high income, etc) are done for a family of four. As a result, the categories may not apply but the cost of rent does at it is based on income.

I make $37,500/year and recently moved to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. My rent is $780/month or around 25% of my salary which makes it affordable. I recommend including utilities as part of housing costs since you have to pay those every month as well (heat, hot water, gas, electricity). All together my utilities are about $100/month which means I'm paying 28% of my salary to housing.

Additionally, all other mandatory payments should be factored into your salary when looking for an apartment. For example, if you know you have to pay your student loan every month, multiply that amount by 12 and subtract from your yearly income. What's left after subtracting all mandatory payments is the amount you can play around with for rent.

I will be back!

Dec 20, 2009

It's been over a year since I last posted. My apologies. I will be starting this blog up in January, to ring in the new year!

I started this blog to discuss what young people need to know to make it in NYC. I would love to know what you would like to see from this blog. What topics or issues should I discuss? What questions should I answer? Your input is appreciated.

Happy Holidays and I'll see you in the New Year!