Our Rent in New York City: How Does It Compare to Other Cities?


My alter-ego recently tweeted this while browsing apartment rental listings around New York:

Listed as one of four amenities in apartment listing: Light. #hoorayithaswindows #oramassiveholeinroof

For real. I think that the other amenities listed were

  • Hardwood floors – which we like.
  • Subway – which shouldn’t count as an amenity unless I can step out the front door directly onto a train.
  • A fourth one which I can’t recall. Toilet? Oxygen?

I’m vowing to myself that this will not be a “We chose to live in New York City and have it so tough boo hoo” post. The living situation here is just comical in the obscene prices that you pay for simple conveniences, and I like to talk about comical.

For a couple of years, we lived in 1-bedroom setups on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, usually with no dishwasher and definitely with no laundry in the apartment or the entire building. As one would expect, everything is a tradeoff when it comes to rent. One apartment had great natural light, but was on the fifth floor, no elevator. Another place was a (relatively) cheap ground floor unit, but it was miniscule.

We’ve always wondered what we could get in other cities for what we’ve paid around here, so I did a little research. Of course, this is subjective depending on what part of town you look in, etc., but it’s fun to see how different cities compare in general.



Our old hometown – a vibrant community centered around the University of Florida.

What we’d get for our money:

  • 3 bedrooms, 2 bath, 1678 square feet, newer home in a community with swimming pool, tennis courts

We would feel like we were returning as royalty moving into such a place.



I would totally start writing letters again just to put ‘90210’ in the return address.

  • 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 800 square feet, covered parking spot, window A/C unit, lots of natural light

As expected, it’s not cheap, but you get more space, a guaranteed parking spot, and a newer-looking place. Plus, the weather’s nice. However, you lose the walkability of NYC, which saves much-needed coin.



The “hot city to move to” thanks to a thriving arts and music scene and an abundance of tech startup companies. Sounds like a cool place to live.

  • 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 1000 square feet, hardwood floors, beautiful colonial style, walkable area

It’s still a little pricey, but it seems like a good mix of comfort and space in an interesting area.



My friend is from Montana. I had an RA in college who was named Montana. That’s about all I know about the place, though it looks like a beautiful state.

  • 5 bedrooms, 2 bath, maybe more square feet than they could count because it’s not listed, 2-car garage, fireplace, fenced yard

Big state, big mountains, big houses.



A medium-sized city that’s big enough to warrant a good airport and professional sports teams, but still has an emerging cultural scene (from what my friends there tell me).

  • 3 bedrooms, 2 bath, 1000 square feet, fireplace, jacuzzi in master bath

Jacuzzi in the master bath sounds really nice; if our washer broke down, we could go back to our Wonderwashin’ days and use it to clean clothes!



If we get a sudden hankering for a lot more snow than we’ve ever experienced in our lives, then Anchorage might be the place for us.

  • 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 1225 square feet, nice views of green areas, fireplace, vaulted ceilings, snow removal is included in rent

The green views would be gorgeous (for 4 months out of the year).



I favor the Boston pro sports teams, with the Celtics (NBA) being my lifelong favorite team. Regular access to Celtics games would make me a very happy (and likely poorer) man.

  • 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, hardwood floors, lots of sunlight, dishwasher, laundry

We would thrive in a setup like this in a big city.

* * *

I really wanted to find a small town in the middle of nowhere that had this amazing deal like ‘rent the whole town for a month for your NYC rent’, but I couldn’t nail anything down. I guess it makes sense that Ethel, MS (pop: 461) wouldn’t have many rentals listed online.

The interesting thing is that while we feel like we’re paying a lot, I didn’t find as many expansive 4- and 5-bedroom deals as I thought I would. These are still 2- and 3-bedroom places, albeit MUCH nicer than what we’re getting.

Do you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth for your rent/mortgage?

photos: Billings – Ron Reiring, Austin – Wikidiculous, Beverly Hills – Morn the Gorn, Anchorage – Frank K., Indianapolis – Daniel Schwen, Boston – Dolphin Jedi, Gainesville – Douglas Green

2 notes on “Our Rent in New York City: How Does It Compare to Other Cities?

  1. Daniel

    Yes, but are those other apartments “sun drenched”, with a “chef’s kitchen” on a “tree lined street”? Because those are big points for me.


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