It’s Complicated: New Yorkers Weigh In on the Realities of NYC Real Estate

published Oct 5, 2016
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

Recently, we shared a study that reported the minimum salary you’d need to buy a home in a bunch of cities—New York included. Unsurprisingly, our readers had a lot to say about the subject. Let’s take a closer look at how New Yorkers are reacting to the real estate market in the Big Apple.

The mortgage lender that released the study,, concluded that the salary needed to buy in New York was $86,215, based on the median home price of $395,400. If you’re thinking about Manhattan and Brooklyn, that obviously sounds preposterously low—because it is. HSH used metro data, which means New York City stats are lumped in with areas outside the five boroughs like Westchester, Long Island, and even parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Though, as some commenters pointed out, that price can be had in other boroughs:

So, let’s break it down by borough to see what the real median prices are.

(Image credit: Google Maps / Trulia)


Obviously, Manhattan real estate is expensive. The median price according to Trulia is $1,215,904, with a price per square foot of $1,453. Of course, the median price varies by neighborhood and even by block, with the most expensive being a $14.5 million park adjacent one on the UES.

(Image credit: Google Maps / Trulia)


Across the East River, the median is $755,500 and $697 per square foot. There are some pricey blocks north of $1.5 million in Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Ditmas Park, and Bay Ridge.

(Image credit: Google Maps / Trulia)


The median in Queens is $570,000 with a price per square foot of $437. A handful of blocks in Astoria and Forest Hills tip the scale at over $1.5 million.

(Image credit: Google Maps / Trulia)


In the Bronx, we finally crack the median for New York Metro at $380,000 and $260 per square foot. But the borough isn’t immune to $1.5 million blocks—Riverdale isn’t cheap.

(Image credit: Google Maps / Trulia)

Staten Island

The median price as of May 2016 was $390K, or about $284 per square foot.

(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Of course, these numbers are just part of the picture, especially when it comes to co-ops, down payments, maintenance fees, etc.

Let’s head back to the commenters:

RealtyTrac, which monitors housing trends, reported earlier this year that a buyer would need to spend between 95 and 120 percent of the average American wage on mortgage payments to buy in certain cities, like New York and San Francisco. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average wages for Manhattan residents are 2.7 times the national average which, for those keeping score at home, is still not enough to keep housing costs under one third of your take-home income.

Sound bleak? Have a different experience? Tell us in the comments.