Should you live in NYC or move to the suburbs?

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September 10, 2020
where should you live nyc or the city

With some New Yorkers moving to the suburbs due to the Coronavirus, it’s time to talk about the pros and cons of living in both areas.

You may know New York City as a concrete jungle, full of the big city hustle and bustle. NYC is a major metropolitan area where many post graduates and professionals come to find work and live out their dreams.

The city is a perfect example of a melting pot full of various ethnic enclaves, cultures, and lifestyles. While places like Manhattan are full of the big city lifestyle, there are also a few suburban-like neighborhoods in the other boroughs of NYC. 

Why are people moving to the suburbs?

Since NYC is known as a city where dreams can come true, many flock to the city yearly to work and play. So why are people moving to the suburbs now? Recently, due to COVID-19, many people and families are choosing a lifestyle change. 

Due to the pandemic, many are still continuing to work from home and children are going to school from home. As a result, some families may feel their apartment spaces are too small now that their young children are always underfoot. Some college students were also forced to move back home, which can cause space issues for the family. 

Additionally, many New Yorkers are working remotely so they don’t feel a need to remain in the city since they can work from anywhere. Instead, some families are choosing to move out of the city and into the suburbs where they can have more room for their family.

People moving to the suburbs are those looking to make a lifestyle change. With the uncertainty the pandemic has brought to daily life, many may feel that a suburban lifestyle is better suited to their needs than what the big city can offer right now. Contrastingly, there are also many New Yorkers who continue to enjoy and thrive in the city. At the end of the day, does a city or suburban lifestyle fit you best?

living in the suburbs vs in the city
458 West 146 Street, #4S West Harlem, New York

Living in the city vs the suburbs

So what are the biggest differences between living in the city and living in the suburbs? Let’s explore the benefits of each lifestyle so you can decide what fits you best.

The benefits of living in the city

  • Quick and easy public transportation
  • Plenty of job and career opportunities
  • A foodie’s paradise and easy food deliveries
  • Plenty of shopping and entertainment options
  • A vibrant nightlife filled with music venues, bars, and clubs
  • Can still get the suburban-like lifestyle in certain neighborhoods & boroughs
  • Plenty of top elementary schools for children
  • Live near your favorite celebrities

The benefits of moving to the suburbs

  • Quiet and calm place to live
  • Life moves at a slower pace for those who won’t enjoy the busy city
  • More space to raise a family and have pets
  • Housing can be more affordable, spaces larger, and less crowded than in the city
  • More green spaces and nature readily available to enjoy
Benefits of Living in the Suburbs
227 East 57 Street, #14B East Midtown, New York

Transportation to the city

If you are still working in NYC, but living in the suburbs, how does transportation work? How long will your commute and transportation from the suburbs to Manhattan take? Depending on the type of transportation you choose, your route and commute time may look very different.

While there are a variety of suburban neighborhoods nearby you could choose to move to, the three NY neighborhoods that border NYC are Yonkers, Mt. Vernon, Pelham Manor, and New Rochelle. For all four suburban neighborhoods, the fastest mode of transportation is by car. However, you are still able to take the bus and train to commute to Manhattan if you want to.

The freeways you could take to Manhattan include the NY-9A, I-278 W, and I-87 S. For all four suburbs, it takes around 29 to 36 minutes of commute to Manhattan. Contrastingly, the commute times by train and bus is around twice as long as by car.

Renting in the city vs. the suburbs

NYC is known for its high demand real estate, small apartment spaces, and high price points. So is the suburb any different? 

Renting an apartment or home in NYC can look very different depending on the borough and neighborhood. For instance, Manhattan as a whole can be more expensive to live in compared to Queens. Additionally, neighborhoods like the Tribeca, Soho, and Greenwich Village can be more expensive than Washington Heights even though all are in Manhattan.

The overall average rent in Manhattan is $4,208 with an average apartment size of 703 sqft. Although, there is a big price difference between neighborhoods. The most inexpensive neighborhood in Manhattan is Washington Heights with an average rent of $2,284. The most expensive neighborhood in Manhattan is Tribeca with an average rent of $5,607.

On the other hand, the rental markets in all four suburban neighborhoods have a lower average rent. In Yonkers, the average rent is $2,072 and Pelham Manor’s average is $1,905. The average rent in Mount Vernon is $1,843 and in New Rochelle is $2,243.

While the rental average in these suburban neighborhoods are lower, their average apartment sizes are not that much larger. In fact, the average apartment size in Pelham Manor is 646 sqft, which is smaller than Manhattan’s. 

Additionally, with the variety of neighborhoods to choose from in Manhattan, it is possible to find apartments at the same rental prices as those in the suburbs. So if you are looking to move to a suburban neighborhood solely for the cheaper prices, you may just be disappointed. 

Apartments for rent in Manhattan, NYC:

This no fee apartment in East Harlem is in a full-service building. The apartment features a renovated kitchen with stainless steel appliances, dining area, living room with prewar details, and southern exposure bedroom. The neighborhood has a concentration of world-famous museums and nearby schools are highly rated.

This loft in West Harlem features a private roof terrace and private-keyed elevator. The condo also has six large windows, dramatic oversized skylight, large main room, and wood burning fireplace. The neighborhood has slightly below average crime rates and there are plenty of community gardens nearby.

How to adjust to life in the suburbs
12 East 97 Street, #4A East Harlem, New York

Buying in the city vs the suburbs

While renting can be ideal for certain financial situations, maybe you are interested in buying a home. Let’s compare and contrast the difference between buying a home in the city and buying a home in the suburbs.

Currently, the average home sale price in Manhattan within the last month is $815K at $996 per sqft. This is higher than the average sale price in three of the four suburban neighborhoods. The lowest average home price is in Mount Vernon at $427K. Next is Yonkers at $543K, then is New Rochelle with $771K. Lastly, the most expensive is Pelham Manor with an average sale price of $1.19M. 

While the home prices in Pelham Manor may seem drastically higher than the cost in Manhattan, it can be actually more affordable to live in this suburban neighborhood. This is because while it costs $996/sqft in Manhattan, it only costs $379/sqft in Pelman Manor. That means you would be getting more space for your money in the suburbs than in the city.

Since home prices between the city and suburbs are very different, it can be more affordable to move to the suburbs if you are planning on buying a house rather than renting. 

Apartments for sale in Manhattan, NYC:

This one bedroom co-op in Chelsea features hardwood floors, high ceilings, exposed brick, and open city views. The building is located on a tree-lined block and the neighborhood has slightly below average crime rates. Additionally, Chelsea is a hub for the LGBTQ community.

This south facing co-op in East Midtown, Manhattan was restored by its interior designer to its original prewar splendor. The apartment features original moldings, beamed ceilings, windowed kitchen, and custom chrome framed walk-in shower in the bathroom.

The neighborhood has below average crime rate and nearby schools are very highly rated. Additionally, there is a new bike lane nearby and there is less crowding on nearby 4/5/6 trains.

living in the city vs suburbs
338 West 19 Street, #6C Chelsea, New York

Now that we’ve talked about the differences between living in the city and in the suburbs, where do you see yourself living? If the NYC lifestyle is what you prefer, then Localize has plenty of listings for you to check out.

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