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New York City, often referred to as “The City That Never Sleeps,” is a place of endless possibilities. With its towering skyscrapers, vibrant neighborhoods, and a cultural scene that rivals any other city in the world, it’s no wonder that millions of people dream of calling NYC their home. However, life in this iconic metropolis comes with its own set of challenges. So whether you’re searching for a trendy loft in Brooklyn or a cozy apartment in Manhattan, you’ve come to the right place.

In this ApartmentGuide article, we’ll explore the various pros and cons of living in New York City, helping you decide if the Big Apple is the right place for you.

Fast facts about living in NYC

  • Population: Over 8.3 million residents
  • Average rent: $5,098 per month for a one-bedroom apartment
  • Median home sale price: $815,000
  • Subway stations: 472, providing extensive public transit options
  • Public parks: More than 1,700 green spaces for recreation and relaxation
  • Languages spoken: Over 800, reflecting the city’s rich cultural diversity
  • Annual tourists: Approximately 65 million visitors each year
  • Restaurants: Over 27,000, offering a wide variety of cuisines from around the world

1. Pro: NYC is a cultural and entertainment hub

New York City is a cultural mecca, offering unparalleled access to world-class theaters, museums, and music venues. Broadway shows, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the New York Philharmonic are just a few examples of the endless entertainment options. The city also hosts numerous cultural festivals and street fairs, celebrating everything from film and literature to food and dance. Additionally, iconic landmarks like Times Square, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty add to the rich tapestry of experiences available.

2. Con: The housing in NYC is extremely expensive

The real estate market in NYC is notoriously expensive, with housing costs being 408% more expensive than the national average. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in New York, NY is $5,098 per month. The median sale price for a home in NYC is around $815k, reflecting the high cost of ownership. While outer boroughs like Brooklyn and Queens can offer slightly more affordable options, the prices are still high compared to the national average. Renters may need to consider shared living arrangements or smaller apartments to manage costs.

3. Pro: There are lots of job opportunities

New York City is an economic powerhouse with opportunities in a wide range of industries, including finance, technology, media, and fashion. Major companies such as Goldman Sachs, Google, and NBCUniversal have a significant presence here. The diverse job market means there’s potential for career growth in nearly any field.

5 of NYC’s top employers

  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Verizon Communications Inc.
  • Citigroup Inc.
  • Pfizer Inc.
  • Mount Sinai Health System

4. Con: High cost of living

The cost of living in New York City is 128% higher than the national average, making it one of the most expensive cities in the United States. This encompasses various daily expenses beyond housing. Transportation costs are substantial, with monthly subway passes priced at around $132, and the occasional need for taxis or rideshares adding to the expense. Groceries and dining out are also more costly compared to other parts of the country, with basic items and meals often carrying a premium price tag. 

Additionally, utility bills are 5% more expensive, groceries are 15% more expensive, and healthcare is 25% more expensive than the national average. While higher salaries in New York City can help offset these expenses, many residents still find it challenging to manage their finances, save money, or afford discretionary spending.

5. Pro: Public transportation

With a transit score of 89, one of the benefits of living in NYC is its extensive public transportation system. The subway and bus networks make it possible to get around without a car, which can save money on vehicle expenses. The MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) operates 24/7, covering all five boroughs, with 472 subway stations and over 300 bus routes. Monthly unlimited MetroCards provide cost-effective travel options for residents. 

Additionally, the city’s walkability and availability of bike-sharing programs like Citi Bike, which offers thousands of bikes across hundreds of stations, make commuting convenient for renters who might not own a vehicle.

6. Con: Crowded and noisy

New York City is known for its hustle and bustle. The constant activity can be intense, with crowded streets, busy public transportation, and noise that rarely stops. Finding peace and quiet can be challenging, especially in lively neighborhoods. The high population density means personal space can be limited, and the sounds of construction and traffic are common. For those who prefer a quieter environment, adjusting to the city’s vibrant energy might take some time.

7. Pro: Diverse neighborhoods

NYC is a melting pot of cultures, with each NYC neighborhood offering unique character and charm. From the historic streets of Harlem to the trendy vibes of Williamsburg, there’s a place for everyone. Explore the vibrant art scene in Chelsea, enjoy the bustling markets in Chinatown, or relax in the quaint cafes of the West Village. This diversity also means a variety of cuisines, festivals, and cultural experiences are available year-round, ensuring there’s always something new to discover.

8. Con: Weather extremes

New York experiences all four seasons, which means hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. While some enjoy the variety, others may find the weather extremes challenging to handle. Snowstorms can disrupt daily life, affecting transportation and causing school and work closures. Summer heat waves can be uncomfortable, leading to increased energy costs for cooling. The transition seasons, spring and fall, can also be unpredictable, with sudden changes in temperature and weather conditions.

9. Pro: Access to education and healthcare

The city boasts some of the best educational institutions in the world, including Columbia University and NYU. Additionally, New York has top-notch healthcare facilities, such as NewYork-Presbyterian and Mount Sinai. This access to quality education and healthcare is a significant advantage for residents. The abundance of specialized programs and advanced research centers attracts students and professionals from all over the globe. 

10. Con: High taxes

New York State has some of the highest taxes in the country, including income, property, and sales taxes. The combined state and city income tax can reach up to 12.7% for high earners, and the property taxes can also be quite burdensome. Additionally, the cost of living in New York City is significantly higher than the national average, which can exacerbate the financial strain caused by these high taxes. Residents often find themselves paying more for everyday expenses, such as groceries, utilities, and transportation. For businesses, the high corporate taxes and regulatory costs can be challenging, impacting overall profitability and growth.

11. Pro: Green spaces

Despite its urban nature, NYC offers numerous green spaces where residents can escape the concrete jungle. Central Park, Prospect Park, and the High Line are popular spots for relaxation and recreation. These parks provide a much-needed respite from the city’s fast pace.

Popular NYC parks:

  • Bryant Park
  • Washington Square Park
  • Riverside Park
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park
  • Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

12. Con: Competitive lifestyle

The competitive nature of NYC can be a double-edged sword. While it drives innovation and excellence, it can also lead to high-stress levels. The fast-paced lifestyle and constant pressure to succeed can be exhausting for some individuals. This environment often demands long working hours and a relentless pursuit of career advancement. Balancing work and personal life can be challenging, and the high cost of living adds to the pressure to excel.

13. Pro: Iconic landmarks

Living in New York City means having iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and the Empire State Building at your doorstep. These sites are not only great for sightseeing but also contribute to the city’s unique character and charm.

Iconic landmarks in New York City:

  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • One World Trade Center
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Central Park
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art

14. Pro: Rich cultural diversity

Known for its cultural mosaic of vibrant diversity, New York City is home to people from around the world, speaking hundreds of different languages. In neighborhoods like Little Italy, Chinatown, and Harlem, residents can experience a wide array of cuisines and traditions from different cultures. This blend of backgrounds creates a unique environment where diverse perspectives and traditions thrive. Cultural institutions, festivals, and parades throughout the city highlight this diversity, from the Lunar New Year celebrations in Chinatown to the Puerto Rican Day Parade and the annual Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy.

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United Wholesale Mortgage has rolled out a series of products, most recently announcing one that aims to incentivize borrowers with Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs-backed loans to refinance.

The product, dubbed Govy125, is a 125 basis point incentive on any note rate for VA IRRRLS and non-credit qualifying FHA streamlines. The wholesale lender giant says the “incentive aims to help UWM partners create more refinances with their past VA and FHA borrowers, as well as attract new clients.”

“Govy125 pricing will help more borrowers secure a lower rate and save money on their monthly payments at a time when they may not have thought possible,” it noted in a press release.

In order to qualify, broker partners must use UWM’s Title Review and Closing plus, or TRAC+, which lets the wholesale lender handle title reviews, closing and disbursement for a flat $1,850 fee. Clients who use the TRAC+ service “receive up to an additional 60 basis points for a total of up to 185 basis points,” UWM said.

Another way to use the product is to sign up for PA+, a service that provides a UWM coordinator to work with the LO and borrower to help a loan clear.

“Govy125 is designed to help you expand your reach, grow your business and wow your borrowers,” the wholesale lender touted. The product is available on new locks from July 10 to Sept. 3.

The new incentive comes after UWM rolled out a number of other initiatives including its 0% down payment mortgage product and TRAC+  in mid-May.

Its 0% down program has received some mixed reviews, with a recent media analysis calling the mortgage a “red flag” akin to the risky home loans which caused the Great Financial Crisis. The wholesale lender has defended its product, arguing that it’s a tool that can make it easier for borrowers to become homeowners.