Are you itching to move to New York City?  NYC isn’t fundamentally superior to DC; it’s just very different. History, politics, and its role as the nation’s capital form the more sober character of Washington DC, while finance, commerce, and innovation mold New York City’s fast-paced reputation. To many, NYC, with twelve times the population of DC, is a premier international megalopolis.

Moves are a serious endeavor, and if you’re planning to relocate 225 miles up the coast to the excitement and intensity of ultra-urban New York City, read on to make sure this venture is the right move for you.

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What to Know About Moving from Washington DC to New York City

Housing and Cost of Living

Of course, housing costs vary considerably from borough to borough, but in general, plan to spend more on housing in NYC – the New York City median home cost is $680,500. According to bestplaces.net, the median home cost in DC is $556,700, but zillow.com reports a much higher median value of $640,783. 

Even though housing costs are higher, home appreciation in NYC hasn’t kept up with DC’s. The median home appreciation over the last five years in NYC was 28%, and in DC, 37%. However, prices in both cities are forecast to drop considerably by the end of 2020.

In NYC, 62% of the population rent, about 9% more than in DC. A two-bedroom apartment averages $2,049 in NYC compared to $1,682 in DC.

At $64,565 annually, the median family income in NYC is $31,430 lower than DC’s annual $95,995. However, due mainly to higher housing, utility, and health costs, your overall cost of living in NYC will be 19% higher than in DC. 

Taxes

If you own a home in Washington DC, you pay 0.545% property tax. In New York City, property taxes are levied individually by borough and vary from 0.627% in Brooklyn to 0.888% in the Bronx.

Your Washington DC sales tax is 5.8%. However, a 10% tax is also levied on take-out and restaurant food and alcohol purchased and consumed off-site, plus parking is heavily taxed. In New York City, as with property tax, the sales tax is also determined by each borough and ranges from 7% to 8.5%.

The nation’s capital assesses income tax, as most states do, at a rate that ranges from 4% to 8.95%. New York state income tax ranges from 4% to 8.82%, depending on your income level.

Economy and Job Growth

One of the world’s wealthiest cities, New York City’s GDP is $1,280 billion compared to DC’s $103.3 billion. Whereas the federal government and federally-funded contractors are the major employers in DC, New York City’s economy is much more diversified. Many NYC jobs focus on business and finance, health care, tech services, media, retail trade, and education.

Having seven stock exchanges puts NYC front and center as a financial super city; however, job growth in the next ten years is predicted to be a bit slower than DC’s. The growth for DC is forecast to be 34%, the same as the average national job growth, and about 3 points higher than NYC’s predicted growth of 31%.

Transportation and Traffic

The NYC subway scores higher points with riders than the DC Metrorail. Users complain that the Metrorail is slow, inconsistent, and expensive. NYC’s subway, although older, charges a flat fee no matter the distance you’re traveling, so many long-distance NYC commuters can save considerably.

Comparing costs, versus.com reports that NYC’s public transit is much cheaper than DC’s. Apparently, with public transportation costing an average of $230 in DC and $117 in NYC, you’ll save $114 each month. Because 57% of NYC residents use public transportation, fewer commuters are driving their own cars to work. Only 22% of Big Apple residents drive to work compared to 34% in DC. 

Moving from Washington DC to New York City may increase your average commute time by about 11 minutes. In DC, the average one way trip to work takes 30 minutes compared to NYC’s 41. As long as you’ll be moving, you’ll save time, money, and stress if you find a home close to work or vise-versa.

Weather and Climate

Your move 225 miles north to NYC will bring you, on average, a slightly cooler climate with a bit more rain and a lot more snow. Annually, NYC gets 47 inches of rain and 25 inches of snow compared to Washington DC’s 43 inches of rain and 14 inches of snow.

The average July high in NYC is 84 °F, whereas the DC July high is a little warmer, with an average of 89 °F. As temperatures climb into the summer months, both cities are muggy and humid. In NYC, the average January high is a chillier 38 °F, but the average low, at 26 °F, isn’t that much colder than DC. The January high averages 43 °F in Washington DC, and average lows get down to 27 °F. 

Crime Rates

Moving to New York City from Washington, DC, will liberate you from the capital city’s high crime rates. 

Based on a scale of 1 to 100, property crime in the US is 35. It’s 10% lower in NYC at a rate of 25 but 64 in DC. Violent crime in the US is 23. NYC violent crime is rated 28, and in Washington DC, 56.

Even though crime rates are lower in NYC, don’t get complacent about safety. The touristed areas of Manhattan see higher crime, but many boroughs’ neighborhoods earn high safety ratings. It’s a good idea to google crime rates as you investigate various potential neighborhoods.

Culture, Diversity, and Demographics

Lacking the drama of skyscrapers, DC sprawls due to its building height restrictions. DC is a city of memorials and monuments with a proliferation of federal buildings; the federal government owns half the land in DC. New York City, on the other hand – especially Manhattan – is known for its iconic shoulder-to-shoulder skyscrapers and towers.

NYC dwarfs DC with 7,897,000 more inhabitants. Approximately 8,600,000 people live in New York City compared to  702,455 in Washington DC. With a population twelve times that of DC, it’s no wonder that NYC has 10,194 people per square mile compared to DC’s 3,886. According to versus.com, Washington DC, is growing faster than NYC, with 2.7% annual growth compared to NYC’s 0.9%. Although there are residents from all over the world living in New York City, the majority are White, Hispanic, African American, and Asian.

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Best Neighborhoods in New York City

Before you can pinpoint an NYC neighborhood, you’ll need to decide which of the five boroughs you want to live in. The diversity of NYC neighborhoods is as varied as the residents themselves. Each provides a distinctly different lifestyle, and you’ll want to consider features like housing prices, commute time, density, vibe, and so much more. We summarize each borough below to help you narrow down your search. Then you can read about the neighborhoods in each borough by clicking on the best neighborhoods link.

Manhattan

Manhattan is New York City’s most densely populated borough with about 1,660,000 people who represent many ethnicities. The median home value is $1,190,800 and rent averages $3,475. Even though the housing prices are lofty, be prepared for smaller, tighter spaces. If your heart is set on Manhattan, but housing seems too high, don’t be discouraged – some neighborhoods, like Washington Heights, Inwood, and Harlem, have more affordable housing prices. Learn more about living in Manhattan here. Find out about Manhattan’s best neighborhoods here.

Brooklyn

Even though Brooklyn has about a million more people than Manhattan, the borough is less dense because it covers almost three times as much land. Brooklyn is located southeast of Manhattan, across the East River at the western end of Long Island. Home to about 2,650,000 people, many moved there to escape Manhattan’s high housing costs. Brooklyn is considered hip and happening, artsy and entrepreneurial. The median home value is $776,800, but the range of housing types is vast – from walk-up studios to multi-million dollar brownstones. If you’d like to know more about Brooklyn, click here. If you’re ready to investigate Brooklyn’s best neighborhoods, click here.

Queens

With just slightly fewer residents than Brooklyn, 2,360,000 people live in Queens. As NYC’s largest borough by landmass, Queens covers 109 square miles. Located on Long Island, east of Brooklyn, the western border is on the East River, so access to Manhattan is convenient. Additional conveniences are the JFK International Airport, located in the southern region, and LaGuardia Airport in the northern part of the borough. With lots of parks and a more suburban feel, Queens offers more outdoor recreation than some of the other boroughs. Rockaway Beach is a popular surfing and sunning spot on the Atlantic Ocean. Find out more about Queens here and Queens neighborhoods here

The Bronx

Closer to Manhattan’s population, the Bronx is home to about 1,470,000 million. You’ll want to consider living in the Bronx if you’re a Yankees fan! Yankee Stadium, the New York Botanic Garden, the Bronx Zoo, and Pelham Bay Park, three times the size of Central Park, are all squeezed into the Bronx. Housing prices, at a median value of $436,000, are far more affordable than Manhattan’s, but since the Bronx is just over the Harlem River from Manhattan, a commute is very doable. As people get priced out of Brooklyn and Manhattan, the Bronx is becoming more popular, and housing costs are bound to increase. Here’s more info on the Bronx. If you’d like to investigate the Bronx’s best neighborhoods, click here.

Staten Island

This southern and westernmost borough is a secret to some who are new to New York City. Filled with parks, a zoo, a botanical garden, and more single-family homes that most of the other boroughs, Staten Island is popular with families and young professionals who can afford the median home value of $528,700 and a median rent of $2,225. The Verrazzano Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island to southwestern Brooklyn, and alternately, a 25-minute free ferry ride connects the northern area of Staten Island to lower Manhattan. Find out more information about Staten Island here. You can access Staten Island’s best neighborhoods information here.


Cost of Moving from Washington DC to New York City

On average, it costs about $1800-$2200 to move from DC to NYC. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 230 miles up the coast. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination zip codes, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best DC to NYC movers now!

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Patricia McBratney

Between working as a clinical educational therapist and flipping houses, Patty’s lifelong love of horses found her riding the remote... Read More