The New York City real estate market is a beast of its own. There are tons of nuances to take into consideration when deciding how much you should pay for a NYC apartment. We’ve compiled a guide to help you decide what the right approach is for you.

Maximum Monthly Rent


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The cardinal rule to determine your maximum monthly rent is to divide your annual income by 40. Most NYC landlords require tenants to provide proof that they earn 40 times the monthly rent, so if your rent is $2000 then you’ll need to have an annual pre-tax income of $80,000. So divide your pre-tax salary by 40, and that’s a pretty accurate figure as to what the upper cusp of your monthly rent should be.  

It’s important to note that this should be considered the maximum you can afford, not a target rent rate for your NYC apartment. In addition to rent, you’ll have other expenses that you have to keep in mind, such as transportation costs (Ubers, Metro Cards, horse-drawn carriage rides through Central Park with Tinder baes, etc.), laundry, utilities, and other miscellaneous costs in addition to the general high cost of living in the city.

What’s Important to You?

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Ultimately, this question can be boiled down to where you place the value in your NYC experience. Should you live in your dream apartment in squalor, or live comfortably somewhere that is only satisfactory? Well, that depends… different people will have different priorities for how they want to live and work in NYC.

For introverts, homebodies, and other folks that spend most of their time at home, an investment into a tranquil, comfortable nesting sanctuary may be essential. In that case, it’s understandable if you’re spending up to 1/40th of your annual gross income on monthly rent, as you’re probably not spending much on expensive leisure and nightlife activities.

For the social butterfly looking to see and try everything, your apartment is probably just a place to lay your head. You should be spending your valuable time and money on experiences rather than real estate. You might consider spending 1/50th or 1/60th of your annual income on rent and leaving more fun money in your budget for activities with the squad.

There is no Definitive Right Answer


Ultimately, you should pay what you can afford for the value you require. Stay within your means, follow suggested guidelines and tailor them to your personal spending habits, and make sure you’re investing in the things that will bring you the most happiness. For some, that’s a spacious West Village studio. For others, a bedroom in a 3-bedroom East Harlem apartment with friends, allowing for a bigger activities budget, may be the dream. Follow your NYC dream and find your perfect apartment with Triplemint