Before March 2020, New York City was a place many people could only dream of living in. The city was bustling, with constant foot and car traffic.
Some of the biggest things you had to worry about were the soaring rent costs and being safe on the sidewalks as a pedestrian because of how pervasively bustling the city was.
Then, coronavirus hit the city incredibly hard, and it completely changed life in New York City.
It's estimated that hundreds of thousands of people left the city, many fleeing for good to places to like Florida and the suburbs.
For some of those people, they did say they would come back, but the city is still working toward recovery.
Much of New York City is closed down still, including Broadway. The tourism and hospitality industries have been especially hard hit, and unemployment is higher than the national average.
Even so, we do now have several viable COVID-19 vaccines that are being distributed, and the city is working to once again come to life.
If you were thinking about a move to New York City, what might that look like, and what can you expect right now?
Any big city is going to have crime rates that likely higher than the suburbs or rural areas. That's not new, but New York has seen an uptick in crime since the pandemic started and especially violent crime. With that being said, these situations are often dramatized when you see them in the media, but there are real statistics supporting the fact that New York may be a little less safe than it was pre-March 2020.
Some of this is stemming from the fact that there are fewer people out and about in the city, so perhaps it's easier for crimes to happen. There are just fewer eyes around. For example, there are a lot of periods where the subways are nearly empty, which can mean an environment that lends itself to more crime.
Most of the violent crimes in New York don't happen in the city center. The outer boroughs tend to see the highest crime rates, including specific areas in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Manhattan, the majority of Brooklyn and Queens, have lower crime rates overall.
What's the Job Market Like?
Overall, employment hasn't fully come back in New York, but that's not necessarily true for all industries and sectors. Tourism and hospitality are still limping along.
In finance and technology, there may still be demand. Sales and business development are also doing pretty well in New York right now.
Since employment did take such a hard hit during the pandemic, some analysts expect when hiring does start in the city again, it will be a boom.
Even before coronavirus, New York City was known for having some of the highest tax rates in the country. Now, Governor Cuomo is warning more tax increases may be on the way, although he says they'll affect only the wealthiest residents.
Along with proposed tax raises, the city has also been cutting some services to make up for gaps in its budget.
New York is one of the few cities in the country with a personal income tax. The New York City tax is based on the New York State income tax rate.
Every person who earns an income has to pay the personal income tax in the city. Tax brackets for the city range from 3.078% up to 3.876%.
Property taxes are 96% higher than the national median if you're going to buy, but there are some credits that may help offset this.
While New York is facing a downturn, there could be some positives about moving there in 2021. Namely, it may be a good opportunity to find a deal on housing, whether you want to rent or buy.
The rental market has the highest inventory in recent history right now, leading landlords to slash rent prices.
If you're going to buy, it's definitely not a seller's market now, either.
A few things to know about finding housing in New York City include the following:
One of the most important things you're going to decide on if you become a new NYC resident is your neighborhood. While you might spend more time in your apartment this year than you typically would, the neighborhood still reigns supreme. Try to go in-depth on your research when you pick a neighborhood. You want to learn about those things that are going to most affect your life, like whether there are supermarkets with fresh produce, or where public transportation is. Safety is also going to be a big one.
Since more New Yorkers are eating in than probably ever before, as silly as it sounds, you'll want to think about deliveries too. For example, how well-served are a neighborhood and a building by delivery services for take-out or groceries? Is there a doorman who can and will accept deliveries? Don't assume a doorman will accept deliveries.
Even with the real estate market being in a slump right now, it can still be tough to get an apartment. For example, if you're a renter, most landlords require that you earn anywhere from 40 to 50 times the monthly rent. If not, you'll need a guarantor. The guarantor may need to make 80 to 100 times the money rent.
If you work with a broker, renters pay fees. Brokers can charge as much as 15% of the yearly rent for their fee, although you may be able to negotiate it down a bit.
You're probably going to need cash to rent. You'll have to put down a month's rent as a security deposit and the first month's rent when you sign your lease.
New York is a tough city, and it's even more challenging to live there in 2021 than a year ago. With that being said, for the people who live there, the challenges are worth it for what they get in exchange.