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What a $500,000 Budget Buys You in New York City

New York City is one of the most interesting, and most expensive, real estate markets in the world. No matter what is going on in the economy, demand for apartments, condos, and co-ops in the city never seems to go down. 

In fact, after the mortgage crisis was destroying markets all over the country, NYC's market experienced just a 10% dip from the pre-crisis highs. According to Zillow, the average home price in the city peaked at $514,000 in 2006, and bottomed out at $461,000 in 2009. Since that time, the average home price in NYC has rebounded and is just shy of its pre-crisis peak.

There are always plenty of people, especially young professionals, who consider moving to New York for a variety of reasons, including careers and social lives. So, for the benefit of those would-be New Yorkers, let's take a look at what the average price buys you in several areas of New York City. Zillow says the average right now is $503,000, so let's make that our "cap."

1. Downtown Manhattan
Those who insist on being in the center of the action, $480,000 will buy you a small (doesn't say but looks to be less than 500 square feet) 1-bedroom apartment just steps from Times Square. There are many like this one to choose, and in our price range, nothing had more than one bedroom or 600 square feet.


Source: Trulia.

2. Harlem
This is a great way to live in Manhattan and stretch your dollars a bit. For $499,000, you can get this 3-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom condo just steps from the subway. The 958-square foot floorplan isn't enormous, but is big enough that you could have a roommate or two without feeling too cramped.


Source: Trulia.

3. Brooklyn
The place to be if you need a lot of space, or if you want to have a lot of roommates, Brooklyn is loaded with homes in the price range that have up to 8 bedrooms and 4,000 square feet of space. This 5-bedroom example with 2,320 square feet is in very good shape and is configured as two units, a 3-bedroom and a 2-bedroom. The home also has relatively low property taxes and is close to the subway into the city.


Source: Trulia.

4. Queens
Most of the half-million dollar homes in Queens are attached homes, but this 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom example is a single-family home with an updated kitchen and bathrooms that is on the market for $485,000. While the amount of space (just over 1,100 square feet) isn't huge, you do have a pretty good sized yard for a house in the city. 


Source: Trulia.

5. Staten Island
Staten Island is where you can get the most for your money in NYC, which makes sense as it is the furthest borough from Manhattan. For example, $490,000 will get you this very well-maintained 3-bedroom townhome that has a ton of upgrades and access to a community pool, gym, sauna, and tennis courts.


Source: Trulia.

Foolish final thoughts
When considering buying a home in New York, it really comes down to how close you want to be to all of the action of the city. If space is a priority, it is truly amazing how much further your dollars will go just a short distance from downtown, and often very close to a subway line that will have you downtown in minutes.

For some, there's simply no replacing the feeling of being right in the middle of it all. Of course, this is why Manhattan real estate is so expensive in the first place!

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Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 25, 2014, at 7:56 PM, watcher wrote:

    Started humming the theme song to Seinfeld. Would not want to live in NYC if the people there are even half as obnoxious as the characters on Seinfeld.

  • Report this Comment On January 25, 2014, at 8:32 PM, bnc626 wrote:

    Plain and simple...dont move to nyc! It's an overcrowded thirdworld city! It's a rathole!

  • Report this Comment On January 26, 2014, at 12:16 PM, liloleme wrote:

    The Manhattan location is NOT downtown, as you stated above. Anything near Times Square would be midtown. Downtown Manhattan is usually referred to anything below 21st Street (and some even say 14th Street).

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2014, at 5:56 AM, Magicman12 wrote:

    or take that same 500,000 and buy a mansion in Indianapolis in the Meridian Kessler area. Booming area with young professionals and solid to upper middle class families with plenty of Wealthy people too.

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Matthew Frankel

Matt brought his love of teaching and investing to the Fool in order to help people invest better, after several years as a math teacher. Matt specializes in writing about the best opportunities in bank stocks, real estate, and personal finance, but loves any investment at the right price. Follow me on Twitter to keep up with all of the best financial coverage!

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