The Ultimate Guide for Moving to New York

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By Thomas O'Shaughnessy Updated December 22, 2022


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Between its iconic New York City, mountainous upstate, and Great Lakes region, New York state has a lot to offer potential residents.

If you're exploring your options of where to move, start by learning more about The Empire State. Get to know the climate, school systems, transportation, and cost of living in the area. Here's what you can expect from New York state.

If you already decided to make New York your new home, it's time to assemble a team for the move. Finding a qualified real estate agent is vital if you're buying a home. And whether you're renting or buying, connecting with an experienced moving company will help smooth the transition. Start planning your move to New York today!

Quick facts about New York



Land size

47,123 miles[2]

Cost of living index

10% higher than the national average

Average home value


Average annual salary


Average annual temperature


How do I start planning a move to New York?

Moving can be a stressful life experience, but it will be easier with the right help. Finding a great realtor and dependable movers are essential first steps for your move to New York.

Hire the right real estate agent

If you're planning to buy a house in New York, it's crucial to connect with a real estate agent. You’ll want to find someone who understands the local market and who’ll work to understand your needs. Once they know what you’re looking for, they can guide you toward neighborhoods that fit your criteria.

You might be limited in how much you can house hunt in person, so your real estate agent should be someone you trust to do the on-the-ground work for you.

To find a great real estate agent in New York, we recommend using a free service like Clever Real Estate. Clever matches you with agents from well-known brokerages like Century 21 and RE/MAX.

Interview as many agents as you'd like until you find the right fit, or walk away at any time with no obligation. Just enter your zip code below to get started!

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Hire the right movers

Once you find a home in New York, the next step is hiring movers. Taking the time to find dependable movers can save you time, money, and hassle in the long run.

For peace of mind, choose an experienced moving company with a proven record. We recommend contacting two to three movers to compare rates, availability, and additional services.

If you have valuables that need special accommodations — such as climate-controlled storage — ask the companies if they offer that service.

🚚 Find the best long-distance moving companies in my area!

Who is New York best for?

👍 New York is best for you if: 👎 New York is not best for you if:

You appreciate all four seasons.

You prefer warm weather year round.

You're a college or graduate student who enjoys the diversity of city life.

You want to live somewhere with a low cost of living.

You're hoping to climb the corporate ladder.

You're approaching retirement age and hoping for low taxes.

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Many companies are headquartered in New York, making the state a great place to relocate if you're hoping to advance your career. Learn more about job prospects in New York.

However, if you're getting close to retirement age and hoping for warm weather and low taxes, we recommend looking elsewhere. Learn more about the climate in New York.

For college and graduate students, New York has a lot to offer. You'll find top universities, excellent graduate programs, and bustling, diverse city life. Learn more about education in New York.

What should I know before moving to New York?

There's a lot to consider before moving to a particular state. We've rounded up data on six aspects of life in New York to think about before your move.

1. Experience weather with all four seasons

New York has four distinct seasons — a warm summer, snowy winter, and mild fall and spring — with an average annual temperature of 45.4°F.[3]

The state's average winter temperature is 23.3°F, but temperatures can plummet below zero, and areas in upstate New York often experience heavy snowfall.

In the summer, temperatures average around 66.5°F. Certain areas of the state, such as New York City, experience stifling hot temperatures, particularly in July and August.

On average, New York gets around 41.8 inches of rain every year. Summer tends to be the rainiest season, with an average of 3.89 inches of rain per month.

While the climate in New York isn't extreme compared to other states, residents of New York City occasionally suffer from extreme heat and polluted air in the summer and extreme cold and power outages in the winter.[4]

2. Expect a higher cost of living

The cost of living in New York state is about 10% higher than the national average, according to the cost of living index.[5]

But that's just an average: keep in mind that your actual day-to-day costs will largely depend on the city you live in. Your costs will probably increase if you move to New York City, but they might stay the same — or even decrease — if you move to Albany or Buffalo.


The typical home value in New York is $412,141, about $55,000 higher than the national average of $357,589. The state's average home value has risen 69% since 2012.[6]

The median price to rent an apartment is $1,409, just slightly higher than the national median of $1,191.


In New York, the average property tax rate is 1.6%, which is slightly higher than the national average of 1.0%. A typical New York homeowner can expect to pay around $6,676 in property taxes.[7]

The average income tax rate in the state is 4.0%, and the average state sales tax is 4.0%. Rates for local sales tax vary by location, but the average New Yorker pays around 4.5%.

3. Enjoy an expanding job market

Job prospects in New York are promising across a wide range of fields. Take a look at the following stats to get an idea of the job market in the state.

Top industries

The five industries listed above have the highest number of available jobs in New York, making them a good place to start your job search. Other significant industries in the state include construction, manufacturing, financial activities, and hospitality.

Biggest companies

Many of the largest companies in New York are financial businesses, but there are also big players in computer software, food services, and healthcare.


The average New Yorker makes a salary of $74,314, which is slightly higher than the national average of $69,717.[8]

The median hourly wage in New York is $23, just a hair above the national average of $22.

Unemployment rate

New York's unemployment rate currently stands at 4.3%. It's a bit higher than the current national unemployment rate of 3.7%.

4. Access an excellent public transportation system

New York ranks #5 out of the 50 states for transportation. Residents across the state have access to many modes of public transit, including intercity buses, trains, commuter rails, and bikeshare stations.[9]

As for commute time, the average New Yorker spends 31.4 minutes traveling to work. That's just slightly longer than the 25.6-minute national average.

5. Live in a generally safe place

When it comes to safety, New York is in the middle of the road. The state currently sees about 358.6 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.[10]

That said, crime rates and safety largely depend on where you live. Use a site like CrimeGrade to check the safety rating of specific zip codes and cities.

6. Attend first-rate schools

New York has decent grade schools and top-notch universities to choose from.

Grade schools

New York's grade schools rank #32 overall out of the 50 states, based on high school graduation rates, math and reading scores, and the average ratio of pupils to teachers.[11]

The state has a high school graduation rate of 83%, which is just slightly below the national average of 86%.

When it comes to pupil-teacher ratios, New York state beats the national average. On average, there are 12.4 students per teacher in New York schools, while the national average is 15.9 students per teacher.

Top colleges

New York state has several prestigious universities and boasts a total of 83 colleges. The college graduation rate is 45%.[12]

Cornell, Columbia, and NYU have high-quality graduate programs in business management, law, and medicine. Columbia also houses a well-known dental school and school of journalism, while NYU attracts drama and film lovers with its Tisch School of the Arts.

If you're interested in Greek life, all three schools have active on-campus sororities and fraternities.

Empire State vibe: What is New York known for?

New York is best known for its namesake city, but the state has a lot to offer besides the city that never sleeps. Some of New York's most notable features include sprawling mountain ranges and access to two Great Lakes.

🚚 Relocating to New York state? Compare the best moving companies in the area!

Explore the cultural capital of the U.S.

New York City might appeal to you if you're hoping to climb the corporate ladder, get involved in the art scene, or simply enjoy cultural outings on the weekend.

The city is home to iconic landmarks that draw millions of visitors each year,[13] like the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and Central Park. It boasts 80 museums across all five boroughs,[14] from popular attractions like the Met and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to lesser-known gems like this Japanese sculpture garden or this treasure trove of rare books and manuscripts.

The United Nations is headquartered in NYC, along with several professional sports teams, including the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers. The city also houses around 44% of the state's population.[15]

Escape to the mountains

While you might think of New York as the concrete jungle, the state is actually home to three major mountain ranges.

The Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York span over six million acres, making them the largest protected area in the contiguous U.S. Amateur nature lovers can hike, camp, fish, boat, and ski in this range. More experienced outdoor enthusiasts will love summiting Mount Marcy, rock climbing, mountain biking, and kayaking.

In southeast New York, the Catskill Mountains house several major ski resorts, making this range an amazing getaway in the winter. During the summer, you can admire the stunning views and see a variety of wildlife, such as bobcats and black bears.

Finally, the Appalachian Mountains pass through New York state from the Adirondack Mountains in the north to the Catskill Mountains in the south. This range is ideal for hiking, camping, mountain biking, and fishing.

Cool off in the Great Lakes

In western New York, you can take a dip in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie or take a boat tour of Niagara Falls.

Just below Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes are a popular vacation destination for New Yorkers. This series of 11 narrow lakes was carved by glaciers. Visitors can swim, fish, camp, and sample wine from the region's well-known wineries.

Article Sources

[1] United States Census Bureau – "Census American Community Survey 2021 1-Year Estimates". Accessed December 2022.
[2] United States Census Bureau – "TIGERweb". Accessed December 2022.
[3] Current Results – "USA State-Wide Weather Averages". Accessed December 2022.
[4] NYC Health – "Climate and Health". Accessed December 2022.
[5] Bureau of Economic Analysis – "Regional Price Parities by State and Metro Area". Accessed December 2022.
[6] Zillow – "Housing Data". Accessed December 2022.
[7] Tax Foundation – "State Individual Income Tax Rates and Brackets for 2022". Updated February 15, 2022. Accessed December 2022.
[8] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – "May 2021 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates". Accessed December 2022.
[9] United States Department of Transportation – "Intermodal Passenger Connectivity Database". Accessed December 2022. We compared the 50 states across six metrics. Each metric was normalized and then graded on a 100-point scale. The combined weighted average of the scores determined the score on which the final ranking was based.
[10] Federal Bureau of Investigation – "Crime Data Explorer". Accessed December 2022.
[11] "National Center for Education Statistics". Accessed December 2022. We evaluated schools in all 50 states across six metrics. Each metric was normalized and then graded on a 100-point scale. The combined weighted average of the scores determined the score on which the final ranking was based.
[12] "National Center for Education Statistics". Accessed December 2022.
[13] Office of the New York State Comptroller – "The Tourism Industry in New York City". Updated April 2021. Accessed December 2022.
[14] NYC by Natives – "List of Museums in New York City". Accessed December 2022.
[15] United States Census Bureau – "QuickFacts: New York City, New York". Accessed December 2022.

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