Moving to New York

New York

Our rating

4 out of 5

  • Affordability 2 out of 5

  • Safety 4 out of 5

  • Healthcare 2 out of 5

  • Traffic Flow 2 out of 5

  • Property affordability 3 out of 5

  • Climate 5 out of 5

  • Environment quality 4 out of 5

You won’t encounter any great culture clash when you move from the UK to New York – after all, both share the same language, a very similar legal system and many of the same high-street brands. Besides, through Hollywood movies and television you’ll already be familiar with the most important cultural touchstones.

In common with London, New York is a centre of international finance and media, where most people work in international finance and media.

Unlike most of the UK, NYC is a truly 24 hour city. Many bars, restaurants, grocery stores and gyms stay open around the clock, as does the subway, the Staten Island Ferry, some hardware stores and even the odd hairdresser.

Once you’ve got used to driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, you’ll find navigating New York City, with its numbered streets and avenues and efficient underground system, considerably easier and cheaper than, say, London. Facilities for cyclists are slowly improving, but unless you’re a very confident cyclist you might feel like leaving the two-wheeler behind.

One thing you might miss from the UK is greenery: while New York’s public parks are big (take for example the 843 acre behemoth of Central Park in Manhattan or Brooklyn’s 585 acre Prospect Park) and well maintained, they’re also pretty few and far between.

New York

New York, New York; The City So Nice They Named it Twice; Empire City; The Big Apple; Gotham; The City that Never Sleeps; The City of Dreams; The Capital of The World. Whatever you want to call it, one thing’s for certain: no city that picks up so many nicknames could ever be a boring place to live.

The USA’s most heavily populated and iconic city is the inspiration for thousands of songs, books and movies. While a visit to New York can give you a taste of its awe inspiring diversity, energy and grandeur, to truly get to know it you need to live in it.

Moving to New York City opens up a huge range of career, cultural, culinary and entertainment options but it does come with a few drawbacks. While the city’s reputation for crime is largely unearned – crime rates have been falling steadily since the 1980s and are currently pretty unremarkable – the cost of living makes it one of the most expensive cities in the world. Fortunately, in counterbalance, salaries in New York are also some of the highest globally.

While the climate is temperate for most of the year, the city’s position on the eastern seaboard of the United States leaves it vulnerable to freak storms (as in the case of Hurricane Sandy), heavy snowfalls and summer heatwaves – all of which can cause severe problems for residents.

New York vs London

Arguably, New York just about tops London when it comes to quality of life.. First of all, it seems your money goes further in NYC with both property and consumer goods working out cheaper as a proportion of average income.

In New York people also spend less time commuting to and from work and there’s marginally less crime and pollution. A good deal, as long as you can live with less green space and more expensive health care. Find out more about shipping costs from London to New York.

When it comes to culture and attractions it’s a toss up. Obviously New York lags behind London in terms of historical interest but the two go toe-to-toe when it comes to museums and galleries; there’s not much between Broadway theatre and the West End; and both cities have an abundance of sporting venues.

Both cities see their warmest month in July and their coldest in January. New York is warmer than London (in the summer) but also colder (in the winter) and experiences almost twice as much precipitation.

Living CostsLondonNew York
Disposable Salary

1,993 ()

2,530 ()

3 Bedroom Apartment

2,590 ()

3,270 ()

Imported Beer 0.33cl

3 ()

5 ()

Bottle of Wine

7 ()

10 ()


7 ()

9 ()


2 ()

2 ()

VW Golf 1.4

15,943 ()

13,075 ()

Basic Utilities

160 ()

79 ()

Rice (1kg)

1 ()

2 ()


2 ()

3 ()

Meal for 2

50 ()

55 ()

Cinema Ticket (1)

11 ()

8 ()

Speaking of costs… if you’re about to move to NYC, you’ll probably need to convert some of your savings into US dollars. 

However, it’s best to avoid using high street banks for this process, as you’ll usually have to pay high fees, and you won’t get the best exchange rate. 

That’s why we’ve done our research and compared all the major money transfer services on the market, so you can choose the right one. Check out our expert ratings and find the best money transfer provider today.

Property information

Before moving to New York, know that the majority of people in New York City rent their apartments rather than buying them. As rents indicate, property prices are extremely high with an average 2 – 3 bedroom apartment in Manhattan costing around $1,000,000.

Because of these prices and low availability of property on the market people choose to rent rather than buy. The vacancy rate for apartments in Manhattan hovers around 1% which is exceptionally low.

Finding an apartment in New York can be very difficult so it’s important to start searching well before your move. Apartments on the market tend to be taken up very quickly so if you see something you like it’s critical to act quickly.

Occupancy rates are not expected to drop anytime soon and rents are only expected to go up so keep these factors in mind when deciding on whether New York City is right for you.

Finding a home in New York

Whether you’re renting or buying, finding a new home in New York can be difficult and stressful. 

That’s where PerchPeek can help. PerchPeek will set you up with an expert support team who are full of local knowledge and available 24/7. They’ll help you with the entire moving process, from finding a property and securing viewings, to sorting the paperwork and getting you settled. 

Just pop your details in this quick form to sign up for a free consultation phone call.


Before your big move to New York, it's wise to think about medical cover for when you're out there.

That's why we've partnered with Cigna for private medical insurance in New York. With four levels of annual cover to choose from and extra modules for more flexibility, Cigna will sort you out with a plan that suits your needs.

Start building a customised plan with a free quote to protect your most important assets – you and your family.

Job market

One of the main things that people move to New York is the job market. In a city so large with so many different types of businesses it is inevitable that there will be a number of jobs available.

New York is the financial capital of the world, with Wall Street, and a number of financial firms headquartered there, there is no shortage of finance and banking related jobs. However, these jobs are often very competitive and require very skilled candidates but for people with the correct skill set these jobs can be incredibly rewarding both financially and professionally.

Because of its size and tourist nature, New York is home to a huge number of hospitality and service jobs. New York has hundreds of restaurants, hotels, and stores that need to be staffed with a large number of people in order to keep up with their customers. There are also many jobs related to tourism such as tour guides, trip coordinators, etc.

Because so many people from different parts of the world visit New York, speaking different languages is seen as a huge plus point in job candidates. New York is known as the land of opportunity because it is possible for almost anyone from any walk of life to make a living and find a job which can be seen in the city’s very low unemployment rate of 6.1%, which is only slightly above the national average.


Transportation is something very important to take into account when moving to New York. Because of the immense amount of traffic most people prefer to take public transportation rather than have their own cars.

Space in New York is tight which means it’s almost impossible to find parking if you do have a car and paid parking is very expensive. The subway is the most popular form of transportation. New York City has an extensive subway system that runs at all hours and makes stops throughout the city. A single ticket currently costs $2.50 and a monthly pass costs $112.

Aside from the subway, taxis are another popular option for transportation but as you can guess they also run on the expensive side.

Select the size of your move to get free quotes


Deciding where to live in New York can be overwhelming at the start; the city is comprised of five different boroughs, the most well-known of which is Manhattan. The other four are Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. The cost of living in each borough can vary dramatically so it’s crucial to do your research before choosing where to live. Each borough offers its own distinct set of pros and cons.

Family FriendlyBrooklyn Heights in no other than Brooklyn, Riverdalein the Bronx, and Forest Hills in Queens are all great for families ,especially that there is more space for parks and green spaces that in Manhattan. However, the Upper East and West Sides opposite Central Park are great for those families that can afford it. Staten Island has many family friendly neighbourhoods at the cost of being too close to New Jersey.

Upmarket: Manhattan is the most luxurious but also the most expensive and crowded. The Bronx has the lowest per capita income but also lower housing costs. As costs in Manhattan continue to rise more and more people are moving to Brooklyn.

Hip & Trendy: The most notable neighbourhoods in New York include SoHo, and The Meat Packing District which are both known for their artsy and very hip vibes. They also contain some of the best bars and restaurants the city has to offer. In Manhattan, the Upper East Side is known for luxurious buildings, museums, and some of the best shopping in the world.

Up & Coming: Recently, more and more neighbourhoods in areas like Astoria in Queens are becoming more developed in order to cater to the city’s growing population.

Cost of moving

The cost of moving to New York obviously varies on where you are moving from. The following costs are based on the average cost for a 20ft long shipping container shipped to NYC from the following global cities:


2,170 ()

Sao Paulo

2,720 ()


3,300 ()

Cape Town

5,470 ()


6,030 ()


6,840 ()

Schools and education

Like every area in the US, New York City has its own public school system. The city is split into multiple districts with schools to cater for each district.

Although New York has many public schools, many people choose to send their children to private schools because they offer a higher caliber of education in most cases. Public schools in New York tend to be overcrowded and understaffed because of budgeting shortages in the city. The average cost of sending a child to private school in New York City is around $14,000 a year.

Things to know before moving to New York

Things can get expensive. From groceries to minor services like getting your laundry washed, costs tend to be on par with London – so by no means cheap. Saving a bit of money for that settling in period is definitely a good idea.

The weather can take crazy turns. Unlike the mild climate of the UK, New Yorkers experience a march larger variety of temperatures. Stock up on clothes for all seasons. Your cupboard should house snow boots as well as summer vests.

Learn the roads and how they work. Remember, streets run left and right while avenues run north and south. Even numbered streets run run east whilst odd numbered streets run west.

Some New Yorkers can be highly strung. People in New York have the, not entirely undeserved, reputation of being rude. All we can say is that it’s a busy city, and people tend to vocalise it when others get in there way.

Always tip. Just like anywhere else in the US

Walk on the left, stand on the right.

Universities in New York

New York City is home to some of the best universities in the world. Columbia University and NYU are both located in the heart of the city. Both universities offer extensive subjects and are known for their academic excellence on a global level drawing thousands of students from all over the world.

There are a number of other universities in New York as well including Hofstra, Fordham, and Hunter College.

New York City's climate through the seasons

Summer (June-August): as high as 30 degrees Celsius (86F), sinking to as low as 14C (57F), 3 inches of rain.

Autumn (September-November): as high as 23 degrees Celsius (74F), sinking to as low as 4 (39F), 4 inches of rain.

Winter (December-February): as high as 5 degrees Celsius (41F), sinking to as low as -25C (-13F), 3 inches of rain.

Spring (March-May): as high as 20 degrees Celsius (68F), sinking to as low as 0C (32F), 4 inches of rain.