What Is The Cost Of Living In Albany, New York?

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by Upgraded Home Team

The capital of New York State, Albany is home to over 97,000 residents, with thousands more coming each year for tourism. Albany is 3 hours north of New York City, and 3 and a half hours east of Rochester. Albany is just 40 minutes, or 27 miles, to the Massachusetts border – it is truly an amazing location!

With a cost of living index at 94.6, Albany comes in as cheaper than the national average to live and work. With a median household income of $45,825, Albany has quite a good setup for many residents, including the many college students who attend one of the many schools in the area. However, is it right for you?

Only you can decide – but make sure you know all of your financials and facts before you make the leap!

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Housing Costs in Albany, New York

Median Home Values in Albany, Compared

LocationMedian House PriceHomeownership Rate
New York State$355,00052%
United States$320,00065.8%

The housing cost of living index for Albany, New York is just 79.7, making it significantly lower than the national average. However, the homeownership rate for Albany is nearly half of the national average and lags behind the state as well.

Median Home Prices in Albany, New York

Value of HomePercent of Home
$560,000 and Above1.8%
Sub $56,0006.9%

These rates indicate what the cost of living index tells us – that housing is significantly cheaper in Albany. 67.1% of people rent in Albany, with 46% of housing being small apartment buildings and 21.2% being larger apartment complexes. Just 47.8% of homes in Albany are single-family homes.

A surprising 52.2% of homes in Albany were built before 1939, and 25.9% of homes were built between 1940-1969. Just 3.2% of homes in Albany were built past 2000.

32.8% of homes have 3 bedrooms, and 29.9% of homes have two bedrooms.

Rental Costs in Albany, New York

Housing SizeAlbanyAlbany MetroNew YorkUnited States
1 Bedroom$865$904$1291$930
2 Bedroom$1063$1115$1528$1148
3 Bedroom$1333$1397$1948$1537
4 Bedroom$1441$1507$2124$1791

If the state averages for rent seem a little high to you, consider that New York State is home to New York City, which has some of the highest rent prices in the United States. That drives the average up considerably, so of course, an overview of rent for the state will seem high!

Rent in Albany and the metro area are both noticeably cheaper than the national average, which makes sense when you take into account the median household income.

Taxes in Albany, New York

Sales tax in the state of New York is a flat 4%, but don’t get too excited. When you add in local and county taxes, the base sales tax in Albany is 8%, a relatively high number compared to the national average of 7.12%.

Property Tax in Albany, New York

Property tax in Albany County, New York, is nearly double the national average, 2.100% versus 1.070%. It is also than the average in New York State, which is 1.690%. This means for a home purchased at the median price of $224,021, residents would pay approximately $4,704 annually. The national average for a home at that price value would be $2,397.

Income Tax in Albany, New York

As with many states, New York has a variable tax rate depending on your income. The lowest anyone will pay is 4%, with the highest being 8.82%, quite a jump. The top rate is only for taxpayers whose individual incomes exceed $1,077,550 annually. It also applies to heads of household making over $1,616,450, or married couples filing jointly and making over $2,115,350 in total.

Utility Costs in Albany, New York

The utility cost of living in Albany, New York sits at 110, above average compared to the rest of the nation. The average resident living in a 915 square foot apartment can expect to pay $163/month for all their basic utilities, including electricity, water, garbage, heating, and cooling. The average high-speed internet bill for residents is approximately $73/month.

The average cost of residential electricity in Albany is 18.91¢/kWh, significantly higher than the national average of 11.88¢/kWh.

Food Costs in Albany, New York

Food in Albany, New YorkPrice
Average Meal for 1$17-$20
Mid-Range Meal for 2$70-$80
Gallon of Milk$3-$3.50
Loaf of Fresh Bread$2.25-$2.75
12 Eggs$1.65-$2
1lb Chicken$3.25
1lb of Bananas$0.65

The grocery cost of living index for Albany is 100.9, making it slightly above average compared to the rest of the nation. There are numerous grocery stores, both local and chain, to choose from in Albany.

It is recommended you spend 11% of your household income on food and groceries. With a median income of $45,825, Albany residents are spending approximately $5,040 annually on groceries, or $420/month.

Transportation in Albany, New York

The average Albany, New York resident spends 18.6 minutes one-way commuting to work, lower than the national average of 26.4 minutes. Only 62.5% of people drive their own car, a surprisingly low number. 8.1% of people carpool with coworkers, and a staggering 14.3% of residents take the mass transit system in Albany.

The transportation cost of living index in Albany is 87.6, significantly lower than the national average. This is probably due to the public transit everyone is taking advantage of!

Cost of a Gallon of Gas, Compared

United States$2.62

Public Transportation in Albany, New York

The public transit system in Albany is run by the Capital District Transportation Authority, or CDTA. The CDTA handles not just all of Albany, but Schenectady, Troy, and Saratoga, New York, as well.

The fare system with CDTA is relatively straightforward. Residents and riders pay $1.30 per ride for the first 3 rides, and after that, riding CDTA buses are free for the rest of the day, as long as you use a Navigator card with the system. This means no one is ever paying more than a day pass, or $3.90/day.

There is also a Frequent Rider monthly pass that costs $65 and allows unlimited rides for 31 consecutive days.

Entertainment Costs in Albany, New York

Since Albany is the capital city, there is plenty to do – including lots of history to see and take in, if that is your thing! The New York State Museum is located in Albany, and is completely free! A suggested donation is $5 per person, or $10 per family, but you can enter and look for no price. The Albany Institute of History and Art is also just $10 for adults, *8 for seniors and students, and $6 for children between the ages of 6-12.

If you’re interested in getting outside, the Albany area has quite a bit of hiking within a reasonable driving distance, including trails around Lake George and the Saratoga Springs area. Catskill, New York, which sits along the Hudson River, is known for beautiful mountains and outdoor activities and is just 40 minutes south.

The average price for two tickets to a movie theater is about $24, and an hour of tennis court rental is approximately $30, which is relatively standard.

Schools in Albany, New York

There are 41 elementary schools, 26 middle schools, and 18 high schools in Albany and the surrounding areas. 27 schools are within the public district, 7 are public charter schools, and there is a staggering 117 private schools total. The area services about 41,000 students each school year.

Generally, Albany County School Systems rank within the top 20% of schools in the state, with an average math proficiency of 56% and an average reading proficiency of 55%. Both are higher than the state average.

The student: teacher ratio in Albany public schools is 13:1, exactly on par with the state’s average.

Clothing Costs in Albany, New York

Item of ClothingPrice
1 Pair of Name-Brand Jeans$42
1 Summer Dress (From a Chain Retail Store)$51
1 Pair of Name-Brand Shoes$70
1 Pair of Dress Shoes$86

As you can see, shopping runs a little more expensive in Albany than in the rest of the United States. There is a ton of variety, however, with numerous indoor shopping malls to choose from. Despite the cold weather, there are also several open-air shopping experiences in Albany.

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Should You Move to Albany, New York?

Do you feel like you have a better idea of what it would cost to live in Albany? New York State is beautiful, and there is a lot of history in the area. After all, Albany was first settled in 1614, and is one of the oldest surviving European settlements in the United States! Being that close to US history can be really exciting, especially for children.

Albany also has many quality colleges for students, and the public school system is generally considered very good. As for affordability, Albany consistently ranks as more affordable than the average US city.

You could do a lot worse than Albany, New York. Within three hours, you can drive to Boston, New York City, and even Montreal – it’s like a little pocket of peaceful city living that is easily within reach of the hustle and bustle of a major city and population. With four seasons, lots of indoor and outdoor activities, and plenty of history, Albany could be a great next place to call home!

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