New report shows Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens as most expensive

Emily Bell

In a recent report, the Council for Community and Economic Research rated Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens as three of the most expensive places to live in the United States.

According to the August 2012 report, Manhattan had a cost of living index of 233.5, Brooklyn was second with 183.4 and Queens was sixth 151.4. The national average is 100.

This quarterly index gathers data from six categories: groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous, which includes clothing and entertainment. Each data group is weighted towards the total index number.

“We provide a very, very accurate cost of living based on the data that’s provided to us for a specific target demographic, which is professional managerial households,” C2ER project manager Dean Frutiger said. “The index compares each individual community to the national average. We do not measure change over time.”

Rosemary Scanlon, divisional dean of NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate, said rent-stabilized apartments can hold down some of the market prices, along with New York City and New York state policies that try to provide zoning for affordable and public housing.

Scanlon said housing gradations exist, but the report focuses on residential households. She added that Brooklyn and Queens have more popular real estate now because of new construction, which contributes to high cost of living index numbers.

“Brooklyn is a favored place to live if you’re a young professional, if you have children,” Scanlon said. “Queens has a big immigrant community, and not all the immigrants are poor by any means.”

Students understand the expense of living in Manhattan or the surrounding boroughs.

“I have a yearlong lease on this apartment, three of us in a two bedroom. So that’s kind of how we make it financially work,” Gallatin senior Allison Becker said. “A big thing of saving money is learning how to grocery shop efficiently. Knowing what food has a long shelf life, learning how to make things last.”

Becker added that she hopes to move to a Brooklyn neighborhood after she graduates.

“I think many people still choose to live in New York because it’s New York,” CAS freshman Martin McNeish said. “And they’ll willingly deal with the extra cost.”

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Sept. 12 print edition. Emily Bell is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]