New York City ranks as one of the most expensive places in the U.S., taking six of the top 100 slots in Realty Hop’s Most Expensive Zip Codes report for 2022. While the cost of living tends to run high in the city, residents can take steps to manage some of their living expenses, including utilities. Many NYC landlords include some of the costs of utilities in their monthly rental fees, but condo and co-op owners might need to cover these expenses on their own. Potential NYC buyers should take the cost of utilities into account when deciding to purchase a unit.
What’s the Average Utility Bill NYC Residents Can Expect to Pay Monthly?
Utilities cover an umbrella of services associated with living in a condo or co-op. Basic utilities include electricity, heat, water, and trash disposal. According to SmartAsset, the costs for these basic services for a 915-square-foot apartment in NYC averages about $170 per month. Homeowners typically also pay for utilities like cable and internet services.
While residents who rent apartments in New York City pay most of their utilities in one or two lump sum payments each month, property owners may have to pay various service providers different costs per usage. The amount owners pay for utilities can fluctuate month-to-month, where they pay more for heating in the winter and more for electricity in the summer when they use air conditioning.
Condo or co-op owners may pay some basic utilities, such as trash collection and water, in their monthly co-op or condo association fees. They may also share the cost of utilities for common areas, such as heat or electricity in a building lobby or entranceway.
Before you purchase a condo, you must understand which utilities you must arrange and pay for independently. Take time to establish utilities and subscriptions ahead of move-in day so you don’t wind up in the dark when you turn on the lights.
How Much is Heat in NYC?
Cold winters in NYC make heating a necessity. The city declares a heating season from October to May, where property owners must maintain a minimum temperature for building residents. Heating becomes more expensive in the winter and varies based on outdoor temperatures, the building’s age, and the desired interior temperature.
Co-op owners with shared heat may notice their monthly maintenance fees increase during the winter to keep the building comfortable. Condo owners will likely only pay for the amount of heat they use in their unit. However, it may be difficult to monitor individual heat consumption in older buildings with radiators, and property owners may split the heating cost among other unit owners throughout their building.
Budgeting appropriately can help you prepare for increased heating costs in the winter months. You can check the NYC region unit costs for heating oil and the state’s natural gas prices to review price trends and help you determine how much it will cost to heat your property this year, compared to last winter.
Water and Sewer NYC Utility Costs
Water utility costs continue to rise in NYC, where homeowners can expect to pay around $77 per month for water and sewage. However, the average water bill for a two-bedroom apartment with four people may be higher than that for a smaller studio with a single resident. Property owners can ask their condo association or property manager for an estimate based on prices for similar units at different times throughout the year. This framework helps provide a baseline so owners can budget their utility expenses.
Check the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for current water rates. Your wastewater charges, or sewer billing, also depend on water usage in your household. You can use a water usage calculator to help estimate your water and sewer expenses.
NYC Costs for Electricity
In the city that never sleeps, residents use 33.22% less energy per month than the national average, likely due to smaller home sizes. However, residents pay a higher cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) than most homeowners across the country, bringing the average amount that a New York City owner spends on electricity to $106 monthly. In the summer season, when many residents rely on cooling systems, this cost can increase quickly.
Internet and Cable Utilities in NYC
In addition to basic utilities, NYC co-op and condo owners may wish to acquire internet and cable services. U.S. News reports that residents can sign up for internet services that start at $39.99 and increase in price as users need faster speed. Those who wish to have cable can expect to pay $45 to $130 a month, depending on how much television they want to watch. This cost does not account for homeowners who may omit cable altogether and instead decide to purchase a few select streaming services that range from $10 to $30 per service per month.
Additional Costs to Consider
Although you may not consider a gym membership or parking fees as utility expenses, if your condo or co-op offers these features, they may balance out spending in other areas of your monthly budget. When considering several properties for sale, price all out the perks offered with each property. Prioritize your spending according to what’s important to you. Would you rather pay a higher monthly fee that includes more amenities, such as a workout room or swimming pool in the building? Or does a more modest living space fit into your lifestyle and budget? Would you use a gym if it was available to you? If not, you probably don’t need to pay more for it.
Managing Your Utility Bills
Utilities are necessary expenses homeowners must budget for when anticipating their monthly spending costs. To save on utility bills, residents can compare services and costs between providers or find ways to decrease the amount of utilities they use daily. There are creative ways to save money at home.
Deduct Utilities on Tax Returns
Some residents who work from home can offset the higher amount of utilities they use by claiming a home office deduction on their federal tax return. If a homeowner plans to do this, they should collect their bills and receipts throughout the year, then consult with a tax professional to ensure they correctly file the deduction.
If your water bill increases, investigate any signs of leaks, repair running toilets, and find ways to increase your water pressure. You can also limit your water consumption by taking shorter showers and ensuring that you only run the dishwasher or washing machine when it’s full.
Invest in Energy Star-rated appliances or fixtures to save on energy costs, including electricity. High-efficiency appliances can bring down monthly costs and also positively impact your carbon footprint. Upgrading appliances can be expensive, so residents should only swap out their devices when they begin to wear down and no longer perform effectively. They can also consider donating their used appliances to other community members or donation centers if they work properly.
Keep windows closed and locked in the winter to prevent warm air from escaping. Make sure windows and doorways are properly caulked, sealed, or weather-stripped. Turning the thermostat down when you leave home or using a programmable thermostat can help to avoid wasting heat.
Learn more:How to Heat Your Home this Winter
Homeownership in New York City is expensive, and potential property owners should budget their anticipated utility costs. To bring costs down, residents can decrease their consumption, switch appliances, and use other creative measures to make homeownership more affordable.