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Arends: By several measures it may be cheaper to live in the city than in the suburbs.
It's a matter of individual circumstances. If you have a couple of kids and need the space, schools, etc. it's probably less expensive in the burbs. For a single person or a couple it's probably a breakeven, unless you maintain a car in the city, than the burbs are probably still less expensive but a lot less convenient if you continue to work in the city. For the purposes of this conversation, I'm considering the city to be Manhattan or the more convenient sections of Brooklyn or Queens.
Where is 10006?
That is the most amateur analysis I have seen in a while. Boiling it down to cost of car payments vs. mortgage payments? What about NYC resident tax, commuting costs, property tax, coop or condo maintenance costs, costs of maintaining a house (sewage, lawn care, etc), costs of education, etc.
I haven't done a full analysis, but with one kid or less, I think the differences is total costs are fairly equal, assuming a 2 BR apartment vs. a "normal" house in a close suburb. Living in NYC you save on commuting costs, property tax, 2 car payments but you also get hit with the City resident tax and potentially education expenses for private school.
assuming suburbia entails NJ.. don't forget NJ is a gross income tax state (1 of 7 states in the nation)..
so all your itemized deductions, capital/passive/etc losses while generally recognized in NY, don't get you jack in NJ..