What if you could live in New York City and have an entire house to yourself, including a backyard and, heck yeah, a garage, for much less than $1 million? If that’s your kind of residential paradise, behold Staten Island. It’s one of those rare sections of NYC that feels more suburban than urban. 

There’s more to love, like speedy and free access to Manhattan courtesy of the Staten Island Ferry — a perk you won’t find in areas bordering the city. (Hello, Westchester and Long Island, we’re talking about you!) It’s also the greenest borough with more than 10,000 acres of parkland. When it comes to getting the most bang for your home-buying dollars, Staten Island delivers, truly. As of June 2021, the median asking sales price was $665,000, a bargain compared to Manhattan’s median asking price of $1,400,000. 

Staten Island Homes Under $700K on StreetEasy Article continues below

Table of Contents

    Where Is Staten Island Located?

    Riding the Ferry from Manhattan to Staten Island
    Need to drive to the ferry? You’ll find plenty of parking near the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island. (Image Bank)

    As its name implies, it’s an island, and it’s nestled between New Jersey and Brooklyn, southwest of Manhattan. Got a car? Staten Island connects to Brooklyn via the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Several different bridges lead to New Jersey, including the Bayonne Bridge.

    If you plan to ride the Staten Island Ferry to Manhattan, you can expect a 25-minute trip. There are a couple of options for getting to the ferry within the island. If you drive, there’s plenty of pay parking available. It’s also accessible via the Staten Island Railway, which is free to use.

    Sunnyside S.I. Homes Under $700K on StreetEasy Article continues below

    Why It’s a Great Place To Live

    Many Staten Island homes like this one have pools in the backyard.
    Yes, many S.I. homes on the market for less than $1M have a pool! (From a listing at 1097 Rensselaer Ave.)

    Lisa Lonuzzi, a real estate agent with Corcoran Group, has lived in the borough for the last 30 years and represents Staten Island homes for sale. For her, it was the perfect place to set up a residence.

    “The two biggest draws, I would say, are convenience and affordability. That’s what I feel works for me as a resident,” she says. “I can get into Brooklyn and Manhattan when I need to quickly, and I have more space to spread out at home.”

    The island’s affordability is a big draw for many. Jorge Mendoza of United National Realty Group says he has worked with buyers moving from Brooklyn or Queens, where they may have been living in an apartment or a townhouse.

    “My clients can afford much more in this borough,” he adds. “They get more square footage, bigger lots, and driveways.”

    Staten Island Rentals Under $3000 on StreetEasy Article continues below

    What Are the Best Things To Do in Staten Island?

    The housing stock in Staten Island includes charming post-wars like this pink house.
    A charming post-war, pink house in Staten Island. (From a listing: 117 Van Cortlandt Avenue)

    Lonuzzi says there are many great secrets to Staten Island that the average visitor might not know. One of them is the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden on the North Shore. Several notable museums, such as the Staten Island Children’s Museum and the National Lighthouse Museum can also be found on the beautiful island. When it comes to live entertainment, there’s The St. George Theater. The venue rivals Radio City Music Hall.

    There are also plenty of parks. Favorites include Silver Lake Park and High Rock Park, which offer trails and plenty of leisure space. And if the water is more your taste, Staten Island is one of many NYC beach towns. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk is 2.5 miles long and stretches along the beach. There are several public beaches where swimming is permitted, such as South Beach and Midland Beach.

    Staten Island Neighborhoods

    A farmhouse inspired kitchen in a Staten Island home
    Homes on the North Shore have a distinctive suburban vibe that you won’t find in most sections of NYC. (From a listing at 300 Henderson Ave.)

    Staten Island is thought of as three sections: the North Shore, the South Shore, and Mid-Island. Lonuzzi explains that the North Shore is home to older abodes since it was the first island area to be settled and developed. Houses on the South Shore tend to be much newer.

    Richmondtown is a neighborhood that goes back to the 1600s. Much of it has been preserved to look as it did all those years ago. Many areas are on hills since the island has a great deal of geographic diversity. Todt Hill overlooks the water and is also the highest point in all of New York City.

    St. George is the place to look if you want a short commute to Manhattan. It is the closest neighborhood to The Staten Island Ferry. Meanwhile, Randall Manor also provides excellent access to the ferry while offering older houses. This neighborhood was well underway by the time the Verrazano Bridge opened in the 1960s.

    How Did Staten Island Get Its Name?

    Large and yellow Victorian house in Staten Island.
    Large Victorian-style homes are plentiful in Staten Island. (From a listing at 19 Alvine Avenue)

    The name “Staten Island” derives from the Dutch “Staaten Eylandt,” which honors the Dutch parliament called the Staaten-General. When New York City was divided into counties in 1693, the island was dubbed, Borough of Richmond. While both Richmond and Staten Island were used interchangeably for some time, it wasn’t until 1975 that New York officially renamed Staten Island.

    Famous Staten Islanders

    A brick colonial style home in Staten Island.
    Picture yourself living in this stately Colonel home on Staten Island. (From a listing at 87 Glenwood Ave.)

    Many celebrities call Staten Island home, such as Pete Davidson, who recently depicted his upbringing in the borough in the movie “King of Staten Island.” His Saturday Night Live co-star Colin Jost is also from the borough.

    Many members of the Wu-Tang Clan are also initially from Staten Island. And Gene Simmons of KISS spent his college years in St. George. Celebrity chef Bobby Flay is also a Staten Island native.

    Where To Find Staten Island Homes for Sale

    You can start by searching on StreetEasy. You’ll find lots of single-family and 2-family homes, in addition to some co-ops and condos. Mendoza recommends looking at properties all over the island, especially if you are unfamiliar with the neighborhoods. It’s a great way to get a feel for the borough’s offerings.

    “I think they’ll find there’s quite an assortment of homes available to fit anybody’s needs,” he says.

    Looking to buy, sell, or rent in NYC?

    Get Started with StreetEasy