Is the Upper West Side Rich?

  Last modified on September 24th, 2020

Is the Upper West Side rich? Well, it depends what your definition of wealth is. But, yes. Manhattan is rich. There aren’t many neighborhoods that one could classify as “affordable” at this point. However, there is a pretty wide range of income on the Upper West Side, as there are people of many age groups.

The Upper West Side also has different areas which command different price tags. Some of New York City’s most expensive apartments can be found on Central Park West (and some of the most affluent celebrities in NYC live here).

Is the Upper West Side Rich?

15 Central Park West is one of the most expensive buildings in NYC.

When it comes to average income, there are a number of different stats out there. Data sets vary, but they all point to a pretty high average income among Upper West Siders. Median household income is $121,392, with 37% of households earning more than $150k. Median household income is $96,010, and the average household income is $170,032. Average household networth is $1,221,071. Median household income is $102,400.

Housing Costs

Looking at what Upper West Side apartments are renting and selling for will give you a good idea of what kind of minimum income you’ll need to get into the cheapest and most expensive apartments here.

When it comes to UWS rentals, you’ll need to be earning about forty times the monthly rent in order to qualify, and studio prices will start at about $2,000. So to qualify for the least expensive Upper West Side rentals, you’ll need to be earning about $80,000.

Keep in mind, however, that this 40x rent income formula applies to collective rent. So if there are two people each earning twenty times the rent, their combined incomes will qualify them and make an apartment more affordable.  This is why the best deal you can get, if you’re on a budget, is a two or three bedroom apartment.

When it come to UWS sales, you’ll need to come up with a down payment of between 10-25% (10% for condos, 20+% for co-ops). In addition, if you’re purchasing a co-op, the board will usually want to see two years worth of maintenance in liquid assets.

A typical one-bedroom co-op will have a monthly maintenance cost of $1,000, which means you’ll need to have $24,000 in the bank.  Prices for this type of apartment can range from about $500,000 to $750,000.  So if you find a place for about 500k, you’ll need to come up with a down payment of $100,000.

So, is the Upper West Side rich?  Take the above into consideration and you decide!

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