Move From California to New York

Move From California To New York

There’s more to New York state than Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. It’s a large state with a rich history and plenty of natural wonders. Every season has its charms in the Empire State, but many residents would argue that fall is when the Empire State really shines. The foliage glows orange and red, the apples are ready for picking and communities gather for harvest and Halloween celebrations.

Are you ready to Move From California to New York?

60 Second Relocation Assessment

Moving Advice

  • June is one of the most popular month for moving. While you will have mild weather, this could pose problems for traffic and parking. Avoid moving during the sweltering days of August. September, October and November are good months to move, and also make up prime tourist season for New York City.
  • Moving to rural or suburban areas present fewer difficulties than the city in regard to moving truck regulations. Most private homes have driveways and parking on suburban streets is permitted—just be courteous of your new neighbors!
  • Moving to New York City, however, could bring surprises if you are not prepared. New York City does not issue moving permits, but parking regulations are strict. Speak to your building manager before the move to determine if there’s space for a moving truck to park, and what size truck you can reasonably fit. Commercial moving trucks have special restrictions in New York City.
  • If you plan on moving large items into a city apartment, ask if the building has a freight elevator—or any elevator at all.

Change your address online. To make your move from California to New York easier, consider changing your address online. It is easy to do, inexpensive, and will ensure that your mail arrives at your new home with you.

Cities and Metro Areas

Whether you want a moderate-size college town like Syracuse or Binghamton, or you want to see if you’ve got what it takes to make it in Manhattan, you’ll find options moving to New York State. You can choose an apartment, a room, a home, an apartment within a home or even a McMansion (prices are still down, right?). Regardless of your income, you can find somewhere to live within driving distance of the more desirable areas of the state.

Bay Ridge has some great schools, crime and safety rank favorably, and the quiet and peaceful feel of the place makes for just the ideal environment for families. Jackson Heights has friendly residents, schools and jobs that are just around the corner, and top-notch medical facilities. Endwell in Broome County is beautiful, perched on a picturesque spot along the scenic Susquehanna River outside the city of Binghamton.

Other notable cities/towns include Tribeca (Manhattan), Bay Ridge (Brooklyn), Battery Park City (Lower Manhattan), and Country Club (Bronx).

Cost of Living

New York is one of the more expensive states to live, work and play in. If you live in New York, and especially in the metro area, you can expect to pay more for goods like food, housing, utilities, gasoline, and car insurance. As with most states, prices in rural regions will be lower than in urban areas. This difference is especially broad in New York State since prices are so high in the metro area.

The reason many New Yorkers have roommates is that NYC’s cost of living is insane. But it’s not just housing. Nearly all your bills will be higher in New York City. This includes groceries, entertainment, and alcohol. Everything. New York’s rental market is crazy. In order to lease an apartment, you often have to pay a “broker’s fee,” which is equal to 10% – 15% of annual rent.

The New York State Real Estate market is rebalancing during the third quarter of 2022. Summer activity is usually a very busy time of the year; however, shrinking affordability and economic uncertainty challenged the summer buying season. The Fed’s aggressive monetary policies to curve inflation directly impact the New York housing market as we see the decrease in month-over-month home prices and sales volume.

As of Sept 2022, the median price for a home in the state was $498,900, down 10.1%  from the peak of  $555,100  in June of 2022. It is clear that the recent steep rise in mortgage rates has curved sales activity and shrunk affordability, and the result has been a drop in home prices.

Highways and Public Transport

Two words sum up one of the top reasons for moving to New York: public transportation. Generally, having a car in New York City is a big hassle. In many neighborhoods, including most of the five boroughs, free parking is like the fabled unicorn. In the evenings, it is not unusual to spend 30 minutes or more searching for a spot.

You can drive through many parts of New York without paying tolls, but have cash on hand or get a well-loaded EZPass, if you want to cross from Queens into Manhattan.

The New York metro area is home to four easy-to-access airports, including LaGuardia and JFK International Airport. Buffalo, Albany, Rochester and Syracuse all have international airports, as well.


Moving to New York means you’ll get to experience all four seasons. Western and Central New York have long, cold winters that begin in early November and taper off in late April; Buffalo routinely gets close to eight feet of snow each year. Fall brings gorgeous foliage and a time to appreciate the outdoors. Summers can get hot, but not as hot as the New York City area or even the Midwest.

Lower New York State has more moderate winters, but the humidity makes it brutal in the summer. Eighty-five degrees on Long Island or in the city gets a lot more uncomfortable than Arizona’s 110 degrees. If you’re moving to New York from a high altitude or drier climate, think of walking through pea soup and you’ll know what to expect.


Depending on where you’re moving in New York, the quality of education varies. Long Island has some of the best schools (with the high property taxes to pay for it). Across New York, K -12 schools have been recognized nationally for their music programs, arts, athletics, math, science and more.

New York is home to many top colleges for students entering a variety of fields. State schools, which include Cornell University, Binghamton and others, are more affordable to residents than private universities. A number of SUNY schools rank high in the 2011 US News & World Report college rankings. SUNY Geneseo was listed as a Forbes Magazine “Best Buy” College for 2011.

Current school rankings (elementary, middle, and high schools), campus and district zoning/location maps, information, and reviews are available online for parents moving to New York.


For the most current information about moving to New York, visit the Official Web Site for the State of New York.

  • New York charges a 4% excise tax on any previously untaxed vehicles you bring into the state or buy there.
  • The New York DMV offers services such as registering your car or renewing your license by mail or online, which helps reduce lines.
  • There are a number of toll roads in New York. You can calculate your toll, for a move or commute, here.
  • Find out how you can Register to Vote .
  • In most areas of New York, collection of garbage and recyclables is included in taxes; unless you live in a multi-family apartment, condo or co-op complex, you won’t have to schedule and pay for garbage collection. Regulations exist and you could face fines for putting trash and recyclables out too early or in the wrong containers.