Using Zillow Heat Maps to Find the Right NYC Suburb

When we here at PicketFencer speak to folks looking to move to the New York City suburbs, a big question that always comes up is “Can I afford it?” With New York City itself having become exorbitantly expensive, many young families are looking for options where their dollars can stretch further, where they can get more space for their money, and where they can get access to excellent educations for their children without having to shell out for private school.

On, users can filter towns by average home value, but another tool that presents home price data in a useful and visual way is Zillow’s Heat Map feature. The Heat Map collects the average home price for zip codes throughout the entire US, and then maps them by color according to tier (green for less expensive, red for more expensive.) Here is their heat map for the NYC metro area, including the suburbs of Long Island, Connecticut, Westchester, and New Jersey.

The map shows several insights, with perhaps the main one being that, while the suburbs are often a more affordable option in the city, it isn’t always the case. Across the map one sees splotches that are even redder than most of the desirable sections of Manhattan and Brooklyn. But it’s important to keep in mind that simply using home values isn’t really an apples-to-apples comparison. Beyond home prices, suburbanites can save in numerous other ways – from schools, to groceries, to avoiding the NYC income tax (for those that go to New Jersey or Connecticut.)

Have any questions about determining your new cost of living in the suburbs? Check out to learn more.