11 Cheapest Places to Live in New York

New York is a popular state to settle down. Living in the Empire State can, however, be rather costly and a difficult goal for some people to reach. Many people think of New York as “the big city”. There are some areas of the state that are much more affordable. Upstate New York is often overlooked by outsiders as being part of New York at all. There are, in fact, many fascinating and beautiful places to live that are quite affordable. On that note, here are 11 of the cheapest places to live in New York.

1) Dunkirk

Dunkirk is a small city of over 12,000 residents along the shore of Lake Erie. Its cost of living index is an especially low 78, which is significantly lower than both New York overall and the nation’s standard. The median value of a house or condo in Dunkirk is just over $66,000, and the median household income is over $40,000. The most common industry, by far, is manufacturing, and the most common jobs are those in the field of production. Considering that Dunkirk lies on the southern shore of one of the Great Lakes, there is a boardwalk with a market that is a popular destination, as well as a pier and a lighthouse. There are also restaurants and taverns where you can go to enjoy some food or drinks with family and friends.


2) Albany

The capital of NY, Albany, is a relatively inexpensive living option for people who are looking for an urban environment. The cost of living index is slightly higher than the national average standard, but lower than the state average, at 106. Within that index, however, grocery expenses, housing, and utilities are all cheaper than the national average. The median house or condo value is $169,900. Public administration is the most common industry, and the most common jobs are in sales. Albany is an attractive city because there are so many activity options available to residents and visitors alike. For example, there are museums, planetariums, historic sites, sporting venues, and more. There are plenty of nightlife options for adults, and also parks and shows for children. Furthermore, there are often festivals and events happening somewhere in the city. So if you are looking for a place with all the amenities of a busy city but without a huge price tag, Albany may be for you.



3) Hornell

Hornell is a great place to settle down for cheap in New York State. The town, in the Finger Lakes region, has a cost of living index below even the national average of 100, at 91. The median house or condo value is under $66,000, though median household income is almost $38,500. In recent years, the crime rate in Hornell has been significantly lower than the national average. The average household size here is 2.4 people. Despite being a pretty small town, there are many attractions of living in Hornell. There is a museum filled with railroad relics, a state park where you can soak up the beauty of nature, places to try local craft beverages, and more. If you want to try some fresh food from the area, there are also several farms and markets to visit. Additionally, there is a community arts center and some antique centers where you can embrace history and culture.


4) Troy

Troy is a small city not too far from the state’s capital, Albany. It has a population of just under 50,000 residents with a median age of 29.8 years old. The cost of living index, compared against a national average standard of 100 and a NY state average of 122, is 102. Housing is relatively cheap here, with median home value falling under $147,000. The most common industries in Troy are educational services and retail trade, and the most common jobs are in office and administrative support positions. Troy has several attractions for residents. Not only is it the home of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, but there is also a great farmers’ market, a sports stadium, museums, and more. There are also several hospitals and nursing homes in the city, allowing for access to health care and senior support.


5) Waterloo

Located in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York lies Waterloo, a low-cost village of over 5,000 residents. The cost of living index here is an affordable 88, 12 points under the United States’ average. The median house or condo value is under $86,000, which is much lower than the state’s overall median of $293,500. The median household income, while also lower than average, is still a comfortable $47,144. Despite being a relatively small place, Waterloo is home to a mall of outlet stores where you can get a lot of shopping done. If you would like to spend some time on the water, Fuzzy Guppies canoe rental can help you experience some of the area’s natural beauty closer up. Additionally, you can dip into the history of the region by visiting the historic Peter Whitmer Log Home or the American Civil War Memorial. Other available activities include going to the local golf course or checking out the bars and shops in town.



6) Lancaster

Yet another affordable place to live in New York is the town of Lancaster. This town has a cost of living index of 85, with housing being an area of particularly low cost. The median house or condo value, at $130,552, is less than half the median price for New York State overall. The median household salary meanwhile, at $50,934 is just under $10,000 less than the state median. Almost a quarter of the industry in Lancaster is manufacturing, and many residents work in production services. The town has many non-manufacturing-related things to do also, however. For instance, you can spend some time walking around outside at Westwood Park or Como Lake County Park. If you are interested in the history of the area, you can visit Hull Family Home & Farmstead to see a Revolutionary War reenactment. Alternatively, if you want to soak up a cultural experience, you can attend a show at the local opera house.


7) Elmira

Elmira is a city close to the New York-Pennsylvania border with a population of over 28,600 residents. The city is very affordable, with a cost of living 13% lower than the national average, and thus significantly more affordable than the average for New York State. The median house or condo value is under $68,000, and the median household income is almost $31,000. Manufacturing and retail trade make up large portions of Elmira industry, and many residents work production-related jobs. This city is a good living option because it offers nature, learning, and plenty of fun to its residents. For instance, there is a nature center where you can go hiking and get close to some of the wildlife. There is also the Chemung Valley History Museum, which is home to a great number of historical artifacts. For days when you want to have less information-oriented fun, you can check out the large Elmira Drive-In Theater for a film, or visit the Harris Hill Amusement Park.


8) Auburn

Auburn, a small city in Cayuga County, is an affordable place to live, with a population of over 27,000 people. The cost of living index for Auburn scores in at 90, which is 10% cheaper than the national average, and even more so than New York State’s average score of 122. Housing is particularly low cost, as the median house or condo value is at $108,225, less than 40% of the average cost for a New York home. Residents of Auburn tend to be around as healthy as is average for the state, in several categories and overall condition. There are also many hospitals and health care facilities available in the area. Auburn is a great place to be for people who want to learn some history as well as have many options for things to do. There are several museums, including an agricultural museum and historic houses. There are also multiple venues where you can go to see shows performed. Other attractions include an art center, local farms, and walking trails.


9) Buffalo

Buffalo is a city of over 258,000 residents in Western New York. It is much more affordable than NYC and many other cities, with a cost of living 20% lower than the national average. The median house or condo value is $75,800, while the median household income is over $32,000. Retail trade and manufacturing are among the most important industries in this city, and the most common occupation is working in sales. Buffalo is a fantastic living option for people who want to experience urban life as well as be relatively close to some natural attractions. In the city, you can go see shows, attend holiday festivals and parades, visit a huge variety of restaurants, enjoy an active nightlife, and more. For days when you want to get away from the bustle, it is only a short commute to Niagara Falls.


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