When you think of New England, you imagine the stately homes, gorgeous coastlines, and delicious seafood. What you don't think of is affordable housing. True, most of New England real estate will set you back quite a bit, but there are a few cities where buying a home won't break the bank.
New England cities feature some of the most stunning vistas, thriving metros, small-town charm, and beautiful historic architecture lining both neighborhoods and downtown streets. And while New England towns feel like an idyllic place to live, many of the cities come with a high price tag.
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Undeniably, New England homes have an expensive reputation where even the most affordable properties seem to stray into the higher price ranges.
However, there are a few standout cities that make the move to New England a little easier on your wallet, and still have all the amenities, charm, and breathtaking scenery that you come to expect with a New England town.
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1. Montpelier, Vermont
Vermont's capital, Montpelier is one of the tinier capital cities, with under 8,000 residents. Even though it's smaller, the city has a vibrant atmosphere, bustling downtown, and of course, the quintessential New England feel.
You can easily navigate the downtown streets on foot and explore the local shops and eateries lining the streets. You'll also be able to enjoy the Capital's City Farmers Market, craft brew scene, countless festivals, art walks, and more.
Certainly, Montpelier's beautiful and historic architecture adds to the overall charm of the city. You'll find mostly pre-World War II homes built before 1939, making the majority of the city's historic homes some of the oldest in the nation.
And you'll get a great price for a Montpellier home. The median home value is $246,900, up 3.8% in value in the last year and is expected to rise 1.5% in the coming year.
The current median listing price of homes is $302,450, though you'll easily be able to find a home at an even lower cost within the price range of $150,000 to $250,000.
2. Portland, Maine
Maine's largest city, Portland continuously ranks high as one of the most liveable New England cities due to its steady job market, quality of life, and great housing market.
With a mix of artistic, historic, and outdoorsy qualities as a coastal city, Portland's lively downtown is filled with one-of-a-kind shops, galleries, and great restaurants. Truly, authenticity, arts, and the farm-to-table lifestyle shapes much of the character and vibe of the city.
Naturally, you'll be inundated with beautiful, historic New England architecture all throughout the city and especially with Portland's unusually large stock of pre-World War II homes showcasing old Victorian-styles nestled along tree-lined streets.
Home appreciation rates have also skyrocketed putting the city in the top 20% in the nation for appreciation.
The median home value is $311,100 with the median listing price of homes in Portland at $392,500 though you'll also be able to find beautiful homes within a price range between $246,000 and $350,000.
3. Kennebunk, Maine
Another Maine town, Kennebunk exudes the classic New England character. Located right near the rocky seashore, the city of Kennebunk boasts plenty of amenities including local small shops, boutiques, galleries, and plenty of restaurants offering up tasty seafood cuisine.
You'll revel in stunning coastal views, wide, sandy beaches as well as the 65-mile Eastern Trail that both bikers and hikers can enjoy. Indeed, Kennebunk is a quiet town with few college students or families with young children, though it is a great place to raise a family.
The city has great schools, low crime, small-town charm, and affordable east coast housing. Historic homes here can be described as grand old sea captain's homes with some built back in the 1750s and 1760s. Of course, there's plenty of more modern homes as well.
The median home value in Kennebunk is $389,243 with the majority of home prices ranging from $231,000 to $347,000.
4. Kingston, Rhode Island
Home to the University of Rhode Island, Kingston's residents skew on the younger side with students and young professionals helping to shape the culture and character of the village. And if students and millenials live here, you know housing is quite affordable.
With stunning 18th and 19th century architecture, Kingston's historic homes have a median value of $326,600 with the majority of home prices ranging from $238,000 to upwards of $470,000.
While school is in session you'll see a noticeable increase of bustling activity in the village's downtown with residents eating out at restaurants, grocery shopping, and enjoying the waterfront.
Additionally, Kingston makes the list for its low crime rate, highly-rated schools, and a steady job market.
5. Quincy, Massachusetts
Just south of Boston, the historic city of Quincy is the birthplace of two of our presidents and provides its residents with numerous options for entertainment, outdoor activities, parks, restaurants, shops, and a boardwalk along Marina Bay offering stunning views.
The city makes it easy to get around on foot as many of the amenities are close by to Quincy neighborhoods. Additionally, the majority of Quincy residents find taking public transit an easy and convenient option to get to work and around the city.
Quincy attracts young professionals and families who want to live near a big city but without the big city prices. While Quincy is the most expensive city on this list, compared to Boston and other cities around the state, Quincy is substantially more affordable.
The median home value in Quincy is $462,647 with a median sales price of $433,500. Home values in Quincy are up 6.1% in the past year and are expected to rise 1.9% in the upcoming year.
It's not impossible, however, to find homes listed within a price range of $250,000 to $375,000.
Finding Your New England Home
While New England homes can put you back quite a few, there are plenty of cities and neighborhoods that offer more affordable housing options and still pack plenty of coastal charm and historic character.
But before you purchase a home in one of these cities, be sure to work with a top-rated real estate agent who will help you navigate the home buying process and uncover additional cost-saving opportunities.
For even more savings, partner with a Clever Partner Agent where you'll be eligible for a home buyer rebate of $1,000 on homes over $150,000, which you can put toward closing costs and other moving expenses. Get in touch with Clever to learn more!