The 10 Most Affordable Places to Live in New York State

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By Michael Yessis Updated June 13, 2024
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Edited by Ashley Simon

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The 14843 zip code in Hornell tops our ranking of the most affordable places to live in New York.

We looked at 517 zip codes in the state, evaluating home values, rental costs, energy rates, property taxes, and five other affordability indicators. We used the data we gathered to calculate our proprietary Affordability Score for each zip code.  

Top 10 most affordable places to live in New York

RankCity Affordability Score Median home valueRental costs
1Hornell 🥇100$107,901$800
2Johnson City🥈92.1$134,047$900
3Binghamton 🥉91.5$162,331$825
4Cortland90.1$183,883$1,127
5Niagara Falls87.2$185,856$948
6Albany83.9$238,847$1,323
7Buffalo83.7$215,453$1,203
8Lockport81.5$232,907$898
9Oswego81.1$160,675$1,338
10Rochester80.8$150,735$1,450
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1. Hornell

Here's why the 14843 zip code in Hornell is New York's most affordable place to live.

🔎 Key data about Hornell

Data pointValueRank (out of 517 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 100 No. 1N/A
Median home value $107,901[1]No. 12 -$509,331.52
Home affordability ratio 2.0No. 5-4.9
Home value five-year change 39.8%[2]No. 27329.3%
Home value one-year forecast -1.3%[3]No. 3210.3%
Rental costs $800[4]No. 1-$1,973
Rent affordability ratio 1.49%No. 13-1.6%
Median household income $53,542[5]No. 453-$36,228
Property taxes $2,523[6]No. 22-$3,972
Energy costs $0.11 kWh[7]No. 5-$0.09
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Hornell's 14843 zip code is the cheapest place to live in New York, leading the 517 markets we evaluated. 

The median home value is $107,901, making it the 12th-cheapest housing market in the state. Forecasts project a -1.3% change in home values in the next year. Rent in the zip code averages $800 per month, which is the 13th cheapest amount in New York.

The median property tax for homeowners in Hornell is $2,523 per household, the No. 22 ranked market in New York. 

Residents pay $0.11 per kWh of electricity, which ranks No. 5 among New York markets.

2. Johnson City

The 13790 zip code is the 2nd-cheapest place to live in New York.

🔎 Key data about Johnson City

Data pointValueRank (out of 517 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 92.1No. 2N/A
Median home value $134,047[8]No. 20-$483,185.15
Home affordability ratio 2.5No. 15-4.4
Home value five-year change 55.5%[9]No. 39745.0%
Home value one-year forecast -0.3%[10]No. 3821.3%
Rental costs $900[11]No. 4-$1,873
Rent affordability ratio 1.67%No. 18-1.4%
Median household income $54,014[12]No. 451-$35,756
Property taxes $3,801[13]No. 81-$2,694
Energy costs $0.11 kWh[14]No. 5-$0.09
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Johnson City's 13790 zip code has a median home value of $134,047, which is the 382nd-cheapest housing market in New York. You can rent for an average of $900 per month. That's the 4th-cheapest price in the state.

The average household income in the zip code is $54,014, which ranks 451st-highest in the state. 

Homeowners in Johnson City pay a median property tax of $3,801 per year, making it the 81st-most affordable market in New York.

Johnson City ranks No. 5 among New York energy markets. You'll pay $0.11 per kWh of electricity.

3. Binghamton

The 3rd-cheapest place to live in New York is Binghamton's 13903 zip code.

🔎 Key data about Binghamton

Data pointValueRank (out of 517 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 91.5No. 3N/A
Median home value $162,331[15]No. 39-$454,901.48
Home affordability ratio 2.8No. 30-4.1
Home value five-year change 60.6%[16]No. 44450.1%
Home value one-year forecast -0.3%[17]No. 3821.3%
Rental costs $825[18]No. 2-$1,948
Rent affordability ratio 1.42%No. 9-1.7%
Median household income $58,100[19]No. 428-$31,670
Property taxes $3,922[20]No. 89-$2,573
Energy costs $0.10 kWh[21]No. 1-$0.10
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The No. 39 cheapest housing in New York is Binghamton's 13903 zip code, with a median home value of $162,331. Rents in the market average $825 per month, making it the 2nd-most affordable rental market in the state.

The median property tax for households in Binghamton is $3,922, which makes it the 89th-cheapest place in New York. Binghamton ranks No. 1 among New York markets by energy costs. Residents pay $0.10 per kWh of electricity.

4. Cortland

The 13045 zip code in Cortland comes in at No. 4 on our list of the cheapest places to live in New York.

🔎 Key data about Cortland

Data pointValueRank (out of 517 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 90.1No. 4N/A
Median home value $183,883[22]No. 59-$433,349.48
Home affordability ratio 2.9No. 35-4.0
Home value five-year change 42.7%[23]No. 29832.2%
Home value one-year forecast -1.7%[24]No. 274-0.1%
Rental costs $1,127[25]No. 13-$1,646
Rent affordability ratio 1.77%No. 27-1.3%
Median household income $63,762[26]No. 393-$26,008
Property taxes $4,308[27]No. 118-$2,187
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[28]No. 57-$0.07
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The No. 59 cheapest housing market in New York is Cortland's 13045 zip code, where the median home value is $183,883. Renters here pay an average of $1,127 per month. 

When it comes to energy costs, Cortland ranks 57th among New York markets. Residents pay $0.12 per kWh of electricity.

The median property tax for households in the zip code is $4,308, which makes it the 118th-cheapest market in New York.

5. Niagara Falls

The 14304 zip code in Niagara Falls ranks No. 5 among New York's most affordable places to live.

🔎 Key data about Niagara Falls

Data pointValueRank (out of 517 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 87.2No. 5N/A
Median home value $185,856[29]No. 61-$431,376.36
Home affordability ratio 2.9No. 38-4.0
Home value five-year change 51.1%[30]No. 36940.6%
Home value one-year forecast 0.5%[31]No. 4042.1%
Rental costs $948[32]No. 5-$1,825
Rent affordability ratio 1.48%No. 12-1.6%
Median household income $64,161[33]No. 390-$25,609
Property taxes $3,566[34]No. 66-$2,929
Energy costs $0.13 kWh[35]No. 98-$0.06
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Niagara Falls's 14304 zip code has a median home value of $185,856, the 61st-cheapest market in the state. Forecasts project a 0.5% change in home values in the next year. 

The median property tax per household in Niagara Falls is $3,566. It's the 66th-cheapest market by tax rate in New York.

6. Albany

The No. 6 most affordable place to live in New York is the 12209 zip code.

🔎 Key data about Albany

Data pointValueRank (out of 517 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 83.9No. 6N/A
Median home value $238,847[36]No. 97-$378,385.57
Home affordability ratio 3.0No. 60-3.8
Home value five-year change 45.4%[37]No. 32434.8%
Home value one-year forecast -1.3%[38]No. 3210.3%
Rental costs $1,323[39]No. 30-$1,450
Rent affordability ratio 1.68%No. 19-1.4%
Median household income $78,858[40]No. 311-$10,912
Property taxes $4,780[41]No. 159-$1,715
Energy costs $0.13 kWh[42]No. 98-$0.06
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The back half of our top 10 kicks off with Albany's 12209 zip code, which has the 97th-cheapest home values in New York. The median home value is $238,847. Rents average $1,323 per month, making it the 30th-most affordable rental market in the state.

Residents pay $0.13 per kWh of electricity. It's the 98th-cheapest energy market.

7. Buffalo

Buffalo's 14220 zip code is the 7th-cheapest place to live in New York.

🔎 Key data about Buffalo

Data pointValueRank (out of 517 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 83.7No. 7N/A
Median home value $215,453[43]No. 78-$401,779.90
Home affordability ratio 3.1No. 70-3.7
Home value five-year change 61.6%[44]No. 45651.1%
Home value one-year forecast 0.5%[45]No. 4042.1%
Rental costs $1,203[46]No. 20-$1,570
Rent affordability ratio 1.75%No. 24-1.3%
Median household income $68,813[47]No. 364-$20,957
Property taxes $1,905[48]No. 10-$4,590
Energy costs $0.13 kWh[49]No. 98-$0.06
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You'll find the 78th-cheapest home values in New York in Buffalo's 14220 zip code. The median value: $215,453. Renters in Buffalo pay an average of $1,203 per month.

Homeowners in Buffalo pay a median property tax of $1,905 per year, which is New York's 10th-most affordable market.

The average household income is $68,813, which ranks 364th-highest in the state.

8. Lockport

The 8th-cheapest place to live in New York is Lockport's 14094 zip code.

🔎 Key data about Lockport

Data pointValueRank (out of 517 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 81.5No. 8N/A
Median home value $232,907[50]No. 93-$384,325.65
Home affordability ratio 3.4No. 104-3.5
Home value five-year change 55.7%[51]No. 39845.2%
Home value one-year forecast 0.5%[52]No. 4042.1%
Rental costs $898[53]No. 3-$1,875
Rent affordability ratio 1.29%No. 2-1.8%
Median household income $69,489[54]No. 359-$20,281
Property taxes $4,457[55]No. 136-$2,038
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[56]No. 57-$0.07
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The 93rd-cheapest housing market in New York is Lockport's 14094 zip code, with a median home value of $232,907. Renters pay an average of $898 per month, the No. 3 rental market in the state.

The median property tax for households in Lockport is $4,457, which makes it the 136th-cheapest place in New York. The average household income of $69,489 ranks 359th.

9. Oswego

Oswego's 13126 zip code sneaks into the top ten of New York's most affordable places to live.

🔎 Key data about Oswego

Data pointValueRank (out of 517 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 81.1No. 9N/A
Median home value $160,675[57]No. 35-$456,557.53
Home affordability ratio 2.7No. 22-4.2
Home value five-year change 51.5%[58]No. 37141.0%
Home value one-year forecast 1.3%[59]No. 4602.9%
Rental costs $1,338[60]No. 32-$1,435
Rent affordability ratio 2.21%No. 65-0.9%
Median household income $60,475[61]No. 414-$29,295
Property taxes $3,567[62]No. 67-$2,928
Energy costs $0.13 kWh[63]No. 89-$0.07
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The 35th-cheapest housing market in New York is Oswego's 13126 zip code, where the median home value is $160,675. Renters pay an average of $1,338 per month. It's the state's 32nd-cheapest rental market.

The median property tax for households within the zip code is $3,567, which makes it the 67th-cheapest property tax rate in New York. 

10. Rochester

The final spot on our list of the most affordable places to live in New York goes to the 14619 zip code in Rochester.

🔎 Key data about Rochester

Data pointValueRank (out of 517 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 80.8No. 10N/A
Median home value $150,735[64]No. 29-$466,497.29
Home affordability ratio 2.4No. 10-4.5
Home value five-year change 64.8%[65]No. 48554.2%
Home value one-year forecast 1.4%[66]No. 4843.0%
Rental costs $1,450[67]No. 52-$1,323
Rent affordability ratio 2.27%No. 73-0.8%
Median household income $63,993[68]No. 392-$25,777
Property taxes $2,745[69]No. 30-$3,750
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[70]No. 30-$0.08
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The 29th-most affordable market in New York is Rochester's 14619 zip code. The median home value is $150,735. Rent in the market costs $1,450 per month on average, making it the 52nd-most affordable rental market in New York.

The median property tax for households in Rochester is $2,745, which is the 30th-cheapest property tax rate in the state.

Rochester ranks No. 30 among New York markets by energy costs, with households paying $0.12 per kWh of electricity.

How we ranked the most affordable places in New York

We evaluated 517 zip codes in New York with a population over 10,000 on nine metrics. We then assigned each market an Affordability Score based on its weighted and combined rankings. 

✍️ Editor’s note: Our Affordability Score identifies the most affordable places in a state by zip code.

Often the zip code we identify will represent an entire city or portion of a city. 

Occasionally the zip code we identify will encompass an area that includes one or more small towns. In these cases, the data we’ve gathered applies to the entire zip code, not just the single town we’re using to help identify the zip code's location. 

If you’re looking to move to one of these affordable places, we recommend doing additional research to make sure the costs in the area — and the quality of life it offers — meet your specific needs.

Methodology: What is an Affordability Score?

Our proprietary Affordability Score is a score on a scale of 0 (worst in state) to 100 (best in state) that estimates the affordability of a particular zip code. It takes into account these key data points for each zip code.

  • Median home value: The median home value for each zip code comes from the Zillow Home Value Index. The lower the median home value relative to the median value in New York, the higher our score on this component. We assign a weight of 23.8% to median home value.
  • Home affordability ratio. The home affordability ratio is the typical median home value divided by the median household income in the zip code, which reveals the number of years of household income needed to afford a home in that zip code. A lower ratio is better because it means more households can afford a home. The data comes from the Zillow Observed Rent Index and the U.S. Census American Community Survey. We assign a weight of 23.8% to the home affordability ratio.
  • Home value five-year change: The home value five-year change is the amount that the median home value in the zip code has risen or fallen during the last five years. Our data comes from the Zillow Home Value Index. We assign a weight of 4.8% to the home value five-year change.
  • Home value one-year forecast: The home value one-year forecast comes from Zillow Forecast data. It projects how much home values in the zip code are forecasted to change in the next year. We assign a weight of 4.8% to the home value one-year forecast.
  • Rental costs. The rental costs are the observed rents in the zip code, sourced from the Zillow Observed Rent Index. The index includes "listed rents that fall into the 40th to 60th percentile range for all homes and apartments in a given region." We assign a weight of 11.9% to rental costs. 
  • Median household income: The inflation-adjusted median household income figures for the zip code comes from the U.S. Census American Community Survey. We assign a weight of 4.8% to median household income.
  • Rent affordability ratio. The rent affordability ratio is the ratio of rental costs divided by median household income, which provides the percentage of household income needed to pay a typical month’s rent in the zip code. The data comes from the Zillow Observed Rent Index and the U.S. Census American Community Survey. We assign a weight of 11.9% to the rent affordability ratio.
  • Property taxes: The property tax figures are the median real estate taxes paid in the zip code, sourced from the U.S. Census American Community Survey. The lower the property tax rate relative to the New York average, the higher our score on this component. We assign a weight of 7.1% to property taxes. 
  • Energy costs: The energy costs are the costs of a kilowatt hour (kWh) of residential electricity in the zip code, sourced from the U.S. Department of Energy. The lower the cost of electricity relative to the New York average, the higher our score on this component. We assign a weight of 7.1% to energy costs.  

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