The 5 Most Affordable Places to Live In New York State

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By Clever Real Estate Updated February 16, 2023


Finding a home that meets your needs without breaking the bank can be a serious challenge. State-wide, New York has a median home value of $325,000. When you add in maintenance costs and property taxes, it can be difficult for many to buy and own a home.

That's why we've compiled a list of affordable cities in New York to help you find a new place to live. All of these places are more affordable than average, meaning you can get more bang for your buck.

Looking for the most affordable places in New York is a start, but you'll save even more money by working with a great agent.

The top New York real estate agents know the local market and where to find pockets of more affordable homes. They can also help negotiate a better price when you do find your dream home.

At Clever Real Estate, we can match you with agents in any area you're interested in — even multiple areas at the same time. You can interview as many agents as you like until you find the perfect place to call home — all at no cost or obligation to you.

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Even if you're just daydreaming about where your next home might be, it's never too early to ask for an expert opinion. Real estate agents know the ins and outs of their local areas, including jobs, schools, and affordable neighborhoods.

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Most affordable cities in New York

Whether you're looking for a quiet small town or a trendy suburban neighborhood, it's possible to locate pockets of affordability throughout New York.

Here are our top picks for New York residents on a budget:

1. Albany

The capital city of New York is where most of the action happens in the political world of New Yorkers. There’s a lot of lobbying and jobs for lawyers in Albany. On top of that, there’s an active nightlife, historic attractions, and stadium sports and entertainment.

According to data from Zillow, the median home listing is around $175,000 and values are going up in this hot seller’s market. While the median household income is lower, around $42,000, the city has a lot to offer. There are even free events and concerts all throughout the summer downtown.

With SUNY Albany, Sage College, and Saint Rose all located within the city, there’s a lot of new ideas and creative energy around. Several of the public schools are highly rated and have programs connected to the institutes of higher learning, making the city great for raising high achievers.

2. Kingston

Since it became a Dutch trading post in the 1650s, Kingston has been a major pathway of upstate New York. If you love getting outdoors and being on the water, you’ll get both from the Rondout Creek and the Hudson River.

For lovers of architecture, check out the many pre-revolutionary war homes that dot the city. History and architecture buffs will love living in this city.

Right now, it’s truly a buyer’s market as homes have a median value below $175,000. If you’re looking to buy and invest in the region, you could see big returns quickly. Even if you’re just looking for a home to settle down in, you could negotiate something that offers you the chance to refinance soon after you close on it.

Even after you've found a more affordable place to live in New York, moving there can be expensive. By working with a Clever Partner Agent, you'll have an expert in your corner and you may be able to take advantage of Clever Cash Back.

When you buy a home with a Clever agent, you might be eligible for up to cash back to use on anything you want. For the average home value of $325,000, you'd pocket money to help you move (or splurge on a great housewarming gift for yourself).

» SAVE: Learn more about what you can save with Clever Cash Back!

3. Ogdensburg

Sitting way up near the Canadian border in St. Lawrence County is Ogdensburg with a population of around 11,000. Don’t overlook this sleepy city as it’s one of the cheapest places to rent or buy a home.

While the median income in the city is around $39,000, the median home value is just $54,000. It’s been named as a great city to retire in and has been a thriving small city for as long as the border has existed. Nearly a third of the households here have kids that are in school, meaning there’s an active family life in the city.

From here, you can take the highway as a direct route to Ottawa for a weekend away in Canada. The city has an international airport if you need to get a little further away.

4. Olean

On the opposite end of the state, there’s an affordable town right by the Pennsylvania border. The schools in this city of 14,000 are highly rated and there’s even a community college within the city to keep your kids around a couple of years after high school graduation.

Olean’s median home value is just around $58,000, making it a great place for people who make the median income in the city. If you’re bringing home $40,000 a year, which is the median in the city, you’ll be able to pay off your home quickly and easily. While it might not be the ideal place for a home flipper, it’s a nice place to settle down.

While it was once the home of bootleggers, Olean is now a safe place to live. With a serious academic bend in the city and a community where 30% of households have school-aged kids, it’s a fantastic place for families.

5. Kenmore

If you need a lot more scenery than some of the other places on this list, you can go all the way to the western tip of the state near Niagara Falls. In Kenmore, you’ll find a city with small town charm and a population of 15,000 giving it enough people to make for a diverse life.

The median income in the city is around $60,000 and the median home value has climbed up to more than $150,000. People are starting to learn about what a great place Kenmore is to settle down in.

The city has lots of great public schools, including the high school where CNN journalist Wolf Blitzer graduated from. If you’re looking for a place to raise your family, this is a fantastic choice. Just 20 minutes from Buffalo, you get access to the city without the crime, with better schools, and with much bigger yards.

The benefits of a great real estate agent

If you're just researching affordable places to live, you might wonder why you need a real estate agent. They're the ones that help you once you've already decided on a house, right?

Not necessarily. The truth is, it's never too early to start looking for an agent. In fact, talking to a realtor early on in the process can help you narrow down your options much faster than doing research on your own.

A real estate agent's job is to know everything about their local area. They'll find the best deals in desirable neighborhoods — and might just help you snag your dream home for an affordable price. Let a Clever agent help you discover your options today — all while you enjoy cash back!

💰 Buy with a top agent, earn cash back!

Buy your dream home with a top local realtor from a trusted brand like Keller Williams or RE/MAX. Keep more money in your pocket by earning cash back on eligible purchases.

Enter your zip code to request hand-picked agent matches in minutes. Compare your options until you find the perfect fit, or walk away with no obligation. Try Clever's free service today!

Frequently asked questions about affordable places to live in New York

How can I save money when buying a home in New York?

In addition to shopping in some of the most affordable areas, you'll want to work with an experienced real estate agent. They can find you hidden gems at low price points. A good agent can also negotiate like a pro to get you a lower sale price and more buyer incentives. You may also be able to take advantage of home buyer rebates.

How do I know how much I can afford to buy in New York?

We recommend using the 28/36 rule to know how much house you can afford. This means your housing expenses shouldn't exceed 28% of your income, and all of your total debt shouldn't exceed 36%. Learn more about how to calculate your home buying budget.

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