The 7 Cheapest Places To Live In New York State

cheapest places in New York city

Are you planning to move to New York State soon, but NYC is out of your budget? You’re not alone, but don’t stress! There are plenty of cities in New York that are way more affordable. So, the question comes naturally, what are the cheapest places to live in New York?

Whether you’re looking for a metropolis or a small picturesque town, we got you covered! In the past, we already covered the cheapest cities in France, Thailand, and Greece, but today we are here to talk about the most affordable places in New York!  

All the cities on our list are located close to wonderful natural areas and are full of attractions and activities for both tourists and locals. 

Cheektowaga

Cheektowaga
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Cheektowaga is a suburban community in Erie County in the western area of New York State. This city is located east of Buffalo and from here you will be able to reach Lake Erie and Lake Ontario in less than an hour. Cheektowaga is also a quick 30-minute drive from Niagara Falls, the perfect destination for a family day trip! 

According to an article published by Smartasset.com in 2020, Cheektowaga is the most liveable city in the whole of the US! The results were based on income equality, average commute time, the concentration of bars, and the percentage of people with health insurance. This city is also well connected with the rest of the US thanks to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport situated north of Cheektowaga. 

Cheektowaga is more of a town than a city and in 2020, it had a population of fewer than 90,000 inhabitants. This town is quite safe, and its criminality rate is low when compared to the national average.  

Here you will be able to relax at Stiglmeier Park, shop at Walden Consumer Square, or spend a night in one of Cheektowaga’s many bars, such as Nickel City Brewz. 

Houses in Cheektowaga are very affordable. Apartment.com lists 12 apartments under $1,000 per month in this area. According to Zumper.com, the cheapest neighborhood in Cheektowaga is Sloan, where a one-bed apartment will cost you an average of only $739. 

Syracuse

Syracuse
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Syracuse is one of the cheapest places to live in New York. This is the fifth most populous city in the state, with a population of over 148.000 inhabitants, according to the 2020 census. Syracuse is located in Onondaga County in the center of New York State. From here, you will be able to reach Rochester in about one and a half hours and Albany with a two hours’ drive.

There are several natural areas close to Syracuse, such as the stunning Onondaga Lake, Morgan Hill State Forest, and Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area. 

If you have kids, this could be the ideal location for you. Syracuse offers plenty of activities suitable for children, such as the Museum of Science and Technology in Downtown Syracuse and the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. But the city also has plenty of attractions for adults. You can explore the Everson Museum of Art, or spend a day at Destiny US, the biggest shopping center in New York. 

Buying a house in Syracuse is extremely cheap if compared to the national average. According to Zillow.com buying a house here will cost you approximately $150.589, way below the New York average. Renting is also affordable. Apartment.com lists more than 100 houses with a rent below $1,000 per month. 

Amsterdam

Clocktower in Amsterdam, New York
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Amsterdam is known by many for its picturesque windmills and many bicycles. But this time, we will not discuss the capital of The Netherlands but a small town which made our list for being one of the cheapest places to live in New York. Amsterdam is located about 40 minutes northwest of Albany and is a quiet little town with lots of green areas and beautiful ancient houses. 

We can assure you that here you will constantly feel connected with nature. Amsterdam is crossed by the Mohawk River and features fourteen parks. This city is also situated less than 25 minutes driving from several beautiful natural reserves, such as Charleston State Forest, Lost Valley State Forest, and Sanders Town Preserve. 

Despite being a small town, Amsterdam is very lively with tons of events taking place all year round. The city organizes annual soup feasts, free movie nights in the park, and yoga activities. You can check Amsterdam City’s official website to see the latest events taking place here. Amsterdam has five elementary schools, two middle school institutes, and even a high school. 

The housing market in Amsterdam is affordable making this a great location, especially for those working in Albany and looking for a quiet town where to live. Zumper.com lists eight different houses with a rent below $1,000 per month. One-bed houses are around $700, two-bed houses are approximately $800, and you can expect to pay $900 for a three-bed house. 

Buffalo

Buffalo, New York
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Known as the city of good neighbors, there are just a few places that have such a good sense of community as Buffalo. Buffalo is the second-largest city in New York with a population of 278,000 people, according to the 2020 census. This city is located on the coast of Lake Erie and is close to the famous Niagara Falls. Buffalo is well connected to the rest of the US, thanks to Buffalo Niagara International Airport which can be reached with a quick 15-minute drive from the center. 

The population of Buffalo is fairly young, thanks to the many university students living in the city. People living in Buffalo are extremely proud of their sports team, especially their beloved Bulls (football) and Sabres (hockey). The locals also value their artistic heritage. In fact, Buffalo is home to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, which has been exhibiting art since 1862. 

If you like spending your weekends outdoors, you can head towards the Holiday Valley Ski resort, about an hour’s drive from downtown. The rest of the year, you can reach Letchworth State Park known for its many hiking trails. 

A house in Buffalo will cost you around $200,000, well below the national average. The cheapest neighbors in the city are Leroy and Front Park. Here you will also have plenty of options to rent a whole apartment for an affordable price. Zumper.com lists 81 houses available in the city for less than $1,000 per month.

Rochester

Rochester, New York
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

The city of Rochester is located between Syracuse and Buffalo and is one of the cheapest places to live in New York. From Rochester, you can reach both these cities in less than one hour and a half. Rochester faces lake Ontario and there are several national parks situated close by, such as Letchworth State Park, and Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. 

This city is the birthplace of some of USA’s most iconic companies such as Xerox and Eastman Kodak. Rochester has also played a fundamental role in the history of the USA, being particularly involved in the abolitionism and women’s rights movements. Its economy is based on technology and education also thanks to its many internationally renowned colleges and universities.

If you like music, then Rochester is the perfect place for you. The Eastman School of Music is known for being one of the best conservatories in the world. The city is also home to the popular Rochester International Jazz Festival that has welcomed artists such as Aretha Franklin and the Blues Brothers. Every year, this festival gathers thousands of people and welcomes hundreds of performing artists from all over the world. 

According to Zillow.com, the average house value in Rochester is $200,453. Renting is also pretty cheap compared to the New York average. Zillow.com lists over 800 houses below $1,000 per month and more than 20 below $750. 

Albany

Albany at night
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Albany is located on the east side of New York State. From here you will be able to reach NYC in less than three hours. This city is crossed by the Hudson River and is close to Albany Pine Bush Preserve and Kaaterskill Wild Forest. 

Albany is located in the heart of the Tech Valley. Young students eager to start a career in the biotech or nanotech should seriously consider moving to this city. Albany is home to several universities and schools such as the SUNY Polytechnic and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, among the best in the country for these types of programs. 

In Albany, you can spend your free time visiting one of the many art and history museums present in the city, such as the New York State Museum, the Albany Institute of History and Art, or the Morningside Gallery. This city has a number of theaters welcoming performers from all over the world. You can spend your weekends catching amazing shows at the Palace Theater or listening to a live concert at Linda WAMC’s studio. 

This is also the ideal place for winter sports lovers. The city has an average of 59 inches of snow every year. On the weekends and winter holidays, people enjoy activities such as skiing and snowboarding in the many resorts in the area, such as Willard Mountain, and Maple Ski Ridge. 

According to Zillow, buying a house in Albany will cost you around $253,575 and, according to Zumper.com, the cheapest neighbors are Pine Hills, West Hill, and Mansion Area. Websites such as Zumper.com, Apartment.com, and Zillow.com list several houses for rent in Albany for which you will have to pay less than $1,000 per month.

Geneva

Geneva city from above
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Geneva is a small city located on the northern end of Seneca Lake, between the two cities of Syracuse and Rochester. This is one of the cheapest places to live in New York and from here you will be able to reach Lake Ontario in about 40 minutes.

If you are a nature lover looking for a new home in New York State, pack your bags and move right away. From the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge to the Finger Lakes National Forest, and the Howland Island Wildlife Management Area, here you will spend every weekend surrounded by nature. 

Geneva has an estimated 13,000 inhabitants and has a proper town vibe to it. But despite being a small town, Geneva has so much to offer! For instance, in the summer, people join the music festivals organized by the city council. People practicing windsurfing and sailing can often be seen on Seneca Lake while families play disc golf on the shores. 

The area also abounds in beautiful wineries and estates particularly known for their Riesling production. In downtown Geneva, you will find beautiful houses and ancient architecture. But let’s get to the serious business! How much does it cost to buy a house here? Buying a house in Geneva is ridiculously cheap with an average price of $159,339, less than half the national average. And we’re not referring to small apartments, but proper houses with a garden and plenty of space!

What Is The Cheapest City To Live In New York?

In order to answer this question, we checked websites such as Zillow.com, Zumper.com, and Apartment.com. Syracuse and Rochester have the highest number of houses for rent below $750 per month.

What Is The Cheapest Place To Live Near NYC?

New Rochelle is the cheapest place to live close to NYC. The average rent for a house is $2,185. Even though this may seem expensive, it’s pretty cheap if compared to the $3,525 rent average in Manhattan and the $3,050 rent average in NYC.

Joseph

For more than 11 years, Joe has worked as a freelance travel writer. His writing and explorations have brought him to various locations, including the colonial towns of Mexico, the bustling chowks of Mumbai, and the majestic Southern Alps of New Zealand. When he's not crafting his next epic blog post on the top Greek islands or French ski resorts, he can often be found engaging in his top two hobbies of surfing and hiking.

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