Special Report

Most Affordable Housing Markets in New York

We’re all familiar with those pandemic-era stories of New Yorkers fleeing the city for rural and suburban enclaves, trading small apartments for bigger ones where they can work remotely. For that reason, the number of available studios in Manhattan has soared by 39% compared to 2020, according to Jonathan Miller, president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

But forget the Big Apple and its billionaire-owned luxury penthouses. Forget even the “affordable” homes in the outer boroughs whose median prices still exceed $200,000 and, more frequently, $300,000. Prices are far lower in many of the Empire State’s often lovely and very livable small cities and towns.

Upstate New York is particularly affordable, considering that higher-paying jobs are a lot less the rule in areas far from New York City — though property taxes tend to remain high. Prices in New York City-adjacent upstate areas like the Hudson Valley, the Catskills, and Kingston have been competitive as city residents have gone in search of second or even primary homes. These are those desirable one-time farmhouses that offer picturesque surroundings and architectural features like wide-plank wood floors. At the other end, these are the most expensive towns to buy a home in the nation.

But farther north and west, real estate has remained accessible in locales that have suffered economically and have had higher crime rates and housing decay. The former industrial giants Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse regularly make “worst cities” lists. Yet there can be a silver lining in those places as far as real estate deals go: Rochester, for example, was recently featured in the list: houses in these markets sell in less than 20 days.

So the upshot is that in and around New York state’s industrial cities, small towns are still accessible and livable for house hunters who choose carefully. Here is a list of 50 places with at least 5,000 residents where home buyers’ money goes far.

Click here to see the most affordable housing markets in New York

To identify the most affordable housing markets in New York, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey five-year estimates, ranking only the 346 census-designated places, cities, and towns with at least 5,000 residents in New York. (All data came from the ACS except percent of population change, which we calculated using ACS data.) 

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