The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Massachusetts For 2019


We used data and science to determine which places in Massachusetts go easy on your wallet.

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the cheapest places to live in Massachusetts.

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We know it’s hard to believe to most North Easterners, but there is more to life than the New England Patriots and the Red Sox in the North East, folks. There’s the need and want for affordable living and Massachusetts has just that.

The Bay State wants you to call one of its many affordable cities home. This blue state screams affordability. They’re practically giving away money, here. So much that it’s almost like they are paying YOU to live here.

Massachusetts has a boatload of wicked affordable cities. Hip millennial cities like Boston and Cambridgeport have multiple opportunities for young professionals to pad their bank accounts. Cities like Salem and Provincetown provide inexpensive staycations. And if you ‘bang a left,’ you can find safe, affordable, family-oriented cities like Newton and Melrose.

Massachusetts has a lot of wicked prestigious schools like Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston College. And if we know anything about wicked smart people, they know a good deal when they see one.

More importantly, you have no excuse to get a great education that might one day catapult you into one of Massachusetts’ major industries like biotechnology, engineering, and maritime trade. Who knows, maybe one day you can offset your gocery bill by working for one of the twelve Fortune 500 companies that grace The Baked Bean State.

What Massachusetts lacks in size, they sure make up in millionaires. They have the sixth largest number of millionaires per capita in the United States. And with a statewide median income close to $68,000/year, who wouldn’t want to get their hands on all that ‘cheddah’.

If you want to live the American dream without a hefty Beantown price tag, look beyond Boston. Now don’t fret, we’ve done the work for you. Take a look below at our top affordable cities in Massachusetts’ list for 2019.

Grab some lobstah chowdah, a regulah coffee, find a quiet spot at the Cape, and read on. We promise it will be wicked cool.

It’s simple economics, people. The less you have to spend on bills, the more you will have to spend on things that matter: like your home, good food, Vineyard Vines, Lilly Pulitzer, Celtics tickets, and just overall good East Coast fun.

This economic formula for affordability is no different for the good people of Massachusetts.

So, what does the most affordable place to live in the Bay State look like?

Well, after crunching data from the US Census in terms of median housing costs, median income, and overall cost of living for cities with over 5,000 residents, Palmer Town takes the cake.

If you care about home values, cost of living, and high quality of life, take a look at the list below to find the most affordable places in Massachusetts, where your salary will let you live like royalty.

And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Massachusetts and the cheapest places in the country:

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Massachusetts For 2019

Palmer Town, MA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 12,237
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.3x (1st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 72.5x (5th cheapest)
More On Palmer Town: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Palmer is a city in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 12,140 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. Palmer adopted a home rule charter in 2004 with a council-manager form of government. Palmer is one of fourteen Massachusetts municipalities that have applied for, and been granted, city forms of government but wish to retain “The town of- in their official names.

The median income in Palmer Town comes in at $57,022 and the median home value is $188,600 for 2019.

Gardner, MA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 20,496
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.6x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 62.2x (15th cheapest)
More On Gardner: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Gardner is a city in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 20,228 at the 2010 census. Gardner is home to Dunn State Park, Gardner Heritage State Park, Lake Wampanoag Wildlife Sanctuary, and Mount Wachusett Community College.

The median income in Gardner comes in at $48,915 and the median home value is $175,200 for 2019.

Westfield, MA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 41,667
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 65.8x (9th cheapest)
More On Westfield: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Westfield is a city in Hampden County, in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, United States. Westfield was first settled in 1660. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 41,094 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Westfield comes in at $62,212 and the median home value is $220,500 for 2019.

Agawam Town, MA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 28,748
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.6x (7th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 63.6x (12th cheapest)
More On Agawam Town: Homes For Sale | Data

The median income in Agawam Town comes in at $61,919 and the median home value is $223,300 for 2019.

Pittsfield, MA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 43,289
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.7x (8th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.4x (23rd cheapest)
More On Pittsfield: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Pittsfield is the largest city and the county seat of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is the principal city of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Berkshire County. The population was 44,737 at the 2010 census. Although the population has declined in recent decades, Pittsfield remains the third largest municipality in western Massachusetts, behind only Springfield and Chicopee.

The median income in Pittsfield comes in at $46,871 and the median home value is $173,100 for 2019.

Southbridge Town, MA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 16,858
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 6)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.7x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.8x (21st cheapest)
More On Southbridge Town: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The Town of Southbridge has a city form of government with a city council legislative body, but via a statute calls itself a Town. It is located in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 16,719 at the 2010 census. Southbridge is one of fourteen Massachusetts municipalities that have applied for, and been granted, city forms of government but wish to retain “The town of- in their official names.

The median income in Southbridge Town comes in at $50,202 and the median home value is $188,200 for 2019.

Chicopee, MA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 55,778
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.6x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.2x (29th cheapest)
More On Chicopee: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Chicopee is a city located on the Connecticut River in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States of America. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 55,298, making it the second largest city in Western Massachusetts after Springfield. The current mayor is Richard Kos.

The median income in Chicopee comes in at $48,866 and the median home value is $175,500 for 2019.

Review Of Chicopee by HomeSnacks User

This was an extremely unwelcoming town that was difficult to navigate and had a disgusting hotel.

The hotel we stayed at was filthy, and when we called to ask for more pillows, they said they didn’t have any.

North Adams, MA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 13,211
Rank Last Year: 20 (Up 12)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.8x (10th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 54.6x (30th cheapest)
More On North Adams: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

North Adams is a city in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its population was 13,708 as of the 2010 census, making it the least populous city in the state. Best known as the home of the largest contemporary art museum in the United States, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams has in recent years become a center for tourism, culture and recreation.

The median income in North Adams comes in at $38,774 and the median home value is $147,500 for 2019.

Review Of North Adams by HomeSnacks User

The economy of North Adams is based on drug trafficking, abetted by proudly corrupt city administrators and a few bad apples among the State Police commanders of Berkshire County. At least half the people walking the streets are junkies, and most of the North Adams police officers above patrol rank are in the business of protecting organized crime.

Soon after a multiagency bust in November 2015 disrupted the Latin Kings leadership around Springfield, MA, hordes of Latin Kings from Springfield began pouring into North Adams to establish a lucrative new base for their narcotics trade. Around the same time, the police director issued a taxi license to two business partners who had been previously convicted of operating a taxi service to distribute narcotics in the Philadelphia area. This taxi service – whose employees range from shady to scary – keeps busy 24/7 ferrying customers, dealers, and bag men to and from drug houses all over the city, with no fear of police intervention.

Meanwhile, the NAPD and Berkshire Narcotics Task Force make headlines for their drug busts – chiefly targeting the UNPROTECTED players in the local drug scene who dare compete with the Latin Kings. This serves the purpose of making local law enforcement look proactive against narcotics even while protecting a major faction of criminals.

The Latin Kings have a history of corrupting public officials in several states, and even of infiltrating police departments. Presto, in late 2017 the North Adams police director was bold enough to appoint a full-time police officer whose shoddy personal history would disqualify him even from civilian duties with any police department upholding minimal standards. This person’s pattern of bad driving, failing to pay bills, defaulting on court appearances, falsifying job applications, obtaining Taser training under false pretenses, and being dismissed from previous part-time police positions, makes a mockery of every respectable police officer on the force.

Woe to any citizens who complain about this state of affairs. If you don’t like the network of Latin Kings drug operators colonizing entire apartment buildings near your home, or the noise and menace emanating from one of their crack dens, forget about seeking assistance from the police. They will ignore all demands for investigation or intervention. If the thugs start to burglarize and vandalize your home in retaliation, the police will ignore it, all the while denying the existence of any crimes, failing to take reports even of felonies, and filing false reports to support their crooked agenda. If you complain too persistently, the police may target you, trying to silence you with name-calling and threats, gaslighting you as crazy, and even encouraging the criminals to lay siege to your home.

Don’t expect help from the mayor, either. Although the City Charter mandates oversight of the police department as one of his duties, Thomas Bernard has no intention of changing the status quo of corruption and abuse. His concerns don’t include crime victims, or the more abstract notion of justice as a crucial underpinning of civilized society. As a petty bureaucrat, his instinct is not to lead, but to dodge responsibility while groveling to appease his masters higher up in the Berkshire County political food chain. Which brings us to the former mayor Richard Alcombright, the former district attorney David Capeless. and the recently retired police director Michael Cozzaglio. It was on their watch that the Latin Kings swarmed into North Adams,and it was those crooked officials who stood by for years, refusing to intervene as an 86-year-old woman and her middle-aged daughter suffered hundreds of crimes ranging from prowling to felony burglaries, home invasions, and relentless vandalism of their home.

Per the City Charter, the City Council’s role is to represent the people of North Adams in matters concerning the municipality. In reality, most of the councilors ignore their constituents and care little about many serious problems in the city. During my 6+ years here, I have observed that they take their cues from the mayor to ignore major criminal problems and marginalize people whom Alcombright and Cozzaglio wanted to silence.

All the city councilors have enough intelligence to do their job, but they are self-serving and complacent, displaying no curiosity about matters outside their own areas of concern. As long as they feel safe and comfortable, they see no problem with fellow North Adams residents being victimized to the point of ruin. They refuse to hold the mayor accountable for the quality of the police department or to stand up for vulnerable people who are being victimized. The mayor, in his turn, lacks the integrity and brainpower to do his job. Despite an elite academic pedigree and an advanced degree in public administration, he appears unfamiliar with a concept most 12-year-olds encounter in middle school civics class: that ensuring that a justice system that fails to serve everyone fairly ends up serving nobody at all. Here in North Adams, the vacuum of civic leadership has resulted in the police department subverted to serve organized crime, at the expense of all the rest of us.

What stands out in North Adams- Drugs, drugs, and more drugs! The mayor who refuses to do his job of overseeing the police department, and the city councilors who turn their backs on crime victims, can’t wait to bring legalized marijuana into town. Farms! Retail stores! Accessories! Edibles! POT POT POT! Medical! Recreational! Warehouses full of it!

Note also: The Porches, an upscale hotel catering to the needs of MassMOCA, is located square in the middle of a major corridor of police-sanctioned Latin Kings activity, with unsavory characters strollingbiking past the hotel day and night. It seems likely that the officials who welcome Springfield gangsters to the neighborhood have worked out some agreement that the criminals are to refrain from menacing The Porches’ guests. However, the Porches itself apparently doesn’t bother to conduct even rudimentary background checks of its employees. Several young women on the housekeeping staff and at the front desk are local junkies/dealers who work closely with the Latin Kings. They are criminals, with criminal boyfriends who may specialize in home invasions, cat burglaries, identity theft, etc. These are the people who handle your credit card and driver’s license when you check in. Then you must trust them to clean your room, with your luggage and expensive possessions sitting there unguarded when you go out to lunch.

Fitchburg, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 40,666
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.6x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 53.9x (32nd cheapest)
More On Fitchburg: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Fitchburg is the third largest city in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 40,318 at the 2010 census. Fitchburg is home to Fitchburg State University as well as 17 public and private elementary and high schools.

The median income in Fitchburg comes in at $51,412 and the median home value is $183,400 for 2019.

Attleboro, MA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 44,326
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.9x (11th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 68.1x (8th cheapest)
More On Attleboro: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Attleboro is a city in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. It was once known as “The Jewelry Capital of the World” for its many jewelry manufacturers. According to the 2010 census, Attleboro had a population of 43,593 in 2010.

The median income in Attleboro comes in at $70,136 and the median home value is $273,900 for 2019.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Bay State For 2019

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Massachusetts
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it’s actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2013-2017 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Massachusetts to figure out which is the least expensive.

What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 53 places in Massachusetts that have more than 12,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Massachusetts according to the data is Palmer Town.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Massachusetts Cheapskate

If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Massachusetts, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in massachusetts for 2019.

Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Massachusetts according to the data:

  1. Cambridge
  2. Boston
  3. Somerville

For more Massachusetts reading, check out:

Where Are The Most Affordable Places To Live In Massachusetts?

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Palmer Town 5.33 12,237 3.3x 72.5x
2 Gardner 7.67 20,496 3.6x 62.2x
3 Westfield 8.33 41,667 3.5x 65.8x
4 Agawam Town 11.33 28,748 3.6x 63.6x
5 Pittsfield 11.33 43,289 3.7x 57.4x
6 Southbridge Town 12.67 16,858 3.7x 57.8x
7 Chicopee 13.0 55,778 3.6x 55.2x
8 North Adams 13.67 13,211 3.8x 54.6x
9 Fitchburg 14.0 40,666 3.6x 53.9x
10 Attleboro 14.33 44,326 3.9x 68.1x

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