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.

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.

Massachusetts has a boatload of wicked affordable cities. Hip millennial cities like Boston and Cambridge 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.

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 regular 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

I don’t understand how Chicopee could be 10th most dangerous city in Ma. I moved into Chicopee 4 years ago and have never had an issue with anyone or my property. Its rare to see cops or any emergency in action. Very quiet neighborhoods. People are polite and courteous. The schools have helped my kids grades go up dramatically since we moved here. As for things to do, not much, since its a little town with just stores for shopping. Overall I love this place.

Chicopee Annual fair, not sure what’s it called but it’s a little fair with food and such. Celebrating Chicopee. There are also events for the holidays such as the Christmas Tree lighting. Plenty of parks and the Chicopee recreational office offers classes for adults and children such as swimming lessons, art classes, cpr training and more.

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.

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

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.