The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In New York For 2019


We used data and science to determine which places in New York 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 New York.

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What is one commodity that seems to be used all of the time but is somehow difficult to obtain? You guessed it: money. For those starting their careers or those thinking about changing careers, one worry is probably on your mind a lot, which is how will I afford the monthly expenses?

Income is great, but it will only go as far as your expenses. You can have a really great salary, but if you are living in an apartment that costs thousands of dollars in rent each month, you may feel like you are making mere pennies.

So how do you make your income last longer? Live in a cheaper place. Easy as that. Rent is one of the most expensive aspects of many people’s monthly expenses and can be an easy way to cut down on costs if you live in an affordable city.

If you want to live in Manhattan, you will probably find it difficult to find even a cheap broom closet to live in. However, if you live in New Jersey and commute in, you may find that your expenses plummet greatly.

So the great secret to saving money is that it’s not so much about where you work that matters, but rather where you live.

When you think of New York, you may not think of affordable. But that is likely because you are thinking of New York City, the city that never sleeps, not New York State, a place filled with mountains and cute towns and suburbia.

New York State has many assets outside of the Big Apple. Ever heard of Niagara Falls? Yeah, that is in the same state as New York City. New York is also filled with many beautiful lakes and has great trails and parks for camping.

So where are these so-called super affordable cities in New York? Do they really exist? And are any close to the Big City?

While most of the cheapest cities are located in Upstate New York, there are definitely some options near all the hubbub of NYC. But what were the cheapest of the cheap?

We looked at the 165 largest cities in New York and ranked them based on several factors of “affordability.” That is, how far does your income go in each city, in terms of rent and housing prices?

The big winner is Waterloo, a city determined to keep their winning spot. Waterloo is a city near Seneca Falls and en route to Niagara Falls. Who wouldn’t like being able to visit another country on the weekends or swim in some beautiful lakes?

But if that doesn’t seem interesting to you, New York has many amazing places to offer, including other top affordable cities Ilion and Hornell.

North Tonawanda, a Homesnacks favorite, also ranked highly. Why do we love it so much? It is a mere 20 minutes from Niagara Falls. You could eat dinner every day overlooking one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.

Interested to see how your favorite city in New York stacked up? Read on for more information about our top-ranked cities and our methodology.

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

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In New York For 2019

Waterloo, NY

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,247
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.6x (1st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 80.1x (11th cheapest)
More On Waterloo: Homes For Sale | Data

There’s more to New York than New York City; there’s our number one most affordable city in the Empire State for 2019: Waterloo.

Kudos to ‘The Loo,’ they have been the New York’s most affordable city two years in a row.

The median income for Waterloo is close to $52,000. This allowed Waterloo to also grab the number one most affordable city in NY in terms of home price to income ratio title, too.

Do we think Waterloo has managed to keep their city so affordable because tourists love to check out all of its historical sites? Maybe.

You are definitely winning Waterloo.

The median income in Waterloo comes in at $51,958 and the median home value is $83,200 for 2019.

Ilion, NY

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,930
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 71.2x (30th cheapest)
More On Ilion: Homes For Sale | Data

Ilion thinks that their NY pizza is the best, we just think they’re the best because they are our second most affordable city in New York for 2019.

Ilion residents are all about celebrating one of their most notable people: Billy the Kidd. We think they should also be celebrating the fact that they’re our 3rd most affordable city in terms of home price to income ratio.

Once Great Lakes region manufacturing powerhouse, Ilion’s residents now find themselves working in healthcare, logistics, and engineering to offset their cost of living.

So do yourself and your wallet a favor, and get-a-movin’ to this affordable Herkimer County city.

The median income in Ilion comes in at $44,813 and the median home value is $77,800 for 2019.

Hornell, NY

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 8,332
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.6x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 65.6x (47th cheapest)
More On Hornell: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

If you give us a New York minute, we’ll tell you why Hornell is the Empire State’s third most affordable city for 2019.

Maple City is second when it comes to home price to income ratio. We’re not surprised it’s so affordable. And we definitely think it’s because they have such a strong economy.

Jobs in manufacturing, healthcare, and waste management support Hornell’s economy. H-Tizzle’s $40,000/year median income provides stability, affordability, and some extra cheddar for a Lake Ontario beach trip or two.

And if you’re looking for a side hustle to make Hornell even more affordable, we hear they’re always hiring dealers at the local casino. #BlackJack

The median income in Hornell comes in at $40,400 and the median home value is $66,200 for 2019.

Ogdensburg, NY

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 10,851
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.8x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 64.6x (51st cheapest)
More On Ogdensburg: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Head northeast from Hornell, towards the Canadian border, and you will run right into our fourth most affordable city in New York: Ogdensburg.

This city in St. Lawrence County is the 4th most affordable city in terms of home to income ratio and it is the 51st cheapest for rent to income ratio. Up two spots from last year, we’re pretty sure the residents in border city know a good deal. More importantly, those numbers scream buy, don’t rent.

We’re pretty sure this is also why Ogdensburg is HomeSnacks number one city to retire in New York for 2019. (Check it out, folks. It’s worth a google.)

Either way, seems like they’re keeping their townies happy and their city affordable.

The median income in Ogdensburg comes in at $38,901 and the median home value is $68,100 for 2019.

Olean, NY

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 13,911
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.9x (10th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 64.7x (50th cheapest)
More On Olean: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

With the economy doing so well, people are moving now more than ever. Might we suggest New York’s fifth most affordable city for 2019: Olean?

O-town scored an 8/10 for education on our snackability scale. And since a good education helps you make money, and money makes people happy, we’re pretty sure you’ll want to call the affordable Olean home.

According to our data, they should be New York’s poster city for affordability, housing, and safety.

And you know what else Olean’s residents know? Apparently a good deal when they see it, because they are the 10th most affordable city for home price to income ratio.

The median income in Olean comes in at $40,291 and the median home value is $77,600 for 2019.

Medina, NY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,814
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.8x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 61.0x (60th cheapest)
More On Medina: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

No this isn’t the Funky Cold Medina that Tone Loc sings about. Medina is actually New York’s sixth most affordable city for 2019.

This little Erie Canal city is 5th when it comes to home price to income ratio. We’re not surprised it’s so affordable. And we definitely think it’s because they have such a strong economy as a result of agriculture and sandstone

Now if growing fruit and/or carving sandstone isn’t your shtick, but living in the oh so affordable Mediana is, we heard “‘The Jewel of the Erie Canal” is alway looking for canal boat guides.

The median income in Medina comes in at $39,741 and the median home value is $71,300 for 2019.

Kenmore, NY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 15,319
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 6)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.0x (14th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 81.6x (8th cheapest)
More On Kenmore: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Wouldn’t be cool if Kenmore, New York is where Kenmore appliances were produced? Well it’s not, but it is our seventh most affordable city in New York for 2019.

Located just South of Niagara Falls, Kenmore had one of our highest snackability scores with an emphasis on jobs and education. Not to mention, Kenmore is 8th cheapest in terms of rent to income ratio. We suggest you rent while you get to know what affordable Kenmore neighborhood home you want to call home.

So if you are looking for an affordable New York city with safe, small town charm and smart people, hurry on over to Kenmore

The median income in Kenmore comes in at $59,785 and the median home value is $119,900 for 2019.

North Tonawanda, NY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 30,752
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (23rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 79.6x (14th cheapest)
More On North Tonawanda: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Just North of Kenmore, also along the Erie Canal, is our eighth most affordable New York city for 2019: North Tonawanda.

North Tonawanda is nothing like New York, NY. This city in Niagara County has great affordable neighborhoods, nice people, and it’s safe.

The Jewel of Niagara County is home to one of the greatest percentage of young folks (25 to 44) concentrated into one city on our list. And if we’ve learned anything about Millenials, they know a good deal.

North Tonawanda has a lot of great amenities like the Herschell Carousel, the Gateway Harbor Park, and lots of great biking trails. North Tonawanda is a staycation waiting to happen. #NorthTonawandaKeeping NewYorkAffordable

The median income in North Tonawanda comes in at $53,002 and the median home value is $112,600 for 2019.

Hamburg, NY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,603
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (20th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 95.3x (3rd cheapest)
More On Hamburg: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Just South of Buffalo, we find our ninth most affordable city in New York for 2019: Hamburg.

We believe that for a city to be truly hip, it needs to be affordable and diverse.

This little city in Erie County scored an 9/10 for affordability and a 5/10 for diversity. We think that makes Hamburg pretty hip.

When St. Louis residents aren’t busy preparing for their annual cool, super hip, Hamburg Music Festival, they can be found earning the dream with jobs in healthcare, banking, and hospitality.

I think we can all agree that affordability and happiness go hand-in-hand. You are the “Town that Friendship Built,” after all. We bet your residents are pretty happy, Hamburg.

The median income in Hamburg comes in at $75,459 and the median home value is $159,500 for 2019.

Depew, NY

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 15,283
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 9)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (17th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 71.9x (27th cheapest)
More On Depew: Homes For Sale | Data

And last but not least, our tenth most affordable city in New York for 2019 is Wayne.

Depew is a super cool, super affordable Buffalo-burb. Depew is so cool and affordable, that it’s cheaper to buy a home, here, than rent. That’s because Depew’s residents want you to call their city home.

Depew’s median household income is close to $54,000/year. We’re pretty sure this has something to do with jobs in healthcare, gaming, and education.

Hurry on over to “The Village of Unexcelled Opportunity,” because, obviously, opportunity awaits.

The median income in Depew comes in at $54,967 and the median home value is $114,600 for 2019.

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

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In New York
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 New York 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 165 places in New York that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in New York according to the data is Waterloo.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. New York Cheapskate

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

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

  1. Kaser
  2. Sleepy Hollow
  3. Manorhaven

For more New York reading, check out:

Where Are The Most Affordable Places To Live In New York?

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Waterloo 10.67 5,247 1.6x 80.1x
2 Ilion 15.5 7,930 1.7x 71.2x
3 Hornell 17.67 8,332 1.6x 65.6x
4 Ogdensburg 20.0 10,851 1.8x 64.6x
5 Olean 23.83 13,911 1.9x 64.7x
6 Medina 24.0 5,814 1.8x 61.0x
7 Kenmore 24.67 15,319 2.0x 81.6x
8 North Tonawanda 28.33 30,752 2.1x 79.6x
9 Hamburg 30.33 9,603 2.1x 95.3x
10 Depew 31.0 15,283 2.1x 71.9x

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