New York First-Time Home Buying Assistance Programs for 2024

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The housing market in New York state can be challenging, especially for first-time buyers. Home prices in the Empire State in January 2024 were up 6.3% over the prior year, with a median sale price of $518,800. The number of homes sold dropped by 3%, and the number of days on the market dropped as well. And 37% of homes sold above their listing price.

If you’re a first time homebuyer in New York, this home buying guide can help you navigate the process.

Who Is Considered a First-Time Homebuyer in New York?

A first-time homebuyer is someone who has either never owned a home or hasn’t owned one in the past three years. Most first-time homebuyers will be looking for a home mortgage loan to finance their purchase.

There are some additional groups that qualify as first-time homebuyers according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These include:

  • A single parent who has only owned a home with a partner while married
  • A displaced homemaker who has only owned a home with a spouse
  • Someone who has owned a principal residence not permanently affixed to a permanent foundation
  • Someone who has only owned a property that wasn’t in compliance with state, local, or model building codes

Veterans may qualify for some of the same programs first-time buyers do.

5 New York Programs for First-Time Homebuyers

These are the programs that can provide low-interest mortgages and closing cost assistance for qualified first-time buyers in New York.

  •  HomeFirst Down Payment Assistance Program
  •  SONYMA: Achieving the Dream
  •  SONYMA: Low-Interest Rate Loans
  •  SONYMA: Conventional Plus
  •  SONYMA: FHA Plus

1. HomeFirst Down Payment Assistance Program

This program provides a forgivable loan of up to $100,000 toward the down payment or closing costs on a one- to four-family home, condo, or coop in New York City.

To qualify, you must be a first-time homebuyer in New York, meet income eligibility requirements, and complete a homebuyer education program. You must make a down payment of at least 3% of the purchase price, with 1% of that coming from your own funds.

Contact a counseling agency  for more information.

2. SONYMA: Achieving the Dream

The State of New York Mortgage Agency  offers a 30-year fixed rate mortgage for one- to four-family homes, cooperatives and condominiums. You can put just 3% down, with a minimum cash contribution of 1%.

To qualify, you must be a first-time homebuyer with good credit and stable employment. There are income limits you must meet, and you will need to attend a homebuyer education course.

3. SONYMA: Low-Interest Rate Loans

This program offers low-interest loans and low down payment requirements for the purchase of family homes, condominiums, cooperatives, and manufactured homes.

You must be a first-time homebuyer with good credit and stable employment to be eligible. There are also income limits you must meet, and a homebuyer education course you will need to take.

4. SONYMA: Conventional Plus

Conventional Plus  combines a 30-year fixed rate mortgage with down payment assistance for the purchase of a primary home. The down payment assistance can also be used for closing costs. To qualify, you must meet income limits.

5. SONYMA: FHA Plus

Another program to check out is FHA Plus, which also combines 30-year fixed rate mortgage loans with down payment assistance for the purchase of a primary home. You need to meet income limits to be eligible. (Trying to decide what type of mortgage is best for your needs? Reading a guide to mortgage terms can be helpful.)

How to Apply to New York Programs for First-Time Homebuyers

Each of the programs we’ve covered has its own criteria for qualification, including income and purchase price limits. Carefully review all programs and requirements to help determine your best option. Then, get pre-qualified with a participating lender.

Federal Programs for First-Time Homebuyers

Several federal government programs are designed for people who have low credit scores or limited cash for a down payment. Although most of these programs are available to repeat homeowners, like state programs, they can be especially helpful to people who are buying a first home or who haven’t owned a home in several years.

The mortgages are generally for single-family homes, two- to four-unit properties that will be owner occupied, approved condos, townhomes, planned unit developments, and some manufactured homes.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loans

The FHA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), insures mortgages for borrowers with lower credit scores. Homebuyers choose from a list of approved lenders that participate in the FHA loan program. Loans have competitive interest rates and require a down payment of 3.5% of the purchase price for borrowers, who typically need FICO credit scores of 580 or higher. Those with scores as low as 500 must put at least 10% down.

In addition to examining your credit score, lenders will look at your debt-to-income ratio (DTI, your monthly debt payments compared with your monthly gross income). FHA loans allow a DTI ratio of up to 50% in some cases, vs. a typical 45% maximum for a conventional loan.

Gift money for the down payment is allowed from certain donors and will be documented in a gift letter for the mortgage.

FHA loans always require mortgage insurance: a 1.75% upfront fee and annual premiums for the life of the loan, unless you make a down payment of at least 10%, which allows the removal of mortgage insurance after 11 years. For a $300,000 mortgage balance, upfront MIP would be around $5,250 and monthly MIP, at a rate of 0.55%, would be around $137. You can learn more about these loans, including FHA loans for refinance and rehab of properties, by reading up on FHA requirements, loan limits, and rates.

Freddie Mac Home Possible Mortgages

Very low- and low-income borrowers may make a 3% down payment on a Home Possible mortgage. These loans allow various sources for down payments, including co-borrowers, family gifts, employer assistance, secondary financing, and sweat equity.

The Home Possible  mortgage is for buyers who have a credit score of at least 660.

Once you pay 20% of your loan, the Home Possible mortgage insurance will be canceled, which will lower your mortgage payments.

Fannie Mae HomeReady Mortgages

Fannie Mae HomeReady Mortgages allow down payments as low as 3% for low-income borrowers. Applicants generally need a credit score of at least 620; pricing may be better for credit scores of 680 and above. Like the Freddie Mac program, HomeReady loans allow flexibility for down payment financing, such as gifts and grants.

Fannie Mae Standard 97 LTV Loan

The conventional 97 LTV loan  is for first-time homebuyers of any income level who have a credit score of at least 620 and meet debt-to-income criteria. The 97% loan-to-value mortgage requires 3% down. Borrowers can get down payment and closing cost assistance from third-party sources.

Unlike an FHA loan, the 97 LTV loan has no upfront mortgage insurance fee and does have cancellable mortgage insurance. The loan is for just one-unit single-family homes, co-ops, condos, and planned unit developments.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Loans

Active-duty members of the military, veterans, and eligible family members may apply for loans backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA loans, which can be used to buy, build, or improve homes, have lower interest rates than most other mortgages and don’t require a down payment. Most borrowers pay a one-time funding fee that can be rolled into the mortgage.

Another benefit of VA loans is that they do not require private mortgage insurance (PMI) for borrowers who make a down payment of less than 20%. And they have more flexible credit score requirements. In some cases, even those who have previously been in foreclosure or bankruptcy can qualify.

Borrowers applying for a VA loan will need a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA so make sure to review a guide to qualifying for a VA loan as a first step in the process.

Native American Veteran Direct Loans (NADLs)

Eligible Native American veterans and their spouses may use these no-down-payment loans to buy, improve, or build a home on federal trust land. Unlike VA loans listed above, the Department of Veterans Affairs is the mortgage lender on NADLs. The VA requires no mortgage insurance, but it does charge a funding fee. For more information visit the NADL site .

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Loans

No down payment is required on these loans to moderate-income borrowers that are guaranteed by the USDA in specified rural areas. Borrowers pay an upfront guarantee fee and an annual fee that serves as mortgage insurance.

The USDA also directly issues loans to low- and very low-income people. For loan basics and income and property eligibility, head to this USDA site .

HUD Good Neighbor Next Door Program

This program helps police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and teachers qualify for mortgages in the areas they serve. Borrowers can receive 50% off a home in what HUD calls a “revitalization area.” They must live in the home for at least three years. Find out more from the New York regional HUD offices .

First-Time Homebuyer Stats for 2024

Here’s some data about New York home sales.

  • Median home price in New York: $518,800
  • 33% down payment in New York: $15,564
  • 20% down payment: $103,760
  • Average credit score in New York State: 721

Financing Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

In addition to federal and state government-sponsored lending programs, there are other financial strategies that may help you become a homeowner. After reading up on how to choose a mortgage term, check out these tips on how to lower your mortgage payment:

  • Traditional IRA withdrawals. The IRS allows qualifying first-time homebuyers a one-time, penalty-free withdrawal of up to $10,000 from their IRA if the money is used to buy, build, or rebuild a home. The IRS considers anyone who has not owned a primary residence in the past three years a first-time homebuyer. You will still owe income tax on the IRA withdrawal. If you’re married and your spouse has an IRA, they may also make a penalty-free withdrawal of $10,000 to purchase a home. The downside, of course, is that large withdrawals may jeopardize your retirement savings.
  • Roth IRA withdrawals. Because Roth IRA contributions are made with after-tax money, the IRS allows tax- and penalty-free withdrawals of contributions for any reason as long as you’ve held the account for five years. You may also withdraw up to $10,000 in earnings from your Roth IRA without paying taxes or penalties if you are a qualifying first-time homebuyer and you have had the account for five years. With accounts held for less than five years, homebuyers will pay income tax on earnings withdrawn.
  • 401(k) loans. If your employer allows borrowing from the 401(k) plan that it sponsors, you may consider taking a loan against the 401(k) account to help finance your home purchase. With most plans, you can borrow up to 50% of your 401(k) balance, up to $50,000, without incurring taxes or penalties. You pay interest on the loan, which is paid into your 401(k) account. You usually have to pay back the loan within five years, but if you’re using the money to buy a house, you may have up to 15 years to repay.
  • State and local down payment assistance programs. Usually offered at the regional or county level, these programs provide flexible second mortgages for first-time buyers looking into how to afford a down payment.
  • The mortgage credit certificate program. First-time homeowners and those who buy in targeted areas can claim a portion of their mortgage interest as a tax credit, up to $2,000. Any additional interest paid can still be used as an itemized deduction. To qualify for the credit, you must be a first-time homebuyer, live in the home, and meet income and purchase price requirements, which vary by state. If you refinance, the credit disappears, and if you sell the house before nine years, you may have to pay some of the tax credit back. There are fees associated with applying for and receiving the mortgage credit certificate that vary by state. Often the savings from the lifetime of the credit can outweigh these fees.
  • Your employer. Your employer may offer access to lower-cost lenders and real estate agents in your area, as well as home buying education courses.
  • Your lender. Always ask your lender about any first-time homebuyer grant or down payment assistance programs available from government, nonprofit, and community organizations in your area.

It will also help to use a home affordability calculator to see how much you can afford to pay for a home before you get serious about shopping.

The Takeaway

Eligible first-time homebuyers in New York can find mortgage and down payment assistance programs to help them pay for a home. There are also federal-backed and conventional loans that may be a good fit for some buyers.

This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.


FHA loans are subject to unique terms and conditions established by FHA and SoFi. Ask your SoFi loan officer for details about eligibility, documentation, and other requirements. FHA loans require an Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium (UFMIP), which may be financed or paid at closing, in addition to monthly Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP). Maximum loan amounts vary by county. The minimum FHA mortgage down payment is 3.5% for those who qualify financially for a primary purchase. SoFi is not affiliated with any government agency.

†Veterans, Service members, and members of the National Guard or Reserve may be eligible for a loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. VA loans are subject to unique terms and conditions established by VA and SoFi. Ask your SoFi loan officer for details about eligibility, documentation, and other requirements. VA loans typically require a one-time funding fee except as may be exempted by VA guidelines. The fee may be financed or paid at closing. The amount of the fee depends on the type of loan, the total amount of the loan, and, depending on loan type, prior use of VA eligibility and down payment amount. The VA funding fee is typically non-refundable. SoFi is not affiliated with any government agency.


*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.


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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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25 most affordable places to live in New York

Home to almost 20 million people, New York State is full of contrasts, from jaw-dropping skyscrapers of Manhattan to quaint farming communities upstate; from the luxe beach towns of the Hamptons to the rugged Adirondack mountains.

There is a town to call home that will suit almost any taste, but in terms of affordable living, some of the state’s smaller cities and its northern communities really shine. Since New York State’s cost of living is typically calculated as at least 20% higher than the national average, you may not find rock-bottom prices, but this list will steer you toward some budget-friendly gems.

First, to manage expectations: As mentioned briefly, New York has an above-average cost of living by state. And since New York City in particular has such elevated prices (the average Manhattan rental recently hit an eye-watering $5,588), you won’t find that exciting metropolis on this list.

Instead, you’ll find other appealing options, such as northern cities like Rochester, which is enjoying a renaissance, and college towns, like Ithaca, surrounded by gorges and waterfalls. There are also charming villages and towns by the beach which just may tempt you to put down roots.

Next, you’ll learn about some of the best affordable places overall in New York, as well as locations that are particularly appealing to families, young professionals, and retirees.

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New York is a sprawling Mid-Atlantic state that offers an array of communities. If you’re on the hunt for a budget-friendly hometown, check out these five best affordable places to live in New York. Many of these are in the northern reaches of the state, so get ready to have fun in the snow come winter.

1. Syracuse

Located in the northern reaches of New York State, about four hours from New York City, Syracuse is a vibrant town that’s home to 22,000-plus Syracuse University students. But it’s not just a college town: There are over 100,000 other residents living in a variety of bustling downtown neighborhoods, such as Hanover, Clinton, and Armory Squares, all with well-preserved historic buildings. And there’s a wealth of outdoor activities in the area’s parks, lakes, and ponds. You can refuel at the famous Dinosaur Bar-B-Que after.

  • Population: 144,451
  • Median Household Income: $40,490
  • Cost of Living: 87.4% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,424
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.32
  • Average Property Tax: 3.01%

Housing Affordability: In terms of buying a home, prices in Syracuse are moderate, although they have risen 8.5% year over year. The typical rental has risen $74 year over year, but the median price to lease a property in Syracuse is 30% below the national figure, and the market is described as cool, meaning you are likely to have some choice.

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A college town in the Finger Lakes region of New York, Cortland can be an affordable and welcoming place to call home. It stretches along the Tioughnioga River and can be a terrific spot for those who love the outdoors and sports (there are three places to ski within a 15-mile drive). It has a wine trail, and the downtown has been undergoing a revitalization program that’s nearing completion. Those features and the fact that you can snag a house in the range of $200,000 can make it an affordable place to live in New York.

  • Population: 173,146
  • Median Household Income: $50,697
  • Cost of Living: 78.3% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,200
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 3.56
  • Average Property Tax: 3.03%

Housing Affordability: Buying a home in Cortland can be affordable. The average home price-to-income ratio is 3.56, and first-time homebuyer programs in New York might make the cost of purchasing a property even more attainable. The rental market is deemed cool, with the median rental of $1,200 well below the national figure.

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Located along the Hudson River, the state capital of Albany is another best affordable place to live in New York. It has great historic and modern architecture; it’s a college town and entertainment hub; and you’ll find a variety of residential neighborhoods.

Downtown’s Center Square, for instance, has an old-fashioned urban feel, with row houses and cobblestone streets, as well as museums (don’t miss the New York State Museum at Empire State Plaza), galleries, bookstores, cafes, and wine bars. Many Albany residents choose to live in the nearby suburbs, and, wherever you might settle, there are parks and lakes for nature lovers to explore.

  • Population: 100,826
  • Median Household Income: $52,582
  • Cost of Living: 99.3% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,500
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.63
  • Average Property Tax: 2.17%

Housing Affordability: If you’re interested in renting a home, you’ll find that the median monthly cost is $1,500, which has risen $100 year over year, but is 27% lower than the national number in a cool market. Homeownership can be affordable, too, with the average listing price currently at $234,900.

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As mentioned, New York City is well-known for its allure… and its high prices. For those who want to be close to this renowned urban center and are willing to dig deeper into their wallet for that access, New Rochelle can be a good option. Located just a 30-minute train ride from the heart of the city, it has a mix of single-family houses and apartments (including a number of new high-rise buildings); plenty of parks and waterfront on the Long Island Sound; and a wealth of entertainment and dining options, with Indian and Peruvian cuisines well represented.

  • Population: 82,288
  • Median Household Income: $87,159
  • Cost of Living: 157% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $2,400
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 8.97
  • Average Property Tax: 1.62%

Housing Affordability: New Rochelle, like any town close to New York City, may not have rock-bottom prices. The median rental is 17% higher than the national number, but the market is considered cool and may offer good deals. If you are interested in buying a home, the home values have risen 6.8% over the last year, indicating that properties are a good investment. However, given that the home price-to-income ratio is considerably loftier than most on this list, it might be wise to look into a jumbo mortgage loan to make a purchase.

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Another affordable community that’s close to New York City (about an hour and 15 minutes away) is Islip. Located along the South Shore of Long Island, this large community is composed of several neighborhoods. It has a mix of Cape Cod and ranch homes, as well as newer construction and apartments. The family-friendly town has plenty to do outdoors, especially for those who love being by the shore. Islip and Sayville beaches are nearby, or you can ferry to the pristine Fire Island National Seashore. There’s the Islip Art Museum as well as dozens of restaurants and shops to explore for those times you don’t want to have sand between your toes.

  • Population: 337,922
  • Median Household Income: $111,656
  • Cost of Living: 147.1% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $2,300
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 5.07
  • Average Property Tax: 2.42%

Housing Affordability: The rental market in Islip tends to be hot, without many properties available. The median rental is $2,500, which is 22% above the national figure, and that’s increased $200 year over year. If you’re interested in buying a home, the average home value is $566,897 and has only risen 0.4% over the past year.

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Looking for a city or town with a welcoming, family-friendly vibe? New York State is filled with them. This list highlights five of the best places to live if you’re raising kids.

1. Saratoga Springs

Family households make up 54% of Saratoga Springs, and there are plenty of kid-centric activities to cater to them. There’s the Saratoga Children’s Museum, programs at the local library, and all kinds of dining options available. You can hike around the Saratoga National Historic Park (a Revolutionary War battlefield) or watch the horse races in summer at the celebrated local track. Residents say they appreciate the public school system and the clubs and extracurriculars offered.

  • Population: 28,593
  • Median Household Income: $90,020
  • Cost of Living: 105.5% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $2,436
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 5.97
  • Average Property Tax: 1.67%

Housing Affordability: Rising $136 year over year, the median rent in Saratoga Springs is $2,436 in a cool market. This amount is 19% higher than the national figure. When buying a home, the price-to-income ratio can be higher than some other locations on this list. However, note that the median household income is above average, which can help with affordability. If you dream of moving to this quaint town, it could be wise to start the mortgage preapproval process before hitting the open houses.

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Tucked along the Long Island Sound in Westchester County, New Rochelle can be a great place to raise children. You’ll find that households with kids make up almost two-thirds of the community. In addition to saying they appreciate the school system in the town, parents also enjoy Five Islands Park on the water, as well as New Roc City (a multiplex-meets-arcade). The fact that New York City, with all its cultural activities, is only a half-hour away is another advantage, as is that short commuting time for parents.

  • Population: 82,288
  • Median Household Income: $87,159
  • Cost of Living: 157% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $2,400
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 8.97
  • Average Property Tax: 1.62%

Housing Affordability: Rentals in New Rochelle, with a median of $2,400, are 17% above the national figure. That price, however, might be considered a good deal given how close the town is to New York City. The average property value is $807,199, which rose 6.8% year over year.

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Williamsville is a welcoming suburb of Buffalo, a city in northern New York State. The town is a short drive to the heart of the city, but it has plenty of historic charm, with 18th-century buildings, a waterfront area on the creek, farmers’ markets, and locally owned boutiques and breweries. Families praise the local public schools and the community activities that bond the town.

  • Population: 5,483
  • Median Household Income: $87,457
  • Cost of Living: 92.1% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,957
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.20
  • Average Property Tax: 2.63%

Housing Affordability: Williamsville’s housing values have risen 3.7% year over year to an average of $367,461, with 76% of sales over list price and a median of 11 days for properties to go from listing to pending. In other words, it may be a competitive place to find a home. On the rental front, the median of $1,957 (4% under the national number) represents a $373 increase vs. the previous year, but the market is considered cool.

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Looking for a town set amid rolling hills and farmland, where your kids can go apple picking in the fall and ride the ferris wheel at the county fair in the summer? Rhinebeck, located in the Hudson Valley, could be the right spot. About two hours north of New York City, this town delivers the quintessential upstate experience. Residents may appreciate the school system and small-town feel for their children, as well as the sophisticated restaurants (from Indian to Thai to French), wine bars, and bookshops for themselves. With a home price-to-income ratio under five, it could be the right spot to settle.

  • Population: 7,665
  • Median Household Income: $90,833
  • Cost of Living: 118.3% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $2,495
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.75
  • Average Property Tax: 2.34%

Housing Affordability: Home values in the area are rising almost 3% per year to an average value of $431,472. Looking to rent? Prices are currently at a median of $2,495, which is 22% higher than the national number, but $1,005 lower than last year’s monthly cost.

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Home to Ithaca College and Cornell University, this town may be full of college students, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t families, too. Families make up 27.5% of households, and residents say they are pleased with the school system’s academic and extracurricular programs. Other assets are the stunning scenery, an eco-conscious lifestyle, and a surprisingly varied selection of eateries and stores. Whether your idea of a perfect day revolves around an interactive museum like the Sciencenter or paddling on Cayuga Lake, Ithaca has you covered.

  • Population: 21,527
  • Median Household Income: $76,209
  • Cost of Living: 93.6% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $2,295
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.54
  • Average Property Tax: 2.51%

Housing Affordability: The median rent in Ithaca is 12% higher than the national number. For those thinking about buying a home and considering the different types of mortgages, be aware that the home price-to-income ratio may be higher than in neighboring towns. You’ll want to do the math and figure out the right budget for buying a home.

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The best places to live in New York for young adults tend to be upstate cities which have plenty of jobs, affordable housing, and entertainment possibilities. While New York City certainly exerts its pull on many recent grads, given its super high cost of living, you won’t find it on this list.

1. Albany

Wondering what job opportunities there are for young professionals in Albany? Since it’s both the state capital and the home of the University at Albany, government, healthcare, and education are key sectors. Worth noting: The unemployment rate is lower than the national average. After work, residents have an array of dining, cultural, and entertainment choices. For instance, the North Albany Warehouse District is known for having cool bars and beer gardens, as well as the Times Union Center, where live music can be heard. The median rent is almost 30% lower than the national rate, so that means residents may have a nice sum of spending money.

  • Population: 100,826
  • Median Household Income: $52,582
  • Cost of Living: 99.3% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,500
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.63
  • Average Property Tax: 2.17%

Housing Affordability: For young professionals who want to rent, the Albany market can offer a good start. The monthly median of $1,500 is 27% lower than the national number. While rents have risen $100 year over year, the market is considered cool. Thinking about purchasing your own place? The average listing price of $234,900 can be affordable for many first-time homebuyers.

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Located in the northwestern reaches of New York on Lake Ontario, Rochester is a city that is known for affordability, its historic downtown, and diverse neighborhoods. Young professionals will find that jobs are being added in private education and health services, and there are thousands of acres of parks to be explored when not at work. In addition, there’s a restaurant scene (Strangebird and Avvino earn raves), as well as festivals and entertainment to enjoy.

  • Population: 209,352
  • Median Household Income: $40,083
  • Cost of Living: 88.6% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,300
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 3.86
  • Average Property Tax: 3.21%

Housing Affordability: For those young professionals looking to rent, Rochester has a median $1,300 monthly cost, which has been stable year over year. This price is 36% less than the national figure in what is described as a warm market. Buying a home can be affordable. If you’re ready to do so, a good first step can be to read up on tips for qualifying for a mortgage.

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Another of the best places to live for young professionals in New York is Kingston. It’s in the beautiful Hudson Valley by the Hudson River. The town is centrally located: It’s about two hours north of New York City and an hour and a quarter south of Albany. This up-and-coming town has a vibrant maker community, plenty of restaurants, cafes, and quirky shops. (For instance, Rough Draft is a cafe-bar-bookshop where you can spend hours, reading and hanging out.) You’ll also find access to historic sites and hiking trails. Those with a creative or entrepreneurial streak may find Kingston to be a great fit.

  • Population: 23,916
  • Median Household Income: $58,840
  • Cost of Living: 107.8% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,950
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 6.64
  • Average Property Tax: $9,379

Housing Affordability: For young professionals who are seeking a rental, Kingston’s median rent of $1,950 (5% below the national number) represents a drop of $50 year over year in a market that is described as cool. For those hoping to buy, take note that the average home value rose 4.3% year over year to $390,796, and 40% of houses sell for under the list price.

Rabbitti/istockphoto

Making another appearance on this list, Syracuse can provide a solid home base for young professionals. They may find job opportunities at Syracuse University and in the healthcare sector, among other realms. The city’s affordability is a big plus. Rents are 30% below the national median, and home prices can be reasonable. The city offers a mix of cultural activities, like shows at the Landmark Theater, and plenty of outdoor activities, such as rock climbing, nearby.

  • Population: 144,451
  • Median Household Income: $40,490
  • Cost of Living: 87.4% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,424
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.32
  • Average Property Tax: 3.01%

Housing Affordability: Young professionals may like the rental costs, which are almost a third less expensive than the nation median. For those who are ready to shop for a property, the relatively low home price-to-income ratio can be a plus, too. Just keep in mind that 79.3% of homes sell for over asking price.

littleny/istockphoto

Popping up on this list again is Ithaca, another of the best places for young professionals to live in New York. Home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, this upstate New York town is brimming with twentysomethings. And perhaps it’s no surprise that those two institutions of higher learning are the largest employers in the area. Young professionals who settle there can enjoy varied dining and music options, plus incredible natural beauty, such as the spectacular gorges the area is known for.

  • Population: 21,527
  • Median Household Income: $76,209
  • Cost of Living: 93.6% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $2,295
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.54
  • Average Property Tax: 2.51%

Housing Affordability: The median rent in Ithaca is 12% higher than the national number, but then again, New York does have a higher cost of living than many other states and Ithaca residents have a higher than average income. For those looking to buy, the housing market is ticking up, with prices rising 4.6% versus the prior year.

DenisTangneyJr/istockphoto

Retiring in New York has a very different lifestyle than, say, heading to the Southwest or Florida. Sure, you may need a swimsuit in summer, but snow boots in winter are also probably a must-have. That said, New York has an array of best places for retirees. This list highlights five of those locations.

1. Syracuse

Yes, it’s Syracuse, on this list one more time. Here’s why it can be among the best places in New York for retirees: It’s a college town, with its own special breed of energy and coffee shop culture. There’s plenty of natural beauty to explore on walking trails; charming old-fashioned streets; and affordable real estate. It seems as if word may be out about Syracuse: While people aged 65 and older make up less than 20% of the population, the number of older adults rose by 43% over the last decade. In other words, retirees will be in good company.

  • Population: 144,451
  • Median Household Income: $40,490
  • Cost of Living: 87.4% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,424
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.32
  • Average Property Tax: 3.01%

Housing Affordability: Rentals costs are about 30% lower than the national average, with a median of $1,424. Ready to purchase a home? You may find affordable options. The home price-to-income ratio is 4.32, and you’ll enjoy a lower than average cost of living.

DebraMillet/istockphoto

For those looking for a laid-back retirement and lots of wonderful scenery, Dunkirk could be a good, very affordable fit. Sited at the far northwestern reaches of New York on Lake Erie, this town of 12,000 (18% of whom are age 65 or older) is quite close to Canada. Dunkirk has its share of golf courses, a historic marina and lighthouse, a wine scene, and events at the Chautauqua Institution about half an hour away. There are also active retirement communities for those who want them.

  • Population: 12,563
  • Median Household Income: $36,901
  • Cost of Living: 75.5% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,100
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 3.27
  • Average Property Tax: 2.82%

Housing Affordability: With a low home price-to-income ratio of 3.27 and an average home value of $120,764, Dunkirk can be an affordable place to settle. The median rental price is $1,100, which has dropped $95 year over year and is 46% below the national number. However, the market is cool, with very few properties to be rented.

Dunkirk by Andre Carrotflower (None)

Rochester makes the list as a best place to retire in New York, and those aged 65 and over make up 12% of the population. Yes, its affordability is a major plus, but so too is the well-regarded medical care at University of Rochester’s Medical Center and elsewhere. What else makes Rochester a good pick? The museums, like the George Eastman Museum of Photography, and cultural offerings; the scenic location on Lake Ontario; and day tripping to the nearby Finger Lakes.

  • Population: 209,352
  • Median Household Income: $40,083
  • Cost of Living: 88.6% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,300
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 3.86
  • Average Property Tax: 3.21%

Housing Affordability: If you’re looking to rent as a retiree in Rochester, you’ll find reasonable costs. The median of $1,300 a month is 36% the median across the U.S. Planning to buy a property? The home price-to-income ratio of 3.86 and average home value of just over $200,000 can be affordable for many. Homes sell quickly, with an average of just eight days for a listed home to become pending.

DenisTangneyJr/istockphoto

The Hudson Valley, north of New York City, is known for its quaint towns and its gorgeous landscapes which have inspired artists for generations. Rhinebeck is one of its central towns, and people 65 or older account for approximately 30% of the population. In addition to the beautiful setting, the town is a foodie paradise; nearby Bard College brings performances to the area; and there are scenic trails, such as those at Poets’ Walk Park and Wilderstein Historic Park.

  • Population: 7,665
  • Median Household Income: $90,833
  • Cost of Living: 118.3% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $2,495
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.75
  • Average Property Tax: 2.34%

Housing Affordability: The average home value in the area is $431,472, rising 2.7% year over year. Property taxes, however, can add up, so it’s worthwhile to calculate your total monthly costs when considering buying a property. Rental prices have recently tumbled by $1,005 year over year (the sign of a cool market) to a median of $2,495, which is 22% above the national figure.

ARK NEYMAN/istockphoto

Williamsville makes another appearance on this list, this time as a best place for retirees to live in New York. A suburb of Buffalo, the town has a good number of retirees; those aged 65 and older make up 28% of the population. One can quickly get into town for hockey games and other events, but Williamsville is full of charm, with residents saying it’s a wonderful place to stroll past its historic buildings and stop into a local pub, cafe, or restaurant. They also appreciate the availability of good medical care, the parks, golf, and other amenities.

  • Population: 5,483
  • Median Household Income: $87,457
  • Cost of Living: 92.1% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,957
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.20
  • Average Property Tax: 2.63%

Housing Affordability: Williamsville’s housing values have risen 3.7% year over year to an average of $367,461, with 76% of sales over list price and a median of 11 days for properties to go from listing to pending. In other words, it seems like a somewhat competitive market. On the rental front, the median of $1,957 (4% under the national number) represents a $373 increase vs. the previous year, but the market is considered cool.

Wirestock/istockphoto

If you’re looking for a house near a body of H2O, New York State has plenty of places to consider. There are houses by the shore, by rivers, by lakes, and more. Here, take a look at five of the best affordable places to live in New York near the water.

1. Dunkirk

With expansive views of Lake Erie (one of the Great Lakes), Dunkirk can offer prospective homebuyers a wallet-friendly opportunity to enjoy waterfront living. Boating is a big pastime, as is spending time at the pier. The community is a diverse one, with two colleges within 10 minutes. The town also has historic areas to explore, or an afternoon could be spent visiting the Chautauqua and Lake Erie wine trails.

  • Population: 12,563
  • Median Household Income: $36,901
  • Cost of Living: 75.5% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,100
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 3.27
  • Average Property Tax: 2.82%

Housing Affordability: Dunkirk is among the most affordable towns on this list. With an average home value of $120,764, it could be a very budget-wise way to live by a lake in New York. Down almost $100 versus last year, the median rental price is $1,100, but be forewarned: There aren’t many properties on the market.

Dunkirk by Andre Carrotflower (None)

If you want to be within striking range of beautiful beaches and the posh Hamptons but live on a budget, Mastic Beach could be a good fit. It’s a hamlet in Suffolk County, about a half-hour’s drive from Southampton, and it offers beaches and nature preserves for the outdoors lover. The estate of William Floyd, who signed the Declaration of Independence, is popular for both its historic home and its walking trails, too. The nearby Gateway Performing Arts Center can keep residents occupied on rainy days.

  • Population: 15,333
  • Median Household Income: $92,778
  • Cost of Living: 147.1% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $3,222
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.27
  • Average Property Tax: 2.42%

Housing Affordability: With an average home value of $396,230, which is 5.6% higher than last year, Mastic Beach can be an affordable place to live by the water. The rental market is small and competitive, with a median monthly cost of $3,222, which is 58% higher than the national number.

Joan D Squared/istockphoto

Kauneonga Lake is a tiny hamlet (with a population of about 500) in Sullivan County, New York, about two hours away from New York City. If you like small-town life and tranquility, it could be a great, affordable fit. As a bonus, you can explore all the local offerings: distilleries and a small restaurant row; the Museum at Bethel Woods, which celebrates the iconic Woodstock concert and its impact; and loads of fly-fishing opportunities.

  • Population: 531
  • Median Household Income: $90,690
  • Cost of Living: 96.9% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: N/A
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 3.23
  • Average Property Tax: 2.59%

Housing Affordability: In a town this tiny, you may be hard-pressed to find a rental. However, if you are searching for a property to buy, you may be able to snag a deal. Home values in the area have risen 4.5% over the past year to a figure of $292,619, which is up 4.5% year over year.

AlbertPego/istockphoto

If you’re the sort of person who imagines sandy beaches when you think about living by the water, Islip could be the right spot for you. It’s on Long Island, which is often very pricey, but relatively affordable homes are available in this large suburban area. There’s a town beach and shore-side Heckscher State Park, as well as ferry service to the Fire Island National Seashore.

  • Population: 337,922
  • Median Household Income: $111,656
  • Cost of Living: 147.1% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $2,300
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 5.07
  • Average Property Tax: 2.42%

Housing Affordability: The rental market in Islip tends to be hot, without many properties available. The median rental is $2,500, which is 22% above the national figure, and that’s increased $200 year over year. If you’re interested in buying a home, the average home value is $566,897, and has only risen 0.4% over the past year. A home loan help center can help you calculate what your monthly costs would look like.

Joseph Trentacosti/istockphoto

Bordering Lake Otsego, Cooperstown is a charming town in central New York. You may recognize the name since it’s the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s a popular vacation destination for that reason, but the community can be an excellent year-round home too. Residents can enjoy the lake, whether swimming, boating, fishing, or sunbathing. When not living the life aquatic, they can check out the noteworthy museums and many popular restaurants.

  • Population: 2,035
  • Median Household Income: $120,404
  • Cost of Living: 82.8% of the U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $2,250
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 2.85
  • Average Property Tax: 1.81%

Housing Affordability: Home prices average $343,900, rising a couple of percentage points vs. the prior year. Rentals are hard to find, with a median price of $2,250, which is 11% above the national figure and reflects a gain of $600 versus the previous year. The market is described as cool, with few properties available to rent, but low demand as well.

PapaBear/istockphoto

New York is a large and varied state. While many people associate it with New York City and its extremely high prices, there are actually an array of affordable places to live outside that metropolis. From Long Island towns by the beach to historic upstate cities, New York can offer affordable places to live for families, young professionals, and retirees. Bargains await, whether you want to rent or purchase a property.


This article originally appeared on Sofi.comand was syndicated byMediaFeed.org.


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