The Cheapest Places to Live In Massachusetts - Pittsfield, Massachusetts

You have many choices if you’re looking for a new place in Massachusetts. If you’re on a budget, however, it might seem like the options are limited. Fortunately, there are affordable places to live that can meet your needs and fit your budget. 

In this article, you’ll find out what makes an affordable city and where some of these cities are located in Massachusetts. You’ll also learn how we determine the cheapest place to live in Massachusetts based on data from the US Census Bureau.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Affordable Places to Live

If you’re relocating to Massachusetts, you may wonder where the best places to live within this state are. Deciding where to live depends on your situation and preferences. Many factors must be taken into account when choosing affordable places to live, including:

Home Price to Income Ratio

Affordability is one of the most significant factors when looking for a new place to live. To measure affordability, we use the average home price to income ratio. This figure estimates how much it costs residents to buy their homes compared with their income levels.

Affordable Cities Have a Low Cost of Living (COL)

The cost of living (COL) index measures how much it costs to live in different cities across the United States. These are based on consumer goods and services like food, healthcare and other expenses. 

The lower the COL index value for any given place, the higher its rating. Therefore, that place is cheap for those with modest incomes (less than 80% of the area’s median income).

Average Annual Mortgage Payment

When looking at inexpensive places to live, it’s essential to consider that the average annual mortgage payment varies significantly from state to town. 

This can be due to various factors, including tax rates, home prices and availability, insurance costs and property taxes. These can make an enormous difference if you can afford your monthly payments. It will determine if you can live comfortably by finding an inexpensive place that fits your budget.

An Affordable City Has a Good Median Household Income

If you’re looking for a cheap place to live, consider a municipality with a good median household income. Median household income is the midpoint of all incomes in a city, meaning it’s an indicator of how expensive or cheap it is to live there. 

In general, you want to live somewhere with median rent and home prices below what people usually make. Your mortgage payment will cover most of your basic living expenses.

11 Cheapest Place to Live in Massachusetts

According to the US Census Bureau, Massachusetts is home to the third highest median household income in the nation, behind Maryland and Alaska. However, it’s also one of the most expensive states to live in, especially in Boston proper, where the median home price is $789K. 

So, where are you supposed to put down roots if you’re on a budget? Here are some places that won’t break your bank account:

The Cheapest Places to Live In Massachusetts - North Adams, Massachusetts

North Adams, Massachusetts

North Adams is a small town in Berkshire County and is the cheapest place to live in Massachusetts. It is located near the New Hampshire border and is a hot spot for New England tourism. North Adams has many historical landmarks that have been revitalized over time. 

While 13,000 residents may not seem like much, it’s impressive considering that this city was initially planned as an industrial town. The overall cost of living in North Adams is low because housing costs are affordable.

  • Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.41
  • COL: 82.2
  • Average Monthly Rent: $782
  • Median Household Income: $49,123
  • Population: 12,961

New Bedford, Massachusetts

New Bedford, Massachusetts, is located in Bristol County. It’s home to over 100,000 residents and is the largest city in Bristol County. If you’re looking for affordable cities to live in, New Bedford might be your best bet. It’s also an hour’s drive from Boston and has a lot going on outside of its city limits. 

From shopping at the mall to hiking trails or visiting a museum or zoo, there are plenty of things to do when visiting this part of Massachusetts. Plus, it’s only about an hour from Boston, so if you want to see it without paying for gas or tolls, this could be your perfect spot.

  • Home Price to Income Ratio: 4.9
  • COL: 100.4
  • Average Monthly Rent: $869
  • Median Household Income: $48,999
  • Population: 101, 079

Agawam Town, Massachusetts

Along the Connecticut River, Agawam Town is located in the Western part of Massachusetts. This town is an affordable place to live because it has so many businesses and opportunities for employment. Agawam is home to Six Flags New England, bringing tourism and boosting the economy by producing jobs in the area. 

There are also many great restaurants in Agawam Town that serve delicious food at reasonable prices. If you’re looking for some fun things to do while living here, be sure to check out Agawam’s Mill Pond Park or visit one of its many museums.

  • Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.9
  • COL: 97.2
  • Average Monthly Rent: $1,126
  • Median Household Income: $72,396
  • Population: 28, 692

Palmer Town, Massachusetts

Palmer Town, Massachusetts, is one of the most affordable places to live. It is located in the south central part of the state, with Springfield and Worcester County as nearby major cities. Palmer Town also has a small town feel with plenty of open space and beautiful views.

For entertainment options, you can take advantage of all these larger cities offer by heading out for a night on the town. If you want to get away from it all for some quiet time, head to one of your many local parks, where there are great trails for hiking or biking.

  • Home Price to Income Ratio: 2.9
  • COL: 93.1
  • Average Monthly Rent: $926
  • Median Household Income: $68,694
  • Population: 12,448

The Cheapest Places to Live In Massachusetts - Springfield, Massachusetts

Springfield, Massachusetts

Springfield, Massachusetts, is one of the most affordable cities in Massachusetts and the third largest city in the state. Located along the Connecticut River, Springfield has many museums to visit, such as the Springfield Armory National Historic Site and Museum. Springfield, Massachusetts, is located near many natural attractions like the Bay State and shopping malls such as The Shoppes at Blackstone Valley.

  • Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.95
  • COL: 89.7
  • Average Monthly Rent: $908
  • Median Household Income: $41,571
  • Population: 153,060

Chicopee, Massachusetts

Chicopee, Massachusetts, is a city along the Connecticut River in western Massachusetts. This city is less than an hour away from Boston, making it an excellent place for commuters. 

Chicopee boasts several attractions worth checking out if you’re in the surrounding area. The historical sites of Hinsdale Mansions are located right next to downtown. 

If you’re looking for things to do in the great outdoors, head to Mountain Park, where plenty of trails and picnic areas are available. Although it will not compete with Boston regarding the cost of living or housing prices, Chicopee still offers residents some affordable options and activities that make this town worth considering.

  • Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.41
  • COL: 90.3
  • Average Monthly Rent: $941
  • Median Household Income: $52,702
  • Population: 55,560

Holyoke, Massachusetts

Holyoke, Massachusetts, is a small city located northwest of Chicopee on the other side of the Connecticut River. It’s a downright affordable place to live, considering it’s only 20 miles from Boston. 

The city is also home to Mount Tom ski resort, which offers cross country skiing during the winter and hiking or fishing during other seasons. Holyoke also has a handful of parks for residents who like to spend their time outdoors.

  • Home Price to Income Ratio: 4.80
  • COL: 93.5
  • Average Monthly Rent: $847
  • Median Household Income: $42,537
  • Population: 38,238

Gardner, Massachusetts

The town of Gardner, Massachusetts, is a beautiful town located just outside of Worcester and Amherst. Residents will tell you that they have the best of both worlds. 

While being close enough to larger cities like Worcester County and Boston, the COL is much cheaper than in other areas nearby. Not only does Gardner have affordable housing options, but also plenty of cultural and recreational activities for your family.

  • Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.74
  • COL: 93.7
  • Average Monthly Rent: $867
  • Median Household Income: $51,708
  • Population: 21,287

Fitchburg, Massachusetts

The city of Fitchburg is located in Worcester County. It’s situated in the heart of Central Massachusetts, north of Boston and west of Worcester. This can be your home if you want access to a big city’s amenities without paying high median rent prices or property taxes

Fitchburg has more than 200 restaurants that are locally owned and operated by residents. You’ll also find plenty of quaint shops selling everything from clothing to house accessories at reasonable prices. Plus, there’s an abundance of entertainment options in Fitchburg too.

  • Home Price to Income Ratio: 
  • COL: 98.5
  • Average Monthly Rent: $964
  • Median Household Income: $54,683
  • Population: 41,946

The Cheapest Places to Live In Massachusetts - Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is a city with many charms and attractions. In Berkshire County, Pittsfield has access to some of the best skiing in New England. This charming city is also home to Mount Greylock State Reservation, which features hiking trails and stunning views of the Berkshires. 

Pittsfield is the second cheapest place to live in Massachusetts; median rent costs around $750 per month for a one-bedroom apartment, while utilities cost about $150 per month.

  • Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.39
  • COL: 87.6
  • Average Monthly Rent: $907
  • Median Household Income: $56,620
  • Residents: 43,927

Ludlow, Massachusetts

Ludlow is a small but bustling town located in the Springfield area. The town has just under 22,000 residents inhabiting this quaint community. 

Ludlow offers many amenities for its residents, including access to public transportation, healthcare facilities and food options that are less than 10 minutes away. The average home value in Ludlow is $292K, significantly less than many other cities in the region. 

This low median also means you can afford a house or condo without a mortgage. Instead, you may choose affordable housing options such as an apartment vs a house priced between $200K and $250K.

  • Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.16
  • COL: 97.5
  • Average Monthly Rent: $1,026
  • Median Household Income: $73,516
  • Population: 21,002

Easthampton, Massachusetts

Easthampton is a small town in Hampshire County with just over 16,000 residents. It’s part of the Springfield, Massachusetts, Metropolitan Statistical Area. 

Easthampton has modest homes with large yards in a city that feels more like a small town. The cost of living in Easthampton is lower than the national standard, making it one of the most affordable places in Massachusetts. 

You can get even more money here and enjoy all these small community offers. This includes easy access to nearby amenities and attractions, plenty of culture, excellent schools, and beautiful scenery.

  • Home Price to Income Ratio: 
  • COL: 102.4
  • Average Monthly Rent: $1,000
  • Median Household Income: $63,657
  • Population: 16,211

Conclusion

The Massachusetts housing market is made up of various cities and towns. Each has unique qualities, but they are affordable options for those in the state. When so many options are available, deciding where you want to live can be challenging. 

The best way to find a more affordable place that fits your needs is by researching ahead of time. So, you know exactly what type of community best suits your family or individual lifestyle needs. 

If you’re looking for the cheapest place to live in Massachusetts and want to know more about it, HOMES by ARDOR has trusted real estate agents ready to help. We have an extensive list of homes for sale in Massachusetts that are available today.