These Are the Most Affordable Towns in the Hudson Valley
Renters and buyers will love this comprehensive guide to the best, cheapest cities to live in around the Hudson River.
When it comes to finding a place to live, the Hudson Valley has something for everyone. Yes, the region boasts estates, mansions, and even a castle or two to fuel your billionaire dreams. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending upon how you look at it), the area north of New York City has options for the rest of us, too. As buying a home gets to be more of a challenge and renting becomes an increasingly popular alternative, select Hudson Valley towns shine as affordable contenders.
To narrow down the best wallet-friendly hometowns in the Valley, we considered average rental and home costs, referring to Rent Café, Trulia, and Zillow. We also weighed factors like crime rate, location, attractions, and area income to determine which cities deserve your real estate dollars. Read on to see the most affordable spots in the Hudson Valley.
The Capital District Tourism Gnome admires the modern art and reflecting pools of the Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York.
Photo by Henry Bellagnome from Troy, New York, United States / Wikimedia Commons
As the northernmost point of the Hudson Valley region, Albany is an upstate metropolis with a little something for everyone. While it is a distance from prominent mid-Valley hotspots like Beacon and New Paltz, it boasts more than enough attractions to lure budding entrepreneurs and professionals who want to make moves in the increasingly creative business scene. For renters, Albany is apartment gold. Rent prices have actually dropped eight percent in the past year from $1,366 to $1,251, making right now an ideal time to opt into the market. Prospective homeowners have it pretty swell as well, with median home sale prices clocking in at about $185,000. Plus, with a number of suburbs surrounding the city, Albany is a great choice for families and individuals who crave the best of city living and suburban comforts all at once.
In terms of cultural to-dos, Albany is a mecca for arts and entertainment. The Palace Theatre is a must for top-billing performers and celebrity guests, while The New York State Museum is ideal for visitors who want to peek into the state's iconic history. As for food, Albany boasts every cuisine under the sun, from Americana at Angelo's 677 Prime to modern Mexican at Ama Cocina.
Cornwall-On-Hudson Elementary School. Wikimedia Commons/Daniel Case
Located on the shore of the Hudson River, Cornwall-on-Hudson is a frontrunner on our list of value-for-money locales. The average cost for a rental is $1,038 (no change from last year), a price that will get you about $800 square feet of space. Aspiring homeowners don’t have it as sweet, however, with a medium home value of $321,600. Home values rose 15.1 percent in the past year, an increase from 10.3 percent between 2017 and 2018. To put things in perspective, in the 25 to 44 age bracket, $103,017 is the median income in town.
As for things to do, Cornwall-on-Hudson is a hop, skip, and jump away from some of the region’s top cultural attractions. Storm King Art Center is right next-door, as is Bannerman Castle and the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum. Residents can spend the weekend at any of the area’s numerous coffee shops before grabbing a slice at one of the local pizzerias for dinner.
Bykenhulle House Bed and Breakfast in Hopewell Junction. Wikimedia Commons/Daniel Case
Hopewell Junction is a dream for renters who want a central location and bargain prices. With an approximate cost of $1,210 for a 564 sq. ft. apartment, a one-bedroom is within reach in this Dutchess County town. If you’re looking to buy a budget home, take a new look at the hamlet, which has seen a dip in the median sales price over the past year. The average home listing price is $280,500, a relatively approachable number for millennials and first-time homeowners. Just keep in mind that options are not as plentiful as they are in nearby cities like Newburgh and Poughkeepsie, so get a move on if you see a space you like.
Hopewell Junction may be small in terms of square footage, but that does not mean it’s boring. On the contrary, the pint-sized town is surrounded by a number of golf and country clubs. It is also right next door to Fishkill and Wappingers Falls, which means everything you could ever need is a only five-minute drive away.
Olana State Historic Site
Daderot / Wikimedia Commons
Like Beacon, Hudson is one of those Hudson Valley towns that continues to lure New York City weekenders and daytrippers from across the globe. Thanks to Basilica Hudson, along with more antique shops than you can count, Hudson is a dream for arts and culture lovers who crave warm communities and passionate artisans. Rent is competitive — a 996 sq. ft. apartment here costs $1,355 – although that number actually went down one percent from the previous year. Homeowners should seriously consider Hudson as a viable city to put down roots as well. Average home prices sit comfortable at $232,670, and stock on the market is ample.
In terms of attractions, Hudson is a paradise for visitors and residents alike. Staples like Zak Pelaccio's Fish & Game and Wm. Farmer & Sons have been churning out delectable food and drinks for years. Creative entrepreneurs are also capitalizing on the affordable rent costs with unusual concepts that locals and tourists love (we see you, Spotty Dog Books & Ale).
Apple Pie Bakery Cafe at the Culinary Institute of America. Photo by Phil Mansfield
Hyde Park is one of those cities that is primed to blow up in popularity at any moment. For now, it lives in the serene intersection between Poughkeepsie and Rhinebeck. With nearby attractions, an abundance of dining options, and a proximity to some of the region’s top schools, the town may or may not be the Hudson Valley’s best-kept secret. For potential renters, average rent prices have only gone up three percent from $1,119 in 2018 to $1,149. That price gets you about 762 square feet, although you may be able to score more if you shop around. Homeowners have it pretty sweet too, with average listings running only $128,050 (yes, you read that correctly). As a bonus, the neighborhood boasts strong public school districts in a relatively safe community.
As for cultural venues, there are so many things to do in and around Hyde Park that it's hard to know where to begin. The Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill is in the heart of the town, while FDR’s home, The Culinary Institute of America, and Marist College rest along the border. Locals are spoiled with dining options, thanks to their proximity to one of the top culinary institutions in the world. The Eveready Diner is a must, as is every single one of the restaurants on the CIA’s campus.
Rondout Creek in Kingston. Wikimedia Commons/Daniel Case
Even though Kingston is rapidly coming into its own, the city still has a hard time shaking off its reputation as a high crime area. In fact, the crime rate dropped 1.7 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to a report from the Kingston City Police Department. In other words, secure your spot now before everyone realizes what a catch this waterfront town truly is. A one-bedroom averages about $1,111, a slight increase from the $1,000 sum in 2018. Be warned that rent costs are on the rise (just three percent, but still). While apartment prices are up slightly, home costs are down from $237,000 to $175,500, with two-bedroom spaces ranking among the most affordable overall. Buy now, watch home value rise later?
Another perk to living in Kingston is the abundance of historic sites and hip eateries in the area. The Hudson River Maritime Museum and the Rondout Lighthouse are great picks for families, while Duo Bistro and Diego’s Taqueria will satisfy everyone’s cravings.
Related: How To Spend A Day In Kingston
A loaded shake at Lola's in New Paltz. Courtesy photo
New Paltz may not be on the radar for Hudson Valleyites outside of the SUNY New Paltz bubble, but it is a dream destination for renters and buyers of all ages. As a college town, New Paltz offers some of the most competitive rental rates in the Valley. Prices are on the rise, up nine percent, but an average space still ranks affordably at $1,259 for 742 square feet. Anyone looking to buy a home in New Paltz should make a point to shop around first. Median prices aren't too shabby at $260,000, so you just may be able to find a major deal if you keep your eyes on the ever-changing market.
Unsurprisingly, New Paltz is very affordable when it comes to food and culture. With a median household income falling just under $40,000, reasonable rates are the secret to this city’s success. As long as you’re okay with college students as your neighbors (this is a real possibility, since the city’s median age is 21.4), New Paltz is the place for you.
St Thomas Episcopal Church in New Windsor
Wikimedia Commons / Daniel Case
When it comes to affordable housing in the Hudson Valley, New Windsor is hot. The average cost for rentals, $1,388, will get you a reasonable 890 sq. ft. of space. Those of you looking for a home of your own can also score a deal in the city. For about $230,250, you can claim a house that is a short drive away from the scenic Hudson River.
Property in New Windsor is an increasingly valuable commodity for small business owners, who recognize the region's proximity to the New York Stewart International Airport and to the burgeoning craft beverage scene. With Brotherhood Winery and massive new winery on the way nearby, New Windsor residents always have something exciting to look forward to each weekend.
The Capital District Tourism Gnome learns how to play the guitar and listens to a mandolin here at the Collar City Guitar Shop. Located on the corner of Division and 4th streets in the city of Troy, Rensselaer County, New York, between South Troy, Little Italy, and Downtown where Hill Street and 4th meet at Division. The Tattoo Factory is located on the second floor of the same building.
Henry Bellagnome from Troy, New York, United States / Wikimedia Commons
Albany isn't the only upper Hudson Valley city with a happening social scene. Don't believe us? Just check out Troy's thriving downtown. The riverside city leads the way with local tech, which is why exciting new coworking spaces continue to pop up left and right. On the rent end of things, now is the time to scoop up an apartment in Troy. Prices fell 16 percent to an affordable $1,150 between 2018 and 2019. As for home costs, they're not too shabby either. Median home sale prices currently rest at $180,500, which means purchasing your own property may very well be more affordable than renting in the long run.
In terms of attractions in town, there's no shortage of things to do in Troy. Whether you explore the history at the Rice Building or catch a show at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, you'll love wandering through the area's hidden – and not so hidden – corners. As for food, upscale Americana bar grub reigns supreme at spots like The Ruck and Brown's Brewing Company.
Related: What to Do on a Day Trip to Troy
Downtown Warwick. Wikimedia Commons/Daniel Case
Rounding out the list is Warwick, the Orange County town that charms locals and visitors alike. In terms of living accommodations, a spacious 1,057 sq. ft. rental will set you back $1,328. House prices are steeper, running about $270,000. Warwick residents have a median age of 49 years and make an average of $70,000.
Whether you choose to live in Warwick or visit for just a day, there’s no end of activities to add to the itinerary. Start at any of the farms and orchards in the open landscape before heading to Warwick Valley Winery for a tasting or Pennings Farm for dinner and a show.
Related: Follow This 24-Hour Guide to Warwick