10 Best Places to Buy a House in Upstate New York [2023]

Montauk, Lake Placid, and Buffalo are considered the top three places to buy a house in Upstate New York.

Best places to buy a house in upstate new york

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Are you looking for a house in the Upstate NY housing market? Or searching for a small and cozy town with significant investment potential? If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place!

From a worthy primary residence to a second home for weekends and holidays, you can find everything in Upstate NY. With years of experience working in the local real estate market, our team will show you the best place to buy a house in Upstate New York for your home search.

We have prepared a list of 10 Upstate cities and towns that hold immense investment potential, offer a lot more space than your average cities in Upstate New York, and will bring overall good value to your daily life. Let’s dive in.

List of 10 Best Places to Buy a House in Upstate New York in 2023

1. Montauk, Long Island: Best Place to Buy a Townhouse 

Montauk is a beautiful beach town on the east end of Long Island, offering residents wide sandy beaches, stunning natural landscapes, and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation.

With its scenic coastline and low cost of living, Montauk is a great place to buy a townhouse if you’re looking for a reasonable beach destination with plenty to see and do.

Key Factors to Consider: 

  • Average home prices: $1,749,317, (Zillow)  
  • Average rental revenue: $30,000 (Zillow)  
  • Population: 4,272 (as of 2023) 

The median home values in Montauk have appreciated by 19.8 percent over the last year. The rent vs. owned ratio is 16% to 84%, which is an excellent place to explore the Upstate NY real estate market.

Why Invest in Montauk? 

  • Outdoor activities and recreation: Whether you’re an avid surfer or a nature lover, there is something for everyone in Montauk. 
  • The town has many great beaches for swimming, surfing, snorkeling, and other water sports.
  • Town of culture: Montauk houses several cultural attractions, including the Montauk Point Lighthouse, the Montauk Historical Society, and the Montauk Point State Park. 
  • The town also has plenty of restaurants, shops, art galleries, and other cultural attractions catering to locals and visitors.

2. Lake Placid: Best Areas to Live in Upstate NY 

Lake Placid sits at the heart of New York’s Adirondack Mountains and is a classic upstate NY town with year-round appeal. Were you looking for an outdoor adventure in the summer? A quaint winter getaway? Lake Placid will fulfill all your needs.

A cozy cabin on the lake, a magnificent lake house, or a spacious waterfront property, you can find it all in Lake Placid’s attractive real estate market.

Key Factors to Consider:  

  • Average home prices: $331,607 (Zillow)  
  • Average rental revenue: $3,550 (Zillow)  
  • Population: 2,521 (as of 2023) 

The median home values in Lake Placid have appreciated by 10.4 percent over the last year. The rent vs. owned ratio is 53% to 47%. Investors are prone to buy properties to rent out in this town. 

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Why Invest in Lake Placid? 

  • Outdoor activities and recreation: From the crystal-clear waters of Lake Placid to the rugged peaks of the Adirondacks, there’s always something beautiful to see in Lake Placid. 
  • Moreover, Lake Placid is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. With its hiking trails, ski slopes, and lakes, there are plenty of activities to enjoy in Lake Placid. 
  • Town of Culture: Lake Placid has various cultural attractions, including the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, and the Adirondack Carousel.
  • Whether you’re a nature lover, outdoor enthusiast, or simply looking to enjoy the fantastic life of Upstate NY, Lake Placid is the ideal choice for buying a house in Upstate New York!  

3. Buffalo, NY: Best Places to Live in Upstate New York for Families

Situated in western New York, Buffalo is a thriving city that offers all the best features of urban living. With its active arts and cultural scene, readily available amenities, and a great selection of real estate options, it’s no wonder this city is such a popular destination for homebuyers.

Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive condo in the city center or a spacious suburban home, there are plenty of fascinating real estate options in this growing metropolis. Also, this is the fourth best place to live in New York, according to US News!

Key Factors to Consider:

  • Average home prices: $215,795 (Zillow)  
  • Average rental revenue: $1,300 (Zillow)  
  • Population: 884,000 (as of 2023) 

The median home values in Buffalo have appreciated by 9.3 percent over the last year. The rent vs. owned ratio is 58% to 42%. With the lucrative renting potential, people here prefer to invest in rental properties.

Why Invest in Buffalo? 

  • Growing economy: Buffalo has a diverse market and a growing economy, with several major employers in healthcare, education, lake house market, and manufacturing industries.
  • Great for family life: Buffalo is the best place for people looking to find the perfect city for raising a family.
  • Moreover, you can provide your children with the best education possible since Buffalo is home to many top-rated schools and universities, including the Buffalo State College and the University of Buffalo.
  • So, if you’re looking for an urban experience with all the best parts of city life, look no further than Buffalo. Whether you’re searching for an investment option or a place to call home, this thriving Upstate city can cater to every need.

Also, read the 10 Best Places To Buy House in the US, 2023!

4. Rochester, New York: Best Places to Buy a House near NYC 

Rochester is the third-largest city in the state and is known for its rich industrial past, thriving cultural scene, and diverse neighborhoods to explore. Moreover, it is also home to many family-friendly attractions, outdoor activities, and successful sports teams.

If that’s not enough, Rochester pips Buffalo and NYC to the third spot in US News’s annual ranking of best places to live in.

Key Factors to Consider: 

  • Average home prices: $209,943 (Zillow)  
  • Average rental revenue: $1,295 (Zillow)  
  • Population: 749,000 (as of 2023) 

The median home values in Rochester have appreciated by 11.2 percent over the last year. The rent vs. owned ratio is 64% to 36%. Just like Buffalo, this city also offers lucrative rental property prospects. 

Why Invest in Rochester? 

  • Real estate and education opportunities: Why are houses so cheap in Rochester, NY? This city is known for its affordable real estate prices, making it an appealing option for those looking to buy a house in Upstate New York.
  • As if that wasn’t enough, Rochester also has several top-rated schools and universities, including the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology. 
  • Outdoor activities and recreation: Rochester has something to offer everyone, from hiking and biking trails, golf courses, lakes, and rivers for water sports to visiting ski resorts for wintertime adventures. Another critical factor is that Rochester, NY, weather is mild, making it an excellent choice for year-round activities. 
  • Also, Rochester offers access to the famous Finger Lakes region. With miles of hiking trails, hundreds of wineries, rich historical sites, and beautiful gorges, the Finger Lakes are a paradise for outdoor activities and culture. 

5. Kingston, NY: Best Place to Live in Upstate New York 

Kingston, New York State, is situated on the Rondout Creek at the foot of the Catskill Mountains, 90 miles north of New York City. As the first capital of New York, it is rich in history, has fantastic architecture, and has a vibrant art scene.

Like many Hudson Valley communities, Kingston has recently attracted creative people who have moved there and made it their home; in turn, they are creating restaurants, stores, studios, and other small businesses. Kingston’s history, natural beauty, and affordability are all due to its history. 

Key Factors to Consider: 

  • Average home prices: $637,046 (Zillow)  
  • Average rental revenue: $1,795 (Zillow)  
  • Population: 597,000 (as of 2023) 

The median home values in Kingston have appreciated by 7.1 percent over the last year. The rent vs. owned ratio is 54% to 46%. With the second-highest renal yields on this list, you can find a great rental property here.

Why Invest in Kingston? 

  • Outdoor activities and recreation: Kingston is situated near a number of parks, nature preserves, and outdoor recreational areas, providing plenty of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. 
  • In addition, being close to the Catskill Mountains, you get access to various hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. And lastly, the weather in Kingston, New York, is very mild, making it a great year-round destination for outdoor activities. 
  • Is Kingston, NY, safe? With a crime rate lower than the USA national average, Kingston is among the safest cities in New York. 

6. Niagara Falls: Best Towns to Live Upstate NY

Niagara Falls is a beautiful city located just a short drive away from the breathtaking natural wonders of Niagara Falls, which are brimming with outdoor activities, natural beauty, and life; this city brings out the nature lover in its residents. 

Key Factors to Consider: 

  • Average home prices: $149,678 (Zillow)  
  • Average rental revenue: $1,150 (Zillow)  
  • Population: 47,899 (as of 2020) 

The median home values in Niagara Falls have appreciated by 7.3 percent over the last year. The rent vs. owned ratio is 41% to 59%, which makes it a case for you to buy a satisfying primary residence here. 

Why Invest in Niagara Falls? 

  • Outdoor activities and recreation: Whether you’re hiking in the forests of the nearby Niagara Falls State Park, biking through scenic Horseshoe Falls Park, or enjoying a day on one of the area’s many lakes and rivers, you’ll find endless opportunities for adventure here.
  • Work Opportunities: For those looking for work, Niagara Falls is home to various exciting industries, including healthcare, tourism, the lake house market, and manufacturing. Whether you’re looking to work in retail, finance, or another field, there are plenty of opportunities to suit your needs. 
  • So, if you’re looking for a beautiful city with easy access to excellent education and career opportunities, look no further than Niagara Falls. Whether raising a family here or seeking a new career, this vibrant and exciting city has everything you need.

Also, read the 11 Best Places to Buy a House in California in 2023!

7. Albany: Best Places to Live in Upstate New York for Young Adults

Situated right at the heart of the Capital District, Albany is a dynamic city that offers a vast range of amenities and attractions for residents. From its convenient location and affordable housing market in Albany, NY, options to its rich history and cultural attractions, Albany has much to offer those looking to buy a home. 

As a side note, Albany topped the aforementioned US News’s ranking. So, you needn’t think twice before buying a property in the best city to live in, New York State. 

Key Factors to Consider:  

  • Albany House prices: $285,350 (Zillow)  
  • Average rental revenue: $1,495 (Zillow)  
  • Population: 638,000 (as of 2023) 

The median home values in Albany have appreciated by 4.9 percent over the last year. The rent vs. owned ratio is 63% to 37%, offering a thriving rental property market. 

Why Invest in Albany? 

  • Conveniently close to major cities: Being in the heart of New York’s Capital Region makes it easy to access other parts of the state and the Northeast. In addition, it’s just a short drive from major cities like Boston, New York City, and Montreal. 
  • Culturally rich and attractive: Albany has a long and exciting history, with many historic landmarks and sites to explore, including the New York State Capitol, the Empire State Plaza, and the Ten Broeck Mansion. 
  • It is also home to several cultural attractions, including the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Albany Institute of History and Art, and the Egg Performing Arts Center.
  • Moreover, Albany has a diverse culinary scene, with various bars and restaurants to choose from and a thriving craft beer and distillery scene but don’t worry, as it has modular homes in Albany, NY. 
  • Outdoors and recreation: The Capital Region gives you access to many parks, scenic sights, and natural areas, including the Albany Pine Bush Preserve and the Mohawk Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, providing plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Albany, NY, weather is ideal for the activities as well. 

So, look no further than Albany if you’re looking for a great place to buy a house and start a new chapter in your life with the Albany real estate market.  

8. Utica, New York: Cheapest Places to Live in Upstate New York 

Utica is a charming city located in the Mohawk Valley region. It has something to offer everyone with its vibrant economy, excellent schools, and rich cultural offerings.

So, whether you’re looking for exciting job opportunities or an outstanding education for your children, you can find it here. 

Key Factors to Consider: 

  • Average home prices: $172,052 (Zillow)  
  • Average rental revenue: $1,300 (Zillow)  
  • Population: 63,316 (as of 2023)

The median home values in Utica have appreciated by 8.2 percent over the last year. The rent vs. owned ratio is 48% to 52%, showing investors’ likeliness to buy properties to put down roots. 

Why Invest in Utica? 

  • Diversity and Culture: Utica has a diverse and welcoming community with a rich cultural heritage. This diversity is shown in the city’s various events and festivals throughout the year, which celebrate the different cultures and traditions of the area. 
  • It is also home to several cultural attractions, including the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, the Utica Zoo, and the Utica Marsh. 
  • Outdoor activities and recreation: Utica is close to the Adirondack Mountains, providing easy access to various outdoor recreation activities. These include hiking, biking, skiing, and more. 
  • Quality healthcare and a growing economy: Utica is home to several top-ranked hospitals, including Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center, providing residents living in Upstate NY with high-quality healthcare. 
  • The place has a diverse and growing economy, with significant regional employers, including Mohawk Valley Health System and SUNY, also known as the State University of New York Institute of Technology.
  • Utica is just a short drive from major cities like Syracuse, Albany, and Rochester, making accessing additional amenities and attractions easy. 

All these factors make Utica an attractive destination for people looking to buy a house and create a new home, which is why it is also one of the best places to invest in -Upstate New York.  

9. Binghamton, New York: Safest Place to Live in Upstate NY

With a population of just under 50,000, it offers the benefits of living in a small city, including a strong sense of community and low crime rates.

Binghamton boasts a rich history, with a downtown district full of historic architecture and cultural attractions. Binghamton, New York’s weather is also perfect for activities and adventure.

Key Factors to Consider:  

  • Average home prices: $158,636 (Zillow)  
  • Average rental revenue: $1,200 (Zillow)  
  • Population: 46,954 (as of 2020) 

The median home values in Binghamton have appreciated by 8.7 percent over the last year. The rent vs. owned ratio is 59% to 41%, and with such a high rental yield, this is one of the best places on this list to buy a rental property. 

Why Invest in Binghamton? 

  • Community and Culture: The city has several neighborhoods, each with character and charm, and many community events and activities unite residents. As a result, Binghamton is a place where people know their neighbors, appreciate the community, and look out for one another, creating a strong sense of belonging.
  • Binghamton has a rich history reflected in the city’s downtown district, which contains some historic buildings and cultural attractions. It includes places like Binghamton Philharmonic, the Bundy Museum of History and Art, and the Roberson Museum and Science Center, all offering various cultural and educational programs.
  • Low crime rates: Binghamton has consistently ranked as one of the safest cities in New York State, with a lower crime rate than other cities of equal size. 
  • Diverse economy: Binghamton is home to Binghamton University, a significant employer in the region that attracts students, faculty, and staff worldwide. The university is a leading research institution offering prestigious engineering, computer science, and business programs. 
  • In addition to the university, Binghamton is home to leading employers in healthcare, education, and manufacturing, providing diverse job opportunities. In addition, the city’s diverse economy helps to make it a stable and prosperous place to live and work. 
  • Binghamton has various housing options and a stable real estate market if you’re considering where to buy a house near NYC. 

10. Syracuse, NY: Best Neighborhoods in Upstate NY

This dazzling town is at the heart of New York’s Finger Lakes region, offering a variety of benefits for homeowners. Many reasons make Syracuse the best place for your new home, from its strong job market and cultural attractions to its Syracuse real estate market, affordable housing prices, and proximity to other major cities.

Syracuse rounds the US News ranking by pipping all the previous cities and falling short of Albany in the second spot. The city has lovely weather and has also been called a “climate haven” in a world desecrating because of climate change.

Key Factors to Consider: 

  • Average home prices: $171,254 (Zillow)  
  • Average rental revenue: $1,400 (Zillow)  
  • Population: 422,000 (as of 2023) 
  • Cost of living in Syracuse, NY: $1,810 
  • Property taxes in Syracuse, NY: 2.159% 

The median home values in Syracuse have appreciated by 9.1 percent over the last year. The rent vs. owned ratio is 61% to 39%, showing a high tendency to invest in rental property. 

Why Invest in Syracuse? 

  • Culture and recreation: Syracuse has many cultural attractions, including the Erie Canal Museum, the Everson Museum of Art, and the Onondaga Historical Association, providing entertainment and learning opportunities.
  • It is located in the heart of New York’s Finger Lakes region and offers ample outdoor recreation, including hiking, fishing, and skiing.  
  • Employment opportunities: Syracuse is home to major employers, including Syracuse University, Upstate University Hospital, and Lockheed Martin, contributing to the city’s strong job market. 
  • Overall, Syracuse’s strong job market is a significant benefit for those looking to buy a home in the city. Whether you’re looking for a job in education, healthcare, aerospace and defense, retail, or energy, Syracuse has something for you. 
  • Close to other cities: It is a few hours’ drive from several major cities, including New York City, Philadelphia, and Toronto, making it an attractive option for those looking for a more reasonable alternative to living in a larger city.

Also, read 10 Best Places to Buy a House in Texas

Upstate NY Housing Market 2023  

As Upstate New York has experienced rapid growth in recent years, it’s time to look at what 2023 might have in store for the Upstate New York real estate market. 

  • Recent trends indicate that the average home price in Upstate New York, which currently stands at $716,097, is expected to rise in the coming years. 
  • In addition to home prices, the cost of living in Upstate New York will rise. With an average annual Upstate New York property tax rate of 1.23%, residents should expect their yearly costs to increase accordingly. 
  • Upstate New York’s cost of living will remain below the national average, making it an attractive option for those looking to relocate. 
  • For example, a single adult living in Upstate New York can expect to pay $1,536 monthly on average in bills and utilities – significantly less than in many other parts of the country. 

Furthermore, waterfront properties located in Upstate New York’s many lakes and rivers will command a premium price due to their popularity with tourists and vacationers. 

Now is the time to act for those looking to invest in Upstate New York real estate. With its desirable location, affordable cost of living, and sizeable investment potential, Upstate New York offers some of the best value real estate in the region.

Pros and Cons of Living in New York State 

Living in the Empire State has benefits and drawbacks, so we’ve compiled a list of the pros and cons of living in Upstate New York for those interested in relocating. 

Pros: 

  • Low unemployment rate coupled with a diverse job market. 
  • High quality of life due to cultural activities such as museums, galleries, and music venues. 
  • Easy access to excellent educational opportunities, including both public and private universities. 
  • Access to outdoor activities and scenery like the Adirondack Mountains and the Finger Lakes region. 

Cons:  

  • High cost of living, particularly in New York City. 
  • NYC weather cold winters come with plenty of snowfall. 
  • Increased traffic congestion in cities such as Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse. 

By weighing these pros and cons carefully, you can make an informed decision about whether or not Upstate New York is the right place to call home. 

Still, Wondering Where to Buy?

It can get overwhelming or confusing for some. There are many factors to consider, like the housing market, median home values, property rental performance, and estimated yearly expenses. The home you decide to purchase might be your dream investment. 

Moreover, there’s still a lot to know about purchasing and selling real estate in the Upstate, but the options and advice above are a fantastic place to start. We at HomeAbroad are glad to put our expertise to work for you. HomeAbroad team of experts has extensive experience assisting overseas and domestic buyers in buying US real estate. 

They will then aid you in identifying the ideal neighborhood in which to purchase a home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why are houses cheaper in Upstate New York?

A. There are a few reasons why houses are cheaper in Upstate New York compared to other parts of the state or the country.

One reason is that the cost of living or the estimated yearly expenses here are generally lower than in other parts of the state or country, so the housing costs are also lower.

Q2. How is the housing market in Upstate New York?

A. The housing market is relatively strong, though there can be fluctuations depending on the specific area and what it offers.

Home prices are lower than in other regions and cities, attracting many people looking for affordable housing.

Q3. Is Upstate NY cheaper than NYC?

A. Certain parts of Upstate NY are cheaper than NYC. The median home value in the Big Apple is $653. Most of the towns mentioned above are more affordable than New York, barring Montauk. 

So, if you’re looking for a small townhome or a lavish place, you can get it much cheaper in most parts of Upstate than in New York City. But this is said for some parts of Upstate NY. 

Q4. What is the safest place in Upstate NY?

A. Yonkers, a city developed along the Hudson River, was named one of the safest cities in America. Rochester ranked 52nd on the same list based on FBI crime report data and home and community safety research.

Yonkers had the highest ranking of any city in New York State. Other cities in the state that made a list included Buffalo and New York City.

Q5. Where is it cheap to live in Upstate New York?

A. The cost of living in Upstate New York can vary significantly depending on the location. Some areas may have lower living costs than others due to factors such as the local economy, housing prices, and the availability of amenities.

According to the Council for Community and Economic Research, some cities in Upstate New York with relatively low living costs include Binghamton, Utica, and Watertown.

Q6. What is the richest part of Upstate New York?

A. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, some of the more affluent areas in Upstate New York include Scarsdale and Mamaroneck in Westchester County, Montauk in Long Island, and several neighborhoods in the city of Rochester.

These areas tend to have higher median household incomes and home values than other parts of the state.

Q7. What are the pros and cons of living in Upstate New York?

A. There are both pros and cons to living in Upstate New York. Some potential pros include the following:

-Access to outdoor recreation 
-Affordable housing 
-Strong job market 
-Beautiful scenery 
 
Some potential cons of living in Upstate New York include: 

-Cold winters 
-Limited public transportation 
-Limited cultural and entertainment options 
-High cost of living in some areas 

Ultimately, the pros and cons of living in Upstate New York will depend on your personal preferences and circumstances.

Q8. What salary do you need to buy a house in New York?

A. According to data from Zillow, the median home value in New York State as of 2021 is $385,000.

Based on this, a borrower would need to have an annual income of approximately $93,000 to afford a mortgage payment of 28% of their income on a home with this value, assuming a 20% down payment and a 30-year fixed loan rate of 3.0%. 

Q9. Is it a good time to buy a house in New York State?

A. The housing market in New York is strong, and there are many benefits to buying a house in the state.

The economy is healthy, with a low unemployment rate, and many great jobs are available in various industries.

Q10. What is the prettiest town in New York State?

A. It is subjective to determine the prettiest town in New York State as beauty is often in the eye of the beholder. New York State has many picturesque towns and villages with various landscapes and architecture. Some towns that are known for their beauty include: 
  
1. Saratoga Springs 
2. Cooperstown 
3. Cold Spring 
4. Chautauqua 
 
These are some examples of the many beautiful towns and villages in New York State. Ultimately, the prettiest town will depend on your preferences and what you consider beautiful. 

Q11. Which are the best small towns in Upstate New York to live in?

A. There are a lot of great small towns in Upstate New York, many of which offer a tranquil, rural lifestyle with plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities. The top living places include Saratoga Springs, Cooperstown, and Chautauqua County.

About the author:
Michele Lawrie, a seasoned real estate professional licensed in New York and Florida, serves as the Chief Real Estate Officer at HomeAbroad. With over 15 years of experience and specialized certifications from the NAR (National Association of Realtors), Michele is a trusted expert for foreign nationals buying US real estate.

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