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These Are the Most Affordable Towns in the Hudson Valley

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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 CaféTrulia, 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.

Empire State Plaza

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

Albany

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 inched up only three percent in the past year from $1,251 to $1,288, making right now an ideal time to opt into the market. Prospective homeowners have it pretty swell as well, with median home sale prices dropping over the past year from $185,000 to $174,900. 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. Once open, 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.

Related: Here’s Where to Get the Best Brunch in Albany

Cornwall-On-Hudson Elementary School. Wikimedia Commons/Daniel Case

Cornwall-on-Hudson

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 $1,146 (up eight percent from last year), a price that will get you about $800 square feet of space. Aspiring homeowners have it slightly less sweet, with a medium home value of $315,415. Home values dropped 3.6 percent in the past year and are expected to continue to drop another 3.4 percent over the course of the next year. To put things in perspective, in the 25 to 44 age bracket, $117,344 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. Once it’s safe to do so, 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.

Related: Ogle Larger-Than-Life Art at Local Sculpture Parks

Bykenhulle House Bed and Breakfast in Hopewell Junction. Wikimedia Commons/Daniel Case

Hopewell Junction

Hopewell Junction is a dream for renters who want a central location and bargain prices. With an approximate cost of $1,087 (this number is a 12-percent drop from $1,210 in 2019) 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 $296,200, a relatively approachable number for millennials and first-time homeowners, although it is a jump from last year’s $280,500. 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 doesn’t 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 to Fishkill and Wappingers Falls, which means everything you could ever need is a only five-minute drive away.

Related: Lena Dunham’s Girls Filmed in Hopewell Junction

Buildings on Canal Street (NY 52) in Ellenville, NY, USA, contributing properties to the Ellenville Downtown Historic District. Wikimedia Commons / Daniel Case

Ellenville

Thanks to its proximity to the Shawangunk Ridge, Ellenville is one of those Hudson Valley towns that lures hikers and nature lovers who dream of a Catskills escape. A small and charming locale, Ellenville is a dream for outdoor explorers in search of walks along the rail trail and weekend treks to Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Rent is competitive — a 962 sq. ft. apartment here costs only $912 – a number that went up two percent from the previous year. Homeowners should seriously consider Ellenville as a viable city to put down roots as well. Average home prices sit affordably around $118,900, and stock on the market is ample.

In terms of outdoor attractions, Ellenville is a paradise for weekenders and residents alike. The village is primely located next to Witch’s Hole State Park, Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Awosting Reserve, and the Shawangunk Ridge State Forest. It’s precisely the place to marvel the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley at its finest.

Related: 25 Under-the-Radar Things to Do in the Hudson Valley

Apple Pie Bakery Cafe at the Culinary Institute of America. Photo by Phil Mansfield

Hyde Park

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 seven percent from $1,149 in 2019 to $1,278. 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 $192,700 (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.

Related: This Culinary Institute of America Eatery Gets A Gorgeous Redesign

Rondout Creek in Kingston. Wikimedia Commons/Daniel Case

Kingston

Have we mentioned what a gem Kingston is? With a prime location along the Hudson River, not to mention the too-cool Stockade District, it’s a neighborhood in which putting down roots is a piece of cake. A one-bedroom averages about $1,213, a slight increase from the $1,111 sum in 2019. Be warned that rent costs are on the rise (just five percent, but still). While apartment prices are up slightly, home costs are down from $175,500 to $151,300 (we know, we’re looking at Zillow listings now). 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

Looking south (upstream) in the Wallkill River north of Walden, NY, USA. A small cairn built during the dry summer of 2016 stands in the foreground. Wikimedia Commons / Daniel Case

Walden

Walden may not be on the radar for Hudson Valleyites outside of Orange County, but it is a dream destination for renters and buyers of all ages. As a quieter town on the northern border of the county, Walden offers some of the most competitive rental rates in the Valley. Prices are on the rise, up two percent, but an average space still ranks affordably at $962 for 563 square feet. Anyone looking to buy a home in Walden should waste no time. Median prices are a steal at $168,200, so you just may be able to find a major deal if you keep your eyes on the ever-changing market.

Even though it’s located in one of the more serene corners of Orange County, Walden is a top spot for food and culture (did we mention Angry Orchard is the main attraction in town?). With a median household income falling just above $70,000, reasonable rates are the secret to this city’s success. As long as you’re okay with being slightly away from the riverfront, Walden is the place for you.

Related: Explore These 27 Breathtaking Waterfalls in the Hudson Valley

Fall leaves in St. Agnes cemetery (Menands, NY). Wikimedia Commons / ronmcc

Menands

When it comes to affordable housing in the Hudson Valley, Menands is hot. The average cost for rentals, $1,149, will get you a reasonable 849 sq. ft. of space. Those looking for a home of your own can also score a deal in the city. For about $213,600, you can claim a house that is smack between Albany and Troy.

Property in Menands is an increasingly valuable commodity for Capital Region residents, who recognize the locale’s proximity to Albany International Airport and Albany’s thriving craft beverage scene. With Fort Orange Brewing and top-notch brunches nearby, Menands residents always have something exciting to look forward to each weekend.

Related: Here’s Where to Get the Best Brunch in Albany

Collar City Guitars

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

Troy

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 rose four percent to a still-affordable $1,200 between 2019 and 2020. As for home costs, they’re not too shabby either. Median home sale prices currently rest at $160,800, down significantly from last year’s $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 (when it’s safe to do so), 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

Warwick

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 (no change from last year). House prices are steeper, running about $285,000. Warwick residents have a median age of 49 years and make an average of $70,518.

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

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