7 Actually Affordable Places to Live on the East Coast

published Feb 5, 2021
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It almost feels like there’s a new report about the rising cost of living every week. Cities like New York and Boston tend to appear at the top of lists that rank expensive places to live. But the East Coast is not all sky-high rent prices and bidding wars. There are plenty of vibrant communities along the eastern seaboard with reasonable housing costs to consider if you’re vying for Atlantic-side living. 

Home values and rent prices vary greatly from state to state and city to city, but for the purpose of this roundup, we’ve spotlighted cities with median home values of less than $350,000 and median monthly rents of less than $1,500. With these places, you don’t have to give up your love for the East Coast in exchange for affordable living.

Worcester, Mass.

Located smack in the center of Massachusetts, Worcester is a mid-size city with a ton of up-and-coming businesses. Enjoying craft beer is a local pastime, thanks to all the breweries taking up shop there. And with nine schools in the area, the city’s college town atmosphere rivals Boston’s.   

Access to Worcester Regional Airport, the MBTA commuter rail, and the Worcester Regional Transit Authority makes traveling and commuting convenient, including for those who work in Boston but don’t want to break the bank on rent.

Providence, R.I.

As the capital of the country’s smallest state, Providence is best known for its stellar dining scene, likely due to its diverse immigrant populations and proximity to the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University. Also the home of Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design, exciting art, music, and academic attractions aren’t hard to find, either. Plus, a 40 mile coastline means the tiny state has an abundance of charming beaches. 

New Haven, Conn.

New Haven is famous for its Ivy League institution, Yale University, which no doubt attracts innovators, politicians, and researchers to the area. The presence of a college always brings community access to the arts, academic resources, and epic football games. But beyond that, New Haven has a walkable city feel with plenty of restaurants, shops, public parks, nightlife, and public transportation. The two-hour commute to New York is a plus, too, for those who enjoy a weekend jaunt away to the big city. 

Virginia Beach, Va.

Virginia Beach provides affordable living by the ocean as a family-friendly coastal city. One of its main attractions is the lively three-mile boardwalk along the beachfront, as well as the historic First Landing State Park, which commemorates the 1607 arrival of Jamestown colonists from England. Those used to brutal Northeast winters will enjoy Virginia’s year-round mild temperatures. The area is home to several U.S. military branches and the tourism and hospitality sectors there are strong.

Raleigh, N.C.

Raleigh, the capital city of North Carolina, often ranks as one of the best U.S. cities to live in for its tech economy boom, pleasant weather, affordability, and vibrant city amenities. It’s also nicknamed the “City of Oaks” for its high number of oak trees and green spaces. Millennials favor the city as a place to build their careers and start a family, while also enjoying a youthful cultural scene with plenty of bars, breweries, museums, festivals and entertainment. 

Savannah, Ga.

As Georgia’s oldest city, people love Savannah for its stunning architecture, nature, the population’s southern hospitality, and the city’s world-famous cuisine. What some may not know about the Southern coastal city is that it’s bike-friendly and has public transportation available. The Historic District in Downtown Savannah is a National Historic Landmark with 22 squares and parks, and the four-block open-air market has been a cultural mainstay since the 1700s. And if you look forward to returning to events one day, Savannah hosts a variety of festivals and live music events year-round. 

Cape Coral, Fla.

If you want to feel like you’re always on vacation, consider Cape Coral in Florida, a city along the Gulf of Mexico with plenty of beaches, over 400 miles of canals, and many tropical islands nearby. Its sunny location and relatively quiet scene does give way to an older, retired population but the low crime rate makes it an attractive area to raise a family. Cape Coral is a short drive to Fort Myers, another beach destination with a revitalized downtown district.