How affordable is PA to move to?

Compared nationally, Pennsylvania is more affordable than 30 of the states in the U.S., with at least 14.47% more affordable housing than its neighboring states and a minimum of 41.25% lower compared to national average in Q3 2023 into Q1 2024. The median sale price of houses in PA is $254,000, while the national median value of houses is between $408.537 and $431,000.

In Pennsylvania, the average annual household income is $100,837, while the median household income is $73,170 measured in Q4 2022. The per capita income in the past 12 months (in 2022) was $41,234, 10.2% of households belong to the high-income category, earning more than $200,000 annually. Numbers have margins of error from 3% to 7%.

 Income levels can vary significantly based on age. For instance, residents aged 25 to 44 earn an average of $84,653, while those between 45 and 64 years old have a median wage of $89,726. In contrast, people younger than 25 and those older than 65 earn less, at $40,108 and $51,201, respectively. Numbers have margins of error from 3% to 7%.

You can live more than well If you earn $100,000 in gross income in Pennsylvania, after all taxes and deductions, your take-home pay or net income will be approximately $72,271. This includes federal tax of around $15,009, FICA of $7,650, state tax of $3,070, and local tax of $2,000, totalling $27,709 in taxes.

This leaves you with a net income of about $6,022 per month or $72,271 annually. With this income, a family of four could afford to rent a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house and live in Pennsylvania affordably with an average of $3,200 to $5,224 per month after all expenses are paid

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TL; DR Where in PA is cheaper to live?

In this article, we will explore the top 20+ affordable and extremely  affordable locations to live in Pennsylvania, backed up by data and our unique Affordability Map.

When considering the cheapest places to live in Pennsylvania, it’s important to factor in not just housing costs but also the cost of groceries, utilities, transportation, and other expenses that contribute to the overall cost of living.

It depends on your goal, retirement plan to downsize, to find a better work or to raise a family and up-size. The quality of life, job opportunities, and community amenities are also important considerations for to move your life to PA.

A Pennsylvania poster showcasing breathtaking mountains.
A Pennsylvania poster showcasing breathtaking mountains.

The number one affordable city in PA according to TALLBOX is Camp Hill in Cumberland County with cost of living index 91 out of 100 and 86% of the areas family friendly.

Pennsylvania has enough budget-friendly city/town options to choose from based on cost of living, housing rates and safety criteria. Williamsport, Falls Township, Cranberry Township , State College, Meadville , and Camp Hill are examples of great cost-effective cities and places.

Livability in Pennsylvania depends on personal preference. Students look for the most budget-friendly house shares or campus housing near universities. Families prioritize reputable school districts, affordable single-family homes, low crime rates, and family-friendly amenities like parks and recreation centers.

Retirees look for areas with easily accessible healthcare facilities, 55+ housing communities, mild weather, cultural activities, scenic natural beauty, and low taxes. Singles may opt for more urban locations with vibrant social scenes and walkable commutes over sprawl.

Outdoor enthusiasts tend to favor rural areas and small towns providing access to fishing, hunting, hiking, and winter sports. While personal priorities differ, evaluating crime maps, school ratings, average rents, weather patterns, and location ratings for categories like walkability and weekend fun can help narrow suitable areas that align budget with lifestyle.

Test drives taking in different parts of Pennsylvania through each season also prove useful before committing.

HOW Affordable PENNSYLVANIA IS?

In Q4 2023 going into 2024 in PA 35,755 (Redfin data) homes were available for sale. Which is a decline of almost 20,000 homes compared to 2019. Given the house supply as a factor Pennsylvania’s affordability can be evaluated by also considering several other factors such as the housing prices, cost of living, and minimum wage.

At the beginning of 2024, the cost of living index in Pennsylvania was 94.8, which means the total cost of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, taxes, and other necessities was 5.2 percent lower than the U.S. average. Considering the 94.8 cost of living index and shrinking property supply, Pennsylvania remains relatively affordable compared to other North-East states.

However, the cost of living can vary significantly within the state of Pennsylvania. For instance, the cost of living index in Philadelphia was 14.4% higher than the national average, while in Pittsburgh it was 3.0% lower.

The average home value in Pennsylvania in 2023 Q3 was $254,802, which is lower than the national average of $431,000. The median sale price for a home in Pennsylvania was $219,811 in mid-2023, and by November 2023, it had risen to $272,200. This suggests that housing prices in Pennsylvania are increasing in some areas around Pittsburgh and Philadelphia yet remaining relatively affordable compared to many other states.

The minimum wage in Pennsylvania in 2023 was $7.25 per hour, which is the same as the federal minimum wage. This rate has been stagnant since 2009 and has not increased despite attempts to raise it through legislation. However, nearly 70% of Pennsylvania hourly workers made at least $15 to 24.59 an hour in 2023, according to state data, and just 2% were paid minimum wage or less.

HOW WE MEASURE WHAT ARE THE AFFORDABLE PLACES IN PA?

Play Video about Affordable places to live in Pennsylvania 2024

At TALLBOX, we carefully analyzed cost of living data, economic factors, and crime statistics across Pennsylvania to pinpoint the most affordable and most affordable opportunity-rich areas to live and work, retire or study. Given that clustering disadvantaged communities can foster crime, unemployment, and intergenerational poverty, we made sure to identify mixed-income areas with abundant economic prospects.

By comparing county-level data on violent crime, property crime, clearance rates, available amenities, walkability, drivability, and other public safety metrics, we avoided directing folks to perceived “affordable” yet high-risk neighborhoods. We also studied indicators of financial opportunity – job growth, industry mix, commuting times, retirement amenities, and wage levels – to reveal areas where residents can truly get ahead.

On top of prioritizing low crime risk and high economic potential, we highlighted locales with historical charm, scenic beauty, top-rated schools, and quickly appreciating home values. Our assessments synthesize statistical and lifestyle factors so Pennsylvania residents can make informed decisions on places to raise families, launch careers, and invest in homes. We’re proud to have uncovered hidden gems across the Keystone State where safety, affordability, and household prosperity go hand-in-hand.

This balances cost savings with quality-of-life considerations by spotlighting mixed-income areas positioned for self-reinforcing growth.

Housing Median Comparison: PA, NY, and NJ

Pennsylvania

The median home value in Pennsylvania is approximately $254,000. Homes in Pennsylvania typically go from pending to under offer in around 14 to 32 days on average.

New York vs PA

In New York, the median listing home price was $800,000 that is x 3.15 times more when compared to PA, with an 0% year-over-year increase. Or in other words roughly 68.5% more expensive than in Pennsylvania to afford a property. The median sold home price was $730,000, and the median days on the market was 97 days.

New Jersey vs PA

New Jersey’s median home value is around $495,469 that is x1.9 more when compared to PA. The median sale price for a home in New Jersey was reported to be $451,667, where 60.8% of the sales go over the list price.

State affordability PA vs. OH vs. VA vs. Washington D.C

A city street with buildings in the background, showcasing some of PA's cheapest places to live.
A city street with buildings in the background, showcasing some of PA's cheapest places to live.

Comparing the affordability of purchasing a house in Pennsylvania to other neighboring states, here’s how much cheaper it is in Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania vs Virginia: It is approximately 39% more expensive to afford a house in Virginia compared to Pennsylvania on average.

Pennsylvania vs Ohio: Pennsylvania is about 8.3% more expensive than Ohio.

Pennsylvania vs West Virginia: West Virginia is about 8.79% more expensive than Pennsylvania to acquire real estate on average.

Pennsylvania vs Washington: Affording a house in Washington is approximately 61% more expensive compared to Pennsylvania.

Why some areas in PA are affordable to live?

Some areas in Pennsylvania are affordable to live due to a combination of factors that influence housing costs and the overall cost of living.

The main factor is housing costs. The restrictive zoning regulations and subdivision requirements can drive up housing costs in addition to the demand and relocation are the main components for increased housing costs, making some areas more affordable and other less.

Other factors of affordability include:

Income Levels: In places like Philadelphia, Chester and West Chester, Glen Rock, New Hope, Allentown, Bucks County, Manheim Township, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh affordability is lower with high housing prices and concentration of large companies and businesses.

Rural Housing: With 48 rural counties and only 19 urban counties Pennsylvania’s 3.4 million residents out of almost 13 million live in rural areas. Despite increases in median income, housing affordability remains good in areas as Tionesta, Farmington, Strasburg, Berlin and Coudersport. Many rural residents pay at least 30% less to buy a home in these areas compared to the state average housing costs.

Demand for Housing: High demand for housing and less homes for sale in areas like Norristown, Lebanon, Reading, Carlisle, Levittown, Pottstown, Greensburg, Scranton and Bethlehem PA drives up property values and rental rates, making it difficult for residents with lower incomes to find affordable housing. Conversely, areas with lower demand like Altoona, Lakemont, Logan, Cresson Township and Ebensburg have more affordable housing options.

Transportation and Infrastructure: The availability and cost of transportation infrastructure can also impact the cost of living in an area. Areas with less expensive transportation options can contribute to overall affordability.

Health and Social Implications: The lack of affordable housing can affect the physical, mental, and social health of residents. In areas where affordable housing is more available, these health and social implications may be less pronounced.

Where in PA is extremely affordable to live?

Williamsport, Lycoming County is one the cities with lowest cost of living in PA. In and around Williamsport, Lycoming County is extremely affordable for those looking to purchase home in area with under 50,000 residents according to TALLBOX’s research. The housing cost is 42.4% lower than the rest of PA, 64.2% less on average than the national average and the food is 24.8% cheaper than the national average. 

An illustration of Williamsport's town street in PA with cars parked on it, showcasing one of the cheapest places to live.
An illustration of Williamsport's town street in PA with cars parked on it, showcasing one of the cheapest places to live.

With 27,754 residents located in within the city border and population of 114,000 residing in the Williamsport Metropolitan area is not only highly affordable place to live, but also has high livability score of 77/100.

The city is approximately 90 miles from Scranton to the North West and 25.1miles to South West from Lewisburg, Bucknell University and approximately  1h and 27 mins or 70.8 miles away from Wilkes-Barre which is another affordable place to live.

Pennsylvania vs other various places to live.
Pennsylvania vs other various places to live.

Third contender for extreme affordability under 100,000 residents (92,743) is Erie city and Erie County (266,096) with liveability score 83. Erie’s crown jewel is undoubtedly Presque Isle Bay, a stunning natural wonder on Lake Erie. This gem city, aptly named for the clear waters, offers a unique coastal vibe and access to water activities and it is 30 mins or 24.6 miles away by car from the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

The port city of Erie, has a median house price of $125,000 in Nov.2023 up from $80,000 Nov. 2019 but still 71% lower than the national average. Erie sits on the western border of Pennsylvania, close to major highways (NY State Thruway) and within driving distance of cities like Cleveland, Ohio (1.5 hours) and Buffalo, New York (2 hours).

Followed by Oil City in Venango County and Forest County 90 miles to the east of Erie also with St Marys, Ridgeway Township, Johnsonburg, Kane, Warren, Bradford are all small towns and communities around the Allegheny National Forest and Highland Corners.

Map of Affordable Areas to live in PA

To find the ideal affordable place in Pennsylvania you can consult with our AI Real Estate Agent trained on our bespoke data. Just type your question in the box below or use the affordable areas map.

Ask Real Estate Agent to help with property in PA.
Ask Real Estate Agent to help with property in PA.

Welcome to the TALLBOX’s Pennsylvania Affordable Areas interactive map! We’ve created this tool to help you easily identify places across PA that match your affordability criteria for retirement or relocation.

To use the map filters, you will notice four main buttons in the top-right corner. The default view shows all counties shaded by their relative affordability level.

If you click the “Retire Perfect” filter, the map will highlight counties that meet key livability factors for retirement like access to healthcare, recreational amenities, low taxes and more.

You can also filter by specific affordability levels to narrow your search. Click the “Low Affordability” filter to highlight counties with high median incomes and high median home prices. The “Moderate Affordability” and “High Affordability” filters allow you to view counties that fall into those categories accordingly with affordable house prices and cost of living.

Feel free to toggle between the filters and compare counties that most closely align with your budget needs and lifestyle preferences during this exciting transition. And don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions! We constantly add areas on that map as we research and uncover more areas.

The affordability map for Pennsylvania is updated every 4 weeks.

At TALLBOX, we understand that finding the perfect place to live is about more than just the price of a house. That’s why we’ve developed a comprehensive methodology to calculate and rank the ideal living areas, incorporating a wide range of criteria that matter most to our clients. We evaluate Affordable Living Costs to ensure our recommendations fit within your budget, without compromising on the quality of life. Our analysis includes Economic Development and Employment Prospects to highlight areas with thriving job markets and growth opportunities.

We recognize the importance of Educational Opportunities, factoring in the quality of local schools and educational programs available. Recognizing the value of leisure and community, we include Outdoor Recreation and Parks, as well as Community and Cultural Events, in our assessment to ensure you have access to enjoyable and enriching activities.

Convenient Location is key in our rankings, as we look for areas that offer both tranquility and accessibility to urban amenities. Community Engagement and Modern Amenities and Infrastructure also play crucial roles in our evaluation, ensuring the areas we recommend are not just places to live, but communities to be part of.

By integrating these criteria, TALLBOX aims to provide a nuanced and personalized approach to finding your ideal living area, one that balances affordability with a rich quality of life, ensuring you don’t just find a house, but a place to call home.

Cheapest and safe places to live in east PA

In the eastern part of PA, the southeast parts of Bucks country offer good affordability and lifestyle ratio.

In the areas of Falls Township, with a population of 34,644, the average home value is $350,000  or 23.14% lower than the national average, and the median rent is $1,100-1,250 and with a B+ rating for highly rated schools and family life and a very safe area with B+ score on the crime rate.

A live painting of people enjoying a park setting in affordable parts of Pennsylvania
A live painting of people enjoying a park setting in affordable parts of Pennsylvania

Falls Township: does not have a traditional downtown area like many larger cities. It is primarily a residential community with several commercial areas and recreational facilities that serve its residents.

The township offers a variety of amenities for its residents. For dining and entertainment, there are several bars and restaurants, such as Cosmos Restaurant and Bitchin’ Kitten Brewery. Shopping options are available in the township, with places like Hamilton Marketplace and Oxford Valley Mall.

For music enthusiasts, Music Forte offers music lessons and is open several days a week. The township is also home to historical sites like the Three Arches, which offers a glimpse into the area’s rich history.

While Falls Township may not have a traditional downtown and city feel, it offers a suburban feel with close proximity to amenities, making it a desirable place to live. It is also located near the Delaware River and is a short drive from Philadelphia, providing easy access to the amenities of a larger city.

Bristol Township: also in Eastern PA, has a lower cost of living than the national average and is an ideal place to settle and raise a family. 

A picturesque painting capturing the lively scene of a canal adorned with boats and people, set against the backdrop of PA.
A picturesque painting capturing the lively scene of a canal adorned with boats and people, set against the backdrop of PA.

It is located 23 miles north of Philadelphia, across Burlington, New Jersey, on the Delaware River. With a population of just under 10,000, B- cost of living index, and low rate of crime index at C, Bristol has a median house sale price of $310,209 due to the limited supply of houses for sale, but there is still 31% lower than the average in the U.S options or under $300,000, available in Newtown, Central West, West End, Millbrook, and Newportville.

Bristol Township known as Bristol Borough is one of the oldest towns in Pennsylvania and is filled with award-winning restaurants, bars, shops, attractions, and more. The main street of Bristol Borough, known as Mill Street, is a hub of activity with a variety of shops and restaurants. Some of the notable shops include Mignoni Jewelry, Bristol Antiques Market, Canal’s End Antiques, 4 Paws Pet Corner, and Re-Urban-It. For dining, there are several options such as Calm Waters Coffee Roasters and the Historic King George II Inn.

Bristol Borough also offers a variety of attractions and events, including distillery tours, riverside shows, music and art festivals, food and cultural events. The borough is also home to several historical sites, celebrating and preserving its rich historical heritage.

Cheapest and safe places to live in west PA

In West PA, Cranberry Township in Butler County is considered one of the best places to live in the state. Residents enjoy a sparse suburban feel, and most own their homes. The area is family-friendly and offers a variety of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks.

The public schools in Cranberry Township are highly rated, contributing to the area’s appeal for families. The township has 32,594 residents, and all public schools are highly rated with scores of A; the crime index is B- considered as highly safe.

Other areas with similar vibes to Cranberry Township are:

Adams Township: The township is home to several communities, such as Kaufmann Run and Pinnacle at Adams.

Illustration of houses and a river, inspired by the quaint charm of some of the cheapest places to live in PA.
Illustration of houses and a river, inspired by the quaint charm of some of the cheapest places to live in PA.

Kaufmann Run is a community of single-family homes and townhomes located about 25 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. Pinnacle at Adams is a 55+ community near Mars, Pennsylvania, offering amenities like a scenic fishing pond, community-provided kayaks, a fire pit and grilling area, an outdoor exercise area, community garden, and walking and hiking trails.

Ben Avon: Ben Avon is a borough located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, along the Ohio River, approximately six miles northwest of Downtown Pittsburgh. It is a residential community with a rich history and restored charm.

Ben Avon - the cheapest place to live in the city.
Ben Avon - the cheapest place to live in the city.

While Ben Avon does not have a traditional downtown area with commercial properties along the Ohio River Boulevard within its borders, it is a vibrant community with residential areas and is part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.

The borough is known for its historic Victorian mansions and churches, and it offers a suburban feel with close proximity to the amenities of a larger city. For shopping, dining, and entertainment, residents of Ben Avon typically rely on nearby neighborhoods and boroughs, as well as the city of Pittsburgh itself.

Hampton Township: located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, does not have a traditional downtown area like many larger cities. It is primarily a residential community with several different neighborhoods including Allison Park, Gibsonia, Elfinwild, and Wildwood.

Illustration of the cheapest places to live in Hampton Township, PA.
Illustration of the cheapest places to live in Hampton Township, PA.

The township does offer a variety of amenities and recreational facilities. For instance, Hampton Community Park provides tennis courts, pavilions, and a swimming pool for residents. There are also fitness centers like Nuage Fitness Center and Planet Fitness in the area.

Shopping and dining options are primarily located in the northern section of the township, specifically around Route 8. Here, you’ll find restaurants, hardware stores, grocery stores, auto supplies, hotels, clothing stores, car dealerships, and pharmacies. While Hampton Township may not have a traditional downtown, it offers a suburban feel with close proximity to amenities, making it a desirable place to live. It is also just 25 minutes north of downtown Pittsburgh, providing easy access to the amenities of a larger city.

Meadville: With 13,600 residents, Meadville ranks better than 86% of areas in affordable housing in West PA. It is 22 miles south of Edinboro. Crawford County city is a great commuting area, with an A+ score on the cost of living. With a median house price of $113,750, which is 73% lower than the typical U.S. national average. The area is safe, with good amenities, ideal for commuting to New Castle (50 miles away) and Erie (36 miles away) to the North.

A painting of a town in Kentucky, one of the cheapest places to live in PA.
A painting of a town in Kentucky, one of the cheapest places to live in PA.

Meadville is a historic district that encompasses many historic buildings, including the Market House, Baldwin/Reynolds House, and more. The district is centered on Diamond Park and includes a mix of commercial, industrial, and governmental/institutional buildings that were built roughly between 1800 and 1940.

The downtown area of Meadville has been revitalized and offers shopping, dining, and community events. Some of the featured businesses include Hunter’s Inn, Indigo Boutique and Botanica, Johnson Shaw Stereoscopic Museum, Loeffler’s Flowers & Gifts, and Meadville Area Recreation Complex (MARC). Public parking is available in surface lots, Market Square Parking Garage, and at on-street meters.

All these areas are in the north of Pittsburgh. The average median house in these areas is $320,000 or 31.2% cheaper when compared to the national average, but there are plenty of options below $270,000 in the areas of Fernway and Fox Run. Household income on average is $113,157 with national average of $69,021, one of the main factors contributing to the low crime rates in the area.

Cheapest and safe places to live in Central PA

State College: also known as “Happy Valley,” with 40,500 residents and an A+ area for living, is fantastic for families due to its high quality of life, educational opportunities, and recreational activities. The area of State College is 26% more affordable to buy a property at $318,000 vs $431,000 compared to the national median or 1.35 times easier for a family to acquire property.

State College a vibrant essence of a city with people walking down the street, showcasing the liveliness and charm of urban places.
State College a vibrant essence of a city with people walking down the street, showcasing the liveliness and charm of urban places.

The cost of living in State College is slightly lower than the national average, with a Cost of Living index of 95.4, indicating that expenses are 4.6% lower than the U.S. average. Living in State College is 20% cheaper than in Chicago, 60.7% lower than in Boston, and 84.6% lower than in New York.

State College Is safe, it has a crime rate that is noticeably lower than the average for comparably sized cities across America. The overall crime rate is near the average for all cities and towns of all sizes in America, with a chance of becoming a victim of crime in State College being 1 in 96.

Diverse nightlife with 23.5%, slightly higher than the national average due to demand, but still it’s considered as part of the affordable areas. 13 miles to the east of Black Moshannon State Park and Mid-State Airport (PSB) is State College, the home of the main campus of Penn State, in the top 10 largest public universities in the U.S. The downtown of State College is hundreds of commercial venues and ideal place to open a business.

Cheapest and safe places to live in North PA

Williamsport: In Northern PA, one of the most affordable areas is the sparse suburban areas of Williamsport, Lycoming County, with a median house value of $146,000 compared to the national average of $431,000, which is 66% more affordable or 2.95 times cheaper on average. The median rent is $772, or 33.6% lower than the median national average of $1,163. 

A poster showcasing the cheapest places to live in Williamsport, PA.
A poster showcasing the cheapest places to live in Williamsport, PA.

Williamsport has good public schools, making it ideal for families; it is diverse, has an A- score on nightlife, and Williamsport Regional Airport (IPT) is positioned on 535 acres (217 ha) to the west of Faxon in Southern Montoursville. The area is famous for the annual fly-in and air shows held every June.

The city provides a great environment to raise a family, with its close proximity to markets that bring opportunities for business and industry.

Williamsport is also known for its beautiful mountains and valleys, which provide ample recreational opportunities, including hiking and other outdoor activities. The downtown area offers a variety of unique dining and shopping locations, a cinema center, and the Liberty Arena/Kaos Fun Zone/Scorz Bar & Grill.

Cheapest and safe places to live in South PA

The best overall affordable place to live in Southern Pennsylvania is Cumberland County, Camp Hill, which is 5 minutes or 3 miles away from Harrisburg. Scoring A+ with fantastic public schools, a very safe area with an A rating, and ideal for commuting.

A painting of a Camp HIll city with houses and trees, showcasing places to live.
A painting of a Camp HIll city with houses and trees, showcasing places to live.

To live comfortably in Camp Hill, a minimum annual income of $52,560 for a family and $42,400 for a single person is recommended.

The median house sale price in Cumberland County is $325,000, which is 24.7% lower than the national average at $431,000 or 1.345 times more affordable place for downsizing with 1-story ranch-style houses and for first-time buyers to buy 2-story Craftsman Style houses. There are even entry-market options at $260,000 in need of TLC, presenting as great investment opportunities, too. The area is also home to two shopping malls – Camp Hill Mall and Capital City Mall.

The area is described as safe and quiet, with little crime reported. The overall crime rate in Camp Hill is near the average for all cities and towns of all sizes in America, with a person’s chance of becoming a victim of crime being 1 in 107. The violent crime rate is well below the national average, making it a safe choice for families and retirees.

The Ideal affordable area in PA

According to TALLBOX’s research Wilkes-Barre (/ˈwɪlksˌbɛər/ or /-bɛəri/) is one of the ideal family affordable places with population just under 50,000 (44,453).

Wilkes-Barre is one of the cheapest places to live in PA, situated in the middle of a city.
Wilkes-Barre is one of the cheapest places to live in PA, situated in the middle of a city.

With Cost of Living 4.3% lower than the national average, the citizens of Wilkes-Barre can afford much more, and even visit for leasure the Wyoming Valley Mall with its 75 shopping stores. The median home value is $83,100, and the median rent is $826. The city has a dense suburban feel, and many families live there.

The housing cost is 63% less than the national average and the food is 22% less than the national average, with crime statistics in align with the national average.

Wilkes-Barre is located in Wyoming Valley, Northeastern PA the city is 2nd after Scranton in the area. Surrounded by four of PA’s state parks makes the area attractive for retirement, families and students to move to with its centralized downtown that goes further into the suburban zones, even mentioned in New York Times. 

The housing market is stable but competitive, with balanced pockets of affordable housing and affluent areas. Wilkes-Barre is approximately 70.8 miles away from Williamsport, which is another affordable housing area.

Where in PA is affordable to live without compromise?

For those looking to purchase affordable residency without compromising quality of life and close to larger communities New Castle, Youngstown, Farrell following by Beaver Falls, New Brighton and Rochester all along the Beaver River, between Patterson Heights, Rochester Township and West Mayfield are on average 55 to 80 miles away from central Pittsburgh.

These towns and cities offer affordable housing options and the housing market is stable with commuters to Pittsburgh.

For those looking to relocate to relatively affordable housing within or very close walkable, urban lifestyles to Pittsburgh city, the South and South East side of the city with median house value around $244,372 offering plenty of opportunities below $200,000 has places as Dormont ($296,000) and Bethel Park ($243,500) with its rolling hill streets nestled between Washington Rd and Library Rd leading directly to downtown.

Bethel Park is ideal for a family as it’s very close to places for city retreat like South Hills, South Park Wave Pool and Boyce Mayview Park. Other affordable areas of Pittsburgh are Baldwin, Munhall, Edgewood, Swissvale and Wilkins Township offer good lifestyle, safe and relatively affordable places to live. Also to the south of river Monongahela is West Mifflin, close to the Pleasant Hills, Allegheny County Airport, US Steel Corp’s HQ and a Walmart Supercenter, all ideal employers.

Even a little further to the south of the city, Clairton and Elizabeth Township close to route 51 and the Waterfront are ideal for short commuters working in the city and a short drive to Round Hill Regional Park where is the Burt Henry Covered Bridge, the oldest covered wooden bridge in Bennington County build around 1840 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

What are the least affordable places in PA to live?

An illustration of more affluent neighborhoods and the least affordable places to live in PA.
An illustration of more affluent neighborhoods and the least affordable places to live in PA.

The least affordable places to live in Pennsylvania are primarily concentrated in and around the state’s largest city, Philadelphia. Notably, Philadelphia itself stands out as the least affordable, with certain neighborhoods such as Gladwyne, Villanova and Lower Merion township, Ardmore, Havertown, and Penn Wynne, as well as the surrounding areas near West and East Park, including Mantua, Old City, Fitler Square, Logan Square, and Rittenhouse.

These neighborhoods have a median home price of $679,426, with impressive walk and bike scores of 99 and 94, respectively. Other least affordable places in the metro area include Easton (near Allentown), Lambertville, Norristown, Yeadon, Darby, with Chester County having the highest median household income at $104,161 e.g. Chester and West Chester.

Further to the west are York, Eden, Carlisle, Easton and Butler, Seven Fields, Fernway and Fox Run in the north of Pittsburgh are with low affordability score too.

These areas are considered less affordable due to higher housing costs, limited supply and cost of living compared to other parts of the state.

It’s important to note that affordability can be subjective and depends on factors such as income, housing costs, and the cost of living, which includes expenses like food, healthcare, transportation, and utilities. Therefore, what may be considered unaffordable for one person might be manageable for another.

While these areas may be less affordable, they also offer benefits such as proximity to job opportunities, best schools, cultural and entertainment options, and other amenities that may make the higher cost of living worthwhile for some individuals.

Where in PA is affordable to rent?

For renters, most affordable rents are in the southern part of Pittsburgh between $700 to $950 / month for 1 to 2 bedroom apartment or a small house. The areas of Elim, Belmont, Ferndale, and Moxham Historic District offer range of residential accommodation for rent between $645 and $800 given their proximity to the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown.

Other areas with affordable housing in the range of $550 to $800 in PA is around York. The next tier of rent affordable places is between $800 – $1,400, this type of accommodation is widely available in PA with 70% of the available properties for rent in this price bracket are divided between east PA nearby Pittsburgh and within the city and communities inside the S State Rd, West Philadelphia and Kensington.

The remaining 30% of available properties for rent are split between Allentown, Reading and areas of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.

Famous from the Billy Joel’s song Allentown and founded in 1762 Allentown with its 125,845 population ranks at the top in TALLBOX’s chart for retirement affordability in PA. Being the 3rd fastest growing major city in PA and 3rd largest city after the most historic city in the US, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The city of Allentown has median house sale price of $240,000 or 43.9% lower the the U.S. average.

Where in PA is affordable to retire?

Optimal retirement and affordable housing options are abundant in Harrisburg (57% lower), Carlisle (47%), and Lebanon (57%) lower compared to the national U.S. average. These areas not only provide a high quality of life and stunning natural surroundings but also boast a property market where homes maintain their value, rarely depreciating.

A scenic painting capturing the essence of a town nestled along a charming river ideal for retirement in PA
A scenic painting capturing the essence of a town nestled along a charming river ideal for retirement in PA

Other areas like Reading (58.3%), Lancaster (42.7%) followed by Allentown, York, Pittsburgh and Scranton are attractive with good 55+ retirement communities.

The population of 76,869 in Scranton makes the place just diverse enough for one to enjoy the laid-back way of life the place offers. 30 miles to the East is Ricketts Glen State Park and to the Southeast 11 miles to Lackawanna State Forest and 18 miles to the Tobyhanna State Park and Promised Land Lake and Lower Lake all ideal locations for retreat.

Yardley - ideal for retirement

Yardley, Pennsylvania, is considered a good place for retirement due to its blend of small-town charm and proximity to larger cities like Philadelphia and New York. It offers a balance between urban and suburban life, with access to cultural highlights, shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.

The cost of living in Yardley is higher than the national and state averages, with housing and transportation costs significantly higher than the national average. However, healthcare costs are slightly below the national average.

Yardley is known for its historic district filled with houses dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Yardley hosts community events and offers a variety of dining options is a good place to live. The borough is surrounded by scenic greenspaces, including state parks and forest preserves, which are popular outdoor attractions.

Yardley has been ranked as one of the best places to live in Pennsylvania, with excellent schools, low crime rates, and access to public transportation. It also offers a variety of retirement planning services to ensure that individuals can retire comfortably.

The borough is home to several continuing care retirement communities, such as Chandler Hall and Heartis Yardley, which both are highly recommended by residents.

It’s important to note that the suitability of Yardley for retirement can depend on individual preferences and needs. It’s recommended to visit and spend some time in the borough to get a feel for the area before making a decision. It’s also important to consider factors such as healthcare facilities, cost of living, and other personal preferences when deciding where to retire.

Counties and cities in PA with most business and job opportunities

If job opportunities is a must but affordability is still a primary concern, proximity to job hubs like Philadelphia County should be considered.

Philadelphia County: has the highest employment in Pennsylvania, with the health care and social assistance sectors accounting for the largest employment. The city is also one of the best places to live in Pennsylvania if you’re on the job market and is a top city for starting a business. Home to Comcast, a national leader in communications, Aramark, ZS (management consulting), TE Connectivity, Dun & Bradstreet, EnerSys and many more.

Within the county affordable housing can be found at:

Torresdale: Known for its affordability, Torresdale is a neighborhood in the Far Northeast section of Philadelphia with median sale price of $254,152 predominantly large-semi detached housing.

Manayunk: is a neighborhood in the northwestern section of the city, known for its small-town charm and affordable living, there are a lot of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks.

Mount Airy: This neighborhood is known for its diverse community and affordable housing options, where the median price was $261,000, most of the houses are row houses and semi-detached in pairs of two.

Whitman: neighborhood in the South Philadelphia section of the city. It is considered safe and affordable, with a median home price of $258,503. Most of the houses there are row homes up to 3 floors.

Fox Chase: Fox Chase is a neighborhood in the Northeast Philadelphia section of the city. It is known for its high quality of life and low cost of living, with a median home price of $325,000 up from $282,400 year over year due to demand, since most of the housing is detached and semi-detached.

Bustleton: a neighborhood in the Far Northeast section of Philadelphia. It is popular for its affordable living and low crime rates, with median house price at $351,000 with predominantly large detached housing.

Chester County: Chester County is one of the counties with average weekly wages above the national average, indicating a strong job market. It’s also one of the fastest-growing counties in Pennsylvania, and home to VWR, Part of Avantor, a provider of product and service solutions to laboratory and production customers, all indicating expanding job opportunities.

Dauphin County: Hershey Company, a global confectionery leader known for bringing goodness to the world through its chocolate, sweets, mints, and other great-tasting snacks, is headquartered in Hershey.

Montgomery County: Montgomery County is another county with average weekly wages above the national average. AmerisourceBergen, a pharmaceutical sourcing and distribution services company, is based in this county. It’s also one of the counties that added at least 2,000 individuals since 2020, indicating potential growth in job opportunities.

Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh and Allegheny with The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), is one of the best places to live in Pennsylvania if you’re on the job market, especially if you are in the aerospace industry, companies like General Dynamics Mission Systems, Howmet Aerospace, Aerotech Inc., Allegheny County Airport Authority, Astrobotic Technology, Arconic, Integrated Defense & Security Solutions (IDSS) have their HQ’s in Pittsburgh. A top city for starting a business.

Allentown: Renowned for safeguarding the Liberty Bell (1777-78) from British capture, Allentown stands out as one of the premier places to reside in Pennsylvania, particularly for those seeking employment opportunities. It boasts a thriving environment for entrepreneurial ventures, making it a top choice for starting a business.

Harrisburg: Harrisburg is known for its diverse economy and top-rated medical facilities, making it a good place for job opportunities. It’s also ranked as the best place to live in Pennsylvania.

Lancaster: Lancaster has a diverse economy with jobs in healthcare, tourism, service, and sales. CNH Industrial, an agricultural company with a headquarters based in Belleville, is one of the world’s largest companies. It’s also a top city for starting a business.

How much do you need to live in for a family, student, pensioner or single in PA?

Cost of Living Index

The cost of living index in Pennsylvania is 94.6, which means the total cost of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, taxes, and other necessities is 5.4 percent lower than the U.S. average. The cost of living in Pennsylvania is 1.06 times more expensive than the average in the United States.

Cost of Living for Different Groups

Families

For a family of four, the total cost of living with rent in Pennsylvania should be on average$3,200 to  $5,224 per month. This includes rent and utilities ($1,350 $2,270), food ($1,596), and transport ($436). To live comfortably in Pennsylvania, a minimum annual income of $46,440 for a family is recommended.

Students

The cost of living for students can vary greatly depending on several factors, including where they live, how they travel, and what they eat. On average, students in Philadelphia can expect minimum $600 to $850 for a room (off-campus accommodation) in a shared house or $1,200 to $1,500 per month for a 2 or 3 bed, 1 bath house.

For basic expenses like food, transportation, and utilities depend on the location; for Philadelphia $470 to $750 or in Pittsburgh for off-campus accommodation in areas around Duquesne University $650 to $865 for 1 bed / 1 bath in a shared house or condo is normal. The average tuition fees in Philadelphia range from $20,000 to $70,000 per year, and on-campus accommodation costs range from $700 to $1,871 per month.

Pensioners

For retired couples, the total cost of living in a mortgaged property in Pennsylvania is $5,224 per month. This includes rent and utilities ($2,270), food ($1,596), and transport ($436). To live comfortably in Pennsylvania, a minimum annual income of $46,440 for a family is recommended.

Next Steps for Further Research:

Is buying a condo in Philadelphia expensive?

The cost of buying a condo in Philadelphia is more less than investing in a townhouse or a row house, but can vary greatly depending on factors such as location, size, and amenities. According to the search results, the median listing price for condos in Philadelphia is around $385,000 to $390,000.

The price range is quite broad, with condos available for less than $100,000 to over $16,000,000.

For example, on Zillow, condos are listed with prices ranging from $150,000 to $5,500,000.

On Realtor.com, the prices of condos for sale in Philadelphia vary, with some neighborhoods like Bustleton having a median home value of $379,000, while in Fishtown, the median home value is $477,000.

According to an article from The Philadelphia Inquirer, the median price of condos in Philadelphia remained flat from March 2021 to March 2022 at $340,000.

The median price for condos in the Philadelphia metropolitan area hit an all-time high last month, up 18% from March 2021

Whether buying a condo in Philadelphia is considered expensive can depend on your budget and what you’re looking for in a property.

It’s recommended to work with a real estate agent who is familiar with the Philadelphia condo market to help you find a property that fits your needs, budget and any potential red flags.