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The Most Underrated Places to Buy a Home in New York


New York is one of the most desirable places to live in the United States, but it can also be one of the most expensive places to buy a home

While many people flock to popular locations such as Manhattan and Brooklyn, there are some lesser-known places throughout the state that offer incredible home-buying opportunities. 

In this post, we’ll be exploring some of the most underrated places to buy a home in New York. From affordable small towns to more luxurious suburban areas, you’re sure to find something that fits your budget and lifestyle. 

So, read on to discover the best of New York’s hidden gems-

The 4 Most Underrated Places To Buy Home In New York


Located in Westchester County, Hawthorne is an underrated yet ideal spot to buy a home. This small town of 4559 people (according to the 2020 census) is often overlooked by those looking for homes in NY.

Single-family homes are the most common type of dwellings available in the area, ranging from quaint bungalows to grand colonials. Multi-family homes such as duplexes and triplexes are also popular in the area and can be great investments for those looking for a rental income.

One key factor that draws people to Hawthorne is the affordability of homes. The average cost of a home in Hawthorne is around $575,000 lower than the Westchester County average. It’s significantly cheaper than nearby towns like Scarsdale, which has a median home value of $1.01 million.

Plus, since the demand for homes in Hawthorne is lower than in other areas, prospective buyers can sometimes get sellers to come down on their asking price. 

Its scenic views, good schools, and close proximity to New York City make it an attractive destination for buyers looking for more space and a slower pace of life.

With these savings comes the potential to find a better deal on a house. 


Often overlooked, Elmira is one of the most underrated places to buy a home in New York. Located in the Southern Tier of the state, Elmira offers an excellent mix of outdoor activities and amenities. 

Despite being close to popular cities like Ithaca and Binghamton, Elmira still has a small-town charm that is sure to appeal to those looking for a slower pace of life.

The city is known for its affordability, with the median listing price for homes in Elmira coming in at $119.9K in December 2022. In addition, it offers a low cost of living when compared to other cities in the region. 

Additionally, Elmira has a relatively low crime rate for a city of its size, making it an attractive option for those seeking a safe and comfortable lifestyle. Despite its low profile, Elmira offers plenty of activities and attractions that make it an ideal place to buy a home.


Ithaca is one of New York’s underrated towns when it comes to buying a home. Ithaca has long been overlooked as a desirable place to buy a home due to its small size and relative remoteness. However, this is changing rapidly over the past decade, as more people are drawn to Ithaca’s affordability, access to outdoor activities, and beautiful scenery. 

According to data from the National Association of Realtors, Ithaca was recently rated as the fourth most affordable housing market in the entire United States. Additionally, Ithaca is well known for its excellent schools, making it a great option for families.

For those who appreciate natural beauty and like to stay active, Ithaca offers plenty of options. There are several nature trails for hiking, biking, and exploring in the area. 


Cortland is one of the most underrated places to buy a home in New York. The cost of living in Cortland is lower than the national average, making it an attractive place for potential buyers.

What really makes Cortland stand out as an underrated place to buy a home is the sense of community. Residents have access to many outdoor activities and opportunities for entertainment, such as local festivals, parks, and recreational areas. 

As far as economic prospects go, Cortland has much to offer potential homebuyers. The town’s median household rate is about $164K, trending up 13% year-over-year which is lower than most towns in New York.

With a population of fewer than 19000 people (according to the 2021 census) Cortland offers a relaxed atmosphere and a close-knit community that can be hard to find elsewhere in the state. 

The New York real estate market is incredibly competitive, but there are still plenty of underrated places to buy a home. From Hawthorne to Cortland, you can find great deals on properties in these lesser-known cities. With a little research and savvy decision-making, you can land an amazing home for a fraction of the cost.



  1. As someone who lives in the Ithaca area I urge readers to perform further research.

    Elmira has high amounts of crime. It is best known for its maximum security prison, Elmira Correctional. There is a reason the median sale price of a home is $120k.

    Ithaca is a beautiful place to live with extremely high cost of living and property taxes (compared to the rest of rural New York) partly due to Cornell University largely going tax free. Most people who work in Ithaca commute from neighboring areas: From Cortland for example an estimated 10,000 workers travel each business day. Due to authoritarian lockdowns and other measures that put millions out of work and thousands out of homes across NY, the homeless population has increased beyond measure and “the jungle”, a homeless encampment that politicians have ignored for decades, has expanded across the city. It isn’t uncommon to be accosted by the homeless downtown and drug usage and crime has increased significantly.

    Additionally, despite being a town of ~30,000, Ithaca has almost no homes to offer for sale. A long lived apathy towards property owners (high taxes, difficult to navigate zoning) means that the homeowner to renter mix has shifted from 60/40 in the 1980s to 30/70 today. There are few homes built in the last 40 years and very few homes for sale at any given time. Remodeling can be expensive because there are only a few firms that regularly navigate the local processes and also the isolated nature of Ithaca means fuel and building supplies are more expensive.

    More to my own worries for the future of the small city I live in: almost unanimous Democratic leadership in Ithaca constantly preaches about diversity, helping poor and marginalized communities, making access easier and more affordable for families… All it is is preaching. The cost of living is insane, the property taxes high. Homeownership on the decline. Labor relations at our schools, TCAT (bus service), and city offices have deteriorated. Despite one party control at every level of government they fail to make actionable change because they miscomprehend the problem: it is them!