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Are There Affordable Neighborhoods in Boston? | 8 Cheapest Places to Live in Boston

Last Updated on: 31st October 2023, 03:25 pm

Affordable living in one of America’s most expensive cities may seem like a pipe dream, but there are plenty of affordable neighborhoods in Boston with housing costs well below the city’s average.

If you’re looking for cheap houses for sale in Boston MA, you’ll find many options on this list up to 28% lower than the Boston median price of $830,000 and even neighborhoods with typical condo prices 50% or more below the Boston average. If you’re planning to rent, these neighborhoods have rent up to half off the average cost of rent in Boston!

Here are 8 cheap places to live in Boston that still offer safety, great amenities, and an easy commute to downtown. If you’re not sure staying in the city limits is right for you, make sure you check out our guide to affordable Boston suburbs too!

Hyde Park – Cheapest Place to Live in Boston Is a “Small Town in a Big City”

  • Population: 32,000
  • Median household income: $64,900
  • Median home price: $625,000 ($363/square foot)
  • Average rent: $2,133

Hyde Park is one of the top affordable neighborhoods in Boston with rent and median home prices well below average for the city. Often overlooked by home buyers and visitors to the city, Hyde Park is a suburban oasis in southwest Boston. It’s actually the southernmost neighborhood in Boston, bordered by Mattapan, Roslindale, and West Roxbury and the towns of Dedham and Milton. Once a cotton and paper manufacturing center, Hyde Park was the last town to be annexed by Boston about 110 years ago.

Looking for affordable apartments in Boston? That’s a tall order, but Hyde Park should be at the top of your list. It’s one of the best neighborhoods in Boston to rent – average rent in Hyde Park, Boston is 46% below average Boston rent! Boston home buyers will also find good deals here: single-family homes sell for a median $631,000 – about 28% below the median $875,000 in Boston – while condos usually sell in the high $200s to $300s.

Popular with families, Hyde Park, Boston is a safe place to live with a mix of mid-century single-family homes and historic properties. Downtown Boston isn’t far away on the Providence or Fairmount Commuter Rail, but the neighborhood itself has plenty to offer: Logan and Cleary Squares are the commercial centers with many local restaurants and shops that make up the Hyde Park Main Streets nonprofit.

West End – One of the Cheapest Places to Live in Boston Near Downtown

  • Population: 5,300
  • Median household income: $83,800
  • Median home price: $462,500 ($599/square foot)
  • Average rent: $4,028

Located on the Shawmut Peninsula, and part of the original Boston city limits, the West End is just outside Downtown Boston. It’s one of the top affordable Boston neighborhoods if you want to stay close to downtown and enjoy dense urban living.

The West End underwent dramatic redevelopment in the 1950s that transformed the once-residential area with high rises, office buildings, and commercial development. The move was very controversial as working-class residents enjoyed a sense of community yet tens of thousands were displaced in favor of upper-middle-class workers. Five of the new high-rise buildings displaced nearly 2,700 families in exchange for just 477 apartments.

Despite its controversial past, it’s now one of the best affordable neighborhoods in Boston for young professionals with walkability, parks, and job opportunities – not to mention it’s minutes from Cambridge and Downtown Boston! The neighborhood is home to Massachusetts General Hospital, a major employer, while the MBTA’s North Station offers easy access to surrounding areas on the Orange Line, Green Line, and commuter rail lines.

As a buyer, you’ll pay about 40% less for West End condos than the Boston median and 74% below the Downtown median while living just minutes from downtown. For renters, there isn’t much savings on rent compared to the city overall, but renting at East End buildings like Emerson Place Apartments still offers a slight savings over Downtown apartments.

Dorchester – Diverse, Accessible, and One of the Most Affordable Boston Neighborhoods

  • Population:
  • Median household income: $60,000
  • Median home price: $625,000 ($490/square foot)
  • Average rent: $3,527

Known as Dot, the Dorchester, Boston neighborhood is one of the city’s largest with about 20% of Boston’s total population. This fun, lively neighborhood is known for its waterfront, arts scene, nightlife, and historic attractions. It’s the most densely populated area of Boston and has something for everyone from museums and boutiques to beaches, trails, and restaurants, not to mention Franklin Park, the crown jewel of Boston’s Emerald Necklace.

Dorchester isn’t simply one neighborhood; it’s dozens of communities with a population rivaling Cambridge. In the past, Dorchester was known for crime and it was targeted by decades of redlining. While the divides and damaging effects of this practice are still visible, Dorchester shines as a cultural melting pot of Boston.

 

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With a large housing inventory, variety of home options, and reasonable prices, Dorchester remains one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Boston. Enjoy affordable living (for Boston, anyway!) with great community involvement and an ideal location. Dorchester condos for sale have a median price in the low $600s – 20% lower than the Boston median – while single-family homes are nearly $100,000 below average for the city.

Check out what living in Dorchester is really like with our in-depth guide!

Brighton – Cheapest Place to Live in Boston for Students, Millennials & Young Families

  • Population: 46,000
  • Median household income: $65,700
  • Median home price: $600,500 ($656/square foot)
  • Average rent: $3,375

Once part of Cambridge, Brighton was its own town for nearly seven decades before being annexed to Boston. Today, it’s often associated with its neighbor, Aliston, which together form the Aliston-Brighton community. It’s Aliston which connects Brighton to the rest of Boston; it’s otherwise surrounded by Brookline, Newton, Watertown, and Cambridge.

Brighton is one of the top neighborhoods for cheap apartments in Boston in part due to its large population of students and faculty. It’s home to a portion of Boston College and nearby several other colleges like Boston University. Average rent in Brighton is nearly 18% below average for Boston while condos, which make up the bulk of the real estate market, are 51% cheaper than the city overall.

It isn’t just affordable housing that makes Brighton one of the top affordable neighborhoods in Boston. It’s also known for its affordable restaurants and pubs geared toward the student population with great walkability and easy access to public transit to save on transportation costs.

Roslindale – Safe Residential Neighborhood with Cheap Apartments in Boston 

  • Population: 28,000
  • Median household income: $77,900
  • Median home price: $705,000 ($534/square foot)
  • Average rent: $3,166

If you don’t need to be very close to downtown, Roslindale is one of the most affordable places to live in Boston. This largely residential community isn’t as trendy as Jamaica Plain, but you’ll find a lot to love. Roslindale is a close-knit community with a diverse population of long-time residents, young families, and immigrants. It’s served well by a commuter rail line and the Orange Line (in neighboring JP) and home to Roslindale Village, the lively center of the neighborhood with shopping, dining, and a popular farmer’s market.

If you’re a renter, you’ll find the cheapest rent in Boston (20% below average!) and homeownership is at least within reach with a median home price $125,000 below the Boston median. Single-family homes are about average for Boston but condos are much more affordable with a median price in the mid-$600s.

East Boston – One of the Cheapest Boston Neighborhoods for Renters

  • Population: 40,500
  • Median household income: $54,900
  • Median home price: $710,000 ($710/square feet)
  • Average rent: $3,108

Best known for its picturesque waterfront, East Boston is surprisingly affordable for the Boston area. Sometimes known as Eastie to locals, East Boston is home to the Logan International Airport but this immigrant stronghold has a lot more to offer!

East Boston has become one of the most popular, affordable neighborhoods in Boston for young professionals thanks to its close proximity to downtown and rent that’s nearly $900 below the Boston average. The drawbacks? Rapid gentrification means multi-million-dollar high-rises seem to go up every other day. More affordable housing is still available, but the market is slowly being taken over by luxury condos and apartments. Parking is even more limited than many Boston neighborhoods with terrible traffic and airport noise.

 

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If you can put up with these downsides, you’ll find Eastie is far more than one of the cheapest areas to live in Boston; it’s one of the best places to live for amazing Boston Harbor views, diverse cuisine, and great outdoor recreation.

Check out what you’ll love about living in East Boston with our guide!

West Roxbury – One of the Most Affordable Neighborhoods in Boston for Families

  • Population: 30,500
  • Median household income: $90,500
  • Median home price: $750,000 ($486/square feet)
  • Average rent: $2,653

Located in southwest Boston, West Roxbury is one of the most popular affordable Boston neighborhoods for young families. You’ll find a good mix of single-family homes and condos along tree-lined streets. Ranch homes for sale in West Roxbury usually range from the $600s to mid-$700s – a steal that’s lower than the median price for a condo in Boston! The median price for West Roxbury condos is just $535,000 – 45% below the city’s median.

Affordability isn’t the only thing families love about living in West Roxbury. The neighborhood is one of the safest neighborhoods in Boston with crime 63% below the national average. It offers suburban living with affordable single-family homes and yards yet it’s a 30-minute commute to downtown. West Roxbury has plenty of amenities too with local shops and eateries on Centre Street and Millennium Park with a playground, a canoe launch, and hiking trails.

You’ll also benefit from top-rated schools while living in one of the best cheap neighborhoods in Boston. West Roxbury is home to the West Roxbury Academy and the Roxbury Latin School, North America’s oldest continually operating school founded in 1645.

Jamaica Plain – Affordable Place to Live in Boston for Families & Outdoor Enthusiasts

  • Population: 41,000
  • Median household income: $84,000
  • Median home price: $751,000 ($621/square foot)
  • Average rent: $3,355

Want a reasonable commute to Downtown Boston without paying a fortune? Look no further than Jamaica Plain. A few miles south of downtown, Jamaica Plain, or simply JP, was once called the Eden of America and it still lives up to this description. It’s transformed from a streetcar suburb to one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Boston with something for everyone!

Living in Jamaica Plain is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s home to some of the best attractions of Boston’s Emerald Necklace. Franklin Park, Boston’s largest park, is partially in Jamaica Plain and boasts hundreds of acres of open space, wooded trails, and the Franklin Park Zoo. The community is also home to the gorgeous Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Jamaica Pond, a kettle lake, is a favorite among locals for summer concerts, rowing, sailing, fishing, jogging, and programs for kids.

As one of the cheapest places to live in Boston, Jamaica Plain is a great place to buy a home in Boston or rent. The average rent is about 15% below the Boston average. Single-family homes in the neighborhood aren’t very plentiful and pricey, but the median home price in Jamaica Plain including condos is about $80,000 below the Boston median.

Cheap Places to Live in Boston Map

Does one of these affordable Boston neighborhoods sound perfect for you? The five-star Boston movers at Mass Bay Movers are ready to make your relocation a seamless and worry-free experience! Give us a call today for a free moving quote.

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