Do you want to live in and experience one of America's top-tier cities, such as New York, San Francisco, or LA? But you figure your only housing options are either to share an apartment with a dozen other roommates or possibly get a room at the Y?
Don't despair. The folks at personal finance site GOBankingRates have done the legwork for you and found the most affordable neighborhoods within this nation's least affordable cities. While you won't be living in your city's fanciest lodgings, many of these neighborhoods are right next door to some of the toniest places, or have other attractions. One hosts a major historic monument and tourist attraction. Some have colorful histories. Many have vibrant communities. You can find the full list here. These are the top 8:
1. San Francisco: Lower Pacific Heights
San Francisco is famously pricey, and even in Lower Pacific Heights, its most inexpensive neighborhood, the median rent is $3,472, according to GOBankingRates. That ain't cheap, but it beats the city's median rent of $4,500. Lower Pacific Heights is adjacent to Pacific Heights, perhaps the priciest neighborhood in the nation. It also abuts Laurel Heights, Japantown, and the Fillmore District, and used to be called Upper Fillmore. The new name came about as the neighborhood became more upscale in the 80s and 90s.
2. Irvine, California: Business District
Irvine, which has seen the influx of large tech companies, is seeing prices rise rapidly, but its business district is more affordable than the rest of the city. Median rents are $2,500, compared to $3,400 for the city as a whole. Irvine doesn't have a real downtown as some cities do, but in this city where the housing market is hot and prices are rising rapidly, living in the business district could be your best choice.
3. San Jose, California: East San Jose
In the heart of Silicon Valley, median rents in San Jose are $3,500. East San Jose is a group of neighborhoods just east of downtown. It was its own city until 1911, when it was annexed by San Jose. Median rents in East San Jose are $3,200 just a little better than the rest of the city. If you think that's too much to spend on rent and that you'd rather buy, consider that median prices for a home in this city are hovering right around the $1 million mark.
4. New York: Williamsbridge
This neighborhood in the northern part of the Bronx was historically heavily populated with Jewish and Italian immigrant families, more recently replaced with immigrants from Caribbean countries. Median rent is $1,450, half of the city-wide median of $2,900. Williamsbridge is nearby to the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden as well.
5. Los Angeles: San Pedro
San Pedro is on the Pacific Ocean, and was its own city until it became part of LA in 1909. The Port of Los Angeles is partially located within San Pedro. The neighborhood was said to resemble a typical Japanese fishing village until 1942, when Japanese residents of the area abruptly removed and sent to internment camps. Median rent in San Pedro is $2,240, compared with about $3,000 for Los Angeles as a whole.
6. Boston: West Roxbury
West Roxbury has the distinction of being the rare neighborhood that actually seceded from its original city--Roxbury--in 1851. Twenty-three years later, it decided to become part of Boston, which it still is. Today, West Roxbury is so separated from Roxbury that there are two other Boston neighborhoods, Jamaica Plain and Roslindale between them. (Those two neighborhoods used to be part of West Roxbury.) This traditionally Irish neighborhood still houses the Irish Social Club of Boston, which once had 15,000 members and has around 800 members today. Median rent in West Roxbury is $2,073, compared with $2,750 in Boston as a whole.
7. Seattle: Greenwood
Seattle has some of the fastest rising housing prices in the nation, but Greenwood, in the northern part of Seattle between Crown Hill and Licton Springs has some of the city's most affordable housing, as well as proximity to the Woodland Park Zoo and Northgate Mall. Median rent there is $2,300, compared with $2,695 for all of Seattle.
8. San Diego: Grantville
Grantville, in the northeast part of San Diego, is one of the oldest areas in the city and notable for housing the Mission San Diego de Alcalá, a major landmark and tourist attraction. Median rent in Grantville is a relatively affordable $1,650--a very big savings over the $2,695 median rent in San Diego overall.