Welcome to Albany, the capital city of New York State, where historic meets modern, and possibilities are endless. If you’re wondering whether Albany is a good place to live, rest assured that living in Albany offers a wide array of perks, from catching a hockey game to indulging in apple cider donuts to taking in the beautiful scenery. The city boasts stunning architecture, small-town charm, and abundant outdoor recreational opportunities to explore and enjoy. That said, there are some drawbacks to consider before making the move. So whether you’re a student searching for apartments in Albany, NY, or a family looking for homes for sale, Redfin can assist you. Keep reading for a comprehensive list of the pros and cons of living in Albany to help determine if this city is perfect for you.
Pros of living in Albany
1. Affordable cost of living
Albany is known for having an affordable cost of living, making it an ideal place to call home for those looking to save money. Housing prices in Albany are notably lower than in other major cities in the Northeast. The median sale price is $230,000, and the average rent for a two-bedroom is $1,635, making renting or owning a home at a reasonable cost possible. The city also has a lower overall cost of living, with groceries, healthcare, and transportation relatively inexpensive compared to other cities in the region.
2. Access to outdoor recreational activities
The Hudson River runs through Albany, providing residents with stunning views and various water-based activities such as kayaking, fishing, and boating. In addition, numerous parks and green spaces are scattered throughout the city, including Washington Park and the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, which offer hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking opportunities. The nearby Adirondack Mountains are a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with year-round activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing in the winter and hiking, camping, and boating in the summer.
3. Hockey is the sport of choice
Albany is a good place to live if you love hockey. The city holds a great hockey culture and a long history of supporting the sport. There you will find the Albany Devils, a professional ice hockey team that has garnered a strong local fan base. The team plays at the Times Union Center, which regularly hosts various hockey events and tournaments, including NCAA Division I and AHL All-Star Games. In addition to the Albany Devils, the city is home to numerous local youth and adult hockey leagues, providing opportunities for residents at all stages to get involved in the sport.
4. Proximity to major cities in the Northeast
Boston, New York City, and Montreal are all within a few hours’ drive or train ride from Albany, making it an ideal location. Take advantage of all the cultural and entertainment offerings of larger cities while still enjoying the quieter pace of life in Albany. The city is also close to popular vacation spots like the Adirondack Mountains, Lake George, and the Catskills, providing residents with easy access to year-round outdoor recreational activities. Albany’s central location and proximity to major highways and airports make it a hub for travel, business, and leisure, making it an attractive city to relocate.
5. Beautiful seasonal changes and scenery
A picturesque blend of history and modernity is the perfect way to describe New York State’s capital. The city is composed of stunning architecture, including the iconic Empire State Plaza, which houses government offices and is surrounded by reflecting pools and sculptures. Additionally, the city is situated along the Hudson River, providing breathtaking views of the water and the surrounding mountains. During the fall, the city is especially beautiful as the leaves on the trees change to vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. Whether you’re strolling through parks in Albany, wandering through its historic neighborhoods, or admiring the beauty of the Capitol building, Albany has a charm you can’t deny.
Cons of living in Albany
1. Snowy winters
The average annual snowfall in Albany is 59 inches, and during the winter months, snowstorms can lead to travel disruptions and sometimes even school and business closures. In the winter, the temperature ranges around 34 degrees Fahrenheit with January being the coldest month, with lows of 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The city does take measures to deal with the winter weather, such as plowing the streets and sidewalks and salting the roads, but residents still need to take precautions to stay safe and warm. Check out this article on how to prepare your home for winter.
2. High property taxes
On average, property owners in Albany County pay 1.74% of their property’s assessed fair market value as property tax. Albany has relatively high property taxes compared to other areas of the country. Homeowners in Albany may pay a significant amount of their income towards property taxes each year, making it difficult to afford other expenses. The high property taxes are partly due to the cost of running the city’s government, which includes funding for public schools, roads, and other essential services.
3.Limited transportation options
Compared to larger cities, Albany has limited transportation options. The city has a public bus system (CDTA), which provides transportation within and to some nearby areas. However, the bus system has limited routes and may be less reliable and frequent than some residents would like. The city also has a train station that connects to other major cities in the Northeast, but train service can be expensive and may only be an option for some. If you live outside the city, consider a car to get around.
4. High humidity during the summer months
Albany experiences high humidity during the summer, making the warm temperatures feel even more oppressive. The humidity levels in the city can rise to uncomfortable levels, particularly in July and August, typically the hottest months of the year, averaging around 82 degrees Fahrenheit. High humidity can make it challenging to stay cool and comfortable without air conditioning and lead to other issues like mold and mildew growth. You’ll want to learn more about how to control home humidity so you can protect your home and yourself.
5. Large college presence
While some may not consider a significant college presence a con, Albany has several colleges throughout the city bringing in a large amount of students. There you can find the University of Albany, Albany Medical College, Albany Law School, The College of Saint Rose, Maria College, Bryant, and Stratton College, to name a few. With multiple colleges in and around the city, you can expect many students and young professionals, which can add to increased traffic congestion and noise.
Is Albany, NY a good place to live? Final thoughts
Living in Albany is a unique experience with its pros and cons. While the snowy winters and high property taxes can be challenging, the city’s affordability and great location offset them. Ultimately, the decision to live in Albany comes down to personal preference. Still, those who live here will find a charming and dynamic city full of opportunity and adventure.