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Most Affordable Places to Live in Maryland in 2024

Moving to Maryland? The Old Line State is a great place to live on the East Coast but can come with a bigger price tag. Although Maryland is one of the most expensive states to live in on average, there are still plenty of affordable cities in Maryland to settle down in, offering budget-friendly housing and close proximity to big cities like Baltimore and Washington, DC. Check out these seven affordable places to live in Maryland!

Arbutus

photo of patapsco valley state park trail in arbutus maryland during the fall photo by Instagram user @kbowman0217

Photo via @kbowman0217

  • Population: 21,455
  • Home Price: $225,900 median purchase price; $1,105 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 33% of Maryland cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.1%

Want to live near Baltimore? Consider Arbutus, Maryland! Bordering the southwest edge of the city, this Baltimore suburb is the perfect getaway for anyone looking to live in a quiet area while still having access to big city amenities via I-95. Near the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Arbutus is especially popular among students and young professionals. Families also love this Maryland city for its affordable housing and outdoor recreation spots like Patapsco Valley State Park.

Things to Do in Arbutus

Head over to campus to catch the UMBC Retrievers (D-I) playing at the Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena. Plan a picnic, bring the kids to play on the jungle gym, or start a game of pickleball at Arbour Manor Park. Check out books, explore the local history collection, or get involved in programs and community events at the Arbutus Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library. Tour the first of only two Guinness breweries in the U.S. and the primary brewer of Guinness Blonde, the Guinness Open Gate Brewery. Feast on Hawaiian BBQ Short Ribs, Chicken Katsu, or a Poke Bowl with a Hawaiian Sun flavor of your choice at Halo Hawaiian BBQ & Poke Bar. Build your own pizza or enjoy a slice of The Meal Buster, Greek Pizza, or Maryland Style Crab Pizza at Pizza Boli’s. Order a meal of Corned Beef Brisket Reuben, Grilled Cajun Chicken, or a Greek Goddess quesadilla at the Fish Head Cantina. Or try a Tropi Cannon Citrus IPA, Powder Monkey Pale Ale, or Cutlass Vienna Lager at Heavy Seas Brewery.

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Bel Air

bel air armory in bel air maryland photo by Instagram user @visitmaryland

Photo via @visitmaryland

  • Population: 10,211
  • Home Price: $241,700 median purchase price; $1,110 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 62% of Maryland cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.3%

Not only is Bel Air one of the most affordable places to live in Maryland, but it’s also one of the best Baltimore suburbs. The town is home to highly-rated schools like Southampton Middle School, Bel Air High School, and The John Carroll School. Locals take part in a wide range of family-friendly community events like the Belle Aire Market, as well as annual festivals like the Bel Air Christmas Parade, the Harford County Wine Festival, and the MD State BBQ Bash. Bel Air is also home to several public parks and green spaces, including Plumtree ParkRockfield Park, Shamrock Park, and the MA and PA Heritage Trail. New residents can get to know the town by taking the self-guided Public Art Tour, featuring around 40 pieces of art!

Things to Do in Bel Air

Catch concerts, watch performances, attend local festivals, and shop at the marketplace at the Bel Air Armory. Buy local produce, baked goods, and other unique products at the Bel Air Farmers Market, open every year from April to December. Play through 18 holes scattered among the grazing and prowling dinosaurs at the Black Light Mini Golf course at Jurassic Golf & Arcade. Attend art lectures, participate in workshops, or explore art exhibits at the Harford Art Gallery. Start with the Crabby Flatbread before ordering the Rockfish Bites, Sunset Shrimp Tacos, or Glazed Salmon at Steelefish Grille. Try unique dishes like Tahini Roasted Cauliflower, Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast, or Verlasso Salmon at The Local. Spend the summer cooling off with Starburst, Peaches & Cream, or Strawberry Banana-flavored shaved ice from Waldo’s Snowballs. Or sample local craft beers like the Blue Eyed Blonde, Eat Cheese and Sin, and the Get Off My Lawn from Independent Brewing.

Brunswick

  • Population: 6,101
  • Home Price: $199,500 median purchase price; $954 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 57% of Maryland cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.2%

Brunswick is one of Maryland’s best small towns. Nestled along the Potomac River on the Maryland-Virginia border, this city is known for its suburban feel and tight-knit community. Residents can find plenty of work throughout Frederick County, including opportunities with Fort Detrick and Hood College in the city of Frederick, which is about 25 minutes away. But one of the biggest draws for newcomers to Brunswick is its low cost of living, which is 18% lower than the state average!

Things to Do in Brunswick

Learn about Brunswick’s beginnings as a railroad town through three floors of interactive learning at the Brunswick Heritage Museum. Let your furry friends run free and play with their pals over at Brunswick Dog Park. Gather the kids and your camping supplies and head down near the Potomac River to camp at the Brunswick Family Campground. Lace up your hiking boots to explore the Rivers Edge Trails, including Carlo’s Inferno, Kersey’s Overlook, and Too Fast For Love. Stop in at the church-turned-award-winning cafe for a coffee, chilled wine, baked goods, and delicious craft beers at Beans in the Belfry. Get freshly baked Danishes, cookies, cupcakes, or beautifully decorated cakes from the Hive Cake Shop. Taste Middle Eastern cuisine with Chicken Shawarma, Falafel, and Toshka Quesadilla at Potomac Street Grill. Or sit down for a pint of Dalton’s Lager, Berlin Brown Ale, or Cranapple Crush Cider at the former fire station, Smoketown Brewing Station.

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Easton

Photo of the Talbot County Courthouse in Easton, MD photo by Instagram user @abitslippy

Photo via @abitslippy

  • Population: 16,637
  • Home Price: $268,600 median purchase price; $1,012 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 51% of Maryland cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.9%

About an hour outside of Annapolis, on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay, is the city of Easton. Recognized as one of the best places to retire in Maryland, Easton is perfect for those looking for a place to spend their golden years. Families love living in Easton as well, thanks in part to an abundance of community events—like arts and crafts shows, the Outdoor Summer Concert Series, and the annual Waterfowl Festival, which supports local wildlife conservation efforts. And with both Baltimore and Washington, DC under 90 minutes away, you’ll have plenty of options for fun day trips and weekend getaways while living in Easton!

Things to Do in Easton

Learn more about the history of Easton and the ghosts rumored to roam the town on the Haunted Walking Tour of Easton. Explore rotating exhibitions featuring American artists like LaToya Hobbs, Amy Boone-McCreesh, or Marty Two Bulls, Jr. at the Academy Art Museum. Stroll through the gardens at Talbot Historical Society, open to the public “seven days a week during daylight hours.” From March to October, find fresh produce, handmade furniture, and Amish foods at the Easton Amish Market. Kick off your morning with Waffles, Ribeye Steak & Three Eggs, or a Broccoli & Cheddar Cheese Omelette at Easton Diner & Family Restaurant. Find authentic Vietnamese dishes like Vermicelli with Lemongrass Fried Pork, Scallop Fried Rice, or Rare Steak Pho Tai Nam at Pho Van Restaurant. Fill up on an Applewood Smoked Salmon Wrap, Brisket Cheesesteak, and a Rack of Ribs at Rude BBQ. Or enjoy Petite Creekstone Filet Mignon, Stuffed Crispy Carolina Trout, and Tavern Mussels from Hunter’s Tavern at the Tidewater Inn.

Greenbelt

  • Population: 23,623
  • Home Price: $190,500 median purchase price; $1,425 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 24% of Maryland cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.9%

While looking for affordable cities in Maryland, make sure to add Greenbelt to your list! This Washington, D.C. suburb is considered one of the towns that changed the U.S. because of its origins as a “green belt” town—a type of planned community established as part of FDR’s New Deal after the Great Depression. The area offers affordable Maryland housing, tons of park land and green space, and plenty of opportunities to meet neighbors through community activities like the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Things to Do in Greenbelt

Tour rotating exhibits, lectures, and programs about the rich history of Greenbelt at the Greenbelt Museum. Explore exhibitions about planetary science, heliophysics, and astrophysics at Goddard Space Flight Center‘s Visitor Center. Go for a relaxing walk through an “urban oasis,” or pack for an overnight stay at one of the 172 campsites in Greenbelt Park. Buy tickets to community productions in the black box theatre—or audition for a chance to be in the show yourself—at the Greenbelt Arts Center. Bite into delicious donuts like The Big Bang, Rings of Saturn, or Event Horizon, paired with a coffee from Galaxy Donuts. Enjoy an unlimited Sunday brunch buffet featuring Chicken and Waffles, Fish and Frits, and more while sipping Bottomless Mimosas at Balkonie Restaurant. Find authentic Cameroonian and Nigerian dishes like Catfish Pepper Soup, Cocoyams and Huckleberry, or Jellof Rice at Mamaspice Cuisine. Feast on juicy Peruvian Charcoal Rotisserie Chicken, Lomo Saltado, and Plantains at Pollo Cabana.

Hagerstown

  • Population: 40,325
  • Home Price: $149,400 median purchase price; $813 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 26% of Maryland cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 6.7%

When looking for the best places to live in Maryland, consider Hagerstown! This city is just south of the Pennsylvania border, offers a quiet suburban feel, and has plenty of family-friendly activities. Outdoor activities are a major draw to the area thanks to waterways, national parks, state parks, and the nearby Appalachian Trail. Plus, living in Hagerstown won’t break the bank, because the cost of living is lower than the average for both Maryland and the U.S. And if you’re interested in pursuing or working in higher education, you can find opportunities at Hagerstown Community College!

Things to Do in Hagerstown

Take art classes, tour rotating exhibits, or attend special events at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. Stroll through tree-lined walking trails or relax by the lakefront in the crown jewel of Hagerstown and one of the most beautiful city parks in the U.S., Hagerstown City Park. Take your little ones to learn about the world’s rainforests in the Exploration Forest, view models of space crafts at Space and Beyond, or deep-dive into coral reefs in the Coral Reefs Banners at the Discovery Station. See performances put on by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, City Ballet School, or the Miss Maryland Scholarship Pageant at the Maryland Theatre. Order breakfast in Hagerstown like Peanut Butter Twists, Raspberry Jelly Filled Donuts, Long Johns, and other donuts at Krumpe’s Do-Nuts! Chow down Texas Nachos, Trio Street Tacos, or a Seafood Chimichanga at Los Amigos. Enjoy entrees like Chesapeake Cheesesteak, Jerk Mango Chicken, or Blackened Chipotle Chicken Pasta at Rik’s Cafe. Or end the evening with a sweet treat of hand-dipped ice cream flavors like Blueberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Chip Cookie, or Maple Walnut at The Big Dipper.

White Marsh

  • Population: 9,722
  • Home Price: $274,500 median purchase price; $1,341 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 51% of Maryland cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.3%

Looking for a safe, affordable city in Maryland with plenty of things to do nearby? Check out White Marsh! One of the best places to live in the Baltimore metro, this suburb is a hot destination for singles, young professionals, and families who want to find affordable homes within 25 minutes of the city. White Marsh is known as a shopping destination thanks to the White Marsh Mall and The AVENUE at White Marsh, but it’s also an ideal town for those who want quick access to Maryland’s top outdoor recreation spots—the area is about 15 minutes from Gunpowder Falls State Park and Gunpowder River.

Things to Do in White Marsh

Run, ride your bike, or play on the indoor or outdoor pickleball courts at Honeygo Run Regional Park. Get a membership and take your pup to play and meet furry friends at Perry Paw Dog Park. Shop, attend movie nights and concerts, or enjoy ice skating and hot cocoa in the winter at THE AVENUE at White Marsh. Strap in and race to the finish line at The Go-Kart Track. Settle in for a hearty breakfast of Nutella Hazelnut Pancakes, Classic Eggs Benedict, or Biscuits & Sausage Gravy at the ’50s-style Double T Diner. Buy fresh-baked Cannolis, Mini Fruit Tarts, and Chocolate Baklava Rolls at Yia Yia’s Bakery. Order Kung Pao Chicken, Slicked Beef Hunan Style, or Singapore Style Rice Noodles from the Chopstix Gourmet. Or try craft brews paired with White Wine Mussels, Cajun Rockfish, or the Maryland Crab Cake Platter at Red Brick Station Restaurant & Brew Pub.

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City statistics from AreaVibes

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About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.