As you consider places to live in Pennsylvania, it’s smart to compare the cost of living between different cities and towns before you settle on a specific area. Living expenses in Pennsylvania vary dramatically. This can certainly affect house prices, but it also impacts your future property taxes and utility bills.

To help in your comparisons, we’ve gathered the top five communities from HomeSnacks’ 2020 list of the most expensive cities in Pennsylvania. Instead of ordering their list by median property values, HomeSnacks takes the average rank of three metrics:

  • Median Home Price divided by Median Income
  • Median Income divided by Median Rent
  • Median Home Price

The result is a more nuanced view of which areas are more expensive than others. You might be surprised by which cities are (and aren’t) on the list. Let’s take a look.

State College

Expecting Philadelphia to be here? Not this year. As of 2020, State College is the most expensive area to live in Pennsylvania. Home to the main campus of Pennsylvania State University, this rural borough’s identity, economy, and history are closely tied to the school. State College sits between Pennsylvania’s two biggest cities – Pittsburgh (136 miles to the west) and Philadelphia (193 miles to the east). While State College is deep in the countryside of central Pennsylvania, the university’s presence creates numerous arts and cultural opportunities, iconic sports teams, and a robust public transportation system.

  • Population 42,160
  • Median Income $33,244
  • Median Home Value $306,251

West Chester

Located in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, West Chester offers both small-town charm and big-city amenities. It’s the county seat of Chester County, one of the first established counties in Pennsylvania. While its cost of living puts it #2 on this year’s list, West Chester has many desirable qualities for homebuyers. You’ll find a picturesque, walkable downtown with hundreds of fine restaurants and boutiques. Plus, having West Chester University nearby creates a fun, college-town vibe. Beyond its center, West Chester has historic, tree-lined streets perfect for families.

  • Population 20,029
  • Median Income $58,050
  • Median Home Value $429,969


Surprisingly, Gettysburg is also one of the most expensive places to live in Pennsylvania based on income and home values. This rural, historic Pennsylvania borough is well known for pivotal Civil War battles and the iconic Gettysburg Address by President Abraham Lincoln. Gettysburg has a college town feel, but it’s also become a popular retirement destination for senior citizens in nearby cities. Although much of the Gettysburg economy revolves around tourism, its proximity to Harrisburg (about 40 miles) and Baltimore (about 65 miles) offer additional opportunities for recreation.

  • Population 7,724
  • Median Income $42,562
  • Median Home Value $234,031


Stroudsburg is #4 on the list of most expensive cities in Pennsylvania. Nestled in the Poconos region of Monroe County, Stroudsburg is a popular tourist destination. It’s approximately five miles from the Delaware Water Gap, where the Brodhead, McMichaels, and Pocono Creeks meet. In addition to its natural beauty and abundant recreational options, Stroudsburg has a bustling downtown with restaurants, gift shops, art galleries, and clothing stores. Stroudsburg University students add to the mix, creating a fun, relaxed atmosphere to the town.

  • Population 5,558
  • Median Income $30,926
  • Median Home Value $170,904


Just north of Allentown, Bangor is a small borough in Northampton County. This might not come to mind as the most expensive area to live in Pennsylvania, but it made #5 this year. Bangor is part of Lehigh Valley, known for its rolling countryside and idyllic dairy farms. Tucked within this valley, you’ll find safe residential neighborhoods, quality schools, and easy access to nearby towns Allentown, Easton, and Bethlehem. Plus, in just a few minutes’ drive, you can visit the Poconos region for winter skiing or summer water parks.

  • Population 5,228
  • Median Income $42,717
  • Median Home Value $193,344

Find Your Next Home in Southeastern Pennsylvania with Fox & Roach

Surprised by this list? Since it’s such a large state, living expenses in Pennsylvania can be drastically different depending on the community. That’s why it helps to have a real estate professional who knows the local market. If you’re looking for a new home in Southeastern Pennsylvania, contact a BHHS Fox & Roach agent. We’ll help you find the perfect community – without breaking the budget.