Top Cities for Families on the East Coast

by Maurie Backman | Published on Sept. 1, 2021

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Two parents riding a tandem bike behind their young child ahead of them on a tree-lined bike path.

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Here's what you need to know if you're looking to make the East Coast your home.

Finding the right city to call home can be a challenge when you have a family to think about. Not only do you have to find an area with great schools, but you also have to make sure to move someplace where housing is relatively affordable (since kids take up a lot of money with extracurriculars and their constant outgrowing of clothes). Taking on too high a mortgage could put you at risk of falling behind on your other bills.

If you have your eyes on the East Coast, you may not know where to start. After all, there are so many cities to choose from. To give you some ideas, here are a few worth putting on your radar based on data compiled by Niche.

1. Arlington, Virginia

The median home value in Arlington is $705,400, so that's a bit steep. The good news, however, is that its proximity to the Washington, D.C., metro area means you might command a higher salary if you decide to settle down in Arlington. Plus, the public schools in Arlington are top notch, so if you have children, you can rest assured that they'll be in line for a solid education.

2. Columbia, Maryland

Columbia is located about 30 minutes from Baltimore and an hour from Washington, D.C. This city appeals to families due to its highly ranked school system and relative proximity to jobs (at least for those who don't mind a bit of a commute to a larger city nearby). The median home value in Columbia is $378,300, and the majority of those who live in the city own property as opposed to renting.

3. Cambridge, Massachusetts

Just about 20 minutes from Boston, Cambridge is another city that many families are happy to call home. The city is loaded with restaurants and coffee shops, and nearby Boston offers a host of amenities that can keep curious kids entertained and foodies delighted. Just as importantly, proximity to Boston opens the door to many job opportunities. The median home value in Cambridge is $768,300, which is a lot of money to spend. But given today's low mortgage rates, you may find that a home there is affordable for you.

4. Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh's moderate climate and mid-sized city feel works well for a lot of families, and with a median home value of $248,300, it's easier financially to plant roots there. Raleigh's school system is also very highly rated, so parents can feel secure knowing their children will be well educated.

There are many cities to choose from if you're looking to settle down with your family on the East Coast, so the key is to spend a lot of time doing research. That doesn't just mean looking at property listings; you'll also want to vet school districts and dig into the amenities that are most important to you.

Once you narrow down your choices, find a real estate agent who knows the area well. An agent may be able to shed some light on your options and help you find the ideal neighborhood to settle down in.

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