With rents in New Bedford and Fall River reaching record levels, some residents might wonder if it makes more sense to buy their own home. While that process isn't easy, and it can cost a good amount of cash up front, there is no denying the long-term financial benefits of owning your own property.

The problem is that there is a lot stacked against a first-time home buyer. Interest rates are no longer as desirable as they once were. Home buyers got used to interest rates during the pandemic that began with the number 2 or 3.  Now those rates have more than doubled. Add in things like closing costs, real estate taxes, and homeowner's insurance and owning can become pretty expensive.

However, if you can find the right community, there are some options.  The U.S. Census has compiled some locally sourced financial data coupled with income data to demonstrate the affordability of particular cities and towns.

We have put together a list of the 10 most affordable cities and towns in the state. You might think that the SouthCoast would be packed with them, but we only appeared once in the Top 10 list.

Somerset comes in at No. 7.  The average closing costs on a mortgage are $3,826, the annual property taxes are $4,664, annual homeowner's insurance is $1,234, the annual mortgage payment is $15,725, and the median income is $90,260. The affordability index ranks Somerset at 31.21.

When you give it more thought, though, it's really not that surprising.  As ignored as we sometimes feel here on the SouthCoast, it is nothing compared to the level of interest in Central and Western Massachusetts. Those two spots are where the lion's share of the most affordable towns are located.

The good news?  There are options.

The bad news? You may need to move to Western Massachusetts

Here are the top 10 most affordable towns in Massachusetts:

1.  Longmeadow

2.  Palmer Town

3.  Athol

4.  North Adams

5.  Northborough

6.  Agawam Town

7.  Somerset

8.  Pittsfield

9.  Sharon

10.  Westfield

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