Where Are the Most Affordable Places to Live in the U.S.?

Turn on the TV or scroll on social media for a bit of time and you’ll encounter news about home prices and the affordability crisis due to higher mortgage interest rates. This is definitely a concern for people of all income levels as the cost of living soars and real estate prices are stuck high due to a low inventory of available homes.

However, it’s important to remember that national housing market trends do not speak for local markets 100% of the time. While inventory is low across the board, there are places where homebuyers are still finding deals in spite of augmented mortgage rates.

Where Is Affordable Housing in America in 2023?

Affordable housing is located in select locations in the United States, striated in different markets in the Midwest to Northeast. States like Ohio, Oklahoma, and Indiana tend to show more affordable sale prices and lower home values compared to metro areas like New York or Southern California.

To make it easy to see where the best American housing affordability lies right now, here is some data from The Black Knight Home Price Index ℠ September Report. Black Knight’s reporting is one of “the most accurate measures of residential home-price trends”. Our real estate agents rely on data like this to get accurate information on residential real estate price trends to make informed decisions.

cheapest markets in the united states

Source: Black Knight Home Index September Free Report

The Black Knight September Report figures the average household income compared to the average house price in the area. It gives one of the most complete pictures of housing costs in the context of income to determine actual affordability for homeowners.

Topping the list is Cleveland, Ohio, where the average homeowner pays slightly less than one-quarter of their monthly income on a mortgage. It’s advised that homeowners pay no more than 30% of their monthly income on rent or a mortgage, so all the homes in this chart’s top 10 fall within a financial advisor’s recommendation. You can also find deals in other parts of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and the American Midwest.

While this report was free, Black Knight has other useful reports that you can order from them that can help you strategize home sales and more. Check them out when you have a chance!

Cheapest States to Buy a House in the U.S.

The September real estate market report from Black Knight is a great start to see where the lower cost of living markets are located. After combing through Zillow’s Home Value Index (HVI), here are the cheapest places to buy a house in the U.S. by State. (Note that this data doesn’t account for the average household income, which Black Knight figures into the context of affordability).

  1. West Virginia: HVI of $155,148.
  2. Mississippi: HVI of $176,655.
  3. Oklahoma: HVI of $198,995.
  4. Arkansas: HVI of $199,830.
  5. Louisiana: HVI of $200,028.
  6. Kentucky: HVI of $201,843
  7. Iowa: HVI of $211,572.
  8. Kansas: HVI of $216,151.
  9. Ohio: HVI of $219,781
  10. Alabama: HVI of $222,005.

Cheapest Cities to Buy a House in the U.S.

Taking data from Realtor.com, we collected information on the cheapest cities to find a house. In these markets, you can enjoy a low cost of living, which means more house for your dollar.

  1. Youngstown, Ohio: Median list price: $149,900
  2. Syracuse, New York: Median list price: $217,250
  3.  Scranton, Pennsylvania: Median list price: $225,000
  4. McAllen, Texas: Median list price: $270,000
  5. Little Rock, Arkansas: Median list price: $298,873
  6. Jackson, Mississippi: Median list price: $299,000
  7. Indianapolis, Indiana: Median list price: $300,000
  8. Wichita, Kansas: Median list price: $304,475
  9. Columbia, South Carolina: Median list price: $308,900
  10. Augusta, Georgia: Median list price: $311,575

It’s important to note that the median list price is not going to be the same as the median sale price, which can be higher or lower depending on market conditions. However, these lower average median list prices increase your chances of finding a more affordable single-family home in these cities.

Other Affordable Markets for U.S. Homes

Top 10 lists only tell part of the story, and there are plenty of other opportunities even within local markets. You may find neighborhoods that offer deals compared to other parts in town. Finding a realtor experienced with your desired market will help you spot the deals even in a market that may not seem affordable. It’s always a good idea to check for hidden opportunities! If you have any questions on finding deals in your area, contact us anytime.