Where to Buy a Home Under $200,000 in the U.S - Top 10 Cheapest Cities
|Top 10 U.S. Cities with The Cheapest Home to Buy in the United States|
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many families in the U.S want to move to other locations and looking for an affordable house.
Given that the median sales price for an existing home was $346,900 in 2021 — a 17% increase from the prior year — it may feel like there is no place to buy an affordable home in the United States.
But a new analysis by Realtor.com, which looked at housing data from February of 2022 in the 250 largest metros nationwide, found that there are plenty of cities with median home prices under $200,000, and in some cases under $100,000.
Top 10 cheapest cities to buy a home in USA Right Now
1.Peoria, IL - Median home price: $98,000
Located in central Illinois, about 150 miles southwest of Chicago, Peoria offers a riverfront district with outdoor event spaces, restaurants, a walking trail, museums, and theaters. The city is also home to the Wildlife Prairie Park, an 1800-acre zoological park that is home to 60 species formerly native to the area, including bison, wolves and bobcats. It’s no wonder that people from around the country started buying up properties in the city in the summer of 2021, the Washington Post reports. That said, the unemployment rate in the town is elevated.
2.Terre Haute, IN - Median home price: $104,900
Just east of the Illinois border, this city is on high ground next to the Wabash River. Formerly a hub for farmers, millers, and pork processors in the 19th century, Terre Haute experienced an economic decline in the 20th century as industries left for cheaper locations. The city, however, has many cultural relics from its heyday, including the Swope Art Museum, which was founded by jeweler and a Civil War veteran; Collett Park, which was established in 1883, and features a pavilion inspired by ancient Roman architecture; and the Indiana Theatre, which was built in 1922 to house silent movie and vaudeville performances, and is still in operation as an event space today.
3.Saginaw, MI - Median home price: $112,200
Used as a fur-trading post at the beginning of the 19th century, Saginaw, which is located less than 20 miles from Lake Huron, later became a hub for auto manufacturing and lumber production, as well as the site of salt, coal and petroleum deposits. By the end of the 20th century, most of the industry had left the city, but there are plenty of relics left from more prosperous times, including the Castle Museum, which was originally built in the late 19th century to house a post office. The city is surrounded by natural preserves including the Price Nature Center, which features 186-acres of trails, as well as grills and a playground.
4.Youngstown, OH - Median home price: $118,000
Youngstown offers cultural attractions, including the Fellows Riverside Garden, which features twelve acres of manicured grounds, as well as the Butler Institute of American Art, which was built by the American industrialist Joseph G. Butler, Jr., and houses 22,000 works of art. The city is located just a few miles west of the Pennsylvania border, and recent efforts to revitalize Youngstown have included establishing a pedestrian-oriented plaza downtown, and opening the Youngstown Business Incubator, which focuses on digital, women and minority-owned businesses, and is housed in a former department store.
5.Davenport, IA - Median home price: $127,400
Anointed the most livable city in the United States by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2007, Davenport is located on the banks of the Mississippi River. Proudly declaring itself a progressive community on its website, Davenport has invested in revitalizing its historic downtown in the 21st century. The city repaired the Modern Woodmen Park, which houses a minor league baseball team, and built the Skybridge, a 50-foot high pedestrian bridge that connects LeClaire Park to the trails and parks on the waterfront. Another relatively recent addition to the city is the Figge Art Museum’s glass building, which was designed by renowned British architect David Chipperfield.
6.Erie, PA - Median home price: $148,400
Pennsylvania’s primary access point to the Great Lakes, Erie is famously known as the site of the Battle of Lake Erie, which was the turning point for the United States in the War of 1812. Located within 100 miles of Buffalo, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, Erie was the center of the Rust Belt, and declined during the 1970s as manufacturing left the area. There’s plenty left to enjoy in the city, including the Presque Isle State Park, a 3,200-acre peninsula that curves into Lake Erie, and offers sunbathing, boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking in the summer months. Today, Erie is known for its breweries and its openness to the LGBTQ+ community.
7.Charleston, WV - Median home price: $148,900
The capital city of West Virginia, Charleston is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha rivers in the Allegheny Mountains. Boasting plenty of natural beauty, Charleston, a major site of salt production in the 19th century, has a minor league baseball team, the West Virginia State Museum, and a riverfront park that houses live music every Friday during the summer. The city is surrounded by forest and hiking trails, including the Kanawha State Forest, which is popular with birders.
8.Utica, NY - Median home price: $169,450
Part of the Mohawk Valley, Utica is situated near the Erie Canal and was a major center for textile production in the 19th century. After a long period of decline due to the flight of manufacturing industries in the region, Utica’s population declined. In the 21st century, it has seen a revitalization. In 2021, the city was awarded $10 million dollars by New York state for projects including a mixed-use arts space and an update to the Stanley Theater, which hosts local performances of shows including Waitress and South Pacific. The city also houses the Utica Zoo, which has 200 animals representing 99 species, and the Saranac Brewing Company, a family-owned business in operation for over 130 years.
9.Macon, GA - Median home price: $174,950
Don’t be fooled by the strip malls and chain stores that ring this city. The interior of Macon consists of rolling green hills, horse farms, pecan groves, and a historic business district that received $19.6 million in investments in 2017 for revitalization efforts. Famously known as the birthplace of both Otis Redding, the city boasts live music venues and Fresh Produce Records, a great record store.
10.Topeka, KS - Median home price: $184,950
Topeka has one of the most variable climates in the United States, boasting humid, hot summers, and cold, snowy winters. Attractions include the Heartland Motorsports Park, which features various auto races, and the Evel Knievel Museum memorializing the famous daredevil.
Top 10 Most Affordable Cities To Buy A Home in the U.S Right Now
|Top 10 cheapest cities to buy a home in USA Right Now|
1. Youngstown, Ohio
Median listing price: $115,000
Median down payment as a percent of sale price: 4.5%
Per capita personal income (2020): $46,635
Median property taxes paid, by county (2019): $1,695
Youngstown, a city in Northeast Ohio, is number one on the list of most affordable cities to buy a house. The median listing price for a home was just $115,000 in February–that’s far less than the $350,300 median price of a home.
“Before the pandemic, the housing market in Youngstown was so stagnant,” Black says. “It wasn’t uncommon for homes to sit on the market for seven months—and now they’re going in days. The area needed a shot in the arm.”
Black is seeing a lot of younger buyers in their 20s and 30s moving back to Youngstown from bigger cities and buying homes. The desire for more space coupled with low-interest rates are primary drivers, which is a similar story across the country.
2. Toledo, Ohio
Median listing price: $128,400
Median down payment as a percent of sale price: 7%
Per capita personal income (2020): $51,024
Median property taxes paid, by county (2019): $2,354
Toledo, the fourth largest city in Ohio, had a median listing price of just $128,400. Toledo experienced a declining population, like much of Ohio, losing more than 16,000 residents over the last decade ending in 2020, according to the latest Census Bureau Data.
Despite the drop in population, Toledo ranked ninth in most popular areas for Gen Z renters, according to an analysis of more than three million rental applications by RentCafe. Toledo is home to the University of Toledo and nearby Bowling Green State. It’s also within 60 miles of more than 30 other higher education institutions.
3. Akron, Ohio
Median listing price: $147,450
Median down payment as a percent of sales price: 7.4%
Per capita personal income (2020): $56,821
Median property taxes paid, by county (2019): $2,586
Akron ranks as one of the top 10 most affordable housing markets for Black households, according to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Realtor.com. Akron’s Black households can afford to buy homes “roughly in proportion to their income distributions,” the report states.
The percentage of average local wages required to pay for major homeownership expenses (including mortgage, insurance and taxes) for a median-priced, single-family home in Akron is 22%, according to Attom Data, which is lower than the recommended 28% most financial experts estimate as the maximum buyers should spend.
4. Cleveland, Ohio
Median listing price: $169,450
Median down payment percent of sale price: 7.1%
Per capita personal income (2020): $59,923
Median property taxes paid, by county (2019): $3,219
The third largest city in Ohio, Cleveland is one of the most affordable cities in the United States. However, that affordability is attracting investors—something locals are trying to combat. A recent report by the Vacant and Abandoned Property Action Council (VAPAC) shows that investor activity has tripled, going from 7.17% in 2004 to 21.1% in 2020.
Investor activity for single-family homes is concentrated heavily on the east side of Cleveland, up to 46% of all purchases, which is home to a majority of Black families now being pushed out by pricing.
“We believe that such activity is part of the larger legacy of continued racial bias in the American housing market,” the report stated.
The Cuyahoga County Down Payment Assistance Program offers eligible low- to moderate-wage earners down payment assistance of up to 10% of the qualifying home purchase price, or a maximum of $14,900.
5. Scranton, Pennsylvania
Median listing price: $182,400
Median down payment as a percent of sale price: 5.5%
Per capita personal income (2020): $52,580
Median property taxes paid, by county (2019): $2,613
Not only are homes in Scranton priced well below the national median, homebuyers also spend less of their paycheck toward housing.
The percentage of average local wages required to pay for major homeownership expenses (including mortgage, insurance and taxes) for median-priced, single-family homes in Scranton is 18.8%, according to Attom Data, which is lower than the recommended 28% most financial experts estimate is the maximum buyers should spend.
6. Syracuse, New York
Median listing price: $184,900
Median down payment as a percent of sale price: 2.3%
Per capita personal income (2020): $58,919
Median property taxes paid, by county (2019): $4,087
Syracuse has the most affordable single-family homes in the state of New York, making it an attractive option for people who want to leave costlier major cities in exchange for more space they can own. Some 27% of renters looking for housing in the Syracuse area were located in New York City, according to search data from Apartment List.
“There are more investors and a lot more cash in Syracuse now than before the pandemic,” says Kelly Loya, a real estate broker at Mytown Realty in Syracuse. “Many people are forced to look for smaller places and even in places they wouldn’t normally look. Buyers have to be so patient right now.”
7. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Median listing price: $197,000
Median down payment as a percent of sale price: 5.8%
Per capita personal income (2020): $63,675
Median property taxes paid, by county (2019): $3,034
Despite Pittsburgh’s shrinking population, its per capita income continues to climb. Earnings for the area’s workers rose 7% in 2020 compared to the year before, and housing prices have remained relatively low compared to wages.
The average down payment amounts are also on the low side in Pittsburgh, around 5.8% of the median sales price, which makes it easier for many entry-level buyers to access homeownership.
“Pittsburgh flew under the radar for many years, and now we’ve re-emerged as a tech hub,” says Bobby West, a broker at Coldwell Banker in Pittsburgh. “My phone rings four to five times a week from people west of the Mississippi wanting to move here.”
Even with the interest in Pittsburgh, West says there are still entry-level homes available and there are sellers who prefer traditional homebuyers over investors.
8. Dayton, Ohio
Median listing price: $197,450
Median down payment as a percent of sale price: 5.4%
Per capita personal income (2020): $51,618
Median property taxes paid, by county (2019): $2,579
Dayton is one of the few areas in the country where homes for sale are still listed below $200,000. The median down payment amount at just 5.4% of the low home purchase price is another advantage for first-time and entry-level homebuyers. That down payment percentage on a $200,000 loan would be just $10,800 (not including closing costs and other fees).
The lower home prices and greater affordability in Dayton helped former Los Angeles resident, Emma Smales, relocate to the area in Dec. 2020 to help take over her family’s business, Smales Pretzel Bakery. She paid $200,000 for a 4-bedroom home in McPherson Town and was able to get several concessions from the seller, including a new roof.
Smales says that the market for move-in-ready homes starts at about $150,000 in Dayton, but there are fixer-uppers that go for a lot less.
“Dayton is a different area from a lot of other places,” Smales says. “Prices have gone up, but it’s still so much more affordable here than big cities like Los Angeles.”
9. Buffalo, New York
Median listing price: $199,450
Median down payment as a percent of sales price: 8.6%
Per capita personal income (2020): $56,748
Median property taxes paid, by county (2019): $3,891
Buffalo, which has a growing population, is attracting New Yorkers and other out-of-state residents with lower housing costs. About 45.7% of renters looking for housing in Buffalo are currently living in New York City.
The city of Buffalo also has a grant program that will provide up to $5,000 towards the purchase price of the home for eligible first-time homebuyers, including anyone who hasn’t owned a home within the last three years. This grant doesn’t have to be repaid as long as the homebuyer keeps their home within the first five years of purchase.
10. Detroit, Michigan
Median listing price: $200,000
Median down payment as a percent of sales price: 7.7%
Per capita personal income (2020): $48,788
Median property taxes paid, by county (2019): $2,464
Detroit, which ranked the No. 1 most affordable city on Forbes Advisor’s list last year, fell in rank after home prices continued to rise in the area. Single-family homes sold for an average of $225,900 during the fourth quarter of 2021, up more than 14% from a year earlier.
However, unlike most of the country facing a housing supply shortage, Detroit has ample inventory for entry-level buyers. Erica Collica, an associate broker with Max Broock Realtors Detroit, says people in their 20s and 30s are moving to Detroit to buy homes that are affordable but still in a major city.
“You can buy a 4,500 square foot historic home for $245,000 in an up-and-coming area in the city,” Collica says. “There are so many affordable neighborhoods, like Bagley and Island View, that are just 10 minutes from downtown Detroit.”
Top 10 Cheapest Cities in the United States to Buy a House
(Local Records Offices List)
|Top 10 cheapest cities to buy a home in USA Right Now|
Detroit, which has the cheapest homes in America. The city’s median home price is less than $35,000, and in certain neighborhoods, you can buy homes for even less.
There are plenty of other U.S. cities and towns, largely located along the Rust Belt, where home prices have hit extreme lows. Most have hundreds of houses priced below $40,000, according to real estate research firm Zillow.
1. Detroit, MI
It’s no surprise that the lowest median home prices in the nation can be found in certain parts of Detroit. The city is basically in bankruptcy after losing more than half of its population over the past 50 years.
When the housing crisis arrived, Detroit was already in trouble, and home prices tumbled further. Even today, with the economy starting to recover in earnest, the city’s median home price is just $32,600.
While purchasing a home in Detroit takes a lot of research and a little luck, prices are on the upswing.
2. Buffalo, NY
Buffalo has a number of neighborhoods where homes can be purchased for less than $40,000, particularly along the city’s east side, as well as northern neighborhoods near the Niagara River.
Home prices in the city have recovered unevenly, with some area prices climbing while others are still dropping. In the city itself, the median home price is about $51,000. New York might not be the cheapest state but you have to look at other places besides New York City.
3. Toledo, OH
The average home price in Toledo is a modest $51,200, but in certain neighborhoods, you can find move-in-ready homes for less than $35,000.
While the city struggled in the 1980s, Toledo has revitalized its downtown with a minor league baseball stadium and hockey arena and upgraded its riverfront area with walking trails, landscaping, and new restaurants.
4. Cleveland, OH
Home prices in Cleveland have dropped at least 25 percent since the housing market started crashing in 2006. Unlike other areas across the country, the city’s home prices haven’t started turning around yet, with a median price of just under $50,000.
That means it’s still a buyer’s market. You can find homes in several neighborhoods that can be purchased for less than $40,000, including Forest Hills, which was part of the former 700-acre estate of oil baron John D. Rockefeller.
5. Tampa, FL
If you want to buy an affordable home in Tampa, now is the time. Some neighborhoods remain still super-cheap, with homes going for much less than the $120,000 median, but prices are rapidly increasing.
Home prices in Florida, Clearwater, and Saint Petersburg have risen more than 10 percent over the last year. But there are still plenty of neighborhoods, particularly in the Saint Petersburg area, where homes sell for less than $40,000.
6. Augusta, GA
Best known for hosting the Master’s golf tournament each spring, Augusta is located along the banks of the Savannah River on the border of Georgia and South Carolina.
Prices vary widely across the metropolitan area, with some suburbs averaging almost $200,000, while other neighborhoods hitting as low as $38,500. The city has a median price of $74,600. $200,000 is extremely cheap compared to other cities like Los Angeles and New York City.
7. Philadelphia, PA
While the median price for a home in Philly is around $104,000, homes in certain neighborhoods can be had for much less.
Philadelphia’s higher median home prices are driven up by more upscale neighborhoods, where home prices hit half a million dollars. But there are plenty of neighborhoods with low median prices, reaching as low as $38,000.
8. Youngstown, OH
In the city of Youngstown, the median home price is less than $40,000, so there are plenty of neighborhoods where deals can be found.
Having moved on from its days in the 1950s and 60s as “Murdertown, USA,” when gang activity surged, the city has been revitalizing itself for the past decade with the construction of upscale retail and residential developments, as well as fostering the growth of new technology companies through the Youngstown Business Incubator.
9. Akron, OH
If you want to live in one of the cheapest cities in the united states Ohio is the place. Home prices are low across Ohio, and Akron is no exception.
Homes in the city hit a median price of $55,600, and several neighborhoods fall well below that line. The city formerly known for rubber is now known for its plastic industry, even being dubbed the “Polymer Valley.”
10. Lynchburg, VA
The cost of living in Lynchburg is 11.4% below the U.S average according to 2021 housing reports. The population is right under 85,000 and is home to Liberty University. The good thing about Lynchburg is that unemployment is below the national level.
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