Meg is in a tough spot. Out of college and working full-time, she wants to buy a house. But after doing some research, Meg is starting to understand just how expensive it is.
Home prices in Meg’s area are through the roof. Affordability is top of mind for Meg, so she may need to look elsewhere.
So, what are the cheapest states for homebuyers in America right now?
Let’s take a look.
Cheapest States to Buy a House
- West Virginia
- North Dakota
1. West Virginia
For those who love rural living, it doesn’t get any finer than the forested landscape of West Virginia.
West Virginia is known for low-cost living, and reasonable housing prices, with the median home price now hovering below $120,000.
Most of Mississippi is still made of small towns, ranging from coastal shorelines and bayous to dense forests in the northern part of the state. It’s one of the most affordable states in the country, with top cities including Jackson, Hattiesburg, Gulfport, and Biloxi.
In addition to Mississippi’s reasonable home prices, the cost of living and property taxes in the Magnolia State are well below the national average.
Arkansas is known for its mild year-round climate, and for its breathtaking scenery. Plus, this state, located in the heart of America, is one of the most affordable in the country. Its strong economy and low cost of living make Arkansas a top destination for young people searching to become homeowners.
The Sooner State, Oklahoma, offers ultra-low-cost living. It’s also an affordable place to launch a business. Due to its low cost of living and attractive rural landscape, Oklahoma is one of the most popular destinations for western living.
Oklahoma is known for its mountain ranges, forests, plains, and prairies. Top cities include Oklahoma City and Tulsa, which is where the majority of economic opportunities come from.
Is this Heaven? No, it’s Iowa.
The Hawkeye State state is full of rolling landscapes, with vast stretches of prairies and farmland. The state’s biggest cities are Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, which is where most of the jobs are.
In addition, many homebuyers are expanding into more rural areas due to the current remote landscape. Plus, you’re not far from Illinois, Missouri, and Nebraska, so you can easily get out and see other parts of the country.
Alabama offers an abundance of scenery, ranging from coastal shorelines to rolling forests, not to mention the Appalachian mountains. Birmingham is also one of the most affordable cities in America and offers many employment opportunities.
If you’re new to the housing market and thinking about becoming a first-time homebuyer, this could be a good spot.
Kentucky has it all, from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the streets of downtown Louisville. This is one of the most vibrant states in the South and it’s bordered by states like Ohio and Tennessee. Head to Kentucky for some wholesome, low-cost American living.
Looking for a home on the range? Look no further than Kansas. Those who want simple prairie life with rolling hills and low living costs will have a ball in Kansas, which is smack-dab in the middle of the United States. Its most populated cities include Wichita and Overland.
Plus, it’s right next to Colorado. If you’re thinking about starting the home-buying process, this state might be just the place for you.
Ohio offers a mix of rural farmland, big city living in Cleveland, and abundant educational and business opportunities in cities like Akron, Cincinnati, and Columbus. The state also comes with reasonable living costs, meaning you won’t have to worry about overpaying for things like food and transportation.
Indiana has a lot going for it, and it’s just a stone’s throw away from Chicago, which offers plenty of employment opportunities and big city attractions. Yet, it’s also affordable, with a median home value under $200,000.
If you’re itching for midwestern homeownership, why not take a look here?
For most people who move to Louisiana, the target is New Orleans with its fun-loving culture of music, cuisine, and nightlife. But Louisiana has a lot to offer outside of the Crescent City too, making it a prime spot for bargain-hunting homebuyers.
Missouri is a Midwesterner’s dream, with the mighty Mississippi rolling through it. Of course, there’s also St. Louis with its famous arches, world-class barbecue, and jazz.
The state is also home to the Ozark Mountains, and conveniently close to cities like Louisville, Indianapolis, Chicago, Nashville, Memphis, and Kansas City.
Since Missouri has a lower median home price, it should be able to get a lender to approve the funds you need to get a house.
Michigan is one of America’s best-kept secrets for affordable living. The city offers low housing, food, healthcare, child care, and transportation costs. The Motor City of Detriot offers the most employment opportunities, while Ann Arbor houses the University of Michigan, a world-renowned research university.
Tennessee has Nashville, which is one of the hottest destinations for young people in the United States today. If you like country music, soul food, nature, and affordable living, then Tennessee should be at the top of your list.
If you’re more interested in Knoxville, you’re parked right next to Asheville, North Carolina.
If you love lakes, theme parks, Americana, and dairy products, Wisconsin could be a dream come true. Plus, you won’t break the bank with your living expenses.
Milwaukee is the most happening city, located right on Lake Michigan. In Madison, you’ll find the University of Wisconsin and dozens of fun bars and restaurants.
They say everything is bigger in Texas… except for housing costs!
Texas is one of the more affordable states in the United States and its hot desert climate and strong economy have been pulling people from surrounding states in recent years.
Texas offers something for everyone. Whether it’s Austin in the north with strong arts and culture, the beaches in the south, or the open plains in the West, you can’t go wrong in the Lone Star State.
Georgia offers simple country living and an easy low-cost lifestyle that is very appealing to people on a budget. Plus, Georgia is home to growing cities like Atlanta and Savannah that are great for food, arts, and culture.
When it boils down to it, the Peach State is a true gem in the heart of the South, and something that potential homebuyers should consider.
18. North Dakota
North Dakota is a nature lover’s paradise with bison, bears, eagles, and countless other wildlife and outdoor attractions in their prairies and forests.
The state is also incredibly tax-friendly, making it an excellent place to settle down and look for a home. Just make sure to bundle up because it gets cold in the winter. North Dakota’s biggest city is Fargo, and there’s also Bismarck to explore.
Florida has a higher home index value than some other states, but this is largely due to South Florida where prices tend to be higher. There are pockets of Florida that are still very affordable, and it’s possible to find solid deals.
Plus, the state’s lack of income tax and strong economy make this a great choice for low-cost living on the East Coast. The weather certainly doesn’t hurt, either. Head to Florida for beaches, golf, and endless summer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I buy or rent?
Every homebuyer is different and it largely depends on your specific goals. When contemplating whether to buy or rent, the general rule is to break the renting cycle and buy a home that you can use to build equity through mortgage payments instead of paying a landlord every month. Buying a home is expensive, but it can be one of the best financial decisions you make in your life.
Is it a good idea to move to another state?
Moving to another state to capitalize on affordable housing can be a smart move, but it’s also tricky. Before you rush in, visit the state and make sure you like it. Then, consider renting or leasing at first. If you wind up really liking it, then you can consider buying a house.
Oftentimes, people move to states like Florida and Texas thinking they’ll love it, only to realize how hard it can be to uproot yourself and move to another state after the fact. It requires starting from scratch in many cases and rebuilding your own community—and that can take years to pull off.
So if possible, go slow and avoid making any rash decisions unless you’re confident about your course of action.
Do I need a real estate agent?
The short answer is yes, it always pays to have a real estate agent, even if it means paying a commission. A real estate agent can help you find better deals and negotiate better rates.
Even if you know real estate well, always work with a certified agent. You’ll come out on top more often than not and potentially avoid a financial disaster.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking to buy an affordable home, the states on this list can get you started in the right direction. But remember that you can’t put a price tag on happiness. If your heart is set on a particular destination, then it makes sense to pursue your goals and dreams.
For example, if you want to live in a more expensive state like Hawaii, California, New York, Maryland, or Massachusetts, you can still make that happen if you find the right deal and your income is strong enough.
Here’s to ending up in a place you’ll call home for many years to come!