This Is the Cheapest City to Buy a Home

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Home costs have risen by record amounts in the past two years. The carefully followed S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices showed that home prices rose 18.8% in December nationwide, compared with the same month in 2020. In three cities, the figure was above 25%: Phoenix (32.5%), Tampa (29.4%) and Miami (27.3%). In some smaller cities that have become popular, prices have increased by 50% in two years. This has sometimes made home values too high for long-time residents of these metropolitan areas.

One reason for the increase is that home prices (and the general cost of living) is high in large coastal cities like San Francisco and New York. Home prices can be three times the national average. Low mortgage rates also have helped home buyers, although these have risen recently. The exodus to smaller cities received a boost as companies have shuttered offices due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of people currently work from home. In some cases, their companies will never ask them to return. They can work from home permanently and live almost anywhere they want to.

Only a few cities continue to have “affordable” home prices. Some are old industrial cities that have lost population as the companies that built them have relocated or disappeared. Realtor.com’s recently released As Home Prices Soar, Here Are the Cheapest Places in America to Buy a Home report looked at 250 cities to find those with the lowest median home prices. Only one metro per state was selected to promote “diversity.”

Hannah Jones, economic research analyst for Realtor.com, pointed out that “These areas generally have lower median incomes and lower costs of living, helping keep home prices lower.” These can trigger high poverty, low education and high crime. In turn, that makes these cities less attractive destinations.

The first city on the list has been blighted. Peoria has a median home price of $98,000. The report says, “House hunters can find places starting at $30,000, including this historic four-bedroom asking $34,900.” They also pointed out that the house would need work to be habitable. The population of Peoria has dropped sharply since 1970. The median household income is just below $37,000, compared to a national figure of over $65,000.

These are the 10 cheapest cities to buy a home in and their median list prices:

  • Peoria, Ill. ($98,000)
  • Terre Haute, Ind. ($104,900)
  • Saginaw, Mich. ($112,200)
  • Youngstown, Ohio ($118,000)
  • Davenport, Iowa ($127,400)
  • Erie, Pa. ($148,400)
  • Charleston, W.V. ($148,900)
  • Utica, N.Y. ($169,450)
  • Macon, Ga. ($174,950)
  • Topeka, Kan. ($184,950)

Click here to see in which cities buying a home is most expensive.

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