Homeownership is, for many, the realization of the American dream. However, the sale price of the typical American home has climbed substantially in recent years — from about $214,000 in 2009 to nearly $316,000 in mid-2018. While increasing home values may discourage some potential buyers, owning a home does not have to break the bank — even in many urban markets, which are traditionally more expensive.
In every U.S. city, including some of the most expensive, like New York City and San Francisco, there are homes valued at less than $100,000. However, in these cities and others like them, low property values are the exception and not the rule. For those willing to live in smaller, less prominent cities, low-cost homes are widely available.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed median home value data from the U.S. Census Bureau to identify the cities where it’s easiest to buy a house for less than $100,000. We only ranked cities with populations of at least 100,000 where the majority of homes are worth less than $100,000.
The cities on this list are largely concentrated in the Midwest and upstate New York and have had slower than typical population growth in recent years. Many cities on this list, including Cleveland, Detroit, and Buffalo, New York, have had declining populations for decades.
In addition to reduced demand for housing precipitated by falling populations, low incomes also partially explain low housing costs in these cities. In each of the 20 cities on this list, the typical household earns over $12,000 less than the $57,652 national median income. Still, even taking lower incomes into account, housing in these cities is more affordable than it is nationwide on average.