Homeownership is a cornerstone of the American dream — but for many, realizing that dream is prohibitively expensive.
Today, the typical American home has a price tag of nearly a quarter of a million dollars, according to industry advocacy group the National Realtors Association. While not every budget can accommodate housing expenses that high, affordable real estate is available in nearly every state.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed home value data from NAR as of the third quarter of 2018 for 3,119 counties and county equivalents nationwide to identify the county with the least expensive housing market in every state. Counties in each state were ranked based on median home value. In 34 states, there is at least one county where more than 50% of homes cost less than $100,000. Hawaii and Rhode Island are the only states where no county has a median home value below the national median of $235,000.
Home values are typically a reflection of what area residents can afford, and as a result, the counties on this list tend to be low-income areas. Some even rank as the poorest county in their state. Windham County, Connecticut, is the only county on this list with a higher median annual household income than the national median of $57,652 — and every county on this list has a lower median household income than its home state.
Housing prices in many of the counties on this list are driven down by high regional vacancy rates — indicative of low demand — and lacking public works infrastructure. In the majority of these counties, the share of households that lack access to basic telephone service exceeds the 2.3% national share. In 42 of these counties, the share of vacant homes exceeds the 12.2% national vacancy rate. Homes in these counties are also far more likely than most to be older, built before 1939.