The COVID-19 pandemic had devastating economic consequences in the United States, grinding entire industries to a halt. One sector that did not suffer, however, was real estate. Driven by the pandemic, existing home sales in 2020 hit their highest level in nearly a decade and a half.
The median home sale price in the United States was $265,000 in 2020 — $30,000 more than it was the previous year. Buying a house for a quarter of a million dollars, however, is not affordable for many Americans. Still, for those on a tight budget, there are many parts of the country where most homes are selling for far less.
Using median home sale prices provided by ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate and property data company, 24/7 Wall St. identified the least expensive ZIP codes in America. ZIP codes were ranked based on median sales price of condos and single-family homes in 2020. Only ZIP codes with at least 1,000 single-family homes and condos and where at least 500 of housing units were sold in 2020 were considered. Due to a lack of sufficient data, no postal codes in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, South Dakota, or Vermont were considered.
Many of the ZIP codes on this list are in Midwestern Rust Belt cities that have suffered for decades from the decline of American manufacturing. These places tend to have long-term population decline, high unemployment, and low incomes — each of which can result in lower than average real estate prices. Here is a look at the American cities that went from rich to poor.
Despite the low incomes in many of the postal codes on this list, housing is still relatively affordable. In each of the 50 ZIP codes on this list, the ratio of home sale prices to incomes is more favorable than the comparable national ratio. Here is a look at America’s 25 most affordable housing markets.
To determine the least expensive ZIP codes, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data provided by ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate and property data provider. ZIP codes were ranked based on median sales price of condos and single-family homes in 2020. Only ZIP codes with at least 1,000 single-family homes and condos and where at least 500 of housing units were sold in 2020 were considered. The estimated market value is determined by ATTOM’s automated valuation model. Supplemental data on median household income, the share of households that are at least 50 years old, and unemployment are five-year estimates at the ZIP code level for 2015-2019 from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Due to a lack of sufficient data, no postal codes in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, South Dakota, or Vermont were not considered.
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