Special Report

The Least Expensive Zip Codes In America

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images

5. ZIP: 63136
> Location: Saint Louis, Missouri
> Metro area: St. Louis, MO-IL
> Median home sales price: $37,000
> Median household income: $32,223
> Homes that are at least 50 years old: 78.6%

Some of the least expensive — and most affordable — real estate being sold in the United States is in St. Louis’ 63136 ZIP code, which covers a section of the northernmost part of the city. The median home sale price in the area was just $37,000 in the last year, only slightly higher than the local median household income area of $32,223. For context, the median home sale price nationwide is 4.2 times higher than the national median household income of $62,843.

The area’s home prices are among the lowest in the country likely due in part to reduced demand, precipitated by population decline. Over the last five years, the number of people living in the area contracted by 6.0%.

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

4. ZIP: 21217
> Location: Baltimore, Maryland
> Metro area: Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
> Median home sales price: $35,000
> Median household income: $29,196
> Homes that are at least 50 years old: 86.4%

Baltimore’s 21217 ZIP code is one of only five postal codes nationwide with a sufficient sample size, where the most homes sold in 2020 went for less than $40,000. The median price of the 500 area housing units sold last year was just $35,000. The area’s home prices are among the lowest in the country likely due in part to reduced demand, precipitated by population decline. Over the last five years, the number of people living in the area contracted by 16.8%.

Housing prices can also be a reflection of what local residents can afford — and incomes are low in the 21217 postal code. Most area households earn less than $30,000 a year, and 35.4% of the population live below the poverty line. Nationwide, the typical household earns $62,843, and 13.4% of the population live in poverty.

Source: Davel5957 / iStock via Getty Images

3. ZIP: 48228
> Location: Detroit, Michigan
> Metro area: Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
> Median home sales price: $34,500
> Median household income: $27,337
> Homes that are at least 50 years old: 87.6%

The 48228 ZIP code, located in western Detroit, has some of the least expensive homes in the United States. The typical area home that sold in 2020 went for just $34,500.

Home values are often a reflection of what area residents can afford — and just as home values are low in the area, so are incomes. The typical household in the 48228 ZIP code earns just $27,337 a year compared to the national median income of $62,843. Both incomes and home values are also affected by the local job market to some degree. Over the last five years, 19.0% of area workers were unemployed, more than triple the comparable 5.3% national unemployment rate.

Source: B. F. / Wikimedia Commons

2. ZIP: 95969
> Location: Paradise, California
> Metro area: Chico, CA
> Median home sales price: $30,000
> Median household income: $51,625
> Homes that are at least 50 years old: 37.2%

California’s 95969 ZIP code, located just east of Chico and encompassing the town of Paradise, has some of the least expensive homes in the United States. The typical area home sold for just $30,000 in 2020 — well below the local median household income of $51,625. For context, the median home sale price nationwide is 4.2 times higher than the national median household income of $62,843.

Low home values in the area are largely due to a devastating wildfire in November 2018. The fire spread over 240 square miles, destroyed nearly 14,000 homes, and killed 85 people. Before the wildfire, the typical home sale price in the area was $255,000.

Source: Davel5957 / iStock via Getty Images

1. ZIP: 21223
> Location: Baltimore, Maryland
> Metro area: Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
> Median home sales price: $26,000
> Median household income: $28,549
> Homes that are at least 50 years old: 86.1%

The 21223 ZIP code in Baltimore, located just west of the city’s Inner Harbor area, has the least expensive housing of any postal code with a sufficient sample size in the United States. Of the 556 homes that were bought and sold in the area in 2020, most went for $26,000 or less — below the local median household income of $28,549. For context, the median home sale price nationwide is 4.2 times higher than the national median household income of $62,843.

Home values are often an indication of what area residents can afford — and serious financial hardship is relatively common in the area. About 37% of residents live below the poverty line, and one in every five households earn $10,000 or less a year. Nationwide, 13.4% of the population live below the poverty line, and 6% of households earn less than $10,000 annually.

Both incomes and home values are also affected by the local job market to some degree. Over the last five years, 15.3% of area workers were unemployed, nearly three times the comparable 5.3% national jobless rate.