Special Report

Cheapest Cities to Buy a Home

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Home prices surged 14.6% in April, the largest increase in more than three decades, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller property value index. It was the 11th straight month home prices had increased. The increase was partly the result of Americans seeking to move after experiencing the COVID-19 lockdowns.

However, there are some parts of the country that are so economically depressed that the national spike in home prices has barely reached them and where homes remain valued at just a fraction of the national figure.

To determine the least expensive places to buy a home in the nation, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of median owner-occupied home values from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.

In the five-year period through 2019, the most recent five-year period for which census data is available, the typical U.S. home was valued at $217,500. In the 50 places on this list, the median home value ranges from $83,500 to as low as $29,500. Many of the places on this list — including Detroit and East St. Louis — are known as some of the places hit hardest by the decline of manufacturing in America.

Most of these places are relatively poor, and the median annual household income in all 50 cities is lower than the U.S. median of $62,843. Homeownership rates are also lower in all the cities on this list compared to the national value of 64%.

Click here to see the least expensive cities to buy a home.
Click here to see the methodology.

50. Granite City, Illinois
> Median home value: $83,500
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $965 — 46th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 56.7% — 210th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 64.4% — 701st highest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $51,469 — 511th lowest of 1,774 cities

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49. Meridian, Mississippi
> Median home value: $83,300
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $962 — 45th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 43.8% — 28th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 49.4% — 370th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $32,422 — 26th lowest of 1,774 cities

48. Rochester, New York
> Median home value: $83,100
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $1,055 — 110th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 64.0% — 596th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 36.4% — 75th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $35,590 — 58th lowest of 1,774 cities

47. Decatur, Illinois
> Median home value: $83,000
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $959 — 39th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 51.4% — 90th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 61.4% — 845th highest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $42,701 — 200th lowest of 1,774 cities

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46. Euclid, Ohio
> Median home value: $82,600
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $1,102 — 152nd lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 59.1% — 297th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 45.6% — 260th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $38,242 — 101st lowest of 1,774 cities

45. Akron, Ohio
> Median home value: $82,400
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $985 — 57th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 60.0% — 343rd lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 50.1% — 399th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $38,739 — 110th lowest of 1,774 cities

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44. Pharr, Texas
> Median home value: $80,900
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $1,090 — 138th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 35.8% — 6th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 60.3% — 869th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $39,884 — 129th lowest of 1,774 cities

43. Toledo, Ohio
> Median home value: $80,800
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $1,037 — 90th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 59.6% — 319th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 50.4% — 412th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $37,752 — 89th lowest of 1,774 cities

42. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
> Median home value: $80,800
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $1,032 — 88th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 62.8% — 505th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 35.6% — 60th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $39,685 — 123rd lowest of 1,774 cities

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41. Springfield, Ohio
> Median home value: $80,700
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $902 — 22nd lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 60.0% — 343rd lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 48.7% — 351st lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $39,332 — 119th lowest of 1,774 cities

40. Alton, Illinois
> Median home value: $79,900
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $961 — 44th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 61.9% — 448th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 59.6% — 839th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $40,211 — 137th lowest of 1,774 cities

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39. Mansfield, Ohio
> Median home value: $79,600
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $909 — 24th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 54.6% — 148th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 50.2% — 404th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $37,683 — 87th lowest of 1,774 cities

38. Zanesville, Ohio
> Median home value: $79,600
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $900 — 21st lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 57.6% — 233rd lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 42.8% — 186th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $30,345 — 12th lowest of 1,774 cities

37. Terre Haute, Indiana
> Median home value: $78,700
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $873 — 9th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 61.7% — 435th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 52.8% — 510th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $36,406 — 66th lowest of 1,774 cities

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36. Greenville, Mississippi
> Median home value: $78,300
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $1,007 — 74th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 42.3% — 22nd lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 49.3% — 367th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $27,025 — 4th lowest of 1,774 cities

35. Niagara Falls, New York
> Median home value: $77,400
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $946 — 34th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 50.7% — 78th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 55.7% — 653rd lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $36,346 — 65th lowest of 1,774 cities

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34. Eastpointe, Michigan
> Median home value: $77,200
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $1,052 — 104th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 63.8% — 575th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 64.1% — 711th highest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $49,849 — 450th lowest of 1,774 cities

33. York, Pennsylvania
> Median home value: $75,900
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $1,113 — 167th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 62.2% — 470th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 38.0% — 98th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Median household income: $33,906 — 38th lowest of 1,774 cities

32. Galesburg, Illinois
> Median home value: $75,900
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $883 — 14th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 49.3% — 68th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 57.8% — 758th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $36,547 — 67th lowest of 1,774 cities

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31. Pine Bluff, Arkansas
> Median home value: $75,500
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $928 — 30th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 51.5% — 91st lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 52.8% — 510th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $34,723 — 47th lowest of 1,774 cities

30. Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
> Median home value: $75,100
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $1,019 — 81st lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 49.9% — 69th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 46.7% — 288th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $37,902 — 94th lowest of 1,774 cities

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29. Marion, Ohio
> Median home value: $74,600
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $881 — 12th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 59.5% — 314th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 53.1% — 528th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $38,221 — 99th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)

28. East Chicago, Indiana
> Median home value: $74,500
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $978 — 52nd lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 44.9% — 35th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 46.2% — 278th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $32,839 — 31st lowest of 1,774 cities

27. Elmira, New York
> Median home value: $74,500
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $959 — 39th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 57.9% — 238th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 47.6% — 317th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $36,909 — 75th lowest of 1,774 cities

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26. Lincoln Park, Michigan
> Median home value: $73,700
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $982 — 56th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 55.5% — 176th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 69.5% — 499th highest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $44,554 — 263rd lowest of 1,774 cities

25. Gadsden, Alabama
> Median home value: $73,600
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $936 — 33rd lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 46.3% — 43rd lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 58.6% — 793rd lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $32,642 — 30th lowest of 1,774 cities

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24. Muncie, Indiana
> Median home value: $73,500
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $836 — 4th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 58.4% — 268th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 49.4% — 370th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $33,944 — 39th lowest of 1,774 cities

23. Reading, Pennsylvania
> Median home value: $73,200
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $1,016 — 79th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 54.8% — 153rd lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 39.4% — 118th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Median household income: $32,176 — 21st lowest of 1,774 cities

22. Muskegon, Michigan
> Median home value: $73,000
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $896 — 18th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 53.3% — 122nd lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 49.4% — 370th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $32,433 — 27th lowest of 1,774 cities

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21. Anderson, Indiana
> Median home value: $72,900
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $896 — 18th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 59.7% — 323rd lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 56.9% — 717th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $37,038 — 77th lowest of 1,774 cities

20. Garfield Heights, Ohio
> Median home value: $72,700
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $1,054 — 108th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 63.2% — 536th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 62.3% — 804th highest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $43,971 — 244th lowest of 1,774 cities

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19. Chester, Pennsylvania
> Median home value: $72,400
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $1,002 — 73rd lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 44.7% — 33rd lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 36.1% — 71st lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $32,403 — 25th lowest of 1,774 cities

18. Canton, Ohio
> Median home value: $71,100
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $883 — 14th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 59.1% — 297th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 47.9% — 325th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $32,287 — 23rd lowest of 1,774 cities

17. Cleveland, Ohio
> Median home value: $69,600
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $998 — 68th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 55.6% — 179th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 41.6% — 162nd lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $30,907 — 16th lowest of 1,774 cities

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16. Jackson, Michigan
> Median home value: $68,400
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $841 — 7th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 61.2% — 414th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 55.4% — 635th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $35,464 — 56th lowest of 1,774 cities

15. Marion, Indiana
> Median home value: $67,800
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $777 — 2nd lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 54.7% — 152nd lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 55.8% — 659th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $32,977 — 32nd lowest of 1,774 cities

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14. Pontiac, Michigan
> Median home value: $67,100
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $1,046 — 99th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 48.7% — 59th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 40.5% — 135th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $33,568 — 37th lowest of 1,774 cities

13. Dayton, Ohio
> Median home value: $66,800
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $977 — 51st lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 55.1% — 163rd lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 46.5% — 283rd lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $32,540 — 28th lowest of 1,774 cities

12. Bay City, Michigan
> Median home value: $66,800
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $896 — 18th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 56.5% — 207th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 68.0% — 557th highest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $37,893 — 91st lowest of 1,774 cities

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11. Danville, Illinois
> Median home value: $66,700
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $931 — 31st lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 51.1% — 84th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 55.9% — 664th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $36,172 — 62nd lowest of 1,774 cities

10. Lima, Ohio
> Median home value: $66,600
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $879 — 10th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 56.6% — 208th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 47.3% — 305th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $35,799 — 60th lowest of 1,774 cities

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9. Gary, Indiana
> Median home value: $66,100
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $971 — 50th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 45.1% — 36th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 50.6% — 415th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $31,936 — 20th lowest of 1,774 cities

8. Port Arthur, Texas
> Median home value: $65,800
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $1,175 — 261st lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 28.6% — 2nd lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 57.7% — 751st lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $36,557 — 69th lowest of 1,774 cities

7. Jamestown, New York
> Median home value: $63,200
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $840 — 5th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 53.8% — 129th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Homeownership rate: 49.7% — 376th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $33,420 — 36th lowest of 1,774 cities

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6. Warren, Ohio
> Median home value: $62,100
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $840 — 5th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 48.5% — 57th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 50.0% — 390th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $28,898 — 8th lowest of 1,774 cities

5. East St. Louis, Illinois
> Median home value: $54,500
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $985 — 57th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 37.0% — 7th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 47.1% — 298th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $24,343 — 2nd lowest of 1,774 cities

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4. Detroit, Michigan
> Median home value: $49,200
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $1,099 — 147th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 33.2% — 4th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 47.2% — 300th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $30,894 — 15th lowest of 1,774 cities

3. Youngstown, Ohio
> Median home value: $44,800
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $765 — 1st lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 42.8% — 24th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 54.9% — 604th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $28,822 — 6th lowest of 1,774 cities

2. Saginaw, Michigan
> Median home value: $40,100
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $841 — 7th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 49.2% — 67th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 56.2% — 678th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $29,582 — 11th lowest of 1,774 cities

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1. Flint, Michigan
> Median home value: $29,500
> Median monthly housing costs with a mortgage: $880 — 11th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Share of housing units with a mortgage: 40.6% — 16th lowest of 1,774 cities
> Homeownership rate: 56.9% — 717th lowest of 1,774 cities (tied)
> Median household income: $28,834 — 7th lowest of 1,774 cities

Methodology:

To determine the most affordable cities to buy a home in the nation, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of median owner-occupied home values from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.

We used census “place” geographies — a category that includes 29,573 incorporated legal entities and census-designated statistical entities. Of those, 29,320 had boundaries that fell within one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.

We defined cities based on a population threshold — having more than 25,000 people — and 1,775 of the places fell within this threshold.

Cities were excluded if owner-occupied median home values were not available in the 2019 ACS or if the sampling error associated with a town’s data was deemed too high.

The sampling error was defined as too high if the coefficient of variation — a statistical assessment of how reliable an estimate is — for a city’s owner-occupied median home value was above 15% and greater than two standard deviations above the mean CV for all cities’ owner-occupied median home values. We similarly excluded cites that had a sampling error too high for their population, using the same definition.

The remaining 1,774 places were ranked based on their owner-occupied median home values. To break ties, we used median monthly housing costs with a mortgage.

Additional information on median monthly housing costs with a mortgage, the share of owner-occupied housing units that have a mortgage, rates of homeownership, and median household income are also five-year estimates from the 2019 ACS.

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