Special Report

Cheapest Cities to Buy a Home

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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