To determine the most affordable city to buy a home in every state, 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, 29,319 had boundaries that fell within one of the 50 states, while the rest were in the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico.
We defined cities based on a population threshold — having more than 25,000 people — and 1,774 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 1,773 places were ranked within their state 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 annual household income are also five-year estimates from the 2019 ACS.