Special Report

Least Expensive Places to Buy a House in the Midwest

Homebuyers seeking affordable homes should look inland to the nation’s midsection. Although the Midwestern states are often characterized as fading industrial Rust Belt relics with diminishing populations, the region still retains enough charm, business base, and, importantly, cheap houses to attract new residents. 

Home values in most of the Midwest fall well below Zillow’s July national figure of $298,933 for a standard mid-tier home. The only state to beat that number is Minnesota, which sports home values of $305,000. 

Surprisingly, populous Illinois isn’t the most expensive homebuying state. Zillow values homes in the Land of Lincoln at $237,000, less costly than North Dakota ($247,000) and South Dakota ($246,000). Michigan and Nebraska are not far behind at $211,000 and $208,000, respectively. 

No doubt, any house in the Midwest will generally be cheaper than in, say, California or New York State. Yet even in the Midwest, some markets take affordability to the next level. 

To identify the most affordable housing markets in the Midwest, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey five-year estimates, ranking only the 1,574 census-designated places, cities, and towns with at least 5,000 residents in the Midwest. All other data is from the ACS. (We calculated population change, using ACS data.)

The most affordable housing markets in the Midwest are likely to be found in Michigan, which placed 16 markets on the list. Second place was taken by Beecher, a town 65 miles northeast of Detroit. Homes in this town near Flint will cost you $29,300. Those towns will not likely be among the most expensive housing markets in the Midwest.

Illinois may be pricier, but it also includes several affordable enclaves. Ten Illinois markets made the list, beginning with Centralia at $69,400 and ending with Park City at $14,700. Centralia is located in the south-central part of the state, about 60 miles from St. Louis, Missouri. Park City, meanwhile, hangs on the edge of the Chicago metro area, 44 miles north of the Windy City, proving affordable houses can be found near big cities. If residents in those towns drive to work, they may be among the cities with the best and worst commutes.

Click here to see the most affordable places to buy a house in the Midwest