Special Report

Cities Where People Pay the Lowest Housing Costs

U.S. home sales skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic – hitting a 15-year high of 6.1 million in 2021. The spike in demand, coupled with declining inventory, have put upward pressure on housing prices. Renters have not been spared, as housing has become one of the key drivers of surging U.S. inflation.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank, a single adult can expect to pay an estimated $11,026 on housing in 2022. This amount varies across the country, however, and in many major metropolitan areas, housing costs are well below the national average. 

Using data from the EPI’s Family Budget Calculator, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 metro areas with the lowest housing costs. Metro areas are ranked on 2022 estimates of housing and utility costs for a modest studio apartment. 

Among the metro areas on this list, housing costs for a single adult range from about $5,400 to $6,600. The largest share of metro areas on this list are in the Midwest, including six in Ohio alone. Lower housing costs in these places are often a reflection of what residents can afford. Nearly every metro area on this list has a lower median household income than the national median of $64,994. Here is a look at the income needed to be middle class in each state

Home values also tend to be lower in areas with low housing costs, making homeownership more affordable for larger shares of the population. This may help explain why homeownership rates are higher than the 64.4% national rate in the majority of the metro areas on this list. Here is a look at the mortgage rate in America every year since 1972. 

Click here to see the metro areas with the lowest housing costs
Click here to read our detailed methodology

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