Special Report

You Can Buy Most Homes in These 23 Cities for Under $125,000

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The key 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 7.19% in the last week of September, the highest in 23 years, according to Freddie Mac. Mortgage rates have shot up since the Federal Reserve began hiking rates early last year in an effort to reel back inflation from a 40-year-high. These higher borrowing costs have pushed down home sales by 15.3% over the 12 months ending in August, according to the National Association of Realtors. (See which American city has run out of homes for sale.)

Despite the higher mortgage rates and declining sales home prices remained elevated in many markets. With higher mortgage costs and higher-priced homes, the affordability of homes worsened in the third quarter compared to historical averages in 99% of U.S. counties, according to real estate data provider ATTOM, continuing a two-year pattern. So where in America can someone with a modest income who can meet basic lending standards buy a low-cost home?

According to data reviewed by 24/7 Wall St. from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey, there are 19 cities where median home values are less than $125,000. These include certain cities in Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — as 12 of the 19 cities where median home values are lower than $125,000 are located in these three states.

24/7 Wall St. ranked only census-designated places, cities, and towns with at least 50,000 residents that had relevant data. All data comes from the ACS except percent of population change, which we calculated using ACS data.

The median home value in the 19 cities on the list ranges from $123,400 in Harlingen, Texas, to just $48,700 in Flint, Michigan, where nearly 83% of homes are worth less than $100,000. To compare, the median home value nationwide was $320,900 in 2022, with just 12% of homes worth less than $100,000. (For double that, see how big a house $200K can get you in every state.)

Ohio leads the states with six cities offering low-cost homes, including Cleveland and Akron. Median home values in the Ohio cities of Dayton and Canton are less than $98,000.

There may be a reason for these lower home values in these cities. Most are in the Rust Belt or in coal-producing regions that have been adversely impacted by the era of deindustrialization, affecting job opportunities. Seven of the 19 cities on the list have median household incomes below $40,000, and only two have median household incomes above $50,000. For reference, the median household income nationwide is $74,755. These conditions have helped push people out of these cities — 16 of the 19 cities on the list lost population in the past five years.

Still, for professionals who can find decent local jobs or remote workers who do not need to rely on local employers, these cities offer the lowest home prices and a path to building at least some home equity.

Here is where to find a home for less than $125,000.

19. Harlingen, Texas
> Median home value, 2022: $123,400
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 50.8% — 17 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 38.5% — 16 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $50,166 — 439 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: 9.5% — 896 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 71,669

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18. Lansing, Michigan
> Median home value, 2022: $122,400
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 51.9% — 16 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 33.5% — 23 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $48,962 — 429 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: -2.2% — 513 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 112,963

17. Lawton, Oklahoma
> Median home value, 2022: $121,100
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 53.2% — 15 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 32.9% — 27 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $50,969 — 451 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: -2.3% — 504 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 91,553

16. Lorain, Ohio
> Median home value, 2022: $120,200
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 53.9% — 14 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 33.4% — 25 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $46,592 — 416 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: 2.4% — 700 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 65,366

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15. Jackson, Mississippi
> Median home value, 2022: $114,700
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 54.8% — 13 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 43.2% — 11 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $40,631 — 393 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: -12.7% — 386 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 146,019

14. Akron, Ohio
> Median home value, 2022: $113,100
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 57.4% — 11 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 41.8% — 12 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $45,534 — 413 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: -4.7% — 435 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 188,498

13. Reading, Pennsylvania
> Median home value, 2022: $111,900
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 59.5% — 10 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 41.3% — 13 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $43,496 — 400 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: 7.3% — 867 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 94,860

12. Albany, Georgia
> Median home value, 2022: $111,500
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : N/A — #N/A most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: N/A — #N/A most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $39,422 — 392 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: -5.1% — 427 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 67,922

11. Toledo, Ohio
> Median home value, 2022: $106,400
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 60.8% — 8 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 46.3% — 10 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $47,365 — 420 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: -3.7% — 460 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 266,289

10. Cleveland, Ohio
> Median home value, 2022: $102,500
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 63.0% — 7 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 48.5% — 9 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $37,351 — 390 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: -6.2% — 412 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 361,654

9. Erie, Pennsylvania
> Median home value, 2022: $98,200
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 66.7% — 5 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 51.4% — 8 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $43,839 — 406 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: -4.0% — 451 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 93,517

8. Dayton, Ohio
> Median home value, 2022: $97,700
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 65.6% — 6 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 52.1% — 7 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $43,780 — 405 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: -3.2% — 469 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 135,938

7. Camden, New Jersey
> Median home value, 2022: $94,200
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : N/A — #N/A most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: N/A — #N/A most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $37,075 — 389 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: -4.7% — 434 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 70,998

5. Muncie, Indiana
> Median home value, 2022: $93,900
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 60.1% — 9 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 52.8% — 5 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $40,968 — 395 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: -4.8% — 431 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 65,160

5. Gary, Indiana
> Median home value, 2022: $93,900
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 56.7% — 12 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 52.5% — 6 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $36,153 — 387 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: -11.4% — 388 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 67,742

4. Decatur, Illinois
> Median home value, 2022: $92,200
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 67.5% — 4 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 55.7% — 4 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $49,714 — 435 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: 2.6% — 709 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 70,396

3. Canton, Ohio
> Median home value, 2022: $89,500
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 71.3% — 3 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 55.9% — 3 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $40,711 — 394 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: -1.7% — 533 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 69,666

2. Detroit, Michigan
> Median home value, 2022: $83,600
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 71.4% — 2 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 60.8% — 2 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $36,453 — 388 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: -7.8% — 398 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 620,410

1. Flint, Michigan
> Median home value, 2022: $48,700
> Homes worth less than $125,000 : 88.9% — 1 most out of 225 cities
> Homes worth less than $100,000: 82.9% — 1 most out of 225 cities
> Median household income, 2022: $33,036 — 386 lowest of 640 cities
> 5-year population change: -17.2% — 384 lowest change of 598 cities
> Population, 2022: 79,865

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