Currently, the average price of a home in the US is $368,700, and the average pre-tax income for a full time worker in the U.S is $40,000. According to Quicken Loans, you should be spending no more than 28% of your salary on your mortgage. So as you can see, the average house in the U.S. is out of reach for the average worker.
If you don’t want to be tied down to a mortgage until the year 2053 (when you will most likely be parking your flying car in your garage) you should start looking at houses in areas with lower than average housing costs. We know looking for a new home can get can be overwhelming, so we’ve set up a list of cities with home values below the national average.
Some of the cities are small and rural, but considering the current shift to working remotely and remaining socially distant, buying a cheap old house off the beaten path is becoming a viable option for first time home buyers.
1. Butte, Montana
Beautiful Butte, Montana was founded in the late 1800’s and quickly became a bustling city thanks to its mineral-rich land. Due to the success of multiple mines, Butte was nicknamed “The Richest Hill on Earth” and attracted prospectors and migrants from all over the world. There are still active mines in the area that harvest minerals like copper, silver, gold, and manganese to name a few. Future job growth in Butte is projected at 23.8%.
Butte also attracts outdoor enthusiasts who appreciate living in between two of the greatest national parks in the nation (Butte is 2.5 hours north of Yellowstone National Park and four hours south of Glacier National Park.)
2. Bellevue, Kentucky
Bellevue is a small town in far northern Kentucky located directly across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio. It has the perks of a small town with the option to commute to the central business district of Cincinnati in 10 minutes. This is the perfect commuter town for professionals who want to work in a metropolitan area but don’t want to spend hours in traffic or pay the exorbitant prices of living in a city. Folks from larger cities will feel right at home in Bellevue with the urban backdrop of the Cincinnati skyline, and their bank accounts will be pleased with the small town affordability.
3. Freeport, Illinois
Don’t let the size of Freeport fool you—it’s got all the conveniences you could ever wish for. Residents of Freeport can typically be found playing in Krape Park, checking out the new exhibitions at The Freeport Art Museum, and drinking Pretzel City Ambers at Generations Brewing Company. There are lots of local, organic farms nearby, so you won’t have any trouble getting your daily dose of fresh vegetables. And if you’re ever craving a night or two out in the big city, Chicago and Milwaukee are both about two hours away. There’s an abundance of affordable houses currently on the market and the prediction for future job growth in Freeport is 30.5%.
4. St. Ann, Missouri
This St. Louis suburb is ideal for people who don’t want to forfeit the perks of the city. And for the baseball fans out there, St. Ann is only a 20 minute drive from Busch Stadium ( the stadium where the St. Louis Cardinals play). According to Zillow, the price per square foot in Saint Ann is $100, which is $34 per square foot less than the St. Louis Metro area.
5. Muskegon, Michigan
Muskegon lies on the western shore of Michigan where the Muskegon River flows into Lake Muskegon and Lake Michigan. Muskegon is the perfect town for outdoorsy and athletic types. It has miles of sandy beaches, dune trails, a water park, a winter sports complex, lighthouses to explore, waterfront dining breweries and cocktail bars. Not to mention all the summer camping, water sports, boating, and sunbathing to be had. Around Christmas time, Muskegon is decked out with lights and transformed into a sparkling Winter WonderLand.
6. Burlington, Iowa
Burlington is a charming town in southwestern Iowa on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. Burlington has four distinctive seasons to enjoy. Gorgeous historic homes and dramatic church steeples are scattered throughout the town. The woodlands and rolling hills surrounding The Mississippi River supply countless recreational opportunities for nature and sport enthusiasts. Burlington is 2.5 hours away from Springfield Illinois.
7. Wellsville, Ohio
Wellsville is the smallest town on our list, and if you are searching for a low cost of living and an easy way of life, Wellsville, Ohio is the one for you. This small, picturesque town is nestled on the Ohio river, surrounded by wildlife preserves and state parks. Pittsburgh and Canton, Ohio are both one hour commutes from Wellsville. This is an ideal place for someone who is able to work remotely.
8. Lewiston, Maine
Lewiston has the highest average home value on our list, and for good reason. The town has an abundance of historical homes, a diversified and modern economy, exciting festivals throughout the year, and art galleries. There are many walkable paths and sidewalks weaving throughout the city, so you can save on gas. Lewiston is located one hour from the Atlantic ocean and one hour from Portland, Maine, making your day trips quick, painless, and full of lobster.
9. Hot Springs, Arkansas
How would you like to be able to soak your sore muscles in the mineral-rich healing waters of Hot Springs everyday? Hot Springs is a timeless town with old-fashioned bath houses that line up down the main street. Tourists check into old timey hotels and stroll around town patronizing local shops. Nearby nature options include Ouachita National Forest and Ozark National Forest, both full of hiking and biking trails, water activities, wildlife, and camping.
10. Trinidad, Colorado
One of the last inexpensive areas in the wildly popular state of Colorado is Trinidad. The county seat of Las Animas County has a historic downtown that is at 6,010 feet in elevation and is filled with classic Victorian buildings set along brick roads. Trinidad has a healthy housing market and future job growth is projected at 39.8%. This small town is close to many natural southwestern points of interest, including The Santa Fe Trail, San Isabel National Forest, Comanche National Grassland, and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The closest city to Trinidad, Pueblo, is a one hour drive away. Denver, Pagosa Springs, Taos, and Santa Fe are all less than a three hour drive from Trinidad.