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10 Cheapest Places & Cities To Live In The U.S.

Written by Than Merrill

With inflation rising at its fastest rate in decades, the consumer price index increasing regularly, and the looming threat of a recession slowing spending, the economy is in a precarious position. Households around the country are cutting costs and budgeting accordingly to prepare for the future. Most notably, a large portion of the population is looking for a more affordable place to live. The cheapest places to live in the U.S. will help households stretch their dollars farther and weather a potential recession.

Anyone looking to reign in their spending may want to consider the following most affordable places to live:

  1. Hickory, NC

  2. Green Bay, WI

  3. Huntsville, AL

  4. Davenport, IA

  5. Fort Wayne, IN

  6. Kalamazoo, MI

  7. Harlingen, TX

  8. Wichita, KS

  9. Columbus, OH

  10. Albuquerque, NM


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Most affordable places to live

Hickory, NC

One of the cheapest places to live in the U.S. is Hickory, NC. With a median home value somewhere in the neighborhood of $86,726 below the national average, the cost of owning a home in Hickory is more than affordable. Home values in Hickory are also well below the state average, making the small town an attractive destination for young professionals. Located about an hour north of the Charlotte real estate market, Hickory is starting to see a lot of attention from those seeking refuge from today’s higher prices. As one of the more affordable places to live in the North Carolina real estate market, Hickory may not remain on this list for long.

  • Cost Of Living: 1.5% lower than the national average

  • Metro Population: 43,532

  • Median Household Income: $48,653

  • Median Home Value: $269,126

  • Unemployment Rate: 3.4%

Green Bay, WI

The home of one of the most storied NFL franchises is also one of the cheapest places to live in the United States. Otherwise known as Titletown, Green Bay boasts a median home value that’s about 27.3% below the Wisconsin real estate market average and 70.9% below the national average. The Green Bay real estate market is not only of the cheapest places to live in the U.S. but also the state of Wisconsin. That said, Green Bay’s affordability has attracted many buyers from around the state. The influx of buyers has helped increase local home values at a faster pace than the rest of the state over the last 12 months. As a result, Green Bay’s status as one of the state’s cheap places to live is wearing thin.

  • Cost Of Living: 7.1% lower than the national average

  • Metro Population: 107,015

  • Median Household Income: $52,214

  • Median Home Value: $208,209

  • Unemployment Rate: 3.0%

Huntsville, AL

The Huntsville real estate market is one of the cheapest places to live in the U.S., no thanks to historic appreciation rates over the last 12 months. As one of the fastest growing cities in the Alabama real estate market, due in large part to NASA and the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal, the median home value in Huntsville has increased 23.2% over a year. Despite the latest increases, the average home in Huntsville is still well below the national average. Prospective buyers may need to act fast if they hope to take advantage of one of the country’s most affordable places to live.

  • Cost Of Living: 5.1% lower than the national average

  • Metro Population: 216,963

  • Median Household Income: $56,758

  • Median Home Value: $281,724

  • Unemployment Rate: 2.6%

Davenport, IA

Davenport is one of the most affordable places to live in one of the cheapest states to live in. With a median home value about 18.7% less than the Iowa real estate market average, the cost of owning a home in Davenport is very affordable. Unlike many other cities on this list, Davenport has failed to keep up with state averages. While most secondary cities are seeing appreciation rates rise rapidly, the median home value in Davenport hasn’t appreciated nearly as fast as its state counterpart. That said, Davenport may start to see more interest as buyers look away from the relatively high prices in Cedar Rapids. If and when that happens, Davenport could see its prices appreciate at a rate closer to the state average.

  • Cost Of Living: 8.3% lower than the national average

  • Metro Population: 101,009

  • Median Household Income: $53,140

  • Median Home Value: $161,632

  • Unemployment Rate: 3.8%

Fort Wayne, IN

The Indiana real estate market is already recognized as one of the cheapest places to live in the United States. Subsequently, Fort Wayne is one of the cheapest cities to live in across the state. With a median home value of $205,319, the average cost of a house in Fort Wayne is about 8.1% less than the state average. At its current price, living in Fort Wayne is starting to look incredibly attractive. If for nothing else, the local economy continues to receive heavy stimuli from large manufacturers like General Motors and BAE Systems. The presence of advanced manufacturing is the foundation of Fort Wayne. It should continue to prop up the local economy, making the city a great option for anyone looking to combine affordability with great amenities.

  • Cost Of Living: 8.0% lower than the national average

  • Metro Population: 265,974

  • Median Household Income: $51,454

  • Median Home Value: $205,319

  • Unemployment Rate: 3.2%

Kalamazoo, MI

With a median home value about 62.0% lower than the national average, the Kalamazoo real estate market has become synonymous with the most affordable cities in the U.S. Contrary to the city’s affordable price tag, however, is the current rate of appreciation. Despite ranking as one of the cheapest places to live in the United States, Kalamazoo has seen its median home value increase by 13.8% over the last 12 months. While the national average increased north of 18.0% over the same period, Kalamazoo’s relatively high unemployment rate may have held the city back. Moving forward, however, Kalamazoo’s affordability could result in more attention. Not too far south from Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo may start to see more buyers looking for a more affordable living situation.

  • Cost Of Living: 10.3% lower than the national average

  • Metro Population: 73,257

  • Median Household Income: $43,222

  • Median Home Value: $219,652

  • Unemployment Rate: 4.5%

Harlingen, TX

The Texas real estate market has seen its median home value increase at a pace faster than the national average over the last 12 months. However, Harlingen remains one of the cheapest places to live in the U.S. With a median home value of $167,862, the cost of owning a home in Harlingen is less than half of the national average. Despite its affordability, Harlingen has seen its median home value increase 19.8% over the last year, faster than the national rate of appreciation.

  • Cost Of Living: 26.6% lower than the national average

  • Metro Population: 71,925

  • Median Household Income: $43,003

  • Median Home Value: $167,862

  • Unemployment Rate: 6.8%

Wichita, KS

The Wichita real estate market is incredibly affordable relative to both the state of Kansas and national trends. More specifically, the median home value in Wichita is 15.0% less than the entire Kansas real estate market and about half the price of the national average. It is worth noting, however, that Wichita has seen its median home value increase at a faster rate than the state average over the last 12 months. While the median home value in Kansas has appreciated 11.7% over the last year, real estate in Wichita has appreciated an average of 12.6%.

  • Cost Of Living: 12.1% lower than the national average

  • Metro Population: 395,699

  • Median Household Income: $53,466

  • Median Home Value: $180,086

  • Unemployment Rate: 3.9%

Columbus, OH

Columbus is unique in that its median home value is actually higher than the Ohio real estate market’s average. In fact, the median home value in Columbus is about $88,670 more than Ohio’s average. That said, the average home in the Columbus real estate market is priced well below the national average. At the same time, energy, food, healthcare, and transportation are all less in Columbus than on a national level.

  • Cost Of Living: 7.5% lower than the national average

  • Metro Population: 906,528

  • Median Household Income: $54,902

  • Median Home Value: $244,731

  • Unemployment Rate: 3.7%

Albuquerque, NM

Unlike Columbus, Albuquerque’s median home value is higher than the state average. The median home value in Albuquerque is about 6.3% higher than the state average but about $40,288 less than the national average. However, as one of the cheapest places to live in the US, Albuquerque residents spend less on energy, food, and healthcare than the national average. While housing is less than the majority of the country, the primary reason Albuquerque is one of the most affordable places to live is the cost of commodities.

  • Cost Of Living: 7.5% lower than the national average

  • Metro Population: 562,599

  • Median Household Income: $53,936

  • Median Home Value: $315,564

  • Unemployment Rate: 4.4%

Summary

The global economy has received a shock to the system in the wake of a pandemic, supply chain issues, record inflation, geopolitical tensions, and a number of other macroeconomic obstacles. As a result, U.S. citizens are less inclined to spend recklessly. In fact, a great deal of the U.S. population is reverting to more frugal practices in order to better prepare for what looks like a looming recession. As a result, it is safe to assume more people will start looking for the cheapest place to live in the U.S. . With a lower cost of living, residents may spend less time worrying about expenses and more time with the things they love the most. If that sounds like something you may be interested in, try scouting out the locations listed above.


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Sources

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