From the Floridian peninsula to the Hawaiian Islands and everything in between, one thing is for sure: the United States is one big and diverse country. That’s why many people find it difficult to choose the best place to settle down. And while many factors weigh in, affordability might have the biggest horse in the race.
To aid you in your search for the perfect home base, we’ve chosen to highlight 10 of the most affordable cities in our great country. Read on and you might just find yourself preemptively packing your bags for your next adventure.
Birmingham tops plenty of top-places-to-live lists, and for good reason. With a median family income of $61,000, you will find about 82% of the city’s homes affordable. Residents also enjoy cost-efficient groceries, transportation and healthcare that costs almost 17% below the national average.
You might be surprised to see a big city on the list, but Chicago defies most preconceived notions of urban living. The average home price comes in at around $230,000, but that’s not the only reason to live here. The city has seemingly endless activities and cultural events that’ll enrich your life for years to come. Hey, the pizza isn’t too shabby, either.
Much like Chicago, Pittsburgh has an average home price of $230,000 and plenty of activities for a growing family to enjoy. Aside from the city’s famed sports teams, there are plenty of museums, parks and festivals, as well as outdoor areas to enjoy. The city has also seen a rise in its healthcare and education industries, reviving a once steel-centric economy.
As of 2014, Lincoln, Nebraska, had a local jobless rate of less than 3%. That means that employers shell out a bit more money to their staff in order to keep up with the competitive job market. The cost of living is super low, too, which means your extra income can go toward fun, savings or future college tuition.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Let’s break the chill of the first four cities on the list with Virginia Beach. Clearly, the nearby coastline offers endless entertainment to both kids and adults; however, this city has more to offer. Many companies have set up shop in the area. Reasonably priced homes round out the reasons why it’s OK to dream of settling somewhere a little sunnier.
Here’s another warm-weather destination. Austin might appeal to the quirkier family its motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” after all. You’ll be immersed in an incredible music scene in this Southwestern city. If you’re not an aspiring musician, you could find success within the technology industry, which is growing in the area. There are plenty of houses and apartments for rent in Austin TX, and they tend to cost a bit more here than other places on the list, but it’s a small price to pay for the culture and community offered in Austin.
The average rental rate of an apartment in Memphis, Tennessee, was $709 in 2014, 21% below the national average that year. Average home prices also come in at less than $100,000, solidifying Memphis’ place on this list. Since you won’t be house-poor, you can take the family to a Memphis Grizzlies NBA game, go to a blues show or eat some of the city’s famous barbecue.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Eighty-four percent of Oklahoma City residents call it a good place to live. It’s no wonder, considering just how many employment opportunities the state capital offers. Aside from government jobs — which offer plenty of stability — local universities and big businesses call Oklahoma City home, too. The median home value is a low $131,000, too, making it a great place to settle into a starter home.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Home of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill has all of the culture and excitement that a huge college campus can offer. Not everything revolves around the university, though, and you’ll find great activities for kids, parks and other events to keep yourselves entertained for years to come. On top of its charm, Chapel Hill also boasts an easy commute to the Research Triangle, which offers a bevy of stable and well-paying jobs.
Buffalo, New York
Visions of an icy winter might dance in your head, but Buffalo has much more to offer than its blizzards. In fact, the city has a high median family income: $63,900. On the other hand, groceries cost 7% less and healthcare almost 12% less than the national average. You can put all of your savings toward a family home — at a median price of $118,000 — where you’ll make years’ worth of memories.
Photo Credit: Trance Mist