These Are The Cheapest Places To Buy A Home In America Right Now

For many people, the American Dream of homeownership has become the American nightmare. Skyrocketing prices, multiple all-cash offers, and out-of-state investors are all looking to claim their piece of the hot real estate market. All these factors create situations that make finding an affordable home both challenging and frustrating. Whether you're a starting over or a first-time homebuyer, there are still some gems around the country where there are affordable homes and some downright bargains. Most of these inexpensive markets are in the Midwest United States, according to Rocket Homes.

The Aspen Daily News reports that homebuyers are embracing the freedom that comes with remote working by increasing their range for listings. This, in combination with fierce competition for homes, is pushing up the price per foot everywhere. According to Fortune, prices rose nearly 20& from August 2020 and August 2021. That's record-setting growth. Combined with that, from two-thirds to three-quarters of the homes sold had potential buyers fighting in a bidding war. But, don't despair. With a little imagination –- and a little elbow grease -– you can find a place to call home. We've got the 411 on the 10 cheapest places to buy a home in America.

10. Millennials are moving to Erie, Pennsylvania

This college town is on the rise. On the Great Lake Erie, this town is home to technological institutes, colleges, and universities like Penn State Erie -The Behrend College. Because of this, Mover Junction calls Erie one of the best places to live in Pennsylvania. They also say it's a young city, popular with millennials drawn by the low cost of living. They're also breathing life into the historic city. And it's easy to see why they're moving there: The median list price is $148,400 (via Realtor).

Offering an assortment of activities from the Erie SeaWolves minor league baseball games to the vibrant arts scene, the city has lots of community events to indulge in. With nearly 6,000 jobs available, this area has lots of opportunities (via Indeed). There are about 90 homes priced under $100,000 on the market right now, and the market is hot, as evidenced by the many pending listings (via Realtor). We found this three-bedroom, one-bath, 1922 brick home with an updated kitchen and fenced yard for $144,900.

9. Memphis houses are still affordable, but not for long

According to U.S. News, Memphis is one of Tennessee's top four cities to live in, so you would do well snapping up a house in one of its charming neighborhoods. It's one of the state's biggest cities, yet residents only spend 23.76% of their annual household income on house costs, including mortgage and property tax. That's because the average price of a house is $134,721 (via Roofstock).

But just like the rest of the United States housing market, those costs are beginning to balloon. Home values have increased by over 20% the last year, and in the previous five years, they have increased by an eye-watering 83.3%. While that might seem a lot, there are still some great deals to be had. You might want to stay out of the River Oaks neighborhood, which has a median listing price of $417,500, and instead take a peek at Nutbush, where the median listing price is $75,000.

8. This Quad City has houses that cost five digits

Right on the Mississippi River and sitting about halfway between Des Moines and Chicago, Davenport, Iowa, has a slowly trickling population hovering about 100,000, as per the Census Bureau. Boasting big-city amenities and a small-town feel, this Quad Cities town is ranked as the 86th best place to live, according to U.S. News. The city's website declares itself "The Most Livable Small City in America." So, it's got that going for it. It also has plenty of city-worthy events, like the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival and one of the biggest St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the U.S. Then factor in the fact that the median list price is $127,400, and it's a great place to live (via Realtor).

There are over 200 homes under $100,000 for sale, including some with incredible values (via Realtor). Where else can you spend about as much as a one-month home rental in San Francisco on a four-bedroom, 1.5 bath, 1,842 square foot home? Yes, it is just $10,400. Or splurge on this updated 3,319 square foot, five-bedroom, three-bathroom 1889 Queen Anne home for $210,000.

7. Buy move-in ready houses at Saginaw, Michigan, for budget prices

South of Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron, Saginaw, Michigan, has had a tough go the last few years. This historic town saw its population slip to 44,202 in April 2020, down from 51,508 in April 2010. Of those who remain, almost 35% live below the poverty line, as per the Census Bureau. That is partly due to the loss of the once-robust auto industry in the area. For nearly 25 years, job opportunities have been dwindling. Recently, parts and semiconductor shortages have slowed or halted work at local auto factories, including one in Saginaw, according to MLive. But to help with the loss of local jobs due to the closures of some of the nearby auto manufacturers, Michigan-based electric adventure vehicle maker Rivian will be adding about 1,000 jobs to its plant in nearby Normal by mid-2022, according to The Pantagraph.

With its stunning Castle Museum, the Saginaw Bay City Symphony, splash park, skate park, and multiple city parks, this town is investing in itself. With over $50 million to spend from the America Rescue Plan Act, there is a great opportunity in homes here. Especially since the median list price is $112,200 (via Realtor). As of March, there are about 250 homes offered for under $100,000 (via Realtor). We especially love this three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,337 square foot 1941 brick Colonial home, which comes complete with granite countertops and hardwood floors, for $99,900.

6. There is low cost of living in Terre Haute, Indiana

Home to Indiana State University and a few miles away from the Illinois border, Terre Haute is perched right on the Wabash River. The town, home to Uncle Bill and Mr. French in the late 1960s and 1970s television series "Family Affair," has a slightly declining population, holding at 58,589 in April 2020, according to the Census Bureau. That might be why it's one of the cheapest places to live in the U.S., clocking in at a median list price of $104,900 (via Realtor). Plus, the city is in the midst of an extensive renovation of the city's Parks and Recreation facilities and building more neighborhood facilities. (via City of Terre Haute).

The Terre Haute Tribune-Star recently reported on the difficulties the area has attracting and maintaining a complete workforce, which might be why the house prices are so low. As of right now, there are over 4,000 jobs available, according to Indeed. But the cost of living is about 75% of the national average, according to Best Places to Live, and the homes are inexpensive. For example, there are about 200 homes under $100,000 currently available (via Realtor).

5. Huntington, West Virginia, puts a premium on community

Located near where West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky meet, Huntington is a beautiful place to live, especially if you're looking for community. In 2017, the town won America's Best Communities competition, a community revitalizing program. They won $3 million to pour back into the town, with plans to transform the downtown area, paint murals, and fund programs, as per the City of Huntington. It has also received a perfect score for the third time in a row from the Human Rights Campaign for creating an inclusive community for LGBTQ+ people (via the City of Huntington). It's a lovely place to live, and it has affordable housing to boot. 

According to Zillow, the median listing price in Huntington, West Virginia, is $98,221, but that's a 9% increase from 2021. It's definitely a seller's market, and prices are continually rising. But if you're willing to invest in a fixer-upper, you can snap up a decent house for as low as $50,000. 

4. Buy a Victorian house for a steal in Peoria, Illinois

According to Realtor, Peoria, Illinois is one of the least expensive cities to buy a house in the U.S., with a median list price of $98,000. About 2.5 hours south of Chicago and on the Illinois River, Peoria is home to Bradley University and was ranked #167 in Forbes' "Best Places for Business and Career" in 2019. Its limited growth is partly due to Illinois's high state income taxes. In fact, Illinois is tops in Kiplinger's list of least middle-class family-friendly states. According to the United States Census Bureau, the population of this city declined slightly from 115,007 in April 2010 to 113,150 in April 2020. But Michigan-based electric adventure vehicle maker Rivian will be adding about 1,000 jobs to its plant by mid-2022, according to The Pantagraph. 

As of March, there were about 80 homes listed under $50,000 in Peoria (via Realtor). That includes this house listed for $29,900. The 1920s Craftsman-style home has a detached 2.5 car garage, three bedrooms, and one bathroom in 1,107 square feet. Yes, it's a bit of a fixer-upper, but the lot is almost half an acre. Top employers in the city include: Caterpillar Inc, OSF Healthcare, St. Francis Medical Center, and the Methodist Medical Center, reports City Town Info. It looks to be a wonderful place to live! 

3. Get a house in Cleveland, Ohio before the tech startups come

Cleveland, OH, is a favorite among retirees for a good reason. According to Seniors Guide, it has a low cost of living, high-quality healthcare, excellent public transportation, and has a bustling downtown nightlife scene. You would think that all of these factors would make their real estate market competitive, but Cleveland has an average listing price of $79,888, as per Southern Maryland Real Estate. While that might sound like a steal, the city also has a median household income of $29,000. But if you're working remotely or are planning to work at one of the startups that are beginning to set up offices in the city, you can find an extremely affordable house that won't deplete your life savings.

But if you want an affordable house, you might have to act quickly. Like in the rest of the United States, the real estate market is beginning to heat up. According to Roofstock, some houses are contingent on the same day they are listed. That's because buying a home in Cleveland is a solid investment: The city's market has one of the lowest risks for real estate dips.

2. Get an investment opportunity in Jackson, Mississippi

If you want to move to a town that has a big-city feel with small-town prices, then set your sights on Jackson, Mississippi. According to MarketWatch, if you move to a bustling neighborhood like Fondren, which has nearly two dozen restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, and bars, you won't miss metropolitan living because you will have everything you need at your fingertips. And even better? The median house listing is $77,689. That's not too bad, especially considering it's the capital of Mississippi and is home to a dozen colleges and universities. 

However, things might be picking up speed soon. Roofstock reported that home values have increased by 35.7% over the last year, and Northside Sun found that it is now common to see seven buyers bidding for the same house, especially if in a popular neighborhood. But there are still plenty of affordable and beautiful listings, with some as low as $10,000. 

1. Qualify for a budget-friendly mortgage in Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan, is in the midst of a comeback, and you want to buy real estate there while it's still affordable. According to Architectural Digest, the Motor City is in the middle of an artistic "Rennaisance." And where artists come, inflated house prices follow. Everyone loves living somewhere with a bustling art scene, and some will pay top-dollar to do so. But as of right now, the city is packed with affordable housing. MarketWatch notes that the median listing price in Detroit is $63,449, which will provide you with a budget-friendly mortgage. 

And according to Curbed Detroit, that price doesn't just get you a fixer-upper. You can also get a move-in ready bungalow, a duplex, or a charming cottage-like family home. The options are endless. We especially like the two-bedroom, two-bathroom highrise condo in the middle of Lafayette Park for $80,000 (via Zillow). Its open floor plan and pretty park views would make for a charming home.