5 Places Where You Can Find Affordable Housing for Under $150,000

Wichita Falls is a city in and the county seat of Wichita County, Texas, United States.
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Nearly 1 in 3 people have considered moving to a city with more affordable homes, according to a new study from GOBankingRates — but in a historically hot housing market, what, exactly, does it mean to be affordable? 

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More than one-third of the study’s respondents consider a home to be affordable if it costs between $100,000 and $150,000, and another one-quarter said that their idea of affordable falls between $150,000 and $250,000. 

Since $150,000 lands within the “affordable” range for about 60% of the country, GOBankingRates identified five towns and cities where you can still buy a home for less than that amount. 

Although home prices rose by nearly 17% in 2021 alone — the highest growth on record — there are still some inexpensive gems scattered across the country. These are the best of the bunch.

Wichita Falls, Texas

A city of more than 100,000 people with a small-town feel, Wichita Falls is known as the home of the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame — but it’s much more than that. Its bustling arts scene is one of the finest in Texas outside of Austin, and its craft beer breweries, urban wineries and chic coffee shops draw enthusiasts and connoisseurs from across the state and beyond.

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It’s also bursting with inexpensive housing. 

Despite a 22.7% increase in home values over the last year, the typical home is valued at just $149,536 — in July 2020 it was just $106,000.

A five-bedroom, three-bathroom home with 2,971 square feet just hit the market with an asking price of $114,900 and a 1,780-square-foot, three-bedroom home with two baths was just listed for $84,500. Neither are rundown, ramshackle or being sold as-is.

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Topeka, Kansas

In a lot of cases, towns with super-affordable homes are located in some rundown backwater, but in the capital city of the state of Kansas, the typical home is still valued at just over $157,000. Topeka has a long and rich history — it was the center of the Brown v. Board decision — not to mention world-class attractions, museums, arts, and beautiful parks, lakes and other green spaces. Also, it’s just a short jaunt east on Interstate 70 to Kansas City, Missouri.

While the typical home is a hair over $150,000, there’s plenty of housing to be had for less. 

A brand new listing near Edgewood Park just hit the market — a 1,347-square-foot three-bedroom home with an asking price of $140,900. It’s hardly an anomaly. Set your filters for $150,000 and under and you’ll see dozens and dozens of listings — good properties, not foreclosures or homes with extended DOM times — in the low $100,000s and even the high five figures.

Syracuse, New York

Like Topeka, the typical home value in Syracuse is just a bit over $150,000, but not much — $156,467, to be exact. The Upstate New York city is most famous for its namesake college — Syracuse University has one of the most prominent athletic programs in America — but the town is much more than just the Orange. 

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Perched next to both the beautiful Finger Lakes and the Great Lakes — it’s adjacent to the shores of both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario — Syracuse is a city carved out of the wilderness. It’s a four-season tourist town, with a renowned food and nightlife scene, museums, year-round festivals, parks, trails and plenty of natural beauty.

A neat and newly updated 1,470-square-foot, two-bedroom brick home just hit the market for $95,000. A sprawling and stately 1,696-square-foot home perched next to an upscale country club is going for $139,900.

Waterloo, Iowa

If you’re looking for a true bargain that makes $150,000 look tony, look no farther than Waterloo, which bills itself as “the model midsized American city.” One of the key hubs of the Upper Midwest, Waterloo is the Cedar Valley region’s major metro and a center for manufacturing, healthcare, education and employment in Northeast Iowa. 

It boasts an extensive museum district and one of the best waterparks in America, but its biggest asset is its culture and diversity. About 17% of the city’s 70,150 residents are African-American, and its Burmese, Congolese and Latino populations are growing steadily. There are 45 different languages spoken in Waterloo schools.

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The typical home value there is just $127,000. A quick search of the MLS listings turns up dozens and dozens of move-in ready homes for less than $100,000 — as-is properties that need a little TLC are easy to find for less than $50,000. For an example of what to expect if you are willing to go all the way up to $150,000, a roomy four-bedroom, three-bathroom home with nearly 2,500 square feet of space to spread out in just hit the market with exactly that asking price.

Gulfport, Mississippi

Although housing prices in Gulfport rose by more than 20% in the last year, the typical home value here is still less than $175,000 — $173,279, to be exact — which is why it, along with neighboring Biloxi, consistently ranks among the most affordable beach towns in America.

If you dream of living on or near the water in a laid-back shore town, but you don’t have ocean-view money, the Gulf Coast beckons. The second-largest city in Mississippi, Gulfport has immediate proximity to its namesake port and international airport, as well as parks, a sports complex, world-class golf and a variety of attractions like an aquarium, waterpark and adventure park.

The downtown area is filled with nightlife, dining, arts and entertainment, but the real draw is right there in the name. The town sits on the Gulf of Mexico, where fishing, boating, watersports and lounging on the beach are baked into the culture of the town and the region. 

The low price of $125,000 will buy you three bedrooms, two baths and more than 1,000 square feet, a fenced-in backyard and granite countertops in the kitchen. That’s just one recent listing. Several townhouses can be yours for less than $90,000 and roomy homes with sub-$140,000 asking prices are the norm.

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All home values are from Zillow.

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About the Author

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the largest newspaper syndicate in the country, the Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as a copy editor for TheStreet.com, a financial publication in the heart of Wall Street's investment community in New York City.
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