GOBankingRates

20 Great Cities With Shockingly Cheap Real Estate

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Davel5957 / iStock.com

There aren’t many silver linings to the coronavirus epidemic, but the low price of real estate in some cities may be one of them. While prices in some areas rose in 2020 and this year, there are still plenty of extremely affordable cities in America that also have high quality-of-life rankings.

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To help narrow down the choices, GOBankingRates looked at the 300 largest cities listed on real estate site Zillow and screened out those with prices of more than 75% of the national typical market value as of July 2021. Consumer Expenditure Survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Livability scores from AreaVibes were also incorporated to rank cities in reverse order of preference, with the top city listed last.

What’s clear from the rankings is that there are plenty of cheap cities in the American South and Midwest, with Texas alone occupying 11 of the top 20 slots. Ohio and Iowa also make impressive showings.

While the affordable-yet-desirable cities on this list may be attractive to everyone, they may hold particular appeal for those living on a fixed income.

Last updated: Sept. 1, 2021

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20. Cleveland, Ohio

  • Average home value: $93,711
  • Livability score: 62
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,377.77

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19. Hamilton, Ohio

  • Average home value: $222,874
  • Livability score: 77
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,623.85

Get a Deal: 50 Cities With the Most Homes Under $100K

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18. Shreveport, Louisiana

  • Average home value: $121,683
  • Livability score: 66
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,585.63
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17. Beaumont, Texas

  • Average home value: $140,233
  • Livability score: 69
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,518.35

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16. Tyler, Texas

  • Average home value: $193,066
  • Livability score: 76
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,762.36

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15. Canton, Ohio

  • Average home value: $131,078
  • Livability score: 66
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $16,698.58
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14. Toledo, Ohio

  • Average home value: $96,585
  • Livability score: 64
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,206.26

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13. Lubbock, Texas

  • Average home value: $174,906
  • Livability score: 74
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,490.42
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12. Waco, Texas

  • Average home value: $180,265
  • Livability score: 73
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,129.45
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11. Des Moines, Iowa

  • Average home value: $173,850
  • Livability score: 77
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,393.92
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10. Cedar Rapids, Iowa

  • Average home value: $174,255
  • Livability score: 79
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,393.92
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9. Killeen, Texas

  • Average home value: $177,563
  • Livability score: 77
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,687.78
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8. Akron, Ohio

  • Average home value: $94,147
  • Livability score: 66
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $16,768.35
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7. El Paso, Texas

  • Average home value: $169,206
  • Livability score: 78
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,694.79
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6. Abilene, Texas

  • Average home value: $162,593
  • Livability score: 80
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,537.51
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5. Amarillo, Texas

  • Average home value: $164,765
  • Livability score: 80
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,537.51

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4. Brownsville, Texas

  • Average home value: $134,862
  • Livability score: 76
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,3071.11
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3. Edinburg, Texas

  • Average home value: $155,642
  • Livability score: 80
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,381.20
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2. Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • Average home value: $176,999
  • Livability score: 80
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $16,490.12
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1. McAllen Texas

  • Average home value: $172,925
  • Livability score: 84
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,278.65
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    John Csiszar contributed to the reporting for this article. 

    Methodology: In order to find great cities with shockingly cheap real estate, GOBankingRates looked at the 300 largest cities in the U.S. for which Zillow publishes monthly data on single-family home values. Out of these 300 cities, GOBankingRates identified the 76 which had (1) a typical market value for single-family residences less than 75% of the national typical market value in July 2021. Then, GOBankingRates found each city’s (2) livability score from AreaVibes, which scores cities on criteria like crime rate, employment, school quality, user review ratings and more. Finally, GOBankingRates used the midyear 2019/2020 Consumer Expenditure Survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and cost of living index scores from Sperling’s Best Places to calculate (3) the total dollar amount residents of each city can expect to spend annually on necessities other than housing (including groceries, utilities, transportation and healthcare). GOBankingRates then scored each qualifying city on factors (1-3) and ranked them against each other, with factor (2) weighted twice as heavily as factors (1) and (3). The final ranking highlights the highest-scoring cities, with No. 1 being the best overall. All data was collected on and up to date as of Aug. 26, 2021.