The median household income in the U.S. is $57,652, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. But your income doesn’t have to be that high to buy a home. Instead, unlocking the locations of the most affordable housing can help you achieve your dream of homeownership.
GOBankingRates looked at the change in median list prices for homes from 2017 to 2018 using data from Zillow, as well as the year-over-year change in median household income, to determine the most affordable places to buy a home in America.
- Income Change: 8.0%
- Home Price Change: -1.8%
In Greenville, the increase in median income is above the list’s average of 5.8 percent, whereas the decrease in median home price is below average for the list, but still equates to a nearly $5,000 savings from last year’s home prices. Plus, even though the current median price of homes listed in the city is $264,950, the median price of homes actually sold there is much lower, only $175,300, which means that homebuyers might be able to find a great deal.
- Income Change: 4.0%
- Home Price Change: -3.0%
In Provo, the median home price dropped from $329,945 to $319,950 over the past year, which helps to make homebuying more affordable. But average income earners, making $44,312, might be looking for something a bit cheaper. Thankfully, Ring Creek, Provo’s most affordable neighborhood, has homes listed for a median price of $210,000, according to Realtor.com.
Pembroke Pines, Fla.
- Income Change: 4.9%
- Home Price Change: -1.0%
Out of all of the cities on the list, Pembroke Pines has seen one of the lesser changes in home prices, but it’s still a decrease. The current median home price in the city is $295,000, down from $298,000 the previous year. Even so, Realtor.com reports that the median sold price for homes in the city is $287,500. Lower home prices, coupled with an almost 5 percent increase in median income — $62,702 to $65,805 — make Pembroke Pines a good pick for affordable homebuying.
High Point, N.C.
- Income Change: 3.0%
- Home Price Change: -3.4%
High Point has the most affordable median home price on the list of just $144,900, down from $150,000 the previous year. As a plus, residents have seen an increase in median income, up 3 percent to $44,642. Even though the median home price for High Point is almost $145,000, the median sold price is only $130,000, according to Realtor.com, which means that you might be able to score a great deal.
- Income Change: 5.9%
- Home Price Change: -1.1%
The housing market in Thornton is a balanced one, which means that there are plenty of buyers and sellers. According to Realtor.com, homes only stay on the market for an average of 57 days. Due to the real estate market’s home price decrease and an income change that equals almost 6 percent, buying a home here is more affordable than it was last year.
- Income Change: 5.2%
- Home Price Change: -3.1%
The median home price in McKinney has really taken a dive in the past year, from $389,250 to $376,990. Not only is the decrease in home prices good news for homebuyers, but the 5.2 percent increase in median income — from $83,257 to $87,608 — is also a positive development. Plus, according to Realtor.com, as of December 2018, homes in this Texas city were selling for 40.54 percent below asking price on average, which means that buyers might just find that they have considerable negotiating power in this market.
St. Petersburg, Fla.
- Income Change: 5.1%
- Home Price Change: -2.1%
St. Petersburg’s median income change and home price change are below average compared to the other cities on the list, but don’t let that stop you from considering this as a place you might want to move to. Currently, it’s a seller’s market here, according to Realtor.com. But homes are selling for less than the listing price, which means that there’s still room to bargain.
- Income Change: 5.8%
- Home Price Change: -1.5%
The median listing price for houses in Marietta is currently $344,900 — a slight decrease from that of the previous year’s housing market. But the median sale price is much lower: $271,600, according to online real estate database Zillow. Plus, the median income here is on the rise, up from $48,154 to $50,963, which can make buying a house here more affordable for people who choose to call this city home.
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- Income Change: 6.1%
- Home Price Change: -1.4%
You might be able to negotiate a great deal on the price of a home in Irving. Zillow reports that although the current median price of homes listed in the city is $369,900, homes are selling for a much lower median price of over $100,000 less: $259,800. The potential bargain home prices coupled with an over 6 percent increase in median income make it easy to see why Irving made the list.
- Income Change: 3.4%
- Home Price Change: -4.7%
Although the median income hasn’t increased in Albany as much as it has in other cities on the list, the median home price has taken a dive from $173,700 to $165,450 in the past year. Plus, there might be negotiating room to be had. Realtor.com reports that Albany is experiencing a balanced market, and on average, homes sold for 2.22 percent below asking price at the end of 2018, which means you might still have time to save a few thousand dollars on a home.
- Income Change: 6.5%
- Home Price Change: -0.3%
With a median listing price of $379,000 and a median sold price that is tens of thousands of dollars less at $291,100, the real estate market in Charleston is tempting. In fact, Realtor.com considers it a buyer’s market, which means that there are more homes available for sale than active buyers. A selection of homes with negotiable prices as well as one of the highest income increases on the list make this Southern state worth considering.
- Income Change: 4.9%
- Home Price Change: -4.3%
Even though the median listing price of homes in Raleigh is $330,000, the selling price of homes in the city is almost $79,000 less at $251,300, according to Zillow. Lower home prices coupled with a median income increase — from $58,641 to $61,505 — help make this North Carolina city an attractive option for homebuyers. In fact, a separate GOBankingRates study named this one of the best cities for aspiring millennial homeowners.
- Income Change: 6.8%
- Home Price Change: -2.1%
The median home price in Denver — $459,900 — is much higher than the median listing price in the U.S. of $275,000, but you won’t necessarily have to pay that. Considering the median income for Denver is just $60,098, it’s obvious that there are much cheaper homes to be had. Right now in the capital city, the real estate market is leaning toward sellers, according to Zillow, which means that prices could increase if the market experiences an upswing.
- Income Change: 4.7%
- Home Price Change: -3.6%
Alexandria is currently experiencing a seller’s market, which means that you’re less likely to get a great bargain on a home. In fact, according to Realtor.com, homes here are selling for approximately the asking price. Even so, homes in Alexandria are way below the national median listing price, hovering right around $165,000. Plus, the median income is on the rise, increasing from $89,200 to $93,370 in the last year, which definitely makes homebuying here more than affordable.
- Income Change: 5.4%
- Home Price Change: -1.9%
Although home prices have decreased and the median income has increased in Livonia, don’t expect to get an amazing discount on the asking price for homes there. Zillow reports that the median listing price is $186,400 and the median selling price is only $2,500 less at $183,900. Plus, Livonia is currently experiencing a very hot seller’s market, which means that the small discount you might get now could very well disappear altogether if home prices start climbing.
- Income Change: 7.0%
- Home Price Change: -1.2%
You’ll encounter more of a buyer’s market than a seller’s in Cypress, which could prove to be a double win for residents. The year-over-year income change is above average for the list, increasing from $84,469 to $90,345, which can make buying a home here more affordable.
- Income Change: 5.9%
- Home Price Change: -8.3%
The real estate market in Nashville is currently neutral, according to Zillow, which means that neither buyers nor sellers have the advantage. Although the median home price in Nashville is $319,900 and the average income is just $52,858, that doesn’t mean you’ll have to pay what sellers are asking. To give you an idea, the median price of homes sold is $271,900, exactly $48,000 less.
- Income Change: 5.8%
- Home Price Change: -7.3%
Omaha boasts the second-highest home price change on the list, with the median home price dropping from $232,000 to $215,000, much lower than the U.S. median home price of $275,000. The median selling price, however, is much lower than the median listing price of $215,000, at only $178,500. Even so, Omaha’s seller’s market is red-hot right now.
- Income Change: 8.5%
- Home Price Change: -1.6%
Murfreesboro has one of the higher median income changes on the list, increasing from $53,241 to $57,753, which can help make buying a home more affordable. And even though Murfreesboro’s median home price is $283,157, don’t expect to pay that amount. Zillow reports that the median price of homes sold there is $227,900. The seller’s market is warm, however, and could potentially heat up at some point, which would likely increase home prices.
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- Income Change: 9.4%
- Home Price Change: -5.0%
Annapolis might have the highest median home price on the list at $475,000, but the year before, it was almost at $500,000. The city also has the highest median income change on the list, increasing from $74,187 to $81,143. If you’re not in the market for a home listed at $475,000, the city’s median price of homes sold is much cheaper: $395,600, according to Zillow.
Click through to view the states where you might actually be able to afford a mansion.
More on Real Estate
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- 11 Cities Where the Housing Boom Is Well and Truly Over
- Watch: Get a Glimpse at the Most Expensive Property in America
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Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the top-20 cities using the following factors: (1) median list price for a home, sourced from Zillow’s December 2018 index; (2) year-over-year change in median list price, from December 2017 to December 2018, sourced from Zillow’s index; (3) median household income for 2017, (4) median household income for 2016, both sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest data from the 2017 American Community Survey; (5) year-over-year change in household income. Each factor was individually scored and then combined for an overall score in order to determine a final ranking.
Photo Disclaimer: Please note photos are for representational purposes only. As a result, some of the photos might not reflect the locations listed in this article.
About the Author
Cynthia Measom is a Texas-based writer specializing in finance, business, parenting and education. With almost a decade of online writing experience, her work has appeared on websites such as Chron.com, The Bump and The Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.