Street of large suburban homes

Least expensive metros to buy a home

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July 21, 2022
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Least expensive metros to buy a home

Across the country, the demand for housing is increasing, driving housing prices to exorbitant levels in many metro markets. The housing shortage has been a major problem across the U.S. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent migration into the suburbs. With burgeoning remote work options during the pandemic, some people weren't tied to their downtown offices anymore; many chose to leave expensive cities in favor of rural and suburban areas. Buyers searched for homes that provided more space and a lower cost of living.

In June 2022, the median home price for active listings in the U.S. reached $450,000—a new record and an increase of 17% over 2021—according to listing data from Realtor.com. Price increases, however, are beginning to slow as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates. More homeowners are listing their homes for sale, causing an increased supply in many markets. Some potential buyers also aren't able to afford these high prices, lowering demand.

According to Realtor.com, sellers are also implementing the strategy of reducing listing prices to lure buyers in some parts of the country. Price reductions are also growing in all but one of the 50 largest metro areas.

Midwestern states—particularly the so-called Rust Belt states of Illinois, Ohio, and West Virginia, which were once home to thriving manufacturing communities—are home to the leading affordable cities on the list. Investors, however, are already privy to the low housing prices in Rust Belt cities and as a result, these locations could see house price increases in the near future.

Stacker examined listings data on Realtor.com to find the least expensive places to buy a home in June 2022, the latest data available. Analysis was limited to the 250 largest metropolitan areas. Metros include the central city as well as its surrounding towns and suburbs. The data accounts for all houses—including single-family homes, condos, and town homes.

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Students walk on Green Street in Champaign, Illinois
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#10. Champaign, Illinois

- Median listing price in June: $179,950
- Change from a year ago: -4.0%

Champaign has been best known nationally and to Chicagoans as a college town anchored by the University of Illinois campus.

Founded in 1855, Champaign is emerging as a Central Illinois city with entrepreneurial flair. Potential homebuyers may be keen on the area as it's growing steadily. Despite not being a major city, it still provides a cultural scene with dining and entertainment options just a few hours south of Chicago.

Village of East Davenport
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#9. Davenport, Iowa

- Median listing price: $176,450
- Change from a year ago: 17.7%

Davenport was founded along the Mississippi River in the 1830s. Today, Davenport's historic hotels are an anchor for tourism in the Quad Cities area of Illinois and Iowa, with visitors and residents enjoying the Vander Veer Botanical Park and the Freight House Farmers Market.

The McKinley National Memorial in Canton, Ohio
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#8. Canton, Ohio

- Median listing price: $174,950
- Change from a year ago: -9.7%

Data shows that Canton has one of the highest crime rates in the state of Ohio. This may be one of the factors contributing to its relatively low-cost real estate prices. Canton is home to the MAPS Air Museum, but its best known tourist attraction is the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The annual Hall of Fame NFL preseason game and festivities honor the players, coaches, and team owners enshrined among the game's all-time greats.
 

Aerial photo Toledo Ohio riverfront scene
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#7. Toledo, Ohio

- Median listing price: $169,900
- Change from a year ago: -2.9%

Toledo's historical Old West End neighborhood started with a single log cabin in the early 1800s. The neighborhood is home to late-Victorian and Edwardian style homes. Toledo is currently considered an affordable area with many homes below market prices compared to other cities in the country.

Aerial View of Saginaw, Michigan during Summer
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#6. Saginaw, Michigan

- Median listing price: $164,900
- Change from a year ago: 15.8%

With its walkable streets, a wide array of parks, and a low cost of living, Saginaw may be an appealing location for first-time homebuyers. The city may entice families with activities such as the children's museum and local zoo, but Saginaw has opportunities for young professionals and retirees as well.

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Wooden footpath leading along street with white fence in New Salem, Springfield, Illinois
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#5. Springfield, Illinois

- Median listing price: $164,900
- Change from a year ago: 32.0%

As the capital of Illinois, Springfield is known for its rich history, being home to the 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. The city is also where President Barack Obama spent much of his time during his early political career.

For potential homebuyers in Springfield, the Piper Glen neighborhood is the most expensive area, with homes averaging over $405,000 as of June 2022. Springfield's Far East District is the more affordable neighborhood, with homes averaging close to $35,000.

Aerial of the city of Peoria, Illinois in summer
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#4. Peoria, Illinois

- Median listing price: $157,250
- Change from a year ago: 33.9%

In 2021, Peoria had a record of $1 billion in home sales. People who bought homes in Peoria were able to get decent-sized houses at an affordable cost. Something worth noting for potential homebuyers in central Illinois are the high taxes—including property taxes and additional fees utilized for residential garbage pickup and funding public safety.

Charleston, West Virginia, USA skyline on the Kanawha River at dusk
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#3. Charleston, West Virginia

- Median listing price: $151,430
- Change from a year ago: 8.2%

Charleston is quiet and laid back. But even with its small town feel, there's still an array of cafes, grocery stores, and restaurants. For those who also enjoy outdoor activities, there's skiing, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, and views of the Appalachian Mountains landscape.

With these big-city amenities and a professional community that frequently commutes to metro Washington D.C., Charleston is one of those hidden gems where potential homebuyers can still find affordable homes.

Youngstown, Ohio, downtown road and townscape at twilight
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#2. Youngstown, Ohio

- Median listing price: $146,750
- Change from a year ago: 8.5%

Traditionally, Youngstown has been known as the epicenter of steel production in the U.S. Youngstown was pushed to redefine itself when the steel industry declined during the 1970s, leaving residents with bleak job prospects.

Today, downtown Youngstown and the area within walking distance of Youngstown State University are seeing a revival. In addition to having high-ranking public schools, with homes in the area being in high demand, Youngstown is a seller's market as of June 2022.

Front porch of a house in Terre Haute, Indiana
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#1. Terre Haute, Indiana

- Median listing price: $143,950
- Change from a year ago: 13.0%

With more than 1,000 acres of trails and parks, Terre Haute—known for being a college town home to Indiana State University—has plenty to offer. Those thinking of buying a home will appreciate the affordable real estate prices and variety of recreational activities in the area.

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