Are you thinking of buying a new affordable home? We have researched and compiled a list of the top 10 most affordable states for you to buy a house in 2024. Nowadays, record low mortgage rates are motivating everyone from first-time buyers to downsizing retirees to consider a home purchase. Lifestyle changes brought on by the pandemic – such as working from home and the need for more space during lockdowns – are also prompting home shoppers to consider leaving their current home city or state.
In September 2020, the median existing-home price in the U.S. was $311,800, nearly 15% more than September 2019, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Experts say low inventory is making it a seller’s market. Total housing inventory at the end of September 2020 was 1.47 million units, down 19.2% from the previous September’s 1.82 million units, according to the NAR.
If you have the flexibility to move anywhere in the U.S., where could you buy the cheapest home? After examining data from Zillow and World Population Review, we think you’ll be narrowing down your search to the South and the Midwest.
Table of Contents:
1. West Virginia
Median home value: $158,103
Nicknamed the Mountain State, West Virginia is known for its low cost of living and its breathtaking natural scenery. The state sits in the Appalachian Mountain range, and there are many opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, skiing, whitewater rafting, and fly fishing. West Virginia has a humid subtropical climate with warm summers and cold winters.
The state population is just over 1.8 million, making it the 38th-most populated state in the U.S. West Virginia is second only to Wyoming in producing coal, and natural resources and tourism are two of the biggest industries for jobs.
Three interesting facts about West Virginia:
- a. West Virginia is considered both the southernmost northern state and the northernmost southern state.
- b. With a median age of 40, it has the oldest population of any state.
- c. Forests cover about 75% of West Virginia.
Virginia is an amazing place. Where else can you find mountains and beaches, high-end horse-racing communities and small towns with neighbors who travel by wagon — all within a two-hour drive?…
Median home value: $176,568
Named after the Ojibwa word for “big river,” Mississippi is bordered on the west by its namesake river. With a population hovering around 3 million, Mississippi is known as the Magnolia State. It has a humid subtropical climate with long summers and short, mild winters. Residents enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, with fishing for catfish among the most popular. All the state’s major lakes have at least one species of catfish.
The cost of living in Mississippi ranks usually stays steady at about 15% lower than the national average. With some 35,000 farms covering the state’s 10.4 million acres, agriculture is the top industry. Healthcare job opportunities are growing in the state. Manufacturing is the second-largest industry.
Three interesting facts about Mississippi:
- a. Blues music was born in the Mississippi Delta in the northwest section of the state.
- b. The Vicksburg National Cemetery, which honors Civil War dead, is the second biggest national cemetery in the U.S. (Arlington National Cemetery is first.)
- c. Mississippi was the first state in the nation to have a planned junior college system.
The diverse array of beaches on the Mississippi coast has something for everyone. We’ll explore some of the best things about the beaches in Mississippi. Below, check out the top 11 of the most popular beaches in Mississippi and what makes each one unique…
Median home value: $197,379
Have you ever wondered why Oklahoma has the nickname of the Sooner State? In 1889, the U.S. government for settlement opened nearly 2 million acres in the western Oklahoma Territory. People who entered the region before the designated starting time were called “Sooners.” The name stuck even long after the state entered the union in 1907.
Oklahoma has a varied topography that includes mountain ranges, prairies, mesas, and eastern forests. The state produces natural gas, oil, and agricultural products and has a population of about 4 million people. Oklahoma’s climate ranges from humid subtropical in its eastern region to semi-arid in its west. Oklahoma’s cost of living is about 15% lower than the national average.
Three interesting facts about Oklahoma:
- a. A life-size statue of a cattle drive, called “On the Chisholm Trail,” is in Duncan, Oklahoma. The National Cowboy Hall of Fame is located in Oklahoma City.
- b. The state motto in Latin is “Labor omnia vincit,” which means “work conquers all things.”
- c. Oklahoma has four mountain ranges, including the Ouachitas, Arbuckles, Wichitas, and Kiamichis.
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Median home value: $200,795
Mountains, rivers, caves, and hot springs are a few of the natural wonders you can enjoy in Arkansas, which well earns its nickname of the Natural State. Arkansas, which lies in the rugged Ozark region of the south-central U.S., has a mainly humid subtropical climate with hot and humid summers and mild to cool winters. Its cost of living is about 14% lower than the rest of the U.S.
The state population is just over 3 million, and agriculture is its top industry. While cotton was king in Arkansas in the past, it now produces half of the rice in the U.S. Manufacturing and tourism also help drive the economy.
Three interesting facts about Arkansas:
- a. The state has six national park sites, two-and-a-half million acres of national forests, and 50 state parks.
- b. Former President Bill Clinton calls Hope, Arkansas, his hometown.
- c. Mountain View, Arkansas, is home to one of the world’s largest producers of handmade dulcimers.
One of the most attractive aspects of living in Arkansas is affordability. The cost of living in Arkansas is among the lowest in the United States. When you consider the cost of housing, healthcare and food, you will see that the question isn’t “Why live in Arkansas?” — it’s “What have I been waiting for?”
Median home value: $200,645
Home to about 4.5 million people, Kentucky is called the Bluegrass State for the grass species found in many of its pastures. Home of the world-famous Kentucky Derby, the state is known for its thoroughbred horse industry.
Residents also enjoy exploring Mammoth Cave National Park, the world’s longest cave system, and they are crazy about their state’s college basketball teams. Kentucky mostly has a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and cold winters.
The state’s economy is fueled by jobs in agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, and natural resources. The cost of living is 11.4% lower than the U.S. average.
Three interesting facts about Kentucky:
- a. The first Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant is in Corbin, Kentucky.
- b. Post-It Notes are manufactured exclusively in Cynthiana, Kentucky.
- c. Bluegrass is really green, but in the spring, it produces bluish-purple buds.
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Median home value: $223,447
Although most Gulf Coast states are flat, Alabama boasts some elevation in the state’s central part around Birmingham. This southeastern state, which has a humid subtropical climate with very hot summers and mild winters, also has gorgeous beaches with white sand comprised of quartz grains washed down over the centuries from the Appalachian Mountains.
Nicknamed the Cotton State, Alabama’s cost of living is about 15% lower than the national average. The state has a population of just over 4.9 million, and the biggest employer is the healthcare industry. Alabama also ranks as the nation’s fourth-largest auto-exporting state.
Three interesting facts about Alabama:
- a. In 1955, Rosa Parks sparked the Civil Rights Movement by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama.
- b. There’s a fierce in-state rivalry between the football teams of Auburn University and the University of Alabama.
- c. Grits are a staple part of Alabama meals and are served at all kinds of restaurants, from diners to fine dining establishments.
Montgomery is Alabama’s state capital and the seat of Montgomery County. It’s a lively city with over 200,000 people. With a diverse selection of culture, history, and activities, there’s plenty for people to enjoy…
Median home value: $212,062
With the median home price about $150,000, Iowa is the cheapest places to buy a house in the U.S. in 2023. Sitting between the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, Iowa is nicknamed the Hawkeye State in honor of the character named Hawkeye in James Fenimore Cooper’s 1826 novel The Last of the Mohicans. This Midwestern state features rolling farmland, winding rivers, and distinctive small towns. Iowa has a humid continental climate with hot summers and cold winters.
The cost of living in Iowa, which has a population of just over 3.1 million, is about 10% less than the national average. Iowa is the nation’s largest corn, pork, and egg producer, and it ranks second in soybean and red meat production.
Three interesting facts about Iowa:
- a. More than 85% of the state’s land is used for agriculture.
- b. Since 1911, the Iowa State Fair has included a cow sculpture made entirely of butter — 600 pounds of butter, to be exact!
- c. Madison County, Iowa, once boasted 19 covered bridges. Only six are still standing today, with five of them listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
We started with the top 30 towns in Iowa by population—those with at least 15,000 residents. Then we ruled out those whose populations had fallen over the last 10 years, using population growth as a proxy measure for desirability. Finally, we chose those with the lowest median list price for homes…
Median home value: $218,488
Ohio is another affordable Midwest state on our list. With nearly 12 million people, Ohio has the seventh-largest population in the U.S. and has a lower cost of living than the national average by about 10%. Part of the humid continental zone, Ohio generally has mild summers and cold winters. The southern part of the state has the warmest temperatures and longest growing season.
Ohio has quite a range of natural beauty, from hills to rolling cornfields to Lake Erie beaches. Its nickname, the Buckeye State, comes from the many buckeye trees that once covered its hills and plains.
Three interesting facts about Ohio:
- a. In 1879, Cleveland became the world’s first city to be lighted electrically.
- b. Ohio boasts the first professional baseball team – the Cincinnati Reds.
- c. Cleveland, Ohio, is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Canton, Ohio, a city of 70,000 located about 60 miles south of Cleveland, is often overlooked among the rest of the more significant Ohio locations. As the seat of Stark County, though, there are plenty of aspects of Canton that warrant a closer look…
Median home value: $178,731
Agriculture, natural resources, and manufacturing drive the economy of this midwestern state that is home to nearly 3 million people. Nicknamed the Sunflower State and the Wheat State, Kansas grows more wheat than any other state in the U.S. The cost of living in Kansas is about 5% to 10 % lower than the national average.
The common misconception is that Kansas is all flat, but two-thirds of the state is rolling, pretty country. For the record, Kansas ranks seventh in the U.S. for flatness. If you’d like to experience the natural beauty of the Kansas prairie, you’ll want to hike the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.
The 11,000-acre preserve is located in Strong City, Kansas, about 80 miles northeast of Wichita and about the same distance southwest of Topeka. Kansas has a temperate continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters but few long periods of extreme temperatures.
Three interesting facts about Kansas:
- a. Smith County, Kansas, is the geographical center of the 48 contiguous states.
- b. Dodge City, Kansas, is considered the windiest city in the U.S.
- c. There are 27 different creeks named Walnut Creek in Kansas.
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Median home value: $232,059
Called the “Crossroads of America,” Indiana has more of the nation’s interstate highway system per square mile than any other state in the nation. However, the state motto traces back to the early 1800s when Indiana’s rivers were a major transportation source. Although northern Indiana is flat, southern Indiana is full of hills and canyons.
Home to about 7 million people, Indiana has an economy driven by the manufacturing, agriculture, and healthcare industries. The cost of living in Indiana averages about 10% lower than the national average.
A resident of Indiana is known as a “Hoosier,” but the origin of the term is uncertain. Some historians say it comes from a Native American word for “corn.” Others believe it once was a derogatory term to identify someone from the country, similar to “hick” and “bumpkin.” However, today’s Indianans embrace the title with pride, and it is the name of the Indiana University football team.
Three interesting facts about Indiana:
- a. More than half a million letters to Santa pour into Santa Claus, Indiana, during the Christmas season.
- b. Indiana is considered a Great Lakes state, but its Lake Michigan shoreline is only 40 miles long.
- c. Deep below Southern Indiana lies one of the world’s richest deposits of limestone.
Now that you know the 10 most affordable states in the U.S. to buy a home, you’re probably wondering about the other end of the spectrum. We’ll save you the trouble of googling it. Hawaii, California, and Massachusetts are the most expensive states for home-buyers. And, if you count the District of Columbia, it’s right in that top-tier list as well.
When young professionals are looking for a place to settle down, Indiana is often overlooked. The “Hoosier State” can sometimes take a back seat to places like Texas, New York, and California. But with a diverse economy, friendly citizens, good education, and a multitude of lovely cities and towns, Indiana has a lot to offer…