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The average home sales price in the United States is now almost $430,000. In 2020, it was about $350,000. Typical monthly rent is currently just over $2,000 per month, according to data pulled by Zillow — a nearly 11 percent increase since last year.
So, if you didn’t move during the pandemic (or even if you did!) and you’re now thinking that it might be a good time to try out a new city, ahead are four cities that offer great value for money. They’re among the most affordable places in the country, and have lots to offer, including job and cultural opportunities.
Just a heads up: These are not the four least expensive cities to live in. They’re considered affordable based on the cost of living in relation to median household earnings. Read on to learn more about them, and decide whether a change of scenery is in your future.
“Huntsville was the top most affordable place to move to for several years in a row, and is considered the best place to move in 2022 and 2023,” said Devon Thorsby, real estate editor at U.S. News & World Report. “Huntsville is in a low-cost state in regard to housing and property taxes, but is one of the most expensive places to live in Alabama. But compared to the nation, it’s very attractive.”
Huntsville is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Space Command, and has been wooing more companies over the years, especially in regard to aerospace engineering and technology. According to Thorsby, these types of jobs will continue to attract more people, which will in turn raise the cost of living in the future.
The next three cities on the list stand out for two reasons in particular. According to data from Zillow, Des Moines, Indianapolis, and Oklahoma City all show that typical mortgage payments are under 30 percent of the local median household income, and each city has seen double-digit population growth between 2010 and 2020. So, residents have affordable mortgages and the cities are increasing in popularity.
“These three markets have been really consistent during the pandemic,” said Amanda Pendleton, Zillow’s home trends expert. “They didn’t see the incredible spike in home value that we saw in places like Phoenix and Raleigh — they were slow and steady.”
According to data pulled by Zillow, residents in Des Moines have a typical monthly mortgage payment of $1,867. Typical monthly rent is $1,280. Population between the last two censuses have shown an over 17 percent increase, with major industries including finance and insurance. Meredith Corporation, a publishing and media company, is also based out of Des Moines.
Also in the Midwest, Indianapolis, Indiana, is on the list for its affordability as compared to more expensive places in the country — which likely became more expensive in the last couple of years.
“These affordable cities were not pandemic boom-towns where the home prices rose way too fast,” Pendleton continued. “Cities like Indianapolis have shown consistent growth, and as a result, home prices are not falling at the same pace. People want to live here because they can get more for their money and they have desirable qualities.”
Top industries in Indianapolis include finance, real estate, and insurance, with nearly 12 percent population growth between 2010 and 2020. Residents have a typical monthly mortgage payment of $1,752. On the flipside, typical monthly rent is $1,530 — an 11.5 percent increase from last year, but still significantly below the nationwide cost.
And finally, Oklahoma City is another choice that has a growing aerospace engineering industry, as well as a variety of job opportunities in biotechnology and energy. Nationally, the city has some of the lowest housing costs of major metro areas in the United States.
Population growth in Oklahoma City between 2010 and 2020 was over 13 percent, and residents have a typical monthly household mortgage payment of $1,505. Typical monthly rent is $1,373, which is an eight percent increase from last year.
With all of these factors in consideration, Oklahoma City offers great value for money and is a popular option for those looking to move.