In 2023, due to soaring inflation, the cost of living in the US skyrocketed. Everything prices rose, including food, petrol, and homes. Rising costs have prompted many Americans to reevaluate how they live and, most importantly, where they reside.
To determine where consumers can still buy an inexpensive home in 2023, Realtor.com scraped economic and housing data from 100 of the largest US metro areas. Their methodology predicts that this year's homebuyers will be able to find decent deals in cities like Hartford, Connecticut, and El Paso, Texas.
Be prepared as you read out the names of some of the most affordable cities to live in the US in 2023.
1. Fort Wayne, Indiana
Despite having fewer than 500,000 residents, Fort Wayne enjoys a housing affordability advantage over all but four of the 150 most populated metro regions in the country. The city’s cost of living is only 20.32% of the average household income in the area. The Fort Wayne metro area population is slowly increasing, contributing to the low cost of living. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 1.6% more people moved in recent years.
2. Harlingen, Texas
Among the cities with metro regions of at least 50,000 residents, Harlingen currently has the lowest cost of living in the United States. The River Grande and the Gulf of Mexico are to the south and east of the city, located at the southernmost point of Texas. 24.7% of people in the hardscrabble Brownsville-Harlingen metro area live below the poverty line, around 1.5 times the state of Texas poverty rate.
Practically everything, including food and petrol, is less expensive in Harlingen. The city’s average home price is $178,000 less than the US average. The flat costs $757 monthly to rent, 45% less than the $1,369 national average.
3. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
For its size, Oklahoma's largest city provides amazingly low costs. The main justification is that housing expenses are 29% lower than the national average, as measured by the Cost of Living Index, which accounts for property prices and rents.
Looking more closely at those categories, Oklahoma City's average home price is $333,325 compared to the $452,510 national average.
In Oklahoma City, utilities, groceries, and transportation costs are significantly lower. Yet, healthcare costs are a little bit more than those the average American pays.
4. Beaumont, Texas
Living on a budget is possible in the Beaumont metro region, which is close to the Texas-Louisiana border. Housing costs typically account for 20.55% of residents' household incomes. Nonetheless, Beaumont shrinks as more people leave the area than they move in. Due to net migration, the population of the Beaumont metro area decreased by 2.35% in recent years.
5. Spartanburg, South Carolina
While living in a major city like Charleston, South Carolina, may be expensive, other areas of the Palmetto State, like Spartanburg, have far more affordable living costs. In the northwest of the state, around Spartanburg, people only spend 21.68% of their annual median household income on housing. The property taxes here are still lower than those in the state's coastal regions, such as Charleston, thanks to its lower population density. This lowers the cost of living.
6. Florence, Alabama
On the Tennessee River, Florence and the Florence-Muscle Shoals metro region are located northwest of Alabama. It takes roughly two hours to get there from Birmingham.
Florence, Alabama, and the surrounding area, known as The Shoals by residents, have a low cost of living, various attractions, and a long musical history. An annual summer festival honors W.C. Handy who is famous as the “Father of the Blues,” for his contributions to music.
The city's unique attractions and southern charm are also reasonably priced, which is the best part. The cost of housing is 36% less than an average American pays. However, healthcare expenses are down by around 22%. Florence is among the ten cheapest cities in the United States for people to live in, thanks to lower costs for all other key expenses included in the Cost of Living Index.
Compared to the inhabitants of Lafayette, where the average cost of living is 21.61% of the median family income, Cincinnati residents pay a little less for housing. The average yearly wage in Cincinnati is $53,650, more than $2,500 less than the national average of $56,310. In terms of net migration, Cincinnati's population has increased by 0.54%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
8. Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Iowa
Cedar Falls and Waterloo, Iowa's metro area, is a hub for agriculture and industries. Even though there may be few possibilities for entertainment or nightlife, sports enthusiasts can benefit from the numerous waterfront parks and a 67-mile cycling trail to Cedar Rapids. People can visit the 40-acre Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens for a lazier afternoon. Also, the region is home to the renowned Waterloo Center for the Arts and two renowned scientific museums.
Regarding higher education, Cedar Falls is home to the University of Northern Iowa, where quarterback Kurt Warner, an NFL Hall of Famer, competed while a student. The metro area's cost of living is almost 14% lower than the national average, primarily due to a 20% housing expense reduction.
9. Youngstown, Ohio
The Youngstown metro region has little more than 500,000 residents, and the cost of living equals 20.64% of the average household income. The city’s residents may not be as anxious about affording a place as those in other regions of the country, even though its property prices are generally on the rise due to fluctuations in sale prices. According to Redfin, the median price of a home sold in March was $110,000, down 3.5% from March 2021.
10. Hickory, North Carolina
This metropolis in the Catawba Valley of North Carolina boasts a small-town atmosphere and benefits from expansion in nearby metro areas like Charlotte and Asheville. The Best Affordable Location to Live in the U.S. in 2022–2023 is Hickory, where the cost of living is lower than in more populated areas of the state, and housing costs only 19.3% of the median household income.
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I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.