Dan Green

Dan Green

Since 2003, Dan Green has been a leading mortgage lender and respected industry authority. His unwavering commitment to first-time home buyers and home buyer education has established him as a trusted voice among his colleagues, his peers, and the media. Dan founded Homebuyer.com to expand the American Dream of Homeownership to all who want it. .

Couple Enjoying The View In One Of The Cheapest Cities To Buy A Home.

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Most Affordable Cities to Buy a House

Would you like to move somewhere affordable?

For many first-time home buyers, choosing a place to live comes with questions: How close is the home to my family? What job opportunities exist nearby? How are the local schools?

Cost matters, too.

According to The National Association of REALTORS®,  buyers say that “overall affordability of homes” is the second-most important factor for buying a home – just after “quality of neighborhood.”

About This Research Report

Using trusted sources like the U.S. Census Bureau and Altos Research, the Homebuyer.com research group built an algorithm that digests public and private homeowner data and calculates the relative cost of homeownership throughout the United States. We used the algorithm to find the most affordable cities for U.S. home buyers from the 800 largest Census-recognized cities.

The Most Affordable Cities To Buy a House report reflects the traits and attitudes of First-time home buyers- similar to the methodology we used for The Cheapest States To Buy a House.

Our analysis assumes that home buyers use a 30-year fixed-rate conventional mortgage, make a 3 percent downpayment on their home, and earn a modest household income, as examples. We also assume an average credit score and a decent history of paying bills on time.

Jump to our methodology.

What Makes a Home Affordable?

First, there’s the home’s cost and its mortgage. Sales price, down payment amount, and current mortgage rates comprise home affordability’s most prominent components.

The next biggest factor is property taxes. Property taxes vary by county and municipality, ranging from an annual cost of 1 percent of a home’s value to five percent.

The third-largest component of home affordability is the cost of transportation, which includes commuting to work, the availability of public transit, and taxes on gas and electricity for people who live there. 

Lastly, there’s the cost of Homeowners insurance and other insurance. Homeowners insurance is least expensive in landlocked states such as Ohio and Iowa and most expensive in disaster-prone areas including California, Florida, and Louisiana. 

Affordability Varies In Large, Mid-Sized, And Small Cities

We split the Homebuyer.com Most Affordable Cities To Buy A Home report into four groupings based on city size:

  1. National Rankings
  2. Large City Rankings: Populations over 113,000
  3. Mid-sized City Rankings: Populations between  71,000 – 113,000
  4. Small City Rankings: Populations between 50,000 – 71,000

The U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t recognize areas with fewer than 50,000 residents as cities, so we did not include them in this study.

Map Of The Most Affordable Cities To Buy A House In The U.s. In 2023

Most Affordable Cities to Buy a House In The U.S.

#1: Macon, Georgia

Macon, Georgia
Macon, Georgia Homebuyer.com Affordability Score: 100%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$871
Insurance Costs$187
Property Taxes$94
Transportation Costs$1,021
Total Cost of Homeownership$1,892

Macon, Georgia, is the top-ranked, most affordable city to buy a house.

Macon is located in central Georgia and was settled over 17,000 years ago in an area now known as Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park. The city boasts a rich heritage, evident in the landmarks that dot the landscape, including the Cannonball House, a stunning 1851 Greek Revival structure.

Mercer University, named one of the best-value colleges in America, sits in the heart of Macon and gives $20,000 to employees who want to purchase a home in College Hill. Local home buyer incentive programs include down payment assistance and property tax freezes for historic properties.


#2: Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan Homebuyer.com Affordability Score: 99.92%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$771
Insurance Costs$185
Property Taxes$126
Transportation Costs$1,150
Total Cost of Homeownership$1,921

Detroit, Michigan, is the second-most affordable city for home buyers. Located an hour southeast of Flint, The Motor City sits on the Detroit River, directly north of Ontario, Canada.

Detroit has a rich history and shaped the American automobile industry. In recent years, it’s experienced a resurgence driven by a growing population, a thriving arts and culture scene, and a revitalized downtown. 

Are you thinking of buying in Detroit? The city’s median household income is above average compared to other cities, so your housing budget goes far in Michigan’s most populous city.

Click here to get your mortgage pre-approved.


#3: Gary, Indiana

Gary, Indiana
Gary, Indiana Homebuyer.com Affordability Score: 99.89%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$976
Insurance Costs$229
Property Taxes$97
Transportation Costs$956
Total Cost of Homeownership$1,931

Gary, Indiana, located on Lake Michigan in northwest Indiana, sits a short, 30-minute drive down I-90 from downtown Chicago and is home to some of the lowest-cost homes in our study.

Founded by the United States Steel Corporation in 1906, Gary grew into a bustling industrial center in the first half of the last century, earning the nickname “The Magic City.” Historic steel mill buildings still dot the landscape today.

Since 2000, the local government has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Gary’s modernization and revitalization, including $45 million to build the U.S. Steel Yard stadium, home of the independent league baseball team, the Gary SouthShore RailCats. 

Vacancy rates for MLS-listed homes in Gary exceed national averages, which reduces bidding wars among first-time buyers. Also, Indiana’s Hoosier Homes Downpayment Assistance program offers down payment assistance to first-time buyers.


#4: Flint, Michigan

Flint, Michigan
Flint, Michigan Homebuyer.com Affordability Score: 99.83%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$738
Insurance Costs$209
Property Taxes$102
Transportation Costs$1,213
Total Cost of Homeownership$1,951

Homes in Flint, Michigan, are inexpensive relative to other U.S. cities, and homeowner property taxes are modest. 

The Vehicle City has a rich history and a strong sense of community. It’s home to the original Buick Motor Company. It features beautiful parks and museums, including The Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan’s second-largest art museum. In recent years, Flint has undergone a significant revitalization, with new businesses and developments popping up across the city. 

Many home buyers associate Flint with its water crisis from nine years ago. According to the state website, Flint has met water quality standards since 2016. The city was also recently named in the top 150 Best Cities to Live by U. S. News.


#5: Toledo, Ohio

Toledo, Ohio
Toledo, Ohio Homebuyer.com Affordability Score: 99.82%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$932
Insurance Costs$147
Property Taxes$161
Transportation Costs$1,023
Total Cost of Homeownership$1,955

Toledo, Ohio, is an affordable city with something for everyone.

Located in the northwest corner of Ohio, Toledo sits on the shores of Lake Erie, nestled between Cleveland, Detroit, and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Affordable homes and ample housing supply land The Glass City on various “Best Of…” lists, including best cities for first-time buyers and best cities to buy investment properties. 

Toledo residents enjoy outdoor recreation, including the world-renowned Toledo Botanical Garden, the Oak Openings Preserve, and a wide variety of museums and historic sites, including the National Museum of the Great Lakes.

Early into COVID-19, Toledo experienced a home-buying frenzy that pushed home prices higher across the city. As normalcy returned, so has the local market.


#6: Syracuse, New York

Syracuse, New York
Syracuse, New York Homebuyer.com Affordability Score: 99.51%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,002
Insurance Costs$114
Property Taxes$246
Transportation Costs$1,063
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,065

Syracuse, New York, is a long-time, popular destination for home buyers who seek an affordable place to live with abundant outdoor and commercial activity. 

For adventurous types, Syracuse offers exciting hiking and kayaking in nearby Onondaga Lake and easy access to weekend getaways like the Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs and wine drinking in the Finger Lakes.

Syracuse is also home to Syracuse University, which offers excellent benefits to its employees and residents, including free first-time home buyer informational sessions.

Demand for homes in Syracuse is high, so there’s only a limited number of homes for sale. When you see a home you love, jump at the opportunity.


#7: Canton, Ohio

Canton, Ohio
Canton, Ohio Homebuyer.com Affordability Score: 99.25%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,063
Insurance Costs$150
Property Taxes$147
Transportation Costs$1,097
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,160

Canton, Ohio, features excellent public schools, safe neighborhoods, thriving businesses, and low property taxes – everything a home buyer needs to live a good life comfortably. It’s also a busy city with beautiful parks and walking trails along the Tuscarawas River.

Canton is a young city, too – more than half the city’s population is under 45 years of age. Residents spend time in the historic downtown area’s restaurants and shops and at the city’s world-famous museums, including the Troll Hole Museum and the NFL Hall of Fame.

Canton sits less than two hours from Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Columbus. Its proximity to major metropolitan areas and Lake Erie makes it easy for residents to explore the Ohio Valley.


#8: Springfield, Illinois

Springfield, Illinois
Springfield, Illinois Homebuyer.com Affordability Score: 99.22%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,104
Insurance Costs$184
Property Taxes$199
Transportation Costs$1,064
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,168

The 116,000 Springfield, Illinois residents praise the city as the best of both worlds – small-town comforts with big-city amenities.

Springfield has something for everyone. 

Most famously known as the home of Abraham Lincoln, it’s also where Barack Obama announced his run for President, and Maid-Rite, one of the nation’s first drive-thru burger joints, was born.

The downstate capital of Illinois enjoys above-average public schools, a diverse population, and a consistent ranking as one of the country’s best places to buy a home.


#9: Lansing, Michigan

Lansing, Michigan
Lansing, Michigan Homebuyer.com Affordability Score: 99.18%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,156
Insurance Costs$184
Property Taxes$217
Transportation Costs$1,028
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,184

Lansing, Michigan, is a top choice for first-time buyers who want an affordable home in a progressive city with plenty of amenities. 

Michigan’s capital city is home to Michigan State University, one of the top four-year universities in the U.S. It features an economy driven by technology and manufacturing firms. Lansing’s vibrant art scene includes the Wharton Center at Michigan State University and famous museums such as the Impression 5 Science Center

For home buyers who like to explore all a region has to offer, Lansing is equidistant from the serenity of Lakes Huron, Erie, and Michigan; and within two hours by car of the activities in Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Ann Arbor. 


#10: Pontiac, Michigan

Pontiac, Michigan
Pontiac, Michigan Homebuyer.com Affordability Score: 99.03%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,165
Insurance Costs$219
Property Taxes$158
Transportation Costs$1,071
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,237

Pontiac, Michigan, is a northern suburb of Detroit in the midst of an economic renaissance. 

A recent development boom brought jobs and new housing to the area, and a newly-elected team of city officials rolled out improvements from repaving the city’s sidewalks to upgrading its Clinton River Trail and city skateparks.

Pontiac is home to automobile museums exploring General Motor prototype vehicles, such as the city’s namesake car, and other museums celebrating the area’s heritage.

Pontiac is a short 30-minute commute from Detroit and routinely scores highly in diversity and nightlife categories.


Most Affordable Large Cities to Buy a House

For home buyers who prefer larger metropolitan areas, this study sub-section highlights the Cheapest Big Cities In America, where “Big City” is defined as areas with 113,000 or more residents. 

265 cities met the Big City criteria for our study. 

Gresham, Oregon (113,303 residents) buoys the low-end of the segment, and New York City (8,467,513 residents) tops the high-end. We found it notable that 58 percent of the Large Cities included in our study lost population between 2020-2021, according to the U.S. Census.

Delaware, Maine, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming are not represented in the Large City category. None of their cities exceed one-hundred-thirteen thousand residents.

Here are the most affordable large cities to buy a home:

Map Of The Most Affordable Large Cities To Buy A House In 2023

#1: Macon, Georgia

Macon, Georgia
Macon, Georgia Homebuyer.com Large City Affordability Score: 100.00%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$871
Insurance Costs$187
Property Taxes$94
Transportation Costs$1,021
Total Cost of Homeownership$1,892

#2: Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan Skyline
Detroit, Michigan Homebuyer.com Large City Affordability Score: 99.97%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$771
Insurance Costs$185
Property Taxes$126
Transportation Costs$1,150
Total Cost of Homeownership$1,921

#3: Toledo, Ohio

Toledo, Ohio Bridge
Toledo, Ohio Homebuyer.com Large City Affordability Score: 99.93%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$932
Insurance Costs$147
Property Taxes$161
Transportation Costs$1,023
Total Cost of Homeownership$1,955

#4: Syracuse, New York

Syracuse, New York Skyline
Syracuse, New York Homebuyer.com Large City Affordability Score: 99.82%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,002
Insurance Costs$114
Property Taxes$246
Transportation Costs$1,063
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,065

#5: Springfield, Illinois

CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,104
Insurance Costs$184
Property Taxes$199
Transportation Costs$1,064
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,168

#6: Jackson, Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi Downtown
Jackson, Mississippi Homebuyer.com Large City Affordability Score: 99.60%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,178
Insurance Costs$268
Property Taxes$106
Transportation Costs$1,103
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,281

#7: St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri Skyline With Arch
St. Louis, Missouri Homebuyer.com Large City Affordability Score: 99.57%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,278
Insurance Costs$205
Property Taxes$154
Transportation Costs$1,025
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,303

#8: Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio Skyline
Cleveland, Ohio Homebuyer.com Large City Affordability Score: 99.56%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,372
Insurance Costs$161
Property Taxes$293
Transportation Costs$948
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,320

#9: Rochester, New York

Rochester, New York Skyline
Rochester, New York Homebuyer.com Large City Affordability Score: 99.54%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,083
Insurance Costs$106
Property Taxes$283
Transportation Costs$1,256
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,339

#10: Columbus, Georgia

Columbus, Georgia Downtown
Columbus, Georgia Homebuyer.com Large City Affordability Score: 99.51%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,321
Insurance Costs$205
Property Taxes$132
Transportation Costs$1,044
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,365

Most Affordable Mid-Sized Cities to Buy a House

For home buyers who gravitate to mid-sized metropolitan areas, this study sub-section highlights the Cheapest Mid-Sized Cities In America. We define “Mid-Sized City” as areas with more than 71,000 and fewer than 113,000 residents. 

260 cities qualify as Mid-Sized Cities.

The most populous mid-sized city is Murietta, California (112,991 residents), with Lewisville, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico, a close second and third with 112,994 and 112,914 residents, respectively. 

Coincidentally, the fourth largest mid-sized city, Lansing, Michigan (112,684 residents), ranked as the second-most affordable mid-sized city in the study.

The smallest mid-sized city in our analysis is Rogers, Arkansas (71,112 residents), with Marysville, Washington (71,144) and Dothan, Alabama (71,175) just slightly ahead in population.

The fourth-smallest mid-sized city is Waukesha, Wisconsin – home of Homebuyer.com’s partner mortgage company, Novus Home Mortgage. There are 71,256 residents in Waukesha as of 2021.

Here are the most affordable mid-size cities to buy a house:

Map Of The Most Affordable Mid-Size Cities To Buy A Home In 2023

#1: Flint, Michigan

Flint, Michigan Welcome Sign
Flint, Michigan Homebuyer.com Mid-Size City Affordability Score: 100%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$738
Insurance Costs$209
Property Taxes$102
Transportation Costs$1,213
Total Cost of Homeownership$1,951

#2: Lansing, Michigan

Lansing, Michigan Skyline
Lansing, Michigan Homebuyer.com Mid-Size City Affordability Score: 99.34%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,156
Insurance Costs$184
Property Taxes$217
Transportation Costs$1,028
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,184

#3: St. Joseph, Missouri

Saint Joseph Missouri Downtown
St. Joseph, Missouri Homebuyer.com Mid-Size City Affordability Score: 99.07%

Image Credit: Tim Kiser

CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,196
Insurance Costs$250
Property Taxes$99
Transportation Costs$1,087
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,283

#4: Camden, New Jersey

Camden, New Jersey Ben Franklin Bridge And Skyline
Camden, New Jersey Homebuyer.com Mid-Size City Affordability Score: 98.77%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,074
Insurance Costs$109
Property Taxes$308
Transportation Costs$1,313
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,387

#5: Hammond, Indiana

Hammond, Indiana Aerial View Of Downtown
Hammond, Indiana Homebuyer.com Mid-Size City Affordability Score: 98.65%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,474
Insurance Costs$192
Property Taxes$167
Transportation Costs$956
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,430

#6: Erie, Pennsylvania

Erie, Pennsylvania City Shot From A Harbor
Erie, Pennsylvania Homebuyer.com Mid-Size City Affordability Score: 98.57%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,386
Insurance Costs$139
Property Taxes$246
Transportation Costs$1,075
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,461

#7: Scranton, Pennsylvania

Scranton, Pennsylvania Photo Of The Electric City Sign
Scranton, Pennsylvania Homebuyer.com Mid-Size City Affordability Score: 97.97%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,614
Insurance Costs$141
Property Taxes$265
Transportation Costs$1,060
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,675

#8: Peoria, Illinois

Peoria, Illinois Downtown
Peoria, Illinois Homebuyer.com Mid-Size City Affordability Score: 97.88%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,620
Insurance Costs$191
Property Taxes$329
Transportation Costs$1,086
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,706

#9: Lawton, Oklahoma

Lawton, Oklahoma Dam
Lawton, Oklahoma Homebuyer.com Mid-Size City Affordability Score: 97.77%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,488
Insurance Costs$321
Property Taxes$155
Transportation Costs$1,257
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,745

#10: South Bend, Indiana

South Bend, Indiana Downtown
South Bend, Indiana Homebuyer.com Mid-Size City Affordability Score: 97.65%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,422
Insurance Costs$192
Property Taxes$147
Transportation Costs$1,366
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,788

Most Affordable Small Cities to Buy a House

This sub-section of our study highlights the Cheapest Small Cities In America, with “small city” defined as areas with at least 50,000 residents and fewer than 71,000 residents. 

We qualified 273 cities as Small Cities, with many orbiting larger metropolitan areas.

The two largest small cities we analyzed were Blaine, Minnesota (70,935 residents) and Noblesville, Indiana (70,926 residents), suburban communities of Minneapolis and Indianapolis, respectively.

Other satellite cities in the Small City range include Pinellas Park, Florida (Tampa); Wilmington, Delaware (Philadelphia); and Maricopa, Arizona (Phoenix); plus, twelve cities in the Chicagoland area: 

  1. Gary, Indiana
  2. Berwyn, Illinois
  3. Tinley Park, Illinois
  4. Oak Lawn, Illinois
  5. Des Plaines, Illinois
  6. Mount Prospect, Illinois
  7. Hoffman Estate, Illinois
  8. Oak Park, Illinois
  9. Wheaton, Illinois
  10. Skokie, Illinois
  11. Orland Park, Illinois
  12. Palatine, Ilinois

The third-largest small city, Camarillo, California (70,858 residents), is a Los Angeles exurb. Camarillo is one of 56 California cities designed as a Small City. None ranked high in our study.

Here are the most affordable small cities to buy a home in 2023:

Map Of The Most Affordable Small Cities To Buy A House In 2023

#1: Gary, Indiana

Gary, Indiana Downtown
Gary, Indiana Homebuyer.com Small City Affordability Score: 100%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$976
Insurance Costs$229
Property Taxes$97
Transportation Costs$956
Total Cost of Homeownership$1,931

#2: Canton, Ohio

Canton, Ohio Park
Canton, Ohio Homebuyer.com Small City Affordability Score: 99.18%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,063
Insurance Costs$150
Property Taxes$147
Transportation Costs$1,097
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,160

#3: Pontiac, Michigan

Pontiac, Michigan Downtown
Pontiac, Michigan Homebuyer.com Small City Affordability Score: 98.90%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,165
Insurance Costs$219
Property Taxes$158
Transportation Costs$1,071
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,237

#4: Lorain, Ohio

Lorain, Ohio Lighthouse
Lorain, Ohio Homebuyer.com Small City Affordability Score: 98.84%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,128
Insurance Costs$154
Property Taxes$177
Transportation Costs$1,125
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,253

#5: Muncie, Indiana

Muncie, Indiana Downtown
Muncie, Indiana Homebuyer.com Small City Affordability Score: 98.84%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,147
Insurance Costs$199
Property Taxes$94
Transportation Costs$1,108
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,255

#6: Albany, Georgia

Albany, Georgia City Photo
Albany, Georgia Homebuyer.com Small City Affordability Score: 98.74%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,289
Insurance Costs$195
Property Taxes$175
Transportation Costs$992
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,281

#7: Youngstown, Ohio

Youngstown, Ohio City Skyline
Youngstown, Ohio Homebuyer.com Small City Affordability Score: 98.72%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,235
Insurance Costs$154
Property Taxes$202
Transportation Costs$1,053
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,288

#8: Kokomo, Indiana

Kokomo, Indiana Howard County Courthouse
Kokomo, Indiana Homebuyer.com Small City Affordability Score: 98.35%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,218
Insurance Costs$190
Property Taxes$110
Transportation Costs$1,171
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,389

#9: Decatur, Illinois

Decatur, Illinoise Downtown City
Decatur, Illinois Homebuyer.com Small City Affordability Score: 98.25%

Image credit: Archedamian

CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,118
Insurance Costs$183
Property Taxes$213
Transportation Costs$1,299
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,417

#10: Terre Haute, Indiana

Terra Haute, Indiana Buildings
Terre Haute, Indiana Homebuyer.com Small City Affordability Score: 98.25%
CategoryMonthly Cost
Mortgage Payment$1,325
Insurance Costs$214
Property Taxes$133
Transportation Costs$1,094
Total Cost of Homeownership$2,418

Methodology

To find the most affordable cities to buy a home, we started with the 927 core statistical areas as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau, and it split them into three equal sections based on city size:

  • 50,000 – 71,000 residents
  • 71,000 – 113,000 residents
  • More than 113,000 residents

The Census Bureau does not recognize areas with fewer than 50,000 residents as cities, so notable and growing areas such as South Jordan, Utah; New Braunfels, Texas; and Castle Rock, Colorado are excluded from the survey.

To assign a normalized score to each city, we gathered four home affordability data points for a typical first-time home buyer:

  • Mortgage Payment
  • Property Taxes
  • Transportation Expenses
  • Home Insurance Costs

To calculate a mortgage payment, we used the most common mortgage product for first-time home buyers – the conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage – and assumed the minimum 3 percent down payment allowed via the conventional mortgage programs: HomeReady, Home Possible, and the Conventional 97.

We did not include the Conventional 100 mortgage program because it’s a geographically-limited, and this is a national survey.

We assigned a 6 percent mortgage rate to the conventional loan. We ignored state-specific differences in mortgage rates as negligible and assigned the same interest rate to all buyers.

Rates are based on Homebuyer.com customers. 

To calculate property tax, we multiplied the city’s local tax rate by its median listing price provided by real estate data company Altos Research. Note that the property tax bill for a home is based on its assessed value – not its listing price. 

Assessed values are difficult to locate online and in county records. They’re also lagging behind the market. Because the difference between list price and assessed value is often less than ten percent, and because data for all cities could be treated equally, we elected to employ the listing price for our study.

To calculate homeowners insurance costs, we averaged city-wide data using publicly-available results from Insurance.com based on dwelling coverage of $200,000 with a $1,000 deductible and an accompanying personal liability policy for $100,000 in damages. 

To calculate transportation costs, we used The Center for Neighborhood Technology’s H+T® Index, which represents “the average total cost of household transportation.” The H+T® Index defines transportation costs as the sum of auto ownership costs, auto use costs, and public transit costs, as modeled for the typical household.” We use the association’s Annual Transportation Cost for the Regional Typical Household for its analysis of transportation costs in every U.S. city.

As part of the survey, we elected to ignore home energy costs because, as of this print, 29% of businesses are work-from-home workplaces, making it difficult to estimate a home’s average energy costs accurately. Homeowners of identical, neighboring homes often pay wildly different utility bills.

Yes, You Can Share Our Research

Homebuyer.com conducted this research to help first-time home buyer make better housing choices.

If you found our research helpful, you are welcome to share this article with proper attribution.

Here’s how to properly share the Homebuyer.com study:

  • Please include highlights from the study only. Do not copy images or tables.
  • You must include a link to the complete study on the Homebuyer.com website.
  • You must link to this page URL using one of these three terms: “Most Affordable Cities To Buy A House”, “Most Affordable Cities”, or “Homebuyer.com”.

For follow-up information and usage rights for our research, please email our team at hello@homebuyer.com. We would love to help you do more with our data.

Sources:


       Would you like to move somewhere affordable? For many first-time home buyers, choosing a place to live comes with questions: How close is the home to my family? What job opportunities exist nearby? How are the local schools? Cost matters, too. According to The National Association of REALTORS®,  buyers say that “overall affordability of homes” […]

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