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30 Most Affordable Major Cities in the U.S.

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In this article we will take a look at the 30 most affordable major cities in the U.S. You can skip our detailed analysis of America's most budget friendly cities to live in, and go directly to 5 Most Affordable Major Cities in the U.S.

Major American cities are seeing an exodus of young Americans, who are leaving expensive, crowded cities for affordable, cleaner and environmentally-friendly cities. This trend was fueled by the pandemic, which forced companies to allow employees to work remotely. A recent survey by Gallup also shows that over 48% of the population prefer to live in towns or smaller cities. Big cities including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc., were losing population long before the pandemic, with New York topping the charts with 376 departures per day.

One of the key reasons behind this trend is the rising rents. The average monthly apartment rent in the high-cost cities is $1,124 which consumes a major portion of people’s monthly income. Moreover, real estate also comes with a hefty price tag. The median property value in New York is about $325,500 compensated with an average annual household income of $67,844.

The process of out-migration from major U.S. cities increased in 2020 due to the pandemic. According to the U.S. Postal Service, nearly 36 million addresses were changed in 2020 due to internal migration. In 2020, over 135,600 people moved out of California to the states with lower taxes. Tech giants and Silicon Valley executives like Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company (NYSE: HPE) and Oracle Corporation (NYSE: ORCL) are also relocating their headquarters from California to Texas.

This migration from big cities can be beneficial for people, considering the current situation. But this whole situation has swollen the unemployment rate of major cities in the U.S. For example, 8.5% of people in New York are jobless whereas California's unemployment rate is over 8.3%. However, people are moving to smaller cities for experiencing a better quality of life, cutting costs, security, and progressive opportunities.

One of the major reasons for this migration can be attributed to the facility of remote working in the face of the pandemic. With the option of ‘work from home,’ people preferred to move to smaller affordable cities or their ancestral hometowns. The data shows that over 23 million in the U.S. are planning to move in the future due to remote working opportunities. About 20.6% of this population is currently based in major cities of the country.

Moreover, companies like Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company (NYSE: HPE), Oracle Corporation (NYSE: ORCL), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) have granted permission to their employees to work remotely. However, certain positions will not be able to take advantage of the new hybrid workspace and will continue to remain at Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) offices. Similarly, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has made investments in resources to keep the staff working from the comfort of their homes. The deadline for remote working at Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is extended till June 2021.

In view of this rising trend, we have made a list of the 30 most affordable major cities in the U.S. The cities are ranked on the basis of housing expenses, cost of living, and median home prices.

Most Affordable Major Cities in the U.S.
Most Affordable Major Cities in the U.S.

https://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/5-most-affordable-major-cities-in-the-u-s-942242/

With this context in mind, let’s start our list of the 30 most affordable major cities in the U.S.

Most Affordable Major Cities in the U.S.

30. Salt Lake City, Utah

Cost of living: 6% below U.S. average Median home price: $320,281

Salt Lake City has a lot of recreational sites and offers an affordable lifestyle. The housing expenses are 8% and utility prices are 22% lower than the national average. However, the city is actually a mix of urban and suburban surroundings, so transportation expenses are 7% higher than the national average, according to data from PayScale. It ranks 30 in the list of the most affordable major cities in the U.S.

29. South Bend, Indiana

Cost of living: 8% below U.S. average Median home price: $314,035

South Bend is located on the St. Joseph River in Indiana and is famous for its nearby located University of Notre Dame. The city can be a good alternative to big cities with housing costs 9% lower than the national average and rents as low as $780. Costs for transportation are also 8% lower than what the average American pays. It ranks 29th in the list of the most affordable major cities in the U.S.

28. Richmond, Virginia

Cost of living: 4% below U.S. average Median home price: $307,789

The capital of Virginia, Richmond is one of the oldest cities in the U.S. It is widely known for its diversity with African Americans constituting 47% of the population. In the last decade, the population has increased by 12.8% due to its budget-friendly lifestyle. The housing expenses are 11% lower than the national average, and 43% of the population owns their properties.

27. Boise, Idaho

Cost of living: 12% below U.S. average Median home price: $305,013

Boise is known for its perfect climate due to the Boise River Greenbelt, which is the favorite spot of the locals. The population of the city has increased by 9.3% in the last decade. Boise is one of the most affordable major cities in the U.S. with 12% lower housing expenses than the national average. The job market is good with an unemployment rate of 3.8%. Moreover, the grocery giant Albertsons Companies, Inc. (NYSE: ACI) is headquartered in Boise. It ranks 27th in the list of the most affordable major cities in the U.S.

26. Birmingham, Alabama

Cost of living: 9% below U.S. average Median home price: $299,808

Birmingham is one of the most populous cities in Alabama, with an estimated population of over 212,000 people. With several Civil Rights landmarks and the famous McWane Science Center, Birmingham has a lot to offer to its residents without burdening their bank accounts. The housing expenses are 14% lower than the national average with a median rent of over $900. Moreover, Birmingham’s healthcare system is 16% cheaper than the U.S. average.

25. Lawton, Oklahoma

Cost of living: 9% below U.S. average Median home price: $291,480

Located in southwest Oklahoma, Lawton is a culturally and historically rich city with a lot of museums and cultural centers located in its vicinity. Lawton offers its residents an amusing environment without causing a dent in their paychecks. The utility and housing expenses are 9% and 16% lower than the national average, respectively. Moreover, a two-bedroom house can be bought for as low as $49,000.

24. Montgomery, Alabama

Cost of living: 8% below U.S. average Median home price: $288,010

Montgomery is the capital of Alabama and is one of the most affordable major cities in the U.S. This culturally-rich city offers a competitive job market to its citizens with companies like Sykes Enterprises, Incorporated (NASDAQ: SYKE) having over 500 employees in its customer support center. The housing costs are also 17% lower than the U.S. average, while apartments can be rented for over $880.

It ranks 24th in the list of the most affordable major cities in the U.S.

23. Des Moines, Iowa

Cost of living: 10% below U.S. average Median home price: $286,622

Des Moines is the capital city of Iowa and is becoming one of the favorite places of people coming from big cities. The population saw an increase of over 5% in the last decade. Living in Des Moines can be a wholesome experience with cost-effective real estate. A three-bedroom house can be bought for as low as $220,000 with overall 17% lower housing expenses when compared to the national average.

22. Lincoln, Nebraska

Cost of living: 7% below U.S. average Median home price: $286,622

Lincoln is the capital city of Nebraska and is next on our list of the most affordable major cities in the U.S. The city has seen a growth of over 12% in its population in the last 10 years. The job market is competitive as the average annual salary of the citizens is around $46,800. The housing expenses are 17% lower than the national average. Lincoln’s unemployment rate stands at 2.8%, which is one of the lowest in the U.S.

21. Topeka, Kansas

Cost of living: 4% below U.S. average Median home price: $286,622

Topeka is the capital of Kansas with a population of 127,877. The city is one of the most affordable places in the U.S. as the housing expenses are 17% lower than the national average and the median rent of over $897. Topeka is a fast-paced suburban city located within the range of other important cities including Kansas City. The city also offers an affordable transportation system with prices 6% lower than the national average.

20. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Cost of living: 9% below U.S. average Median home price: $281,764

The economic and cultural hub of West Michigan, Grand Rapids is one of the fastest-growing cities in the state. The city’s population has increased by 7% in the last decade because of 19% lower housing expenses than the national average. The city's median rent stands at $882 and over 55% of the population live in their own houses.

19. Lynchburg, Virginia

Cost of living: 11% below U.S. average Median home price: $275,865

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains foothills, Lynchburg is one of the most affordable cities in the U.S. The housing expenses are 20% lower than the national average. The city also offers a competitive job market where the unemployment rate stands at 5.4% as of March 2021. With a population of over 82,000, the city falls short of providing diversity and a variety of activities to its residents.

Major startups backed by companies like Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company (NYSE: HPE), Oracle Corporation (NYSE: ORCL), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) are opening offices in Virginia.

18. Youngstown, Ohio

Cost of living: 14% below U.S. average Median home price: $271,354

Youngstown is rated as one of the most affordable cities in the U.S., with housing costs 22% below the national average. With 55% of the population living in their own homes, the city also offers rented apartments for as cheap as $662. Youngstown’s sparse suburban feel allows the residents to commute by foot, hence reducing the transportation expenses to 7% than the national average.

17. Evansville, Indiana

Cost of living: 11% below U.S. average Median home price: $267,190

Located on the Ohio River, Evansville is a recreational city with a much affordable lifestyle. The housing costs are 23% lower than the national average and 55% of the population owning the property. The city has an overall suburban feel with transportation expenses 5% below the U.S. average.

16. Tampa, Florida

Cost of living: 5% below U.S. average Median home price: $266,843

Tampa is the major city on the Gulf Coast and sits on the Tampa Bay. The city’s economy is driven by tourism, which is one of the many reasons that makes it a desirable city. Along with this, the living costs are low as compared to the other cities in the U.S. The housing costs are 23% lower than the national average and the median rent is over $830. Tampa’s population has increased by 19% in the last decade.

Miami, another famous city in Florida, is seeing an influx of tech entrepreneurs and startups backed by famous companies like Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company (NYSE: HPE), Oracle Corporation (NYSE: ORCL), Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), thanks to the city's mayor Francis X. Suarez, who actively helps tech companies and invites them to his city for investments and development.

15. Brownsville, Texas

Cost of living: 15% below U.S. average Median home price: $265,455

Brownsville is located on the western Gulf Coast in South Texas and is the best place to move to cut off some real estate costs. The housing expenses in the city are over 23% lower than the U.S. average, and a median rent of $831 does not overburden the bank accounts of its citizens. This is why 66% of the population lives in their own houses.

A lot of tech companies, VCs and startups are moving to Texas. Texas has been getting a lot of attention from Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) founder Elon Musk. The state also allocated around $30 million in incentives for SpaceX’s Boca Chica operations. Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA)'s Elon Musk’s SpaceX is reportedly trying to buy land from a handful of villagers in Texas as it plans to expand its operations.

Many startups backed by Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company (NYSE: HPE) and Oracle Corporation (NYSE: ORCL) are also moving to Texas because of its friendly policies and low costs.

14. Jackson, Mississippi

Cost of living: 11% below U.S. average Median home price: $261,985

The City of Jackson is the capital of Mississippi. The city’s low cost of living puts it among the most affordable cities in the U.S. The housing expenses are 24% lower than the national average. The suburbs of Jackson present affordable real estate with a median home value of as cheap as $69,800. Jackson also offers many job opportunities to its citizen with companies like Trustmark Corporation (NASDAQ: TRMK) operating as one of its major employers.

13. Huntsville, Alabama

Cost of living: 5% below U.S. average Median home price: $258,168

Huntsville is one of the fastest-growing cities in Alabama with an 11.2% increase in population in the last decade. The reason for this expansion can be attributed to the availability of jobs in nearly every field and affordable lifestyle as compared to the big cities. The housing does not overburden the bank account as the expenses are 26% lower than the national average. Moreover, companies like Nippon Express Co., Ltd. (TYO: 9062T) are investing millions of dollars in Huntsville Metro that will bring over 500 jobs to the city.

12. Jonesboro, Arkansas

Cost of living: 16% below U.S. average Median home price: $257,821

Jonesboro is rated as one of the most affordable major cities in the U.S., with costs much lower than the average expenses. The housing expenses are 26% and utility prices are 13% below the U.S. average. Because of this, the city has seen a 16.5% increase in the population in the last decade. Not only this, but healthcare is also reasonable, with rates of about 18% lower than the national average.

11. Amarillo, Texas

Cost of living: 14% below U.S. average Median home price: $249,146

Famous for Don Harrington Discovery Center and Space Theater, Amarillo is one of the most affordable cities in the U.S. The housing expenses are 28% lower than the national average and the median rent is over $780. The city has a lot to offer in terms of culture-centric activities and offers a well-maintained lifestyle to its citizens. The grocery prices in Amarillo are about 8% lower than the U.S. average. The city’s economy held up well in the pandemic as its unemployment rate fell to 4.9% in March 2021, which previously stood at 9.0%.

10. Knoxville, Tennessee

Cost of living: 18% below U.S. average Median home price: $249,146

Located on the Tennessee River in eastern Tennessee, Knoxville is famous for its extremely friendly neighborhood and low crime rate. The city has seen a rise of 5.3% in its population in the last ten years and is one of the most affordable major cities in the U.S. The housing expenses are 28% and utility prices are 10% below the national average.

9. Wichita Falls, Texas

Cost of living: 16% below U.S. average Median home price: $249,146

Located in northern Texas, Wichita Falls is next on our list of most affordable places in the U.S. The city really allows the citizens to stretch their paychecks as the housing expenses are 28% and utility prices are 9% lower than the national average.

8. Temple, Texas

Cost of living: 13% below U.S. average Median home price: $246,717

Temple is a small city in Texas with a population of over 78,000 people. Within the last decade, the city has seen an increase of 18.7% in its population, which shows that people are widely considering it a safe place to move. The housing expenses in Temple city are 29% below the national average and a median household income stands at $54,873. Companies like Pactiv Evergreen Inc. (NASDAQ: PTVE) and Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) are listed as the major employers in Temple.

With an option to work from home from major companies like Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), the city is bound to see a population surge in the coming months.

7. St. Petersburg, Florida

Cost of living: 7% below U.S. average Median home price: $245,358

St. Petersburg is best known for its pleasant weather and recreational activities like golfing, boating, fishing, etc. The population increase of 8.2% makes it one of the most desirable cities to live in today. The housing-related expenses are 29% lower than the national average. Those who want to rent an apartment also don’t have to overburden their paychecks as the median rent stands at $768.

6. Springfield, Missouri

Cost of living: 12% below U.S. average Median home price: $243, 247

Springfield is next on our list of most affordable cities in the U.S. Located in southwestern Missouri, the city has a lot to offer apart from its world-famous friendly neighborhood. With 30% lower housing expenses than the national average and Affordable Housing Programs, Springfield has recorded a 5.4% increase in its population in the last decade.

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Disclosure: None. 30 Most Affordable Major Cities in the U.S. is originally published on Insider Monkey.