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The 50 Best Places To Buy a Home for Under $250,000

Joel Anderson
·17 mins read

A family home is one of the key elements for many Americans, providing a long-term solution to their housing and a real estate investment for their portfolio. However, in many places in America, housing prices have started to rocket so high that homeownership has become the sort of dream that’s only imaginable for the rich. When the median home value in your area is $1 million or more, a 20% down payment alone comes to $200,000.

That’s why GOBankingRates has compiled a list of the best options for people who are ready to look beyond the beaten path for a place where houses are affordable and life is good. The study compiled the median home value from cities across the country, limiting itself to just those where prices are under a quarter-million dollars. It then added on factors like crime rates, unemployment and overall livability, scoring each and combining them to rank each city.

So, see if your home town is one of the places where you can expect to be able to buy a home for a price that’s not outrageous.

Last updated: Sept. 30, 2020

50. Brownsville, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $104,518

  • Livability score: 76

  • Median household income: $36,499

  • Unemployment rate: 11%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 31%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.03

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 27.71

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,190.96

49. Dallas

  • 2020 average home value: $237,212

  • Livability score: 74

  • Median household income: $50,100

  • Unemployment rate: 7.5%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 20.5%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 7.76

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.57

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $20,057.76

48. Lafayette, Louisiana

  • 2020 average home value: $178,852

  • Livability score: 72

  • Median household income: $50,182

  • Unemployment rate: 9.1%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 19.4%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.49

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 47.97

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,511.20

47. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

  • 2020 average home value: $159,143

  • Livability score: 67

  • Median household income: $44,311

  • Unemployment rate: 8.9%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 21.7%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.86

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 32.87

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,927.39

46. Laredo, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $160,733

  • Livability score: 72

  • Median household income: $43,351

  • Unemployment rate: 9.1%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 29.1%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.43

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 24.48

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,374.20

45. Greensboro, North Carolina

  • 2020 average home value: $171,514

  • Livability score: 68

  • Median household income: $46,702

  • Unemployment rate: 10.3%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 18.5%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.41

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.67

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,344.96

Be Aware: 50 Housing Markets That Are Turning Ugly

44. Savannah, Georgia

  • 2020 average home value: $184,775

  • Livability score: 65

  • Median household income: $41,093

  • Unemployment rate: 8.4%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 22.9%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.99

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 23.98

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,298.22

43. Lubbock, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $151,148

  • Livability score: 74

  • Median household income: $48,701

  • Unemployment rate: 6.4%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 20.2%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 10.07

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 47.04

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,570.81

42. Saint Petersburg, Florida

  • 2020 average home value: $241,690

  • Livability score: 68

  • Median household income: $53,816

  • Unemployment rate: 10.1%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 14.9%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.27

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.26

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $19,833.35

41. Norfolk, Virginia

  • 2020 average home value: $209,324

  • Livability score: 69

  • Median household income: $49,146

  • Unemployment rate: 9.3%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 19.7%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.81

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 36.46

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,710.44

40. Roanoke, Virginia

  • 2020 average home value: $173,723

  • Livability score: 74

  • Median household income: $43,028

  • Unemployment rate: 7.7%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 20.5%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.27

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 44.46

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,365.46

39. Pensacola, Florida

  • 2020 average home value: $161,460

  • Livability score: 70

  • Median household income: $48,686

  • Unemployment rate: 8.5%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17.8%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.50

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 39.29

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,802.71

38. Jacksonville, Florida

  • 2020 average home value: $204,596

  • Livability score: 67

  • Median household income: $52,576

  • Unemployment rate: 8.3%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.9%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.99

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.93

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $19,462.75

If You’re Moving: 25 Tricks To Sell Your House for a Bigger Profit

37. Oklahoma City

  • 2020 average home value: $145,922

  • Livability score: 77

  • Median household income: $54,034

  • Unemployment rate: 7.1%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 16.8%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 8.75

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 40.81

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $19,737.96

36. Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • 2020 average home value: $242,768

  • Livability score: 69

  • Median household income: $55,085

  • Unemployment rate: 8.2%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 19.9%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.62

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 35.01

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,805.72

35. Edinburg, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $136,705

  • Livability score: 79

  • Median household income: $46,862

  • Unemployment rate: 12.5%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 25.9%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.10

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.39

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,507.63

34. Grand Rapids, Michigan

  • 2020 average home value: $182,939

  • Livability score: 67

  • Median household income: $47,173

  • Unemployment rate: 8.4%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 21.2%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.60

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 19.42

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,097.21

33. San Antonio

  • 2020 average home value: $190,049

  • Livability score: 77

  • Median household income: $50,980

  • Unemployment rate: 7.9%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 18.6%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.33

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 40.35

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,465.99

32. Columbus, Georgia

  • 2020 average home value: $108,501

  • Livability score: 76

  • Median household income: $45,389

  • Unemployment rate: 6.8%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 21.1%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.27

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 38.51

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,901.11

Take a Look: Houses in These 29 Cities Are Suddenly Major Bargains

31. Corpus Christi, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $161,782

  • Livability score: 74

  • Median household income: $55,709

  • Unemployment rate: 10%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.8%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 8.17

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 37.15

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,096.13

30. Clarksville, Tennessee

  • 2020 average home value: $185,361

  • Livability score: 66

  • Median household income: $53,007

  • Unemployment rate: 9.2%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 14.7%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.66

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 29.14

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,239.52

29. Newport News, Virginia

  • 2020 average home value: $196,277

  • Livability score: 73

  • Median household income: $51,884

  • Unemployment rate: 9.3%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.5%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.31

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 29.20

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $19,278.63

28. Lakeland, Florida

  • 2020 average home value: $183,852

  • Livability score: 81

  • Median household income: $44,313

  • Unemployment rate: 13.2%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.28

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 30.96

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,458.84

27. Columbus, Ohio

  • 2020 average home value: $184,720

  • Livability score: 76

  • Median household income: $51,612

  • Unemployment rate: 6.8%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 20.4%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.98

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 35.91

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,241.35

26. Lawrenceville, Georgia

  • 2020 average home value: $241,478

  • Livability score: 72

  • Median household income: $47,169

  • Unemployment rate: 8.5%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 21.5%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 2.01

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 18.76

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,824.48

25. Louisville, Kentucky

  • 2020 average home value: $185,625

  • Livability score: 74

  • Median household income: $51,307

  • Unemployment rate: 6.4%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 16.6%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.56

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 36.82

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,478.91

Find Out: 50 Cities With the Most Overpriced Homes

24. Odessa, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $181,934

  • Livability score: 67

  • Median household income: $63,145

  • Unemployment rate: 12.6%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 10.7%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 9.16

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 25.35

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,276.75

23. Pasadena, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $165,480

  • Livability score: 78

  • Median household income: $53,331

  • Unemployment rate: 9.4%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17.7%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.46

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 23.48

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $19,703.33

22. Huntsville, Alabama

  • 2020 average home value: $185,623

  • Livability score: 76

  • Median household income: $53,840

  • Unemployment rate: 6.3%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17.7%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 7.88

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.27

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,303.84

21. Greenville, South Carolina

  • 2020 average home value: $210,041

  • Livability score: 74

  • Median household income: $53,571

  • Unemployment rate: 7.9%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 13.9%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.54

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 43.16

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,066.88

20. Omaha, Nebraska

  • 2020 average home value: $198,682

  • Livability score: 76

  • Median household income: $56,780

  • Unemployment rate: 5.9%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 14.3%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.61

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 34.84

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $19,798.90

19. Tyler, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $162,795

  • Livability score: 75

  • Median household income: $49,254

  • Unemployment rate: 7.2%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 19.4%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.94

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 30.31

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,864.46

18. Fort Worth, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $212,221

  • Livability score: 80

  • Median household income: $59,255

  • Unemployment rate: 7.5%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 16%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.01

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 28.56

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $20,115.28

17. Arlington, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $220,338

  • Livability score: 83

  • Median household income: $58,502

  • Unemployment rate: 7.5%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.7%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.50

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 29.95

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $20,152.55

Read More: In Less Than a Decade, You Won’t Be Able To Afford a Home in These Cities

16. Amarillo, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $138,807

  • Livability score: 81

  • Median household income: $52,543

  • Unemployment rate: 5.1%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.1%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 8.11

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 42.27

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,623.13

15. El Paso, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $141,495

  • Livability score: 77

  • Median household income: $45,656

  • Unemployment rate: 8.7%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 20%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.79

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 15.70

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,828.29

14. Des Moines, Iowa

  • 2020 average home value: $150,577

  • Livability score: 78

  • Median household income: $52,251

  • Unemployment rate: 6.9%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17.2%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.88

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 29.33

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,211.42

13. Garland, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $212,002

  • Livability score: 79

  • Median household income: $58,999

  • Unemployment rate: 7.5%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 14.2%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 2.72

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 26.75

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $20,098.55

12. Lexington, Kentucky

  • 2020 average home value: $210,407

  • Livability score: 75

  • Median household income: $54,918

  • Unemployment rate: 5.5%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17.8%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.09

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.85

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,771.45

11. Lincoln, Nebraska

  • 2020 average home value: $202,347

  • Livability score: 80

  • Median household income: $55,224

  • Unemployment rate: 5%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 14.2%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.71

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 29.48

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,962.01

10. Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • 2020 average home value: $149,870

  • Livability score: 80

  • Median household income: $48,023

  • Unemployment rate: 8.2%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17.3%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.83

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 26.26

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $16,598.33

9. Killeen, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $138,179

  • Livability score: 77

  • Median household income: $50,418

  • Unemployment rate: 7.1%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 13.8%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.89

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 22.80

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,783.86

8. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

  • 2020 average home value: $227,536

  • Livability score: 72

  • Median household income: $59,017

  • Unemployment rate: 5.5%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 11.3%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.33

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 29.07

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,478.32

7. Irving, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $243,162

  • Livability score: 85

  • Median household income: $61,937

  • Unemployment rate: 7.5%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 13.5%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 2.14

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 25.02

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $19,760.57

6. Conroe, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $234,334

  • Livability score: 89

  • Median household income: $57,214

  • Unemployment rate: 9.4%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 12.8%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 2.80

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 26.02

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,623.70

5. Grand Prairie, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $223,551

  • Livability score: 83

  • Median household income: $65,249

  • Unemployment rate: 7.5%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 12.1%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 2.55

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 20.07

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $20,050.25

4. Port St. Lucie, Florida

  • 2020 average home value: $242,908

  • Livability score: 81

  • Median household income: $57,113

  • Unemployment rate: 10.2%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 10.1%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 1.12

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 9.48

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $19,720.41

3. Spring, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $223,373

  • Livability score: 83

  • Median household income: $68,980

  • Unemployment rate: 9.4%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 13%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 1.76

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 13.14

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $20,182.96

2. Aurora, Illinois

  • 2020 average home value: $198,118

  • Livability score: 77

  • Median household income: $69,730

  • Unemployment rate: 12%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 12.6%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 2.70

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 11.59

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,456.94

1. Edmond, Oklahoma

  • 2020 average home value: $247,551

  • Livability score: 92

  • Median household income: $78,692

  • Unemployment rate: 7.1%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 10.7%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 1.40

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 15.87

  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $20,040.87

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: In order to find the 50 best places to buy a home for under $250,000, GOBankingRates looked at the 100 most populous cities where home values in 2020 did not go above $250,000 and had a 2020 average below $250,000 according to Zillow’s 2020 data. Once these 100 cities were identified, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors: (1) median household income as sourced from the United States Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey; (2) an overall livability score out of 100 sourced from AreaVibes; (3) violent crime rate per 1,000 residents and (4) property crime rate per 1,000 residents, both sourced from Neighborhood Scout; (5) Metropolitan Statistical Area unemployment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary data for July 2020; (6) percent of population living below the poverty line sourced from the United States Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey; and (7) an annual cost-of-living expenditures estimate (groceries, healthcare, utilities and transportation), based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2018 Consumer Expenditure Survey and local cost-of-living indices sourced from Sperling’s Best Places. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lower score being best, and then ranked to give the final placements. All data was collected on and up to date as of Sept. 17, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The 50 Best Places To Buy a Home for Under $250,000