When you think about your ideal home, what factors come to mind? Maybe it’s the number of bedrooms or whether there’s a pool in the backyard, but for most people location is king. You probably subconsciously chose your location first, whether you realized it or not.
Some people choose their home based on proximity to family or friends, or the quality of schools or abundance of nightlife and entertainment options. But chief among all those factors is the cost of living involved. How much does it cost to live in a certain area, and can you afford to do so?
People choose to move each year for a number of factors, including their jobs or better living opportunities elsewhere. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an average of about 12% of Americans have moved each year since 2008. All told, that means 35.7 million people or more are packing their belongings into cardboard boxes to move across town — or across the country.
The most and least expensive states
Home prices have generally been back on the rise since the recovery from the Great Recession. However, there are still remarkable differences depending on which state you choose to call home. A stand-alone home in Jackson, Mississippi with three bedrooms and 2,100 square feet has been listed for $59,900. Meanwhile, a new condo with similar square footage in San Francisco is listed at an astounding $4.5 million. The only explanation: The condo is located in a city with astronomical job opportunities, but also a sky-high cost of living.
If you’re looking for a low-cost place to live with cheaper housing, groceries, and utilities, reviewing the cheapest states is a good place to start. This list of the cheapest states uses data from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center and other resources. Each state is ranked by its cost of living index, as of the third quarter of 2016.