Lamenting the lack of affordable homes for sale in your area? You’re not alone. Across the country, high real estate prices are making it difficult, if not impossible, for many Americans who would like to buy a home and make the transition from renters to owners.
Nationwide, the median sales price for an existing single-family home was $235,000 in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. In San Jose, the median sales price was $1 million, while in San Francisco, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Honolulu, median prices topped $500,000. People earning $53,000 per year — roughly the median household income in the United States — would have trouble affording a home in those cities, as well as others, including Boston, Seattle, and Denver, based on home affordability calculators (and assuming they could afford to put 20% down).
With those numbers, the idea that you can still get a home for $50,000 or less might seem laughable. In many cities, $50,000 isn’t even enough to get you to a 20% down payment. Yet house prices aren’t sky high everywhere. In some parts of the country, you’ll still find homes in the low six, and sometimes even five, figures. To be sure, these budget-friendly towns don’t always top the lists of best places to live. They might have higher unemployment or poverty rates, or average salaries might be relatively low. High crime and bad schools might be problems in other areas. The homes themselves might be on the smaller side and could need work. Still, these cities might be the right fit for people who are willing to look beyond America’s biggest metropolises to turn their dream of home ownership into a reality.
According to the Realtors association data, there are dozens of metro areas in the U.S. where the median single-family home price is $150,000 or less, including Cleveland, Wichita, and Winston-Salem. In other words, half the homes in those cities sell for under $150,000. In some, homes are even cheaper. We’ve highlighted the 15 cities with the lowest median home prices. In these towns, you can still buy a home for just $50,000.
All home listing information from Zillow as of March 1.
15. Akron, Ohio
Median home price: $122,800
What you can get for $50,000: a three-bedroom, one-bath home for $48,000. The ranch-style house in the Kenmore neighborhood was built in 2004, has main-floor laundry, a fenced backyard, laminate floors, and an unfinished basement. It’s also close to the interstate.
14. Quad Cities, Illinois/Iowa
Median home price: $121,100
What you can get for $50,000: a vintage Chicago-style condo in Davenport, Iowa, for $42,995. This one-bed, one-bath, 710-square-foot unit is in a 1925 courtyard building has plenty of charming features, such as hardwood floors and crown moulding, plus some modern upgrades, such as a dishwasher. It also comes with one parking space. An HOA fee covers snow removal and most utilities, and the building is across the street from a park.
13. Toledo, Ohio
Median home price: $120,300
What you can get for $50,000: a four-bedroom, two-bath home for $44,900 in the Southside neighborhood. The house, built in 1916, has recently been renovated with new electrical and plumbing. It has an updated kitchen and bath, as well as new floors. It’s close to downtown Toledo, an elementary school is one block away, and the Toledo Zoo is within a 5-minute drive.
12. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Median home price: $120,000
What you can get for $50,000: a two-bedroom, one-bath house for $46,900. The 972-square-foot home is small but move-in ready. A walk-up attic space offers potential for expansion, and there is a large yard. There is an enclosed front porch and a detached garage, as well as details, such as crown moulding and built-ins.
11. Wichita Falls, Texas
Median home price: $118,900
What you can get for $50,000: a three-bedroom, two-bath home built in 1947 for $48,000. The 1,640-square-foot house has a living room with hardwood floors and a fireplace, plus quirky mid-century details, such as a built-in room divider with a bench.
10. Kankakee, Illinois
Median home price: $118,800
What you can get for $50,000: a four-bedroom, one-bath home on a double lot for $40,000. The 1,100-square-foot home was built in 1905 and has newer windows, furnace, and garage, and a new roof. There’s a backyard koi pond and a clawfoot tub in the bathroom.
9. Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa
Median home price: $118,200
What you can get for $50,000: a three-bedroom, 1¾-bath home for $49,900 in Waterloo, Iowa. This spacious 1915 home features craftsman-style details, such as original woodwork and built-ins. There’s also main-floor laundry, a two-car garage, and a fenced backyard.
8. Peoria, Illinois
Median home price: $113,700
What you can get for $50,000: a three-bedroom, 1½-bath house for $42,000. This two-story vintage home on a corner lot has original woodwork, beamed ceilings, a fireplace, and stained glass windows. There are hardwood floors throughout and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.
7. South Bend, Indiana
Median home price: $113,700
What you can get for $50,000: a two-bedroom, one-bath home for $46,750. This 1920, 864-square-foot home has been completely remodeled and features a new kitchen, updated bath, new water heater, and a large front deck.
6. Erie, Pennsylvania
Median home price: $113,400
What you can get for $50,000: a three-bedroom, two-bath house for $45,500 in Girard, Pennsylvania, just outside of Erie. This doublewide manufactured home is in move-in ready condition. It has a wood-burning fireplace, deck, and comes with all appliances.
5. Binghamton, New York
Median home price: $109,700
What you can get for $50,000: a two-bedroom, one-bath ranch-style home on a tree-filled lot for $48,500. The home has hardwood floors and a wood-burning fireplace, as well as an eat-in kitchen, attached garage, and an enclosed back porch.
4. Rockford, Illinois
Median home price: $109,500
What you can get for $50,000: a three-bedroom, two-bath home built in 2003 for $50,000. The nearly 1,400-square-foot home has an attached garage, main floor laundry, and is on a corner lot. The home, which is on the city’s west side, is close to a park and within walking distance of an elementary school.
3. Cumberland, Maryland
Median home price: $94,000
What you can get for $50,000: a three-bedroom, one-bath, 1,405-square-foot duplex for $39,900. The house has a fireplace, automatic blinds, and deck in the back. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath, a 184½-mile hiking and biking trail operated by the National Park Service, is nearby.
2. Decatur, Illinois
Median home price: $92,400
What you can get for $50,000: a two-bedroom, one-bath home for $42,000. This 971-square-foot house on a dead-end street was built in 1956 and has energy-efficient upgrades, a newer furnace and A/C, and a detached garage. A large park is two blocks away, and Lake Decatur is nearby.
1. Youngstown, Ohio
Median home price: $87,600
What you can get for $50,000: a two-bedroom, 1½-bath home for $49,900. The 936-square-foot house was built in 1947 and has been recently updated with new electrical, windows, and a full bath. There’s a fenced yard and front and back decks, and the house is within a few blocks of Mill Creek Park, which is home to hiking trails and historic attractions, such as Lanterman’s Mill.