What’s the cheapest place to buy a house? And what does the average home in the U.S. cost? Don’t worry — we’ll answer these questions and much more in our complete guide below.
When it’s time to buy a house, the world is your oyster. But if you’re looking to buy a home somewhere in the U.S., it’s nice to know the cheapest place to buy a house.
What state has the lowest median house prices? And while we’re at it, which states have the highest? The average prices of homes in each state vary widely.
Some states have surprisingly low average home values, and others are more expensive than you might think. Who hasn’t dreamed of packing up and moving to Hawaii? But the average price for a home there tops the list as the most expensive in the nation.
If your budget is tight and you want to find a cost-effective spot to settle down, take a look at our list to find the most promising and affordable areas. The cheapest place to buy a house might surprise you.
Keep reading to see the complete list of average home prices by state from highest to lowest. We analyzed data from the 2019 American Community Survey by the United States Census Bureau for this list.
We’ll also talk about the cheapest cities to buy a home in and share a few tips that will help you find an affordable house.
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Average Home Prices by State
Overall, the average home price in the United States is about $240,500. As you’ll see in a moment, some states’ median home prices are nearly three times higher than that.
But many cities and states have much lower home prices – think in the $30,000 to $50,000 range!
Let’s start our quest to find the cheapest place to buy a house – and the most expensive – in the United States. States are listed below from the highest median home price to the lowest.
State Median Home Price
Washington D.C. $646,500
New Jersey $348,800
New York $338,700
Rhode Island $283,000
New Hampshire $281,400
North Dakota $205,400
North Carolina $193,200
South Dakota $185,000
New Mexico $180,900
South Carolina $179,800
West Virginia $124,600
Keep in mind that these are the median home prices. So there are cheaper places to buy a house (think small towns), but we’re just taking into account bigger cities.
Where’s the Cheapest Place to Buy a House?
Hawaii definitely isn’t the cheapest place to buy a house – that honor goes to West Virginia, the state with the lowest median home price ($124,600).
But there are cities throughout the country with even lower average home prices than that. In fact, there are tons of affordable places to buy a house throughout the United States.
You just have to know where to look! We’ll take the top 10 cheapest states to buy a home and look at the lowest average home price for cities in those states.
These are listed from lowest to highest median home price:
- Gary, Indiana: $44,300
- Jackson, Mississippi: $57,000
- Pine Bluff, Arkansas: $60,500
- Youngstown, Ohio: $72,900
- Gadsden, Alabama: $73,600
- Muskogee, Oklahoma: $84,200
- Bluefield, West Virginia: $84,500
- Princeton, Kentucky: $92,700
- Hutchinson, Kansas: $98,000
- Waterloo, Iowa: $105,100
Gary, Indiana may be the cheapest city to buy a home in out of the top 10 cheapest states, but there are even more cities with extremely low median house prices. Seriously – many are at or below the $50,000 range!
These aren’t all in the top 10 states on the list, but that goes to show you can find cheap houses in nearly any state. These home prices are low enough to deserve your consideration.
Check these cities out if you’re looking to buy an affordable house:
- Detroit, MI median home price: $32,600
- Buffalo, NY median home price: $51,000
- Toledo, OH median home price: $51,200
- Cleveland, OH median home price: $50,000
- Augusta, GA median home price: $74,600
- Akron, OH median home price: $55,600
5 Tips to Find a Cheap House
Houses priced well below the national and state averages are everywhere. You just have to know how to find them! The key is making sure you do your research.
The plan: Find an affordable house you’ll love in a decent neighborhood with everything you need nearby. Here’s what you need to do.
1. Search Outside Metro and Coastal Areas
You’ll have more luck finding a cheap house if you start your search outside the big cities, suburbs, and coastal areas. Target your search to smaller towns in the area you’re interested in, and you’ll see median home prices drop considerably.
Likewise, if you look for houses that aren’t located on the coast, prices are lower. Something to consider with this method: There are definite pros and cons.
You’re going to increase your commute time and put increased mileage on your vehicles. You may be further from some amenities, activities, and shopping.
The schools may be smaller or receive less funding. But you’ll benefit with the much lower home and land prices, a cheaper cost of living, less light pollution, and a reduction in traffic.
2. Check Out Fixer-Uppers
Homes listed as fixer-uppers or being sold “As Is” should definitely be on your list. If you’re handy, you can buy a fixer-upper house for cheap and make the needed repairs and renovations yourself.
Even if you’d rather not take on major home improvement and repair projects, a home priced low enough can still leave you enough room to pay a contractor to do the work and end up paying less than you would for an average-priced home.
Don’t consider buying a fixer-upper unless you fully understand what you’re getting into, though. A low-priced home can quickly turn into a time and money pit if you don’t do your research.
Ask any real estate investor! Make sure to have the property inspected, gather estimates from contractors in advance, and determine if you could qualify for a rehab loan to make it worth your while.
3. Look for FSBO Listings
When you’re looking for cheap houses, FSBO (For Sale By Owner) listings are your friend. These homes are being sold directly by the owners without a real estate agent.
Many times, owners will opt to list the house themselves because they’re either in a hurry to move, don’t want to pay agent commissions, or aren’t worried about getting top dollar for their home.
Any of these scenarios could benefit you by resulting in a much lower list price than the home’s true market value. FSBO listings are more likely to sit on the market for a while, which you can use to your advantage by negotiating the price even lower.
Home search sites will show FSBO listings, but make sure to check out sites like Craigslist and ForSaleByOwner.com to see more listings.
4. Research Government Programs
You might not realize the number of government programs you can use to find really affordable houses in “revitalization areas” in your state. One of the best ways to find a cheap house is to go through the HUD Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program.
This program slashes the list price of a home by 50% as long as you meet two criteria:
- You must be a teacher (Pre-K through 12th grade), law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical technician
- You must agree to live in the property for 36 months
The program requires you to get a second mortgage in the amount of the discount, but you won’t make any payments on the “silent second” mortgage. Once the 36 month period is up, the second mortgage will be discharged.
5. Sign Up for Alerts
The websites and apps you use to look for houses have a handy feature that allows you to sign up for alerts when a listing matches your criteria. So if you’re looking for a house in a specific price range, just set up an alert to be notified each time a new house comes up for sale at that price.
By receiving real-time alerts, you’ll be among the first to know about a new listing that matches your criteria. This can give you a competitive edge for ultra low-priced properties that are likely to be snatched up quickly.
What’s the Cheapest Place to Buy a House?
Armed with information, you’re ready to start your search for an affordable house. You’ve seen that while West Virginia has the lowest median home price in the nation, there are plenty of cities in other states with even lower house prices.
We found several cities in Ohio with average prices in the $50,000 range. And in Detroit, you can buy a house for around $32,000! Knowing that there are lots of cheap places to buy a house around the U.S., you can start your search in almost any state.
Just make sure to look outside the major cities and suburbs, avoid coastal areas, keep your eye out for fixer-uppers and FSBO listings, and take advantage of government programs like HUD offers to find houses at 50% off the list price.
Do your research and continually search for homes in your price range. You just might be able to find the home of your dreams for under $100K in one of the cheapest places to buy a house.