The 10 Most Affordable Cities in America

The 10 Most Affordable Cities in America
Photo (cc) by G. O'Graffer

If you think your costs of living are too high, try moving to the Midwest.

Midwestern cities dominate Trulia’s recent ranking of the country’s most affordable places to live. Of the top 10 highest-ranked cities, all but one — Syracuse, New York — are in the Midwestern region.

Trulia, a real estate listing website, ranked the affordability of the 100 largest metropolitan areas based on what percentage of their income residents spend on living expenses.

In the No. 1 ranked city — Akron, Ohio — residents spend about 29 percent of their monthly income on housing, utilities and commuting costs, according to Trulia’s research. The median household income is about $45,600 and the median home listing price is about $120,500.

It’s not enough to look at housing costs when looking for an affordable place to live, Trulia explains:

Mortgage payments, property taxes and insurance aren’t the only factors affecting housing affordability. The cost of commuting and utilities can also play a big role depending on where you live. … When we took these two non-housing essential costs into account, we found that some of the most affordable markets don’t look that cheap anymore.

The top 10 cities on Trulia’s list are:

  • Akron, Ohio
  • Dayton, Ohio
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Wichita, Kansas
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Cleveland
  • Toledo, Ohio
  • Syracuse, New York
  • St. Louis

Midwestern cities, particularly Ohio cities, also dominated the least expensive locales last year when mortgage information provider HSH.com determined how much salary it would take to afford a median-priced home in 27 metropolitan areas. The five cheapest cities in that ranking were:

  • Cleveland
  • Pittsburgh
  • St. Louis
  • Cincinnati
  • Detroit

How would you rank your city for affordability? Share your thoughts in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

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