When it comes to deciding where to live, cost is one of the biggest deciding factors. Whether it’s the price of groceries, real estate, property tax, or transportation, chances are, affordability is high on your list of priorities, right along with other important factors such as location and climate. To simplify this process for you, we’ve calculated the costs and compiled the top 20 list of affordable states to live.
20 Most Affordable States
Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.12
Average Property Tax: 0.79%
Median Household Income: $45,081
The most affordable state in the U.S. is Mississippi. This southern state is well-known for its catfish, bluegrass music, and, of course, the Mississippi River. The land itself is quite diverse, ranging from wooded forests to beaches, giving you many different backdrop choices for your home. A fan of music? Be sure to check out local attractions like the Grammy Museum and Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum. Whether you’re looking to retire in Mississippi or buy your first home, Mississippi welcomes you with open arms.
Home Price to Income Ratio: 2.97
Average Property Tax: 1.37%
Median Household Income: $59, 597
The Midwestern state of Kansas rolls into second place on our list. While primarily known for its wheat and beef production, Kansas isn’t all agricultural! Wichita is a popular destination for its zoo, science center, and art museum, among other urban delights; for a thriving art culture, check out the city of Lucas and its Garden of Eden! Folks here boast about the 8 Wonders of Kansas, including the Big Well and Strataca, a salt mine 650 feet underground. If you’re looking to move, check out this list of first-time homebuyer programs in Kansas.
Home Price to Income Ratio: 2.85
Average Property Tax: 0.87%
Median Household Income: $52,919
Don’t be deterred by its location in tornado alley – Oklahoma has plenty to offer beyond its chaotic weather! Get a taste of Oklahoma’s unique flavor by driving down Route 66, admiring the architecture of Tulsa, or visiting the Great Salt Plains State Park. A member of the Great Plains states, Oklahoma contains a diverse landscape including mountains, rivers, mesas, and forests. Oklahoma is the homeland of 39 Native American tribes and communities, and you can learn about each tribe at the cultural heritage sites and museums throughout the state. With friendly cities and great suburbs in Oklahoma, this may be the right state for you.
Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.37
Average Property Tax: 0.24%
Median Household Income: $50,536
Enjoy true southern living down in Alabama! Folks here enjoy gulf coast beaches, college football, and delicious southern cooking. Summers here are hot and humid, and there’s no better way to beat the heat than visiting one of the many swimming holes and rivers! Homeowners will also be pleased to know that Alabama has one of the lowest average property taxes in the country, and there are several first-time Alabama homebuyer programs available.
Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.13
Average Property Tax: 0.61%
Median Household Income: $47,597
If you’re looking for an affordable mountain home, look no further than Arkansas. Nearly half of the state is covered in mountains, and with the rocky slopes and the beautiful forests in between, Arkansas is truly a sight to behold. The state’s natural wonders include numerous hot springs and an active diamond mine, both of which draw visitors and residents alike. For those preferring city life, the capital city of Little Rock is home to museums, historic buildings, and a zoo. With many cities in Arkansas well below the national crime rate, you can move to Arkansas with peace of mind.
Home Price to Income Ratio: 4.19
Average Property Tax: 0.87%
Median Household Income: $58,700
Peaches, pecans, and peanuts, oh my – welcome to Georgia! Like other southern states, Georgia is as hot and humid as it comes. The state’s topography goes from high to low: the north is covered in high mountains, which fade into rolling hills in the middle of the state, before ending in flat plains in the south. Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, contains nationally famous attractions including the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. Whether you’re looking for a tiny home in Georgia or a full-size home, you’ll find life here to be just peachy!
Home Price to Income Ratio: 4.35
Average Property Tax: 0.64%
Median Household Income: $53,320
The country music capital of the world is also one of the most affordable states to call home. True to its nickname, Tennessee is home to some of the best country attractions, including the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and Honky Tonk Highway. Another reason to love Tennessee is its moderate climate, which features warm summers and cool winters. The western half of Tennessee consists of hills and farmland, while the Appalachian Mountain system dominates the eastern portion. The varying topography gives Tennessee scenic backdrops as you drive through the state. Nashville is one of the most popular cities, but there are several other wonderful Nashville suburbs and cities to explore!
Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.50
Average Property Tax: 0.93%
Median Household Income: $55,461
From its flat plains to the snowy mountains, Missouri is a state of extreme weather and topography. Rain and snow alike are plentiful here, and the summers can be scorching! Although its weather may be severe, Missouri’s cost of living is relatively mild in comparison to the rest of the country, which has led to its state population gradually increasing more and more each year. While Jefferson may be the capital, St. Louis may be the most famous city in the state; home to the Gateway Arch, St. Louis Zoo, and St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis is bursting with activities and historical sights. Check out some of the safest cities in Missouri!
9. New Mexico
Home Price to Income Ratio: 5.00
Average Property Tax: 0.78%
Median Household Income: $49,754
With its mix of cultures, topography, and thriving arts scene, New Mexico offers something for everyone. Despite being associated with deserts, New Mexico is home to all kinds of terrain, ranging from mountains, pine forests, and plateaus; such beautiful, peaceful settings make New Mexico a popular place for retirement. New Mexico is renowned for its natural wonders including the Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands National Monument, and Bandelier National Monument. The cliff dwellings and pueblos attract visitors from all over the world, offering a glimpse of life dating back to nearly a millennium ago. Temperatures here range anywhere from 120 degrees in the summer to lows in the single digits in the winter!
Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.30
Average Property Tax: 0.81%
Median Household Income: $56,303
Indiana comes it at No. 10 on our list of affordable states. Like other states in the region, Indiana is known for its hot summers and cold winters, so folks here should prepare for extreme variances throughout the year. The Indiana Dunes National Park acts as a great representation of the state’s variances, showcasing beaches, forested dunes, shrubby grassland, and open prairies. Indiana is also well known for its college basketball, motor speedway, Indianapolis Children’s Museum, zoos, and art museums. Ready to move to Indiana? Take a look at some of the first-time homebuyer programs Indiana has to offer.
Home Price to Income Ratio: 2.74
Average Property Tax: 1.53%
Median Household Income: $60,523
Iowa is one of the nation’s top agricultural powerhouses, right behind California and Texas. As one might expect, Iowa’s land primarily consists of hills and cornfields, perfect for growing crops. Like the rest of the Midwest, Iowa’s climate ranges from hot, humid summers to cold, snowy winters. Iowa is home to many attractions including National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, the American Gothic House, and the Amana Colonies. If you’re looking for quiet, peaceful living, why not try one of these great and safe Iowa cities?
Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.65
Average Property Tax: 1.45%
Median Household Income: $57,144
Michigan is the land of lakes! With 11,000 lakes to its name, including U.S. Natural Wonder The Great Lakes, Michigan is the perfect home for those who’d like to be surrounded by water. The lakes also help keep Michigan’s climate relatively moderate compared to nearby states, which is another bonus. The outdoor scene is one for the books, with picturesque views found in places like Isle Royale National Park, Pictured Rocks National Landscape, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Michigan is also known for pioneering the automobile industry, and you can learn more at the local Henry Ford Museum. Take a look at some of the programs available to new homebuyers in Michigan for a leg up when you move!
Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.21
Average Property Tax: 1.48%
Median Household Income: $56,602
Ohio is known for its corn, contributions to aviation, and its rolling planes. Like other north-central states, Ohio’s climate consists of warm summers and cold winters. The top 3 most populous cities – Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati – are all famous for their sports teams and attractions. Art museums, zoos, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Cedar Point (roller coaster capital of the world!) all await you here. There’s plenty of natural beauty to go around too; check out the Glacier Cave, a glacial-made grotto just outside of Cleveland!
Home Price to Income Ratio: 4.00
Average Property Tax: 1.69%
Median Household Income: $61,874
Everything’s bigger in Texas – except maybe the cost of living! Texas is the second-largest state in the U.S. and has the character to match it. From barbecue, rodeos, and bluebonnets, Texas will lasso its way into your heart. The summers here can be sweltering, and in many parts of the state, winters tend to run much warmer than most of the country, making this state a good choice if you’d like to skip out on snow. With attractions ranging from the Alamo, Houston Space Center, and miles of beaches along the Gulf Coast, there’s always something new to see and do. If you’re looking to move to a big city worthy of Lone Star state status, here are some of the safest cities in Texas!
15. West Virginia
Home Price to Income Ratio: 2.52
Average Property Tax: 0.57%
Median Household Income: $46,711
If you’re looking for a scenic place to call home, look no further than West Virginia. From rugged, Appalachian terrain to tranquil, wildflower-filled valleys, The Mountain State will delight and awe you as you travel down its country roads. West Virginia has a notably low average property tax, which is good news for potential homeowners. While West Virginia is home to many small towns, travel over to the capital city of Charleston if you’re itching for big city life; notable attractions here include the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences and the downtown Capitol’s Market. If you’re looking to retire near the West Virginian mountains, this state has several great cities that would be perfect for you.
Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.80
Average Property Tax: 0.53%
Median Household Income: $49,469
There’s so much more to Louisiana than Mardi Gras! Enjoy a diverse mix of cultures that’s reflected in the local cuisine and art scene. Folks here can expect very warm, humid summers, so if you’re a fan of hot temperatures, Louisiana may be for you. If you’re looking for something to do, go on a tour of the local swamps and bayous, or check out famous attractions like New Orleans’ French Quarter and Bourbon Street. Get settled into your new Louisiana home with closing cost assistance and a great first-time Louisiana homebuyer program!
Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.34
Average Property Tax: 0.83%
Median Household Income: $50,589
Welcome to the rolling hills of Kentucky! Residents here can expect fairly moderate weather, including all four distinct seasons. Kentucky is home to some truly unique natural wonders, including the Mammoth Cave National Park, which features the world’s longest cave system. You can find other scenic views at Natural Bridge, Cumberland Falls, and Red River Gorge. If you prefer indoor activities, be sure to check out the Muhammad Ali Center and Kentucky Derby Museum! Unsure where to start? Take a look at the list of safest cities in Kentucky!
Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.36
Average Property Tax: 1.61%
Median Household Income: $61,439
Nebraska is the land of rolling prairies as far as the eye can see. Witness natural masterpieces such as the Scotts Bluff National Monument, Chimney Rock National Historic Site, and Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Parks. Farther into the cities, you can visit museums, art galleries, and modern bridges. The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is world-renowned for its expansive habitats and efforts in conservation, making it a must-see. Looking for a relaxing, beautiful place to settle down after your working years? Consider retiring in Nebraska!
Home Price to Income Ratio: 7.23
Average Property Tax: 0.63%
Median Household Income: $55,785
Idaho is the only northwestern state to make our most affordable list. While Idaho has a high price to income ratio, the average property tax is well below average. The rugged, mountainous terrain produces diverse weather patterns, with varying extremes across the state. During the milder seasons, folks here enjoy exploring the great outdoors, including natural sights like the Snake River, Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve, and Yellowstone National Park. Idaho may be most famous for its potatoes, and you can learn all about them at the Idaho Potato Museum. Want to know more? Here are some great suburbs of Boise, Idaho’s capital!
Home Price to Income Ratio: 3.55
Average Property Tax: 2.16%
Median Household Income: $65,886
Illinois rounds out our list of the top 20 most affordable states. Bundle up for bitter, cold winters, and enjoy mild to moderate summers. Chicago is the main hub of Illinois activities and attractions, containing museums, Millennium Park, and iconic skyscrapers. There’s more to Illinois than the Windy City, however! Illinois has spectacular natural views such as the Shawnee National Forest and Starved Rock State Park. Not looking for city living? Check out some suburbs of Chicago instead.
States with Best Home Price to Income Ratio
While this list is sorted by the lowest overall cost of living index, the following states have the lowest home price to income ratio, meaning you can get more home for your money:
- West Virginia (2.52)
- Iowa (2.74)
- Oklahoma (2.85)
Whether you’re looking to make a cross-country move, or maybe just head to a bordering state with a lower cost of living, you can find your new home on NewHomeSource.com!
Sarah graduated from Trinity University in 2012 with a degree in International Relations and Political Science. She writes blogs on new homes, decor, communities, and more for NewHomeSource. When she’s not writing, you can find her spending time with her three cats.