While mortgage rates are still below the over-7% highs we recently saw, aspiring homebuyers in many areas haven’t been so lucky when it comes to home prices. (See the lowest mortgage rates you may qualify for now here.) That’s why we scoured the United States to find cities where the average home value is still less than roughly $300,000, according to Zillow. In other words, you may be able to buy a decent home in these spots at an affordable price.
If you want to be near the ocean: Savannah, Georgia
Known for its historic town squares, trees dripping with Spanish moss and well-preserved architecture, Savannah has become increasingly modernized in recent years. In February of 2022, the city opened the Enmarket Arena, a 9,500-seat stadium that hosts the Savannah Ghost Pirates, a mid-level professional hockey team, as well as concerts by major performers including Janet Jackson, Reba MacEntire and Luke Bryan (coming this fall). Sports fans may also enjoy games by the Savannah Bananas, a professional baseball exhibition team that has been compared to the Harlem Globetrotters. The city is also ripe with potential job opportunities. In 2025, Hyundai Motors will open an auto plant and EV battery factory in nearby Bryan county. There are also plans expand the Port of Savannah’s container capacity by 60% that year. And let’s not forget that the downtown area is a mere 18 miles from Tybee Island, a barrier island in the Atlantic Ocean that boasts 5 miles of public beaches. New restaurants in the city include Brochu’s Family Tradition, run by Michelin-star award winning chef Andrew Brochu, as well as Sea Wolf Tybee, a restaurant with fancy cocktails and many vegan options right by the ocean on Tybee Island.
Average home value: $275,413
Cost of Living: 11.6% lower than U.S. average*
If you want big city vibes and no state individual income tax: Dallas, Texas
The city offers much to see and do. Enjoy major sports teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Stars, as well as plenty of arts and culture. These include rich and varied museums ranging from the Nasher Sculpture Center showcasing contemporary art, to the Dallas Museum of Art, one of the ten largest art museums in the country; and the renowned Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The city continuously invests in new jobs and developments. Goldman Sachs recently announced that they will add 5,000 jobs at their new Dallas campus which is set to start construction later this year. In late 2022, the city broke ground on the Central, a $2.5 billion mixed-use development in the downtown area. Best known for its barbecue, the city also has a thriving food scene, with restaurants including La Parisienne French Bistro, JoA Korean BBQ and Chama Gaúcha Brazilian Steakhouse raising the profile of international cuisine in the city.
Average home value: $308,305
Cost of Living: 1% higher than the U.S. average
If you want plenty of access to nature: Ithaca, New York
Perhaps best known as the home of the Ivy League school Cornell University, Ithaca is surrounded by hiking trails including the Cascadilla Gorge Trail and the Ithaca Falls trail, both of which lead to one of the area’s many gorgeous waterfalls. Located on the southernmost tip of Cayuga Lake, the longest of New York’s glacial Finger Lakes, the city recently announced the grand opening of a $27 million affordable housing development that provides affordable apartments for families, as well as commercial space for local nonprofits. When you’re not enjoying the great outdoors, you can spend time strolling in the Commons, a four-block pedestrian shopping area with more than 100 independently-owned and operating shops and boutiques. The thriving cultural scene in the city includes the Museum of the Earth, which explores our planet’s prehistoric past, as well as the State Theatre of Ithaca, which showcases performances by the Indigo Girls, among other talents. Notable restaurants in the area include Revelry Yards, a beer garden that recently opened off the Commons, and Moosewood, the newly renovated vegetarian staple that spawned a beloved cookbook.
Average home value: $301,608
Cost of Living: 1.6% lower than U.S. average
If you want round the clock entertainment: New Orleans, Louisiana
If you’re charmed by the idea of living in New Orleans, a city nicknamed the “Big Easy” for its laid back vibe and reputation for good living, you’re far from the only one. In fact, major celebrities including Brad Pitt, Jennifer Coolidge, Sandra Bullock and Nicholas Cage have all owned properties in the city, which is full of French and Spanish colonial architecture, as well as Creole townhouses marked by cast-iron balconies. Recently the city announced plans to develop 47 acres along the Mississippi River that will include hotels, residential units and retail spaces. The city boasts an exemplary music scene including legendary live venues Snug Harbor and the French Quarter’s Preservation Hall. Sports fans can also catch an exciting New Orleans Saints game. The city is renowned for its food culture and wide range of cuisine, and recently welcomed new restaurants including Dakar NOLA, featuring Senegalese cuisine and Le Chat Noir, serving farm-to-table fine dining.
Average home value: $260,904
Cost of Living: 1.6% higher than U.S. average
If you love wide open spaces: Great Falls, Montana
Much of the Western United States has become unaffordable to home buyers, who find themselves priced out of not only Los Angeles and San Francisco, but also inland cities including Salt Lake City and Boise. The great news is that housing is still affordable in Great Falls, named for beautiful nearby waterfalls. The city straddles the Missouri River and offers plenty of access to the gorgeous vistas of the nearby Northern Great Plains and the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The Big Belt Mountains of Montana are just a three-hour drive away. The city has a rich history in the arts, boasting the River’s Edge Trail containing 27 pieces of environmental art as well as the ArtsFest Montana, an annual event that supports the creations of murals throughout the city. You can spend your weekends hiking through the grasses of the Northern Great Plains towards the Crown Butte, a rock formation also witnessed by the Lewis & Clarke expedition 200 years ago. Skiers can enjoy access to local mountain resorts including Showdown Montana. New developments in the city include a number of new housing developments, as well as the Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Montana’s first medical school.
Average home value: $282,312
Cost of Living: 12.6% lower than U.S. average
*All data from Zillow, the U.S. Census Bureau and Sperling’s Best Places, respectively.