The Top 10 Cheapest States to Buy a House in 2021

By 

Michelle Delgado

Updated 

March 3rd, 2021

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In 2021, buyers are likely to face a competitive housing market. Nationally, there’s high demand for homes — far more than the number of houses that are available. It’s challenging for any buyer, but especially those on a tight budget.

Despite this national trend, there’s still a silver lining. As the world adapted to the coronavirus pandemic, many employers embraced remote work. According to a July 2020 survey of 4.4 million workers, nearly 1 in 5 full time employees are expected to continue working from home in 2021 — almost three times as many remote workers as 2019.

Fully remote work opens new possibilities for home buyers who are no longer tied to their employers’ physical locations. If you’re willing and able to relocate, you might find your dream home at a fraction of the cost.

To help you navigate home buying in 2021, we crunched the numbers and identified the top 10 cheapest states to buy a house.

The cheapest states are:

  1. West Virginia
  2. Iowa
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Kansas
  5. Ohio
  6. Arkansas
  7. Indiana
  8. Mississippi
  9. Kentucky
  10. Nebraska

All states on our list are concentrated in the Midwest and South. If you live in one of these regions — or have the flexibility to relocate — you’ll have a better shot at finding listings that are less expensive than other parts of the country.

What impacts home affordability?

To determine the cheapest states to buy a home in 2021, we looked at more than just listing prices. Instead, we focused on affordability — which we defined as the average percentage of income homeowners spend on their mortgage in each state.

Nationally, homeowners spend around 16% of their income on monthly mortgage payments.

By contrast, homeowners in the states on our list can expect to spend between 8% and 12% of their income on mortgage payments — resulting in significant savings.

To find this information, we drew on the most recent publicly available data from Zillow and the U.S. Census Bureau. You can learn more about our methodology here.

Finally, a few notes to keep in mind:

  • We rounded all figures to the nearest percentage point or dollar amount. You can find more precise figures in the Complete Rankings table.
  • Our estimated monthly mortgage payments assume the standard 20% down payment on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage.
  • To keep things simple, we also didn’t include upfront costs associated with buying a home, or property taxes and homeownership insurance.

»LEARN: The True Cost of Home Ownership


Looking to make the home buying process even more affordable?

Ensure you're getting a great deal by getting a mortgage preapproval. Even if you're already preapproved, shopping for multiple quotes will guarantee you're getting the best rates available. Fill out the form below to connect with a local lender and learn how much home you can really afford.

1. West Virginia

  • Median household income: $48,850
  • Average home value: $109,182
  • Est. monthly mortgage payment: $355 (8.7% of monthly income)

The only state located entirely within Appalachia, West Virginia contains 240 miles of the famous Appalachian Trail. Just over the state line, Virginians pay an average of $971 in monthly mortgage payments — nearly three times as much as West Virginia residents. The numbers explain why so many West Virginians in the northern half of the state take advantage of the state’s affordability while commuting to work in nearby Virginia, Maryland, and even Washington D.C.

»LEARN: 8 Steps to Buying a House in West Virginia

2. Iowa

  • Median household income: $61,691
  • Average home value: $158,002
  • Est. monthly mortgage payment: $513 (9.9% of monthly income)

If you picture Iowa as a state of rolling farmland, you’re not entirely wrong — the Hawkeye state ranks first for producing a wealth of agricultural products. But Iowa has plenty to offer urbanites, too. In recent years, Iowa’s capital city of Des Moines has consistently earned national recognition for its growing tech sector, arts scene, farmer’s markets, and more. Best of all, you’ll pay 2-3% less than you would in nearby Illinois on average.

»LEARN: Read This Before Buying a House in Iowa

»FIND: Top Real Estate Agents in Iowa

3. Oklahoma

  • Median household income: $54,449
  • Average home value: $140,270
  • Est. monthly mortgage payment: $456 (10% of monthly income)

Oklahoma offers affordable homes for budget-conscious buyers — plus a sweet deal for those relocating from out of state. Remote workers who relocate to Tulsa may be eligible for a $10,000 grant, as long as they stay for at least a year. Once you arrive in Oklahoma, you’ll find plenty of reasons to stick around: The state offers around 200 lakes, sweeping plains, and even an annual Big Foot Festival.

»LEARN: Tips for Buying a Home in Oklahoma

»FIND: Top Real Estate Agents in Oklahoma

4. Kansas

  • Median household income: $62,087
  • Average home value: $167,248
  • Est. monthly mortgage payment: $543 (10.5% of monthly income)

If you want to see your home’s appreciation skyrocket, look no further than Kansas. According to the most recent Zillow data, the Sunflower State’s home values have climbed 5.6% since last year — and are expected to rise 7.5% in 2021. Despite its rural splendor, Kentucky also ranks in the top five for states with best internet access.

»READ: The Clever Guide to Buying a House in Kansas

»FIND: Top Real Estate Agents in Kansas

5. Ohio

  • Median household income: $58,642
  • Average home value: $162,933
  • Est. monthly mortgage payment: $529 (10.8% of monthly income)

Ohio has a reputation for being one of the most affordable states in the nation — and it’s well-deserved. If you enjoy spending time in nature, you can explore Ohio’s 83 state parks or the 293-mile scenic byway that traces the coast of Lake Erie. Cleveland’s tech and startup scene has revitalized the famed Ohio city, attracting millions of dollars worth of investments in innovative new ventures.

»READ: What to Know About Buying a House in Ohio

6. Arkansas

  • Median household income: $48,952
  • Average home value: $141,806
  • Est. monthly mortgage payment: $461 (11.3% of monthly income)

Singer Johnny Cash’s home state offers an affordable cost of living and rapidly appreciating home values, making it a great place to invest in your new home base. Home values are expected to soar 7.2% in 2021, according to Zillow. Arkansas is also home to an astounding six National Parks, including thermal springs where notables ranging from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Al Capone have historically taken a dip.

»READ: Buying a House in Arkansas: A Step-by-step Guide

»FIND: Top Real Estate Agents in Arkansas

7. Indiana

  • Median household income: $57,603
  • Average home value: $167,897
  • Est. monthly mortgage payment: $546 (11.4% of monthly income)

The Hoosier state was once home to James Dean, Adam Driver, and the real-life Johnny Appleseed — and it could be your new home, too. If you work in Chicago, Northern Indiana offers affordable housing within commuting distance, while helping you save more than $160 per month in mortgage payments on average.

»READ: 8 Steps for Buying a House in Indiana

»FIND: Top Real Estate Agents in Indiana

8. Mississippi

  • Median household income: $45,792
  • Average home value: $135,563
  • Est. monthly mortgage payment: $440 (11.5% of monthly income)

If you're looking for a quieter life, Mississippi could be home sweet home: The entire state has fewer than 3 million people. Mild winters and diverse waterways — including access to lakes, rivers, and even the Gulf of Mexico — offer fishing and outdoor recreational activities year round.

»READ: Everything You Need to Know About Buying a House in Mississippi

»FIND: Top Real Estate Agents in Mississippi

9. Kentucky

  • Median household income: $52,295
  • Average home value: $155,599
  • Est. monthly mortgage payment: $506 (11.6% of monthly income)

Along with an affordable cost of living, the Bluegrass State offers plenty of local charm including the world-famous Churchill Downs racetrack, its signature bourbon, and a vibrant circuit of music festivals. Home values are around $45,000 less in Kentucky on average, compared to neighboring Tennessee — which is good news if you’re looking for a home you can afford.

»LEARN: Top Tips for Buying a House in Kentucky

»FIND: Top Real Estate Agents in Kentucky

10. Nebraska

  • Median household income: $63,229
  • Average home value: $189,034
  • Est. monthly mortgage payment: $614 (11.7% of monthly income)

Though it’s perhaps better known as an agricultural powerhouse, Nebraska has more than its fair share of quirky, artsy offerings — from its iconic Carhenge sculpture to Saddle Creek Records. On average, Nebraskans save around $775 per month on mortgage payments, compared to neighboring state Colorado.

»READ: How to Buy a House in Nebraska

»FIND: Top Real Estate Agents in Nebraska

Complete rankings

State
Median household income*
Average home value** 
Est. monthly mortgage payment*** 
% of income spent on mortgage
1. WV
$48,850
$109,182
$354.73
8.7%
2. IA
$61,691
$158,002
$513.35
9.9%
3. OK
$54,449
$140,270
$455.74
10.0%
4. KS
$62,087
$167,248
$543.39
10.5%
5. OH
$58,642
$162,933
$529.37
10.8%
6. AR
$48,952
$141,806
$460.73
11.3%
7. IN
$57,603
$167,897
$545.50
11.4%
8. MS
$45,792
$135,563
$440.44
11.5%
9. KY
$52,295
$155,599
$505.54
11.6%
10. NE
$63,229
$189,034
$614.17
11.7%
11. MO
$57,409
$173,541
$563.84
11.8%
12. AL
$51,734
$156,544
$508.61
11.8%
13. MI
$59,584
$186,144
$604.78
12.2%
14. IL
$69,187
$217,672
$707.22
12.3%
15. WI
$64,168
$202,197
$656.94
12.3%
16. PA
$63,463
$211,224
$686.27
13.0%
17. LA
$51,073
$177,990
$578.29
13.6%
18. GA
$61,980
$216,314
$702.81
13.6%
19. TX
$64,034
$224,065
$727.99
13.6%
20. CT
$78,833
$276,319
$897.76
13.7%
21. TN
$56,071
$200,762
$652.28
14.0%
22. SC
$56,227
$204,820
$665.46
14.2%
23. ND
$64,577
$237,673
$772.20
14.4%
24. MN
$74,593
$274,571
$892.08
14.4%
25. SD
$59,533
$221,300
$719.00
14.5%
26. MD
$86,738
$330,332
$1,073.25
14.9%
27. AK
$75,463
$287,613
$934.46
14.9%
28. NC
$57,341
$219,690
$713.77
14.9%
29. DE
$70,176
$274,067
$890.44
15.2%
30. VA
$76,456
$299,164
$971.99
15.3%
31. WY
$65,003
$257,261
$835.84
15.4%
32. NH
$77,933
$315,635
$1,025.50
15.8%
33. NM
$51,945
$219,406
$712.85
16.5%
34. NJ
$85,751
$364,230
$1,183.38
16.6%
35. VT
$63,001
$268,730
$873.10
16.6%
36. ME
$58,924
$259,992
$844.72
17.2%
37. FL
$59,227
$262,291
$852.18
17.3%
38. RI
$71,169
$325,805
$1,058.54
17.9%
39. AZ
$62,055
$296,783
$964.25
18.7%
40. NY
$72,108
$349,939
$1,136.95
18.9%
41. UT
$75,780
$383,216
$1,245.07
19.7%
42. NV
$63,276
$320,203
$1,040.34
19.7%
43. ID
$60,999
$323,274
$1,050.32
20.7%
44. MA
$85,843
$462,110
$1,501.40
21.0%
45. CO
$77,127
$427,659
$1,389.47
21.6%
46. MT
$57,153
$317,725
$1,032.29
21.7%
47. WA
$78,687
$451,082
$1,465.57
22.4%
48. OR
$67,058
$385,520
$1,252.56
22.4%
49. DC
$92,266
$645,432
$2,097.01
27.3%
50. CA
$80,440
$599,159
$1,946.67
29.0%
51. HI
$83,102
$655,433
$2,129.50
30.8%

*U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Housing Survey
**Most recent Zillow data
***Est. mortgage payment assumes 20% down for a 30-year mortgage, excluding insurance and property taxes

Sources and Methodology

Clever ranked states according to their overall cost of living and affordability.

We analyzed the most recent publicly available data from:

Then, we used this data to calculate the percentage of income state residents typically spend on their monthly mortgage. This allowed us to rank all 50 states and Washington D.C. from least to most expensive.