Most Affordable Places to Live in Georgia

Kristine Cameron

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Kristine Cameron

January 5th, 2022
Updated January 5th, 2022

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Best overall | Best for families | Best small town | Best for retirees | Best for renters | Methodology | FAQ

From 2010 to 2020, Georgia's population grew by 10.6% — that's over a million new residents in a single decade. The Peach State's vast economic expansion over the past decade has led to an evolving job market and made it an increasingly attractive destination — not just for individuals who want to grow their careers at one of the dozens of companies setting up shop here, but also for families and retirees looking to put down roots.

However, due to the rising demand for homes, many cities in Georgia now exceed the recommended PTI (price-to-income) ratio for potential home buyers.

🤔 What's PTI?

Financial experts use PTI (price-to-income) to calculate housing affordability.

PTI = home price ÷ household income

If the PTI of a location is over 2.6, it usually means home prices far exceed what people can afford based on the median household income.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, home sale prices in Georgia increased by 23.8% from 2020 to 2021. This major spike means that someone earning the median household income ($58,700) would have to spend a third of their annual salary to afford a median-priced house. Increased property values also mean that many Georgia tenants are being priced out of renting in bigger cities.

Nevertheless, there are still pockets of affordability throughout the state — many of which are within an hour of major hubs like Atlanta, Augusta, and Savannah. To find you the cheapest places in Georgia, we looked at PTI ratios, costs of living, and other factors (learn more about our methodology).

💸 Remember the 28/36 rule

Financial experts recommend spending no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on housing, and no more than 36% of your gross monthly income on ALL debts. This will give you a much better understanding of what YOU specifically can afford and where you should live.

» LEARN: How much house can you afford in Georgia?

Top affordable cities in Georgia

🏡 Best overall
🏫 Best for families
👪 Best small town
🌴 Best for retirees
🔑 Best for renters

Best overall: Forest Park

PTI
1.8
Median home value
$67,100
Median rent
$866
Median household income
$36,792
Population
19,723
Median resident age
32.7
Crime rate
56.14 per 1,000 residents

Just south of Atlanta, Forest Park is one of the best options for home buyers and renters. With a low PTI of 1.8 and median rent of $866, the town is highly affordable for people of all ages.

This small suburb offers plenty to keep residents busy and entertained. The town's community recreation center offers a full activities calendar, and the community organization Arts Clayton has provided programs, classes, events, and support for local artists throughout the area since 1986.

Forest Park has seven parks for families to enjoy, and parents can choose among several schooling options for their children, including eight private schools and eight public schools managed by the Clayton County Board of Education. Meanwhile, older residents can take part in activities offered at the local senior center.

Honorable mention: Augusta

The city of Augusta has a population of nearly 200,000, but it remains affordable for both homeowners (with a low PTI of 2.5) and renters (with a median rent of just $888).

Augusta has a rich history as the hometown of James Brown and an epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement. It maintains its character by ensuring all its residents — regardless of age, including veterans — can thrive and enjoy themselves.

The Augusta Parks and Recreation Department manages over 60 different parks, community centers, senior centers, playgrounds, fitness facilities, and much more. And a robust community calendar offers after-school programs, First Fridays, sports leagues, and special interest events.

Furthermore, Augusta is an age-friendly city (i.e., it involves older residents in making plans and decisions for the community). Residents aged 55 and older have access to a host of other resources, including over a dozen independent retirement communities and assisted living facilities.

Honorable mention: Cusseta

About 30 minutes from Columbus and the Alabama border lies Cusseta. With a population of just 10,560 and a PTI of 1.5, Cusseta is a great option for budget-minded home buyers looking for a small town vibe.

Chattahoochee-Cusseta is a consolidated city-county government within the Chattahoochee County School District, which consists of three campuses: the Chattahoochee Valley Academy, Chattahoochee County High School, and the Chattahoochee County Education Center. The town is also home to a recreation center, a public library, and the lovely Riverbend Park, where families and fishers can spend the day along the Chattahoochee River.

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Best for families: South Fulton

PTI
2.5
Median home value
$162,800
Median rent
$1,176
Median household income
$65,919
Population
96,283
Median resident age
37.0
Crime rate
45.15 per 1,000 residents

Located in southwest Fulton County just outside of Atlanta, South Fulton offers excellent schools, encourages sustainability and volunteerism, and provides countless opportunities for people to get involved in the community.

Residents are encouraged to monitor the city's expenses on its OpenGov page and can suggest projects or initiatives for the government to consider. One highly successful campaign is the South Fulton Beautification Project, an ongoing grassroots project that encourages residents to reduce waste, recycle, and take part in maintaining their beautiful city.

South Fulton residents can also enjoy the Southwest and Cliftondale Arts Centers, which both host art exhibits, live performances, community artist showcases, theatrical productions, art classes, and other programs for all ages. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore South Fulton's 17 parks or check out one of the city's many recreation centers or athletic fields.

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Honorable mention: Riverdale

Riverdale is located in the "Southern Crescent" of Clayton County, just 10 miles south of Atlanta. It has a low PTI of 2.0, making it highly affordable for families earning the median income of $50,145.

Like South Fulton, the Riverdale community is dedicated to volunteerism and environmentalism. Residents are encouraged to participate in local efforts and initiatives, such as the Keep Riverdale Beautiful campaign. The local Riverdale Centre hosts year-round events like festivals, concerts, and reunions, as well as ongoing programs like art classes or dance lessons.

Students have access to several schools within the city of Riverdale as well as many others within the Clayton County Public School District.

Best small town: Rincon

PTI
2.5
Median home value
$164,500
Median rent
$1,090
Median household income
$64,625
Population
10,027
Median resident age
32.4
Crime rate
18.64 per 1,000 residents

About 20 miles from downtown Savannah lies the town of Rincon. Despite its small population of 10,027, Rincon is actually the largest municipality in Effingham County. Residents don't have to pay any property taxes, and the town offers the lowest fees for services like water and sewage within the county.

Rincon has a low crime rate and a strong sense of community and hospitality among residents. The town's recreation department is growing rapidly, with plenty of sports programs for kids and teenagers, along with special activities for senior citizens. Residents can explore a handful of parks — including the Macomber Park Complex, Veterans Park, and Patriots Park — and golfers are sure to enjoy the Lost Plantation Golf Course.

Residents looking to give back can get involved with over two dozen local civic and volunteer organizations, such as Effingham County's Habitat for Humanity chapter, the Humane Society, the Democratic Committee, or the Effingham County High School Athletic Boosters. Effingham County is also home to more than 50 churches that residents are welcome to attend.

Honorable mention: Grovetown

Grovetown, a small community of just 14,053 about 30 minutes from Augusta, can be easy to miss. But its high affordability makes it the perfect place for newcomers to put down roots.

Grovetown's cost of living is 18.41% lower than the U.S. average. Paired with a low PTI of 2.3, residents earning the median household income of $68,756 can comfortably afford to buy a home.

If you're looking for things to do, the town's Leisure and Recreation Department frequently schedules community events and activities, such as the 4th of July festivities and farmers' markets. You can also explore the Euchee Creek Trails or Goodale Park, head to the community center at Liberty Park for fitness classes, or visit the newly renovated Grovetown Library.

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Best for retirees: Warner Robins

PTI
2.3
Median home value
$117,100
Median rent
$924
Median household income
$51,779
Population
76,115
Median resident age
33.5
Crime rate
39.56 per 1,000 residents

Warner Robins is a bustling city right in the heart of Georgia, split between Houston County and Peach County. With over a dozen parks, an aquatics center, the new North Houston Sports Complex, and the Claude Lewis Recreation Center, it offers countless opportunities for residents to maintain active and healthy lifestyles. Warner Robins is also home to the International City Golf Club, a public 18-hole golf course that has been in operation since 1958.

Citizens 55 and over can take part in social clubs to meet their peers, welcome newcomers, and spend time with other active retirees. Military veterans will also find themselves in a strong, supportive community thanks to the nearby Robins Air Force Base.

Retired residents can participate in all kinds of monthly classes and activities, including special events like the Georgia Golden Olympics, the Senior Health Fair, Lunch and Laughter, Over 80's Birthday celebration, and Ladies' and Men's Night Out.

For retirees who are looking for some assistance with daily living, Warner Robins offers two excellent senior living facilities:

  • Antebellum Grove Senior Living is just 3 miles from Houston Medical Center and offers independent living options, nursing home care, memory care, and assisted living services.
  • Summers Landing of Warner Robins offers independent living options, assisted living services, and memory care. Residents who want to meet others of the same faith can attend any of five different churches within a mile of the campus.

» MORE: Buying vs. Renting in Retirement: Which Is the Better Idea?

Best for renters: Vidalia

PTI
2.9
Median rent
$584
Median household income
$40,621
Population
10,409
Median resident age
38.3
Crime rate
65.07 per 1,000 residents

The "Sweet Onion City" of Vidalia is also a sweet spot for renters. Located in Toombs County, the median rent is only $584, which is $422 lower than the state average.

Vidalia is home to several parks and recreational centers where residents can enjoy fitness programs, classes, and sports. The Ed Smith Recreational Complex, the Vidalia Regional Sports Complex, and the Vidalia Aquatics Center offer programs for residents of all ages to encourage active lifestyles.

Parents will be pleased to know that the Vidalia City School System has earned the title of a Reward School: "among the 5% of Title I schools in the state that is making the most progress in improving the performance of all students over the most recent two years on the statewide assessments."

Lastly, we can't talk about Vidalia without mentioning the annual Vidalia Onion Festival in April. For over 40 years, the four-day festival has drawn thousands of visitors, been featured on The Food Network, recognized as one of the Five Don’t-Miss Festivals Across the U.S. by MSNBC, and praised as a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event. Activities include air shows, carnivals, children's parades, arts and crafts shows, and — of course — Vidalia onion recipe contests.

Honorable mention: Dublin

In the town of Dublin, situated in central Georgia, residents can enjoy a low median rent of just $589, which is $417 lower than the state average.

Although Dublin is primarily known for its annual St. Patrick's festival, the town offers year-round events and activities for its 15,828 residents. It's home to Theatre Dublin, which hosts musical artists, plays and performances, orchestras, concerts, and showings of classic and contemporary films. The 18-hole Riverview Golf Course has a pro shop and an auditorium that can accommodate special events like weddings, reunions, and banquets.

Methodology

We selected the most affordable cities by analyzing each city's price-to-income (PTI) ratio, which is calculated by dividing each city's median home value by its median household income (both from the latest U.S. Census). While cities with PTI ratios close to or below 2.6 were considered, we looked beyond housing costs alone to determine each area’s affordability.

We reviewed factors such as median rent prices, costs of living, taxes, health care, and city-specific expenses using the latest US Census Bureau data, Payscale's Cost of Living Calculator, and Data USA. Crime statistics were gathered from NeighborhoodScout, CrimeGrade.org, and the FBI.

Furthermore, we included honorable mentions for to account for more individual preferences, such as school systems, transportation options, and culture and entertainment.

Finally, we narrowed our options to cities with at least 10,000 residents.

Frequently asked questions about affordable places to live in Georgia

Based strictly on the price-to-income ratio, Cusseta-Chattahoochee County is the cheapest place to buy a home in Georgia. With a PTI ratio of just 1.5, residents can comfortably afford to buy a house on the local median household income of $47,096. However, the Atlanta suburb of Forest Park also has a low PTI (1.8) and median rent ($866) and offers plenty to keep residents busy and entertained.

Warner Robins is one of the most affordable places in Georgia for residents age 55 and older to buy a home or rent an apartment. The median home value is $117,100 and the median rent is $924, which is $82 than the state average. It's also home to several independent senior communities, assisted living facilities, and memory care resources.

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