The 10 Most Affordable Places to Live in Kentucky

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By Michael Yessis Updated June 13, 2024
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Edited by Ashley Simon

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The 40769 zip code in Williamsburg tops our ranking of the most affordable places to live in Kentucky.

We looked at 133 zip codes in the state, evaluating home values, rental costs, energy rates, property taxes, and five other affordability indicators. We used the data we gathered to calculate our proprietary Affordability Score for each zip code.  

Top 10 most affordable places to live in Kentucky

RankCity Affordability Score Median home valueRental costs
1Williamsburg 🥇100$111,799$1,394
2Middlesboro🥈99.7$96,175$1,394
3Paducah 🥉99.6$137,962$1,394
4Ashland99.6$99,979$1,394
5Central City99.1$118,843$1,394
6Irvine99.0$106,341$1,394
7Princeton98.7$125,081$1,394
8Greenville98.5$143,893$1,394
9Cadiz96.7$111,753$1,394
10Hazard96.1$106,309$1,394
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1. Williamsburg

Here's why the 40769 zip code in Williamsburg is Kentucky's most affordable place to live.

🔎 Key data about Williamsburg

Data pointValueRank (out of 133 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 100 No. 1N/A
Median home value $111,799[1]No. 12 -$126,132.75
Home affordability ratio 2.5No. 15-1.1
Home value five-year change 27.6%[2]No. 7-17.3%
Home value one-year forecast -0.8%[3]No. 730.1%
Rental costs $1,394[4]No. 34$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.12%No. 350.0%
Median household income $44,553[5]No. 115-$21,300
Property taxes $591[6]No. 5-$1,091
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[7]No. 1$0.00
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Williamsburg's 40769 zip code is the cheapest place to live in Kentucky, leading the 133 markets we evaluated. 

The median home value is $111,799, making it the 12th-cheapest housing market in the state. Forecasts project a -0.8% change in home values in the next year. Rent in the zip code averages $1,394 per month, which is the 35th cheapest amount in Kentucky.

The median property tax for homeowners in Williamsburg is $591 per household, the No. 5 ranked market in Kentucky. 

Residents pay $0.12 per kWh of electricity, which ranks No. 1 among Kentucky markets.

2. Middlesboro

The 40965 zip code is the 2nd-cheapest place to live in Kentucky.

🔎 Key data about Middlesboro

Data pointValueRank (out of 133 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 99.7No. 2N/A
Median home value $96,175[8]No. 6-$141,756.84
Home affordability ratio 3.2No. 46-0.4
Home value five-year change 22.3%[9]No. 2-22.5%
Home value one-year forecast -7.2%[10]No. 1-6.3%
Rental costs $1,394[11]No. 34$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.12%No. 350.0%
Median household income $30,000[12]No. 131-$35,853
Property taxes $642[13]No. 9-$1,040
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[14]No. 1$0.00
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Middlesboro's 40965 zip code has a median home value of $96,175, which is the 1st-cheapest housing market in Kentucky. You can rent for an average of $1,394 per month. That's the 34th-cheapest price in the state.

The average household income in the zip code is $30,000, which ranks 131st-highest in the state. 

Homeowners in Middlesboro pay a median property tax of $642 per year, making it the 9th-most affordable market in Kentucky.

Middlesboro ranks No. 1 among Kentucky energy markets. You'll pay $0.12 per kWh of electricity.

3. Paducah

The 3rd-cheapest place to live in Kentucky is Paducah's 42003 zip code.

🔎 Key data about Paducah

Data pointValueRank (out of 133 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 99.6No. 3N/A
Median home value $137,962[15]No. 24-$99,970.41
Home affordability ratio 2.6No. 17-1.0
Home value five-year change 34.1%[16]No. 17-10.8%
Home value one-year forecast -2.1%[17]No. 9-1.2%
Rental costs $1,394[18]No. 34$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.12%No. 350.0%
Median household income $52,342[19]No. 91-$13,511
Property taxes $1,142[20]No. 41-$540
Energy costs $0.13 kWh[21]No. 92$0.00
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The No. 24 cheapest housing in Kentucky is Paducah's 42003 zip code, with a median home value of $137,962. Rents in the market average $1,394 per month, making it the 34th-most affordable rental market in the state.

The median property tax for households in Paducah is $1,142, which makes it the 41st-cheapest place in Kentucky. Paducah ranks No. 92 among Kentucky markets by energy costs. Residents pay $0.13 per kWh of electricity.

4. Ashland

The 41101 zip code in Ashland comes in at No. 4 on our list of the cheapest places to live in Kentucky.

🔎 Key data about Ashland

Data pointValueRank (out of 133 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 99.6No. 4N/A
Median home value $99,979[22]No. 7-$137,953.18
Home affordability ratio 1.9No. 1-1.7
Home value five-year change 18.2%[23]No. 1-26.6%
Home value one-year forecast -2.8%[24]No. 5-1.9%
Rental costs $1,394[25]No. 34$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.12%No. 350.0%
Median household income $51,595[26]No. 93-$14,258
Property taxes $1,252[27]No. 51-$430
Energy costs $0.16 kWh[28]No. 123$0.03
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The No. 7 cheapest housing market in Kentucky is Ashland's 41101 zip code, where the median home value is $99,979. Renters here pay an average of $1,394 per month. 

When it comes to energy costs, Ashland ranks 123rd among Kentucky markets. Residents pay $0.16 per kWh of electricity.

The median property tax for households in the zip code is $1,252, which makes it the 51st-cheapest market in Kentucky.

5. Central City

The 42330 zip code in Central City ranks No. 5 among Kentucky's most affordable places to live.

🔎 Key data about Central City

Data pointValueRank (out of 133 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 99.1No. 5N/A
Median home value $118,843[29]No. 17-$119,089.41
Home affordability ratio 2.4No. 11-1.2
Home value five-year change 38.6%[30]No. 34-6.2%
Home value one-year forecast -0.9%[31]No. 510.0%
Rental costs $1,394[32]No. 34$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.12%No. 350.0%
Median household income $49,200[33]No. 102-$16,653
Property taxes $767[34]No. 15-$915
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[35]No. 1$0.00
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Central City's 42330 zip code has a median home value of $118,843, the 17th-cheapest market in the state. Forecasts project a -0.9% change in home values in the next year. 

The median property tax per household in Central City is $767. It's the 15th-cheapest market by tax rate in Kentucky.

6. Irvine

The No. 6 most affordable place to live in Kentucky is the 40336 zip code.

🔎 Key data about Irvine

Data pointValueRank (out of 133 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 99.0No. 6N/A
Median home value $106,341[36]No. 10-$131,590.81
Home affordability ratio 2.6No. 16-1.0
Home value five-year change 36.6%[37]No. 29-8.2%
Home value one-year forecast -1.0%[38]No. 46-0.1%
Rental costs $1,394[39]No. 34$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.12%No. 350.0%
Median household income $40,711[40]No. 121-$25,142
Property taxes $769[41]No. 16-$913
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[42]No. 1$0.00
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The back half of our top 10 kicks off with Irvine's 40336 zip code, which has the 10th-cheapest home values in Kentucky. The median home value is $106,341. Rents average $1,394 per month, making it the 34th-most affordable rental market in the state.

Residents pay $0.12 per kWh of electricity. It's the 1st-cheapest energy market.

7. Princeton

Princeton's 42445 zip code is the 7th-cheapest place to live in Kentucky.

🔎 Key data about Princeton

Data pointValueRank (out of 133 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 98.7No. 7N/A
Median home value $125,081[43]No. 20-$112,851.16
Home affordability ratio 2.5No. 12-1.2
Home value five-year change 41.9%[44]No. 47-2.9%
Home value one-year forecast -0.9%[45]No. 510.0%
Rental costs $1,394[46]No. 34$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.12%No. 350.0%
Median household income $51,049[47]No. 96-$14,804
Property taxes $598[48]No. 6-$1,084
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[49]No. 1$0.00
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You'll find the 20th-cheapest home values in Kentucky in Princeton's 42445 zip code. The median value: $125,081. Renters in Princeton pay an average of $1,394 per month.

Homeowners in Princeton pay a median property tax of $598 per year, which is Kentucky's 6th-most affordable market.

The average household income is $51,049, which ranks 96th-highest in the state.

8. Greenville

The 8th-cheapest place to live in Kentucky is Greenville's 42345 zip code.

🔎 Key data about Greenville

Data pointValueRank (out of 133 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 98.5No. 8N/A
Median home value $143,893[50]No. 30-$94,039.52
Home affordability ratio 2.1No. 5-1.5
Home value five-year change 47.5%[51]No. 702.7%
Home value one-year forecast -0.9%[52]No. 510.0%
Rental costs $1,394[53]No. 34$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.12%No. 350.0%
Median household income $67,172[54]No. 49$1,319
Property taxes $1,011[55]No. 32-$671
Energy costs $0.12 kWh[56]No. 1$0.00
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The 30th-cheapest housing market in Kentucky is Greenville's 42345 zip code, with a median home value of $143,893. Renters pay an average of $1,394 per month, the No. 34 rental market in the state.

The median property tax for households in Greenville is $1,011, which makes it the 32nd-cheapest place in Kentucky. The average household income of $67,172 ranks 49th.

9. Cadiz

Cadiz's 42211 zip code sneaks into the top ten of Kentucky's most affordable places to live.

🔎 Key data about Cadiz

Data pointValueRank (out of 133 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 96.7No. 9N/A
Median home value $111,753[57]No. 11-$126,178.84
Home affordability ratio 2.0No. 3-1.6
Home value five-year change 44.8%[58]No. 610.0%
Home value one-year forecast 0.7%[59]No. 1301.6%
Rental costs $1,394[60]No. 34$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.12%No. 350.0%
Median household income $56,727[61]No. 76-$9,126
Property taxes $1,060[62]No. 35-$622
Energy costs $0.13 kWh[63]No. 92$0.00
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The 11th-cheapest housing market in Kentucky is Cadiz's 42211 zip code, where the median home value is $111,753. Renters pay an average of $1,394 per month. It's the state's 34th-cheapest rental market.

The median property tax for households within the zip code is $1,060, which makes it the 35th-cheapest property tax rate in Kentucky. 

10. Hazard

The final spot on our list of the most affordable places to live in Kentucky goes to the 41701 zip code in Hazard.

🔎 Key data about Hazard

Data pointValueRank (out of 133 markets)Difference from median or average
Affordability Score 96.1No. 10N/A
Median home value $106,309[64]No. 9-$131,623.36
Home affordability ratio 2.5No. 13-1.2
Home value five-year change 27.8%[65]No. 8-17.1%
Home value one-year forecast -0.9%[66]No. 510.0%
Rental costs $1,394[67]No. 34$0
Rent affordability ratio 2.12%No. 350.0%
Median household income $43,307[68]No. 117-$22,546
Property taxes $785[69]No. 17-$897
Energy costs $0.16 kWh[70]No. 123$0.03
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The 9th-most affordable market in Kentucky is Hazard's 41701 zip code. The median home value is $106,309. Rent in the market costs $1,394 per month on average, making it the 34th-most affordable rental market in Kentucky.

The median property tax for households in Hazard is $785, which is the 17th-cheapest property tax rate in the state.

Hazard ranks No. 123 among Kentucky markets by energy costs, with households paying $0.16 per kWh of electricity.

How we ranked the most affordable places in Kentucky

We evaluated 133 zip codes in Kentucky with a population over 10,000 on nine metrics. We then assigned each market an Affordability Score based on its weighted and combined rankings. 

✍️ Editor’s note: Our Affordability Score identifies the most affordable places in a state by zip code.

Often the zip code we identify will represent an entire city or portion of a city. 

Occasionally the zip code we identify will encompass an area that includes one or more small towns. In these cases, the data we’ve gathered applies to the entire zip code, not just the single town we’re using to help identify the zip code's location. 

If you’re looking to move to one of these affordable places, we recommend doing additional research to make sure the costs in the area — and the quality of life it offers — meet your specific needs.

Methodology: What is an Affordability Score?

Our proprietary Affordability Score is a score on a scale of 0 (worst in state) to 100 (best in state) that estimates the affordability of a particular zip code. It takes into account these key data points for each zip code.

  • Median home value: The median home value for each zip code comes from the Zillow Home Value Index. The lower the median home value relative to the median value in Kentucky, the higher our score on this component. We assign a weight of 23.8% to median home value.
  • Home affordability ratio. The home affordability ratio is the typical median home value divided by the median household income in the zip code, which reveals the number of years of household income needed to afford a home in that zip code. A lower ratio is better because it means more households can afford a home. The data comes from the Zillow Observed Rent Index and the U.S. Census American Community Survey. We assign a weight of 23.8% to the home affordability ratio.
  • Home value five-year change: The home value five-year change is the amount that the median home value in the zip code has risen or fallen during the last five years. Our data comes from the Zillow Home Value Index. We assign a weight of 4.8% to the home value five-year change.
  • Home value one-year forecast: The home value one-year forecast comes from Zillow Forecast data. It projects how much home values in the zip code are forecasted to change in the next year. We assign a weight of 4.8% to the home value one-year forecast.
  • Rental costs. The rental costs are the observed rents in the zip code, sourced from the Zillow Observed Rent Index. The index includes "listed rents that fall into the 40th to 60th percentile range for all homes and apartments in a given region." We assign a weight of 11.9% to rental costs. 
  • Median household income: The inflation-adjusted median household income figures for the zip code comes from the U.S. Census American Community Survey. We assign a weight of 4.8% to median household income.
  • Rent affordability ratio. The rent affordability ratio is the ratio of rental costs divided by median household income, which provides the percentage of household income needed to pay a typical month’s rent in the zip code. The data comes from the Zillow Observed Rent Index and the U.S. Census American Community Survey. We assign a weight of 11.9% to the rent affordability ratio.
  • Property taxes: The property tax figures are the median real estate taxes paid in the zip code, sourced from the U.S. Census American Community Survey. The lower the property tax rate relative to the Kentucky average, the higher our score on this component. We assign a weight of 7.1% to property taxes. 
  • Energy costs: The energy costs are the costs of a kilowatt hour (kWh) of residential electricity in the zip code, sourced from the U.S. Department of Energy. The lower the cost of electricity relative to the Kentucky average, the higher our score on this component. We assign a weight of 7.1% to energy costs.  

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