Buying a house isn't cheap. Mortgage rates reached a 20-year high in late 2022, and the average home price in the U.S. remains over $535,000, according to Federal Reserve data.
Despite high prices, some cities still have relatively affordable housing markets. To help those looking to save money on a home purchase, we've compiled a list of the 15 most affordable places to buy a house in 2023, using home price data from Home Bay and employment/cost of living data from Sperling's Best Places.
1. Memphis, TN
With a median cost of $92 per square foot and a median single-family home sale price of $242,500, Memphis, Tennessee, tops our list for the most affordable city to buy a home in 2023. With a population of over 649,000 residents, this Southern city is bursting with a rich musical culture — while still having a lower cost of living than the average U.S. city.
Also experiencing a slight increase in job growth, this city is worth considering if you want to save money when buying a home.
2. Cleveland, OH
This Ohio city is No. 2 on our list of the most affordable places to live in 2023. Cleveland is bustling with history and culture, and homes here cost just $103 per square foot. The median home price for buyers is $183,750.
With more than 378,000 residents and a cost of living below the U.S. average, Cleveland would be a very affordable place to call home in 2023.
3. Pittsburgh, PA
The No. 3 city on our list is just a two-hour drive from No. 2. With a median square-foot cost of $134 for a house, buying a single-family home in Pittsburgh will run you about $210,000 — a fraction of the average price to buy a home in the US.
The cost of living in Pittsburgh is more expensive than Memphis or Cleveland, but it's still slightly below the U.S. average. You may be able to get a larger house in this historic city than you could elsewhere.
4. Indianapolis, IN
Located in the heart of the Hoosier State, Indianapolis is another of the most affordable places to buy a home in 2023. Also known as the Circle City, this charming Midwestern metropolis experienced a small housing boom over the past decade, but is still more affordable than most major cities. It costs a median of $134 per square foot to buy a home in Indianapolis, with the median home price set at $276,250.
You’ll also enjoy a slightly lower-than-average cost of living when buying a home in Indianapolis, which could help you save on additional costs like groceries, transportation, and utilities.
5. Buffalo, NY
If you don’t mind the cold and enjoy a city with an eclectic vibe, Buffalo, New York, might be right for you. With a renowned radial street plan, getting around this city is a breeze. It’s also less expensive to buy a home in Buffalo, costing around $139 per square foot and having a median home price of $217,450 for a single-family unit.
It’s cheaper overall to live in Buffalo than it is in other U.S. cities. Its cost of living is below the U.S. average, with slightly lower grocery prices than other places. However, expect to pay a bit more in utilities, especially in the colder months.
6. Birmingham, AL
Prefer warmer living? Then you might like our next pick, Birmingham, Alabama. This gorgeous Southern city also has a top-notch food and restaurant scene. Buying a home in Birmingham will cost you roughly $144 per square foot with a median sale price of $272,450.
It also has one of the lower costs of living of any city on this list. It’s well below the U.S. average, with notably low transportation costs, and slightly below-average grocery costs.
7. Oklahoma City, OK
Oklahoma's capital is home to over 662,000 residents and has room for more. It’s also one of the most affordable places to buy a home in the country. With home buyers paying a median of $149 per square foot and the median single-family home selling for $282,124, this city’s prices are well under the U.S. average. Oklahoma City's amenities serve a wide variety of tastes, with cowboy museums, art galleries, and unique eateries.
In addition to low housing costs, groceries and utilities are cheaper than average in Oklahoma City.
8. Detroit, MI
Michigan's largest city is famously dubbed the automobile capital of the world — and recently became the pizza capital of the U.S. With homes costing buyers just $152 per square foot, and the median single-family home costing roughly $217,450, Detroit also makes our list for one of the most affordable places to buy a home in the US.
Like all cities on this list, Detroit also has a relatively low cost of living. Groceries and health expenses, in particular, are often more affordable in Detroit than they are in the rest of the US.
9. St. Louis, MO
Best known for the blues, baseball, and the stunning Gateway Arch, this cultural gem is a great place to buy a home. St. Louis hosts over 297,000 residents, and home buyers pay roughly $152 per square foot. The median single-family home price in St. Louis is $245,000.
You’ll also enjoy a relatively low cost of living in this Midwestern city. Groceries, health costs, and utilities are slightly cheaper than the U.S. average.
10. Louisville, KY
Next is the Southern city of Louisville, Kentucky, which is well known as the home of the Kentucky Derby. With a rich sports and bourbon history, Louisville also has relatively affordable housing costs. Home buyers will pay approximately $152 per square foot for a home, and single-family homes cost a median of $252,500.
In Louisville, you’ll pay slightly less for groceries and health costs than the U.S. average, but transportation is a bit more expensive.
11. Milwaukee, WI
Another Midwestern city that’s relatively affordable is Milkwaukee. With the median price per square foot clocking in at $164, you may be able to get more house for your dollar. The median home price is also low — $257,450.
This Wisconsin city also has a below-average cost of living, coming in well under the U.S. average, with home prices primarily driving down costs.
12. Houston, TX
If you’re more partial to warmer climates, you might find a less expensive house in the large cultural hub of Houston. Texas' largest city has a median cost of about $167 per square foot, with the typical home price coming in at $359,995.
Although Houston has a slightly higher cost of living than most cities on this list, it’s still a little below the U.S. average in categories such as housing, groceries, health expenses, and utilities.
13. Kansas City, MO
With deep roots in the jazz scene, bustling nightlife, and world-famous barbecue, Kansas City, Missouri, has something to offer everyone. It also allows you to get slightly more house for your dollar than other cities offer at $171 per square foot, with a median single-family home price of $347,450.
As with others on this list, expect a lower-than-average cost of living, with housing and transportation costs significantly under the U.S. average. If you’re looking for a Midwestern city with tons to explore and an affordable cost of living, Kansas City may be exactly what you’re searching for.
14. San Antonio, TX
San Antonio is known nationally for its colorful River Walk and for being the home of the Alamo. The Texas city also has attainable homes, with a median price of $172 per square foot. The typical single-family home sells for about $349,990.
San Antonio also has a relatively low cost of living — slightly below the U.S. average — mainly due to low housing costs.
15. Virginia Beach, VA
With a popular tourist scene, fine dining, stretches of beaches, and plenty of entertainment and family-friendly activities, Virginia Beach, Virginia, rounds out our list of the most affordable places to buy a home in 2023. The typical cost per square foot for a home is $174, with a median home price of $312,500.
Although Virginia Beach has a slightly higher cost of living than the U.S. average, it has below-average prices for utilities and transportation.