The 5 Most Affordable Places to Live In Tennessee

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By Jamie Ayers Updated February 16, 2023


Finding a home that meets your needs without breaking the bank can be a serious challenge. State-wide, Tennessee has a median home value of $177,600. When you add in maintenance costs and property taxes, it can be difficult for many to buy and own a home.

That's why we've compiled a list of affordable cities in Tennessee to help you find a new place to live. All of these places are more affordable than average, meaning you can get more bang for your buck.

Looking for the most affordable places in Tennessee is a start, but you'll save even more money by working with a great agent.

The top Tennessee real estate agents know the local market and where to find pockets of more affordable homes. They can also help negotiate a better price when you do find your dream home.

At Clever Real Estate, we can match you with agents in any area you're interested in — even multiple areas at the same time. You can interview as many agents as you like until you find the perfect place to call home — all at no cost or obligation to you.

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Even if you're just daydreaming about where your next home might be, it's never too early to ask for an expert opinion. Real estate agents know the ins and outs of their local areas, including jobs, schools, and affordable neighborhoods.

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Most affordable cities in Tennessee

Whether you're looking for a quiet small town or a trendy suburban neighborhood, it's possible to locate pockets of affordability throughout Tennessee.

Here are our top picks for Tennessee residents on a budget:

1. Lexington

Lexington is a city of around 7,500 and the county seat of Henderson County. It’s midway between Memphis and Nashville, just over 100 miles from both cities.

The median income in Lexington is $38,468, and the median home value is $98,900 — 4.3% higher than one year ago.

Lexington is home to Beech Lake, a very popular camping and swimming destination. Lexington is also the site of the Beech River Heritage Museum, which holds a number of historical artifacts.

Lexington also claims to be the barbeque capital of the country, though this is a title the #2 city on our list would likely dispute! Allegedly, Lexington has more barbeque restaurants per capita than any other U.S. city.

2. Memphis

Memphis is by far the most affordable of Tennessee’s major cities. With a population of over 650,000 and growing, Memphis is the second largest city in Tennessee and 25th largest in the United States. And with a median home value of $85,900, Memphis offers big city amenities at a fraction of the cost.

Memphis is situated on the Mississippi River in West Tennessee and is the hub of the Mid-South region. Home values in Memphis went up 5.1% last year and are expected to continue to increase.

Memphis is one of the most culturally and historically significant cities in the Southern United States. It has the largest African American population in Tennessee and played an important role in the civil rights movement. It’s where Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed while supporting striking sanitation workers. Now, Memphis is the home of the Smithsonian-affiliated National Civil Rights Museum.

Memphis is also known for its barbecue. Memphis barbecue has received international acclaim. It also hosts the World Championship Barbecue Cooking contest every year.

Even after you've found a more affordable place to live in Tennessee, moving there can be expensive. By working with a Clever Partner Agent, you'll have an expert in your corner who can help you win at negotiations.

Having a Clever agent that knows how to get you a discount on your sale price or stack up buyer concessions in your favor can help you save thousands. All of our agents are top rated and come from well-known brokerages like Century 21 or Keller Williams, meaning you'll be getting a quality agent you can trust to score you a deal.

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3. LaFollette

LaFollette is a small, close-knit city of around 7,000 people. It’s located in Campbell County and has the feel of a mid-sized college town.

LaFollette is an affordable place to live and known for its friendly residents. The median home value in LaFollette is just $92,300 and the median income is under $30,000. Most people who live in LaFollette work nearby, with a median commute time of 25 minutes.

LaFollette is home Norris Lake, a beautiful lake dotted with cabins around it. If natural beauty is your thing, LaFollete is a great place to consider.

4. Paris

No, not that Paris. The other Paris. Paris, Tennessee is much more affordable than Paris, France. Home values are on the rise, but the median home value in Paris is still just $95,400 — 6.7% higher than a year ago.

Paris is located in Henry County, just over 80 miles northwest of Nashville. It’s on a fork of the West Sandy River and the Tennessee River and home to over 10,000 people. The median income is around $35,000.

In a nod to its namesake, Paris hosts a 70-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower. In the summer, Paris hosts what it calls the "World’s Biggest Fish Fry."

5. Rockwood

For an affordable place with small town charm in the greater Knoxville metro area, look to Rockwood. Rockwood is in Roane County and has a population around 5,500.

Rockwood is located between Crossville and Knoxville. A median home in Rockwood is worth $98,600, up 7.8% from one year ago. The median income in Rockwood is around $30,000.

Rockwood is an old mining city that was established after a Union officer discovered Iron on Walden Ridge. It began as a company town for the employees of the Roane Iron Company and gets its name from the first President of the company. Rockwood has changed a lot since its early days as a mining town and now has a diverse economy, offering many opportunities for residents.

The benefits of a great real estate agent

If you're just researching affordable places to live, you might wonder why you need a real estate agent. They're the ones that help you once you've already decided on a house, right?

Not necessarily. The truth is, it's never too early to start looking for an agent. In fact, talking to a realtor early on in the process can help you narrow down your options much faster than doing research on your own.

A real estate agent's job is to know everything about their local area. They'll find the best deals in desirable neighborhoods — and might just help you snag your dream home for an affordable price. Let a Clever agent help you discover your options today!

👋 Find your perfect agent now!

Finding a great local realtor is the first step in making your home buying dreams a reality. Our free service matches you with top agents from trusted brands like Keller Williams and RE/MAX.

Enter your zip code to request hand-picked agent matches in minutes. Compare your options until you find the perfect fit, or walk away with no obligation. Try Clever's free service today!

Frequently asked questions about affordable places to live in Tennessee

How can I save money when buying a home in Tennessee?

In addition to shopping in some of the most affordable areas, you'll want to work with an experienced real estate agent. They can find you hidden gems at low price points. A good agent can also negotiate like a pro to get you a lower sale price and more buyer incentives. You may also be able to take advantage of home buyer rebates.

How do I know how much I can afford to buy in Tennessee?

We recommend using the 28/36 rule to know how much house you can afford. This means your housing expenses shouldn't exceed 28% of your income, and all of your total debt shouldn't exceed 36%. Learn more about how to calculate your home buying budget.

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