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The 5 Most Affordable Places to Live In Tennessee

Tennessee is a great place to live. And whether you’re looking for a small town or a big city, Tennessee has a place for you. Even people on a tight budget can find a lovely, affordable place to live in this diverse state.
Tennessee is a great place to live. And whether you’re looking for a small town or a big city, Tennessee has a place for you. Even people on a tight budget can find a lovely, affordable place to live in this diverse state.

Are you thinking about moving to Tennessee?

Tennessee is home to southern mansions, Graceland, and Vanderbilt University. If you live on a budget, that can be an intimidating thought. But don’t worry; Tennessee has plenty of places for people who aren’t country music stars.

From Nashville to rural Appalachia, Tennessee has it all. And yet, Tennessee real estate market remains affordable. The median home value in Tennessee is $166,900, compared to the national median of $226,800.

In each of the cities on our list, you can buy a home for under $100,000. Each city also boasts rising home values and exciting opportunities for residents.

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.

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.

Next Steps

If you’re thinking about buying property in one of these cities or another part of Tennessee, you should be working with an experienced Tennessee buyer’s agent. Clever Partner Agents are all top-rated in their fields and will be able to advise you and save you money at every step of the home buying process. Contact Clever today to be matched with a Partner Agent for a no-obligation consultation to help you find an affordable Tennessee home.

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Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

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