CheapestCities Feature
6.7.16 Savings

Making the Big Move: 10 Cheapest Cities to Call Home

By: Lindsey Carman

If you’re like me, you’ve dreamed about moving to a new city, somewhere completely different from where you grew up. For those who were raised in the sunny South, the mountains might be calling your name, or maybe it’s the Midwest enticing you with its slower-paced lifestyle. Whatever climate and scenery interests you, the actual cost of moving can be quite intimidating, especially if you’re buying your first home.

We crunched numbers and compiled a list of the 10 cheapest cities to call home. When comparing the average cost of living (and the average cost of housing), we found these cities to be some of the most affordable places to live in the U.S.

Notes on the data used: The statistics below are based on a simple numerical scale that shows how relatively expensive or affordable a city is compared to others in the U.S. The number ‘100’ represents the average cost of each expense. For example, an average utilities expense higher than 100 is considered more expensive, whereas any number below is considered more affordable.

10. Johnson City, Tennessee

Home to rich history and Southern culture, Johnson City is nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. This town, located in the foothills of east Tennessee, has a myriad of nature parks and trails to explore, as well as free events and downtown shops.

A picture of town life in Johnson City

One of the perks of moving to Johnson City is its affordable housing. The median price of homes is around $135,000. With a steady growth in job opportunities and cheap things to do, this town is a great place to start a new career or relocate your business.

 Average Cost of HousingAverage Cost of Living

Johnson City, where beautiful scenery and city life coincide, is named one of the cheapest cities to live in the U.S. Come explore the sights and sounds of this town, and see why it’s a great place to call home.

9. Wichita Falls, Texas

Situated in the Plains area of north central Texas, Wichita Falls is a family-friendly environment that’s easy on the wallet. Tourists and locals in this Texan city enjoy outdoor sculptures, a nature center, wineries, and museums.

A picture of a waterfall in Wichita Falls

The median price of homes in Wichita Falls is about $120,000, so moving here is more affordable than other places in Texas. Most neighborhoods are family-friendly and located near schools for those who are raising kids.

 Average Cost of HousingAverage Cost of Living

Located near popular metropolitan cities, Wichita Falls is a great city to start a family. You may just ‘find yourself in the Falls’ if you’re looking to move to a cheap city in Texas.

8. Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fort Smith, the second-largest city in Arkansas, is rich with history dating all the way back to the Trail of Tears and Civil War. This town is also known for its agriculturism, sporting activities, and shopping spots.

A picture of night time in Fort Smith

In Fort Smith, you can find a great home for $103,100, and still live close to historical sites, wineries, and the Ozark Mountains. Owning a home in this town is a smart move for first-time buyers.

 Average Cost of HousingAverage Cost of Living

Established near the first frontier fort in the area, Fort Smith is one of the cheapest cities to live in in the Midwest. Visit Fort Smith, and you’ll also see why this city is “where the new south meets the old west.”

7. Muskogee, Oklahoma

Muskogee, a melting pot of culture, is one of the most affordable places in the U.S. Although this city started as an early trading post in the Midwest, Muskogee is now a bustling town in Oklahoma that hosts an annual music festival and free events.

A picture of town life in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Buying a home in Muskogee is pretty easy on the wallet. The median home price is around $103,500, and most neighborhoods are close to shopping areas and schools.

 Average Cost of HousingAverage Cost of Living

Nestled near three rivers, Muskogee, Oklahoma is home to a diverse community that enjoys affordable activities like chili cook-offs, fishing, and other local events. Come see why this cheap city is a great place to make the big move.

6. Springfield, Illinois

Springfield, known as the home of Abraham Lincoln, has a growing population of 116,000 residents. Visitors and residents enjoy touring affordable attractions and attending free events. As the capital of Illinois, this city is a hub of American history, music festivals, and good eats.

A picture of downtown Springfield

Moving here won’t cost you a fortune. The median price of homes in Springfield is typically $120,500, which is a great deal in the Midwest. Many neighborhoods are near schools, businesses, and shopping centers as well.

 Average Cost of HousingAverage Cost of Living

Filled with intriguing history and a down-to-earth atmosphere, Springfield is a great city to move to if you want to lower your costs (especially if you live in a bigger city). Enjoy what this city has to offer for locals and tourists alike.

5. Cookeville, Tennessee

Cookeville, located in the heart of the Highlands in Tennessee, is one of the largest ‘micropolitan’ areas in this state. Home to beautiful scenery, Southern history, and affordable attractions, this town is a great place to settle down.

A picture of town life at night in Cookeville, Tennessee

On average, homes in Cookeville cost about $140,000, making this a cheap town to plant your roots. There are plenty of jobs and things to do in this town, and you’ll enjoy the pace of life.

 Average Cost of HousingAverage Cost of Living

What started as a railroad town turned Cookeville into one of the most pleasant (and cheapest) cities to live in in the U.S. Filled with Civil War history and beautiful surrounding scenery, consider moving to Cookeville.

4. Pueblo, Colorado

Known for its Historic Arkansas Riverwalk, Pueblo is a quiet town in Colorado that’s bursting with Native American culture and a diverse community. What once was an important location for transportation and trading for more than 150 years has now established itself as a multi-cultural city.

A picture of town life in Pueblo, Colorado

You should consider moving here, with the median sales price of homes as low as $142,000. Most residents enjoy nearby amenities like schools, parks, and business locations.

 Average Cost of HousingAverage Cost of Living

As this town has transitioned from being the home of Native Americans and a booming railroad industry, Pueblo is now one of the cheapest cities to live in the U.S. New residents will enjoy the beautiful sights of nature and laidback lifestyle in Pueblo.

3. McAllen, Texas

Get ready to turn up the heat in this sizzling Texan city. McAllen, the largest city in Hidalgo County, is a southwestern metropolitan town in Texas. Locals enjoy sampling culinary delights, walking through the famous Quinta Mazatlan garden, and participating in good ol’ Texan fun.

A sky view of McAllen, Texas at night

Everything is really bigger in Texas. Houses, on average, cost about $243,000, but this price is much lower compared to more well-known Texan cities. There are many affordable housing options here, like renting condos or apartments, if you’re not ready to take on a home.

 Average Cost of HousingAverage Cost of Living

Filled with true Texan delights, McAllen is one of the most affordable cities to live and offers a variety of cheap attractions. Between historical sites and free events, moving to McAllen is a smart decision if you have your heart set on living in Texas.

2. Pryor Creek, Oklahoma

Pryor Creek, named after an explorer who was part of the Lewis and Clark expedition, is home to Oklahoma’s first school and printing press. This town now has a thriving agricultural economy and tight-knit community that’s great for families.

A picture of a bridge in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma

Settling down in Pryor Creek won’t break your budget. Homes usually go for $131,000, which allows owners to invest in nice amenities and buy more land.

 Average Cost of HousingAverage Cost of Living

Filled with Native American history and home to one of Google’s facilities, Pryor Creek offers cheap housing and a laidback atmosphere. If you want to move to a cheap city in the Midwest, then consider this enjoyable town.

1. Harlingen, Texas

Texas is known for having great, affordable communities, and Harlingen lands in the top spot. Originally home to Texas Rangers and a thriving railroad, Harlingen is bursting with southern Texan adventure with historical spots and community activities.

A photo town life of Harlingen, Texas

Buying a house is affordable in this town; homes usually costs about $95,000, which is considerably lower than cities like Dallas and Austin.

 Average Cost of HousingAverage Cost of Living

Located in the southern tip of Texas, Harlingen ranks as the cheapest city to live on our list. From this city’s striking scenery to great Texan culture, Harlingen is a great place to relocate to in the Lone Star state.

Pick One of These Affordable Cities to Call Home

Whether it’s your first-time making the big move, or you’ve lived all across the country, you’ll find a wide variety of affordable places to live. Once you crunch some numbers and pick a destination, you’re almost on your way to calling a new, great city your home.

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