Are home prices in your area getting you down? If you're looking to buy a house and are willing and able to relocate, you might want to consider heading for a more affordable city. Let's face it, some cities are so in-demand that the cost of living becomes downright ridiculous. The Bay Area in San Francisco is a prime example. The median housing value in San Francisco exceeds $750,000; its cost of living index, 179, means that the city is about 79 percent more expensive to live in than the national average. Even with so many high-paying jobs available, the area is beyond the financial reach of many people -- especially when it comes to buying a house.
To help you find the most affordable cities to buy a home in the USA, AreaVibes calculated the affordability ratios of American cities with populations of 200,000 or more. This means that we divided the median housing price of each city by its median household income. The lower the ratio, the more affordable it is to buy a home there. Not surprisingly, all of the cities in our top 10 have excellent cost of living scores too. Of course, other considerations should be made before uprooting your life and moving to a new area, so take a good look at the following cities to see if any of them pique your interest.
- 1. Buffalo, NY
© gleepy - flickr
With a median housing value of $66,700 and a median household income of $30,502, Buffalo's housing affordability ratio is an incredible 2.19. Located in upstate New York and boasting a population of more than 260,000 people, Buffalo has its pluses and minuses. Its overall Livability score is 71, which is pretty respectable. The cost of living index is 19% less than the national average, which is excellent too, and the city offers many local amenities. However, it earns an F for crime, with 6,082 crimes per 100,000 residents, and scores a D for weather thanks to its frigid winters and lake-effect snow. Learn more about Buffalo, NY housing.
- 2. Garland, TX
© gjmj - flickr
Garland's housing affordability ratio of 2.20 puts it near the top of our list. Indeed, the median housing value is $116,900, and the median household income is $53,060. The city, which has a population of nearly 230,000, earns a Livability score of 80 partly because of its affordable cost of living. Thanks to its warm, sunny weather, Garland scores high in the weather department too. As an added bonus, the unemployment rate is only 7 percent, so you should be able to find a job if you decide to purchase a home there. Learn more about Garland, TX housing.
- 3. Detroit, MI
© taestell - flickr
Don't let the poor reputation of the Motor City fool you. With a housing affordability ratio of 2.21, it's easy to find a cheap place to live in Detroit. Sadly, the city scores abysmally on many fronts, with a high school graduation rate of only 71 percent, an unemployment rate approaching 15 percent and more than 38 percent of the population living at or below the federal poverty level. Still, residents enjoy a low cost of living and access to a wide range of amenities. If you can stomach some sub par living conditions, Detroit is an affordable place to buy a home. Learn more about Detroit, MI housing.
- 4. Fort Wayne, IN
© jrlogue - flickr
This city of more than 250,000 residents earns a housing affordability ratio of 2.24 because the median housing value is $100,200 and the median household income is $44,599. Like other cities on the list, Fort Wayne boasts easy access to amenities and a low cost of living. In terms of crime, however, Fort Wayne earns a lackluster D+ due to statistics showing there are 4,221 crimes for every 100,000 residents. Happily, unemployment is below 7 percent, and 84 percent of residents graduate from high school. Learn more about Fort Wayne, IN housing.
- 5. Pittsburgh, PA
© rwoan - flickr
The median household income of Pittsburgh is $38,029. However, its median housing value is $88,500, earning it a housing affordability ratio of 2.32. This city of more than 305,000 people boasts an AreaVibes Livability score of 76 thanks in part to its low cost of living, a vast array of local amenities and a graduation rate of 84 percent. While unemployment is well below 6 percent, about 22.5 percent of Pittsburgh residents live at or below the federal poverty level. Still, as affordable as it is, Pittsburgh is a worthwhile option for budget-conscious home buyers to consider. Learn more about Pittsburgh, PA housing.
- 6. Fort Worth, TX
© stevenm_61 - flickr
Fort Worth checks in at number 6 our top 10 list with a housing affordability ratio of 2.36, which is the result of a median housing value of $121,100 and a median household income of $51,105. With more than 740,000 residents, it's the second most populated city on our list. Fort Worth scores an A for cost of living and an A for its weather, which is warm and sunny most of the time. Downsides include the fact that crime is something of an issue, and its graduation rate of 75 percent leaves something to be desired. Learn more about Fort Worth, TX housing.
- 7. Corpus Christi, TX
© smart_growth - flickr
With a median household income of $47,029 and a median housing value of $112,700, Corpus Christi boasts a housing affordability ratio of 2.39. Like many Texas cities, it has warm, sunny, pleasant weather throughout the year, with an average summer temperature of 82 degrees. If you choose to relocate here, you should be able to find a job easily -- the unemployment rate is just above 5 percent. In fact, Corpus Christi has a Livability score of 78 and scores fairly well in virtually every way, with the exception of a somewhat high crime rate. Learn more about Corpus Christi, TX housing.
- 8. Arlington, TX
© texasmarkers - flickr
Finding affordable housing in Arlington is easy. The city's housing affordability ratio is 2.46 thanks to a median housing value of $131,500 and a median household income of $53,241. This bustling Texas city is a standout in nearly every way, with warm, sunny weather throughout most of the year, an abundance of local amenities and services, an incredibly low cost of living and an unemployment rate of just 6.4 percent. As with so many cities on this list, however, crime is a bit of a problem. Learn more about Arlington, TX housing.
- 9. Rochester, NY
© nazareth_college - flickr
If you're willing to cope with freezing winters in exchange for affordable housing, Rochester should be right up your alley. Since it's located in upstate New York, Rochester has extremely cold winters and is often impacted by lake-effect snow. On the plus side, though, the median housing value is just $75,800, and the median household income is $30,708. Rochester earns high marks for cost of living, high school graduation rates and access to local amenities. At just 7.8 percent, unemployment is decent. However, the city earns a failing grade for crime, and more than 31 percent of residents live at or below the federal poverty level. Learn more about Rochester, NY housing.
- 10. San Antonio, TX
© maralinga - flickr
San Antonio is the most populated city on our list and clearly a great city to move to if you want affordable housing. Although crime is something of an issue, and more than 20 percent of the city's more than 1.3 million residents live at or below the federal poverty level, San Antonio excels in nearly every other conceivable way. The median housing value here is just $113,100, and the cost of living is remarkably low. Year-round sunny, warm weather sweetens the deal even more, with the average summer temperature hovering around 84 degrees. Learn more about the San Antonio, TX housing.
For more information, check out the AreaVibes Best and Worst Places to Live list for real-time, up-to-date and interactive top 100 best and worst list of cities. The report is sortable, and it allows you to filter by population and by category as well as by state.