The cheapest metro areas in the US to buy and rent

1 min readLast updated January 16, 2024by Lisa-Marie Voneshen

Buying and renting costs are rising throughout the US. With some people being priced out of the market, we’re looking at the cheapest metro areas to buy and rent across the US.

Where are the cheapest metro areas to buy? 

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, house prices in the US have surged by over 40 percent while mortgage rates were at a record low. 

But now, it’s a very different picture as, over the last few years, it has become more expensive to buy a home in the US, fueled by higher mortgage rates and low inventory. 

As of May 2023, the average house price in the US is $346,856. 

If you’re interested in buying your own home and are worried about being priced out of the housing market, there are areas in the US that are significantly cheaper to buy in. 

Here are the top 10 cheapest metro areas below (as of May 2023), according to Zillow: 

Metro areaTypical home values
Helena, Arkansas $33,939
Greenville, Mississippi $52,750
Clarksdale, Mississippi $61,637
Bennettsville, South Carolina $61,731
Selma, Alabama $64,069
Forrest City, Arkansas $64,689
Lamesa, Texas $68,763
Rio Grande City, Texas $69,748
Pampa, Texas $70,922
Kennett, Missouri $71,137

Unsurprisingly, the southern states make up the majority of the list as they are known for having a lower cost of living. In fact, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Missouri all feature in the 10 states with the lowest cost of living, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.  

Where are the cheapest metro areas to rent? 

While owning a home is a goal for many, buying one isn’t for everyone.  

Many may not be in a position to buy their own home just yet, while others choose to continue renting as long as possible. Greater flexibility in where you live, a lower initial security deposit compared to a huge downpayment, no property tax, and lower amenities cost are some of the reasons people may choose to rent over buying their own home.   

If you’re more interested in renting, below are the 10 cheapest metro areas, which are significantly more affordable than the monthly average of $2,048: 

Metro areaTypical monthly rent
Meadville, Pennsylvania $600
Athens, Ohio $638
Fort Dodge, Iowa $650
Danville, Illinois $659
Frankfort, Indiana $675
Bluefield, West Virginia $688
Weirton, West Virginia $706
Hutchinson, Kansas $706
Richmond, Indiana $708
Wahpeton, North Dakota $729

The bottom line 

It’s easy to understand the appeal of these cheaper metro areas. Many are much smaller than their more expensive counterparts and offer a slower pace of life while still having all the amenities you would come to expect. Others are close enough to a larger city to become viable commuter locations – offering cheaper housing while remaining within reach of the office.  

However, despite the appeal, it’s important to consider all factors when choosing where you will settle down. Healthcare, cost of living, and taxes are just some things you need to consider before choosing a location to buy or rent.  

If you’re considering buying your first home, looking for the best spot to rent, or perhaps you’re considering relocating, it’s a good idea to talk to a financial advisor who can look at your personal circumstances to help you make sure your finances are ready. Unbiased can match you with your perfect financial professional. Get started today. 

Senior Content Writer

Lisa-Marie Voneshen

Lisa-Marie Voneshen is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She is an award-winning journalist with nearly a decade of experience writing and editing content across various areas, including personal finance and investing.