The 50 Best Places To Buy a Home for Under $250,000


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A family home is one of the key elements for many Americans, providing a long-term solution to their housing and a real estate investment for their portfolio.

However, in many places in America, housing prices have skyrocketed so high that homeownership has become a dream only imaginable for the rich. When the median home value in your area is $1 million or more, a 20% down payment alone comes to $200,000.

Check Out: 20 Best Cities Where You Can Buy a House for Under $100K

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That’s why GOBankingRates has compiled a list of the best options for people who are ready to look beyond the beaten path for a place where buying a home is affordable and life is good. The study compiled the median home value from cities across the country, limiting itself to just those where prices are under a quarter-million dollars. It then added on factors like crime rates, unemployment and overall livability, scoring each and combining them to rank each city.

So, see if your hometown is one of the places where you can expect to be able to buy a home for a price that’s not outrageous.

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DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

50. Bowling Green, Kentucky

  • 2022 average home value: $237,894

  • Livability score: 73

  • Median household income: $43,633

  • Unemployment rate: 3.2%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 25.0%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.67

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 38.31

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49. Kansas City, Missouri

  • 2022 average home value: $212,643

  • Livability score: 58

  • Median household income: $60,042

  • Unemployment rate: 2.4%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.0%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 14.58

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 42.70

Try This: Housing Market 2024: Home Prices Are Plummeting in 10 Formerly Overpriced Housing Markets

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gnagel / Getty Images

48. Wichita, Kansas

  • 2022 average home value: $175,602

  • Livability score: 60

  • Median household income: $56,374

  • Unemployment rate: 2.9%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.2%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 11.76

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 47.28

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Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

47. Montgomery, Alabama

  • 2022 average home value: $128,088

  • Livability score: 65

  • Median household income: $49,989

  • Unemployment rate: 2.5%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 21.2%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.18

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 36.23

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Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

46. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

  • 2022 average home value: $217,990

  • Livability score: 64

  • Median household income: $50,204

  • Unemployment rate: 3.1%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 19.0%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 11.49

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 40.36

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Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

45. Columbus, Georgia

  • 2022 average home value: $138,836

  • Livability score: 60

  • Median household income: $50,542

  • Unemployment rate: 3.3%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 19.5%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 7.17

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 26.34

Trending Now: 50 Safest and Most Affordable US Cities To Live In

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DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

44. Evansville, Indiana

  • 2022 average home value: $167,195

  • Livability score: 58

  • Median household income: $45,649

  • Unemployment rate: 2.3%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 19.9%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 7.44

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 36.71

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Paul Brady Photography / Shutterstock.com

43. Springfield, Illinois

  • 2022 average home value: $135,537

  • Livability score: 61

  • Median household income: $57,596

  • Unemployment rate: 3.6%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 18.5%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 8.38

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 38.12

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Tiago_Fernandez / Getty Images

42. Elkhart, Indiana

  • 2022 average home value: $185,429

  • Livability score: 65

  • Median household income: $43,868

  • Unemployment rate: 2.5%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 19.6%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 12.85

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 31.40

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dszc / Getty Images

41. Lubbock, Texas

  • 2022 average home value: $195,999

  • Livability score: 68

  • Median household income: $54,060

  • Unemployment rate: 2.9%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 19.4%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 10.85

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 38.53

Be Aware: 7 Worst States To Buy Property in the Next 5 Years, According to Real Estate Agents

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Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

40. Lafayette, Louisiana

  • 2022 average home value: $202,790

  • Livability score: 73

  • Median household income: $55,329

  • Unemployment rate: 3.1%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 19.5%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.04

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 41.26

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Mig Esc / Wikimedia Commons

39. Topeka, Kansas

  • 2022 average home value: $159,014

  • Livability score: 61

  • Median household income: $50,870

  • Unemployment rate: 2.7%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.2%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 7.11

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 45.16

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38. Corpus Christi, Texas

  • 2022 average home value: $205,269

  • Livability score: 69

  • Median household income: $59,993

  • Unemployment rate: 4.5%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17.0%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 8.79

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 32.65

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mandritoiu / Shutterstock.com

37. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • 2022 average home value: $211,339

  • Livability score: 75

  • Median household income: $54,036

  • Unemployment rate: 3.7%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 19.7%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.98

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 30.02

Be Aware: 10 Fastest-Cooling Housing Markets in the U.S. — 6 Are in Florida

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MechanicSloth / Shutterstock.com

36. McAllen, Texas

  • 2022 average home value: $195,966

  • Livability score: 81

  • Median household income: $52,422

  • Unemployment rate: 6.8%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 21.0%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 1.82

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 18.27

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SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

35. Greensboro, North Carolina

  • 2022 average home value: $228,026

  • Livability score: 66

  • Median household income: $51,667

  • Unemployment rate: 3.6%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17.4%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 8.86

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 36.0

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Mark Taylor Cunningham / Shutterstock.com

34. Pasadena, Texas

  • 2022 average home value: $206,139

  • Livability score: 71

  • Median household income: $61,182

  • Unemployment rate: 3.9%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17.9%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.35

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 25.24

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Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

33. Kansas City, Kansas

  • 2022 average home value: $161,492

  • Livability score: 59

  • Median household income: $50,707

  • Unemployment rate: 2.4%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 18.4%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.72

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 21.54

Explore More: Why Many Regret Moving to Texas Post-Pandemic

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32. Louisville, Kentucky

  • 2022 average home value: $224,899

  • Livability score: 64

  • Median household income: $58,357

  • Unemployment rate: 2.7%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.2%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 9.79

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.0

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DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

31. Wichita Falls, Texas

  • 2022 average home value: $147,753

  • Livability score: 75

  • Median household income: $50,856

  • Unemployment rate: 3.3%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 18.5%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.82

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 31.59

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DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

30. Grand Rapids, Michigan

  • 2022 average home value: $238,003

  • Livability score: 67

  • Median household income: $55,385

  • Unemployment rate: 3.1%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 18.6%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 9.82

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 25.81

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©Shutterstock.com

29. Lake Charles, Louisiana

  • 2022 average home value: $181,000

  • Livability score: 70

  • Median household income: $49,913

  • Unemployment rate: 3.0%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 20.8%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.69

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 24.24

Find Out: Cheapest Places To Buy a Home in Every State

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Anya Douglas / Shutterstock.com

28. Jacksonville, North Carolina

  • 2022 average home value: $205,393

  • Livability score: 71

  • Median household income: $47,483

  • Unemployment rate: 3.7%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 16.3%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.76

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 19.09

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DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

26. Davenport, Iowa

  • 2022 average home value: $160,993

  • Livability score: 69

  • Median household income: $56,315

  • Unemployment rate: 3.7%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.8%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.63

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 36.16

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Darren56brown / Wikimedia Commons

25. Warren, Michigan

  • 2022 average home value: $184,946

  • Livability score: 70

  • Median household income: $55,153

  • Unemployment rate: 3.2%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.3%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.24

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 15.61

Read More: 10 Dangerous Cities You Shouldn’t Buy a Home in No Matter the Price

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WilliamSherman / Getty Images/iStockphoto

24. Roanoke, Virginia

  • 2022 average home value: $224,331

  • Livability score: 75

  • Median household income: $48,476

  • Unemployment rate: 2.6%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 18.4%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.90

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 38.77

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Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

23. Indianapolis, Indiana

  • 2022 average home value: $212,980

  • Livability score: 65

  • Median household income: $54,321

  • Unemployment rate: 2.2%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 16.4%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 7.32

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 35.20

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DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

22. Laredo, Texas

  • 2022 average home value: $196,466

  • Livability score: 72

  • Median household income: $55,603

  • Unemployment rate: 3.7%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 22.2%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.15

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 12.37

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©Shutterstock.com

21. High Point, North Carolina

  • 2022 average home value: $206,176

  • Livability score: 62

  • Median household income: $54,331

  • Unemployment rate: 3.6%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 14.6%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.22

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 27.82

Discover More: 3 Florida Cities Where You Can Buy Homes For $100,000 or Less

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DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

20. Odessa, Texas

  • 2022 average home value: $198,665

  • Livability score: 63

  • Median household income: $66,769

  • Unemployment rate: 3.8%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 13.4%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.92

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 25.98

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BOB WESTON / Getty Images/iStockphoto

19. Bryan, Texas

  • 2022 average home value: $239,999

  • Livability score: 73

  • Median household income: $49,181

  • Unemployment rate: 2.8%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 23.5%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.79

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 19.60

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Long_Strange_Trip_01 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

18. Columbus, Ohio

  • 2022 average home value: $235,400

  • Livability score: 73

  • Median household income: $58,575

  • Unemployment rate: 3.1%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 18.4%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.96

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.16

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17. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

  • 2022 average home value: $182,569

  • Livability score: 69

  • Median household income: $59,679

  • Unemployment rate: 2.4%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 14.9%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.29

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 37.37

Check Out: 10 Housing Markets That Will Plummet in Value Before the End of 2024

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Sharon Day / Shutterstock.com

16. Independence, Missouri

  • 2022 average home value: $177,135

  • Livability score: 71

  • Median household income: $53,996

  • Unemployment rate: 2.4%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 14.3%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.52

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 35.88

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RossHelen / Getty Images/iStockphoto

15. El Paso, Texas

  • 2022 average home value: $190,159

  • Livability score: 74

  • Median household income: $51,325

  • Unemployment rate: 4.0%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 18.3%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 2.54

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 12.73

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NSA Digital Archive / Getty Images/iStockphoto

14. Hamilton, Iowa

  • 2022 average home value: $241,626

  • Livability score: 74

  • Median household income: $50,034

  • Unemployment rate: 3.1%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 16.4%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.92

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 31.95

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photoquest7 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

13. Pensacola, Florida

  • 2022 average home value: $234,795

  • Livability score: 69

  • Median household income: $59,119

  • Unemployment rate: 2.3%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.3%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.22

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 27.74

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12. Longview, Texas

  • 2022 average home value: $200,386

  • Livability score: 78

  • Median household income: $53,854

  • Unemployment rate: 4.0%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 18.6%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.50

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 25.23

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DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

11. Abilene, Texas

  • 2022 average home value: $174,950

  • Livability score: 75

  • Median household income: $54,493

  • Unemployment rate: 3.2%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.4%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.78

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 20.68

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DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

10. Amarillo, Texas

  • 2022 average home value: $181,193

  • Livability score: 73

  • Median household income: $55,174

  • Unemployment rate: 2.6%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.8%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 7.46

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.71

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Malcom K / Flickr.com

9. Tyler, Texas

  • 2022 average home value: $222,562

  • Livability score: 70

  • Median household income: $58,385

  • Unemployment rate: 3.3%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 14.9%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.50

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 26.44

Read Next: 11 Expensive Vacation Destinations That Will Be Cheaper in 2024

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DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

8. Norman, Oklahoma

  • 2022 average home value: $227,192

  • Livability score: 76

  • Median household income: $59,866

  • Unemployment rate: 2.4%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 16.7%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.17

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 31.23

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©Shutterstock.com

7. Hampton, Virginia

  • 2022 average home value: $233,401

  • Livability score: 72

  • Median household income: $59,380

  • Unemployment rate: 3.0%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 14.4%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 2.87

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 24.99

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pabradyphoto / Getty Images

6. Des Moines, Iowa

  • 2022 average home value: $179,879

  • Livability score: 75

  • Median household income: $58,444

  • Unemployment rate: 2.8%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.3%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.32

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 31.89

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©Shutterstock.com

5. Lynchburg, Virgina

  • 2022 average home value: $216,265

  • Livability score: 82

  • Median household income: $54,015

  • Unemployment rate: 2.9%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17.6%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.20

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 20.90

For You: Dave Ramsey: 7 Vacation Splurges That Are a Waste of Money

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Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

4. Greenbay, Wisconsin

  • 2022 average home value: $206,384

  • Livability score: 70

  • Median household income: $55,221

  • Unemployment rate: 2.1%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.4%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.54

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 15.22

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphotoDenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

3. Joliet, Illinois

  • 2022 average home value: $205,688

  • Livability score: 70

  • Median household income: $77,373

  • Unemployment rate: 4.2%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 10.7%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.05

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 11.51

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphotoDenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

2. Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • 2022 average home value: $195,509

  • Livability score: 75

  • Median household income: $53,978

  • Unemployment rate: 2.2%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.5%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 2.64

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 23.13

Manuel Hurtado / Shutterstock.comManuel Hurtado / Shutterstock.com

Manuel Hurtado / Shutterstock.com

1. Cedar Rapids, Iowa

  • 2022 average home value: $187,941

  • Livability score: 76

  • Median household income: $63,170

  • Unemployment rate: 3.5%

  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 11.2%

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.41

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 26.78

Joel Anderson contributed to the reporting for this article.

Methodology: In order to find the 50 best places to buy a home for under $250,000, GOBankingRates looked at the 100 most populous cities where home values from Jan. 2022 to Jan. 2023 did not go above $250,000 and had an average during that same period below $250,000 according to Zillow’s Jan. 2023 data. Once these 100 cities were identified, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors: (1) median household income as sourced from the United States Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey; (2) an overall livability score out of 100 sourced from AreaVibes; (3) violent crime rate per 1,000 residents and (4) property crime rate per 1,000residents, both sourced from Neighborhood Scout; (5) Metropolitan Statistical Area unemployment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data for December 2022; (6) percent of the population living below the poverty line sourced from the United States Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey; and (7) an annual cost of living expenditures estimate (groceries, healthcare, utilities and transportation), based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 Consumer Expenditure Survey and local cost of living indices sourced from Sperling’s Best Places. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lower score being best, and then ranked to give the final placements. All data was collected on and up to date as of June 3, 2024.

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