Cozy homes in the cheapest towns to live
Home prices are on the rise again.
This summer, median home prices spiked in 87% of the metropolitan areas the National Association of Realtors measures. Thirty-one percent of those communities saw double-digit percentage year-over-year gains.
But just because the market is rebounding doesn't mean housing is pricey everywhere. In fact, there are four U.S. cities where the median price falls below $100,000.
Here, we look at 10 affordable houses in towns with the cheapest typical home prices.
These houses are all listed near the median home price for that city. Prices range from $75,000 to roughly $113,000, or a monthly payment of $308 to $465, assuming a 20% down payment and today's average mortgage interest rates.
Think you can't find anything worth buying for that amount of cash? Think again. Many of these homes are delightfully charming.
And their locations aren't bad, either. One of the homes on our list is located adjacent to a golf course, another in a major college town and a third near a waterfront.
Median home price: $86,400
Address: 1582 W. Forest Ave.
Square feet: 1,657
Price per square foot: $45
This bungalow is the best deal on our list, and that's not surprising since Decatur has the lowest median home price in the country. This two-story home in the west-end section of town is an especially amazing deal. For less than $75,000, you get three bedrooms, a full bathroom and a half bath, plus a brick fireplace, columned room dividers, built-in shelving and gorgeous hardwood floors.
The first floor has an open floor plan with an eat-in kitchen. There's even an enclosed front porch, sun-room and private backyard with a deck shaded with old-growth trees. It's in a plum spot, too: less than a mile from both Kiwanis and Fairview Park, and it's within walking distance of Millikin University. It also comes with a home warranty.
Jim Cleveland: Re/Max Executives Plus, 217-428-9500
Median home price: $92,900
Address: 2440 Portsmouth Ave.
Square feet: 1,380
Price per square foot: $69
This home has some real curb appeal to go along with a price tag below $100,000. The three-bedroom, one-bath house in west Toledo has classic charm but has been renovated for modern sensibilities. It was built in 1925 and features natural wood floors and molding, but it also has new replacement windows, an updated kitchen, plus a new full bath and rec room. In addition to those three bedrooms (which all have ceiling fans), the home also has a huge 15-by-6-foot walk-in closet. The property's bragging rights extend beyond the home itself. It also has a 2 1/2 car garage and a pool that was relined in 2012. The front of the home has a porch that's perfect for a swing.
Michelle Nieman: Danberry Realtors, 855-501-3825
Median home price: $93,200
Address: 1517 Camp Ave.
Square feet: 1,456
Price per square foot: $67
This three-story, updated mid-century home in Rockford is yet another great Illinois steal for less than $100,000. Let's talk about what's new: the windows, siding, roof and furnace have been updated; the kitchen has new cabinets and granite counter tops; the carpeting has been replaced recently; and the single full bathroom has been remodeled, too. The house's three bedrooms come with large closets. The family room features a wood-burning fireplace, and the basement is available for extra storage.
Outside, the back deck is as wide as the house, leading to a large, sloping lawn. Got a few rides? This home has you covered here, too, with a detached three-car garage, which is more than enough room for two vehicles and all the bikes, lawnmowers and sports equipment a family needs.
John & Diane Dowd: Dickerson & Nieman Realtors, 855-884-2433
Median home price: $99,800
Address: 11386 SW 77th Circle
Square feet: 1,693
Price per square foot: $59
Looking for a deal in the Sunshine State? Look no further than Ocala, which clocks in at No. 4 on the list of towns with the least expensive homes. This two-bedroom, two-bath home offers a lot for a flat $100,000. It's located inside the Oak Run Golf Community, and it's classic Florida living done in summery colors and with an open layout, including an eat-in kitchen and bay window. Of course, there's a sun-room — this one's screened in to keep out the bugs.
The home includes an oversize two-car garage that has plenty of space for vehicles and storage, plus a curved driveway. The new owners will have access to the community's pool, exercise facility and that golf course. This one-story home is ideal for anyone contemplating a place to retire.
Bob Miller: Keller Williams Cornerstone Real Estate, 352-547-1074
Median home price: $102,700
Address: 528 Cumberland St.
Square feet: 1,664
Price per square foot: $60
This three-story home built in 1915 is just the right size for a family. It includes four bedrooms, one full bathroom and one half bath. The foyer's wood pillars and built-in bookshelves around an ornate fireplace make for an elegant entrance and first floor, which are complimented by gorgeous stairs and hardwood floors throughout. The kitchen is a galley but big enough for a breakfast nook, plus the home has a formal dining room sized for everyone to gather around the table.
Are you the kind of person who loves to be outside? This might be the home for you. In addition to a nice front porch, the home has decks on both the first and second floors. There's room to expand, too: Both the basement and attic are unfinished.
Joe Brewer: Century 21, 855-823-9530
Median home price: $103,200
Address: 1515 Spencer St.
Square feet: 1,650
Price per square foot: $61
Set in the Westside neighborhood, this four-bedroom, one full bathroom and one half bath home is about a 15-minute drive from Michigan State University. It's close enough to commute or enjoy the university's events, but far enough to get away from it all. The house has hardwood floors, a gas fireplace and formal dining room. The kitchen has been updated with a new porcelain floor and new appliances, too.
The first floor is a nice compromise between an open and traditional floor plan, with wide openings between the living and dining rooms. Two of those four bedrooms are large and have double closets. Outside, the house features a private deck and a one-car detached garage. New roof and central air only sweeten this deal.
Adriane Lau: Re/Max Real Estate Pros Dewitt, 517-881-5182
Median home price: $103,400
Address: 1110 Portage Ave.
Square feet: 2,450
Price per square foot: $45
Calling all Notre Dame fans: This five-bedroom, two-bath historic home in South Bend is big enough to fit all your fellow fan friends — and a bargain in the town with the seventh-cheapest median home price. We're squeaking past the $100,000 mark, but this home also has the lowest square footage cost of any on our list. The three-story home is just blocks from the St. Joseph River and a 6-minute drive to the University of Notre Dame campus. It's close enough that you can walk to the stadium on game days.
And then there's the home itself: a 1907 gem that comes with gorgeous hardwood floors and trim throughout, plus a wood-burning fireplace, oak cabinets and a formal dining room. Even the third-floor finished bedroom has a full walk-in closet.
Steve Bizzaro: Cressy & Everett Real Estate, 855-852-2486
Median home price: $109,300
Address: 1 Giles St.
Square feet: 1,590
Price per square foot: $67
This stunner of a home fits nicely under the median house price in town. This two-story house has three bedrooms, one full bathroom and one half bath with hardwood floors and a wood-burning fireplace. An enclosed patio and a finished basement (with a bar) will give the owners space to grow, plus there's a one-car garage.
The home was built in 1940, but the furnace has been upgraded recently, and the central air system is brand new. If you enjoy the outdoors, the home has a nice-sized backyard and is also less than a mile from Riverside Drive and the Susquehanna River. Bonus for those who crave peace and quiet: There are only 10 homes on the block.
Michael Rizzo: Century 21 Sbarra & Wells, 607-757-2100
Median home price: $109,500
Address: 2306 Lynn Ave.
Square feet: 1,977
Price per square foot: $55
Well, this is a pretty home and pretty good deal: a three-bedroom, one full bath home in Ft. Wayne that clocks in at $55 per square foot. The house was built in 1925, but just about everything has been upgraded: the kitchen, breakfast room, windows, basement, furnace and electrical system have all been recently updated. The dining room has beautiful oak floors and trim, and there's a gas fireplace in the living room.
Tired of hauling laundry down the stairs? The home has a laundry chute from the main and second floor. Let's go outside: how about a big yard, a big deck and wooden privacy fencing, plus a detached one-car garage? The house is a decent size, too. At 1,977 square feet, it's the second-largest home on our list.
John Michael Segyde: Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber, 260-416-5184
Median home price: $112,800
Address: 437 W. 31st St.
Square feet: 1,799
Price per square foot: $61
Erie is a waterfront town sitting right on — you guessed it — Lake Erie. This three-bedroom, two full bathroom brick home has hardwood floors, built-in bookshelves and a fireplace in the living room. Upstairs are three nice-sized bedrooms. The kitchen is open to the rest of the first floor, including a breakfast bar that can be used on the kitchen or living side. There's also an enclosed front porch, a detached two-car garage and a finished basement.
The roof is new and the electrical system has been updated. It's just over a 3-mile drive to the lakefront, Liberty Park and Port Erie. Take on a few more miles, and you're in Presque Isle State Park. Not a bad price for a water lover.
Lisa Nielsen: Howard Hanna Erie South, 814-720-3168