With high inflation, high home prices, high mortgage interest rates, and high just about everything, affordability remains Concern No. 1 for home shoppers on a budget. Nothing else even comes close—especially for first-time homebuyers or those without trust funds or wealthy benefactors.
More and more Americans have begun to see the dream of homeownership as a fast-fading mirage.
That’s where the Realtor.com® data team can help! It turns out there are still plenty of affordable homes on the market—if you know where to look. In several parts of the country, there are hundreds, even thousands, of homes for sale for less than $200,000.
Yes, you read that correctly.
A price point of $200,000, with a 10% down payment, would generally keep the monthly payment below $1,200, before mortgage insurance, HOA fees, or property taxes. (This calculation considers current mortgage rates hovering around 6% for 30-year fixed-rate loans.)
So, where are these ultra-affordable homes? For starters, look to the middle of the country. It’s traditionally affordable cities such as Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Detroit that dominate the list. Only one of the metros on the list, Baltimore, is on a coast.
Some of these markets have been very affordable because they’ve been challenged with stagnant—or negative—population growth, and without vibrant job markets. Others are markets that are on the ascent, but are still relatively affordable. And a few are in between.
Take Detroit. The city hollowed out after manufacturing jobs dwindled. That drove down real estate prices, which then attracted a new set of incoming residents who want to take advantage of how affordable it is.
Charles Ryan, an associate broker and Realtor® at Keller Williams in Detroit, says he’s seen a lot of newcomers in the past decade.
“People who were never even from the city have turned their eyes to Detroit,” he says.”They want to open a new business, purchase homes, rehab homes. In the last eight or nine years, the city has just been thriving.”
In Cleveland, people are moving back after leaving years ago, says Lindsay Kronk, a real estate agent at Howard Hanna there.
“It’s the boomerang effect, where they grew up, then left, and now they’re coming back,” she says. “People are coming for jobs, generally. There’s strong job growth here now.”
To find where homes priced below $200,000 are still available, Realtor.com scrutinized listing data for the 100 largest metros. We looked at the metros with the most home listings priced at $200,000 or less as well as the percentage of such homes. Then those two metrics were averaged together to come up with our rankings. We limited the rankings to one metro per state for geographic diversity. (Metros include the main city and surrounding towns, suburbs, and smaller urban areas.)
Looking for a true real estate bargain? Keep reading.
Number of listings priced below $200,000: 3,926
Percentage of listings priced below $200,000: 39%
The Motor City has the most homes for sale priced below $200,000, with almost 4,000. And almost half of those are priced below $100,000.
Detroit also has the smallest homes of any city on the list, with the metro’s overall median home size just below 1,500 square feet.
But buying in Detroit at a lower price point can be tricky, according to Tom Nanes, a Realtor with Community Choice Realty Associates, in Detroit.
The prices are kept low, he says, because the city’s center is a patchwork of housing in a wide variety of stages of livability.
In some cases, “it’s cost-prohibitive to update some of these homes. There are still houses with knob and tube wiring. You can’t update that. You have to do a full replacement on the electric at that point,” he says. “So, you could spend $50,000 without getting halfway through what the home needs.”
Even if buyers find a suitable home at a price they want, it might be surrounded by homes that will eventually be razed, he explains. “Until those abandoned homes have been cleaned up or leveled, the prices aren’t going to be climbing like the suburbs.”
So the opportunities are there for people who can work with Detroit’s aging home stock, whether it’s first-time homebuyers who don’t mind putting in some work on a fixer-upper or investors looking to upgrade a home to sell or rent out.
For $83,000, someone can pick up this 95-year-old, 1,500-square-foot, four-bedroom, brick home in the Yorkshire Woods neighborhood of Detroit.
Number of listings priced below $200,000: 2,026
Percentage of listings priced below $200,000: 32%
Almost 1 in every 3 homes for sale in the Steel City is less than $200,000. Pittsburgh has undergone a significant renewal in recent years, and those efforts combined with lower prices have made the area attractive to both buyers and investors.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, home flippers bought up properties in neighborhoods such as Lawrenceville, East Liberty, and Garfield, leading to rising prices in these communities.
Like Detroit, Pittsburgh has relatively small homes, at just above 1,500 square feet for the median listing. And Pittsburgh has the most median days spent on the market of any metro on the list, at about 2.5 months.
Right now, $200,000 will get a two-bedroom home with an unfinished basement about 10 minutes north of downtown Pittsburgh. Or buyers can find a three-bedroom Cape Codder with an updated kitchen, hardwood floors, and a fenced yard in the Brookline neighborhood to the south of downtown.
Watch: How Much Do You Need To Save To Buy a $300,000 Home?
Number of listings priced below $200,000: 1,598
Percentage of listings priced below $200,000: 31%
Cleveland not only comes in at No. 3 on our list, it also has the lowest overall median listing price right now, at $189,000. (It also has some of the cheapest mansions in the nation for those seeking lots of space.)
No matter where you look in the Cleveland area, there are options for buyers in this price range, says David Sharkey, the president and broker of Progressive Urban Real Estate.
“You get out to the outskirts, and you can find some really affordable stuff,” Sharkey says of larger single-family homes on the city’s periphery. “Then you come into the city, into the inner suburbs, and you can still find homes under $200,000. Those might need renovations or updating, but people are doing it.”
Sharkey says he sees lots of reinvestment in Cleveland’s homes by homeowners who buy at a low price and then renovate to their taste. One of his listings in Brooklyn, OH, an inner suburb about 10 minutes south of downtown Cleveland, has been completely rehabbed with quartz countertops, refinished cabinets, and a waterproof basement.
This gutted three-bedroom home in the Ohio City neighborhood is listed for $190,000 and advertised as an opportunity to renovate the home for a significant profit. (Similar properties that have been renovated are selling for $400,000 or more.) For a more turnkey home, this four-bedroom house with hardwood floors in the Brookside neighborhood is listed for $160,000.
Number of listings priced below $200,000: 1,622
Percentage of listings priced below $200,000: 22%
St. Louis, the Gateway to the West, has more than 1,600 homes for sale priced below $200,000.
The area has been known for affordable real estate for a long time, but also for its crime and racial tensions. Ferguson, a city on the northwestern edge of the St. Louis area, became one of the catalysts of the Black Lives Matter movement, after the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown.
The area’s troubles are part of the reason why real estate remains more affordable here than in other Midwestern cities.
For less than $100,000, home shoppers can get a three-bedroom townhome in the North Riverfront neighborhood, about 15 minutes north of downtown and within walking distance of the Mississippi River.
Number of listings priced below $200,000: 1,202
Percentage of listings priced below $200,000: 17%
Baltimore has more than 1,200 homes priced below $200,000, but it also has the highest median listing price among the cities we ranked, at $319,000 in January.
The story of Baltimore’s housing is best summarized as “always on the verge of a comeback,” says Richard Clinch, director of Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore.
Baltimore has pricier neighborhoods with wealthier residents just blocks away from more economically depressed communities.
Clinch is optimistic about the city’s future with new jobs and industries moving in. And the Maglev, a proposed high-speed train to connect Baltimore to Washington, DC, should make the area more desirable.
For just under $200,000, home shoppers can get a renovated, 1,500-square-foot, three-bedroom townhome in the Highlandtown neighborhood, 15 mins east of downtown and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. It features hardwood floors and stainless-steel appliances.
Number of listings priced below $200,000: 873
Percentage of listings priced below $200,000: 20%
Alabama’s capital city, which became known as the “Pittsburgh of the South” due to its industrial industries in the early part of the 20th century, has nearly 900 homes listed for less than $200,000.
Demand for homes faltered in the 1960s as many white residents left the city during the civil rights movement. That left more homes than there were buyers for. And while the city has rebounded in recent years, buyers can still find deals.
The metro has the second-longest time on the market of any city on the list, with the median listing notching more than two months. A home shopper in Birmingham can score a three-bedroom home with new flooring and paint in the College Hills neighborhood, 2 miles west of downtown, for $185,000.
Number of listings priced below $200,000: 3,662
Percentage of listings priced below $200,000: 15%
Chicago is the biggest metro on the list, and it’s the second most expensive, with a median listing price of $315,000. Due to its sheer size, it also has the second most homes under $200,000, at more than 3,600.
Those cheap homes might be a boon to cash-strapped buyers in the city who have been facing some of the highest spikes in rental prices in the nation. Rents shot up 17.5% year over year in December, according to the most recent Realtor.com data. With median rent at just under $2,000 a month, financially savvy residents might want to see if it would be cheaper to become homeowners if they can afford a down payment and closing costs.
This three-bedroom, brick walkup with hardwood flooring, a full basement, a detached garage, and a yard in the Pullman neighborhood on the South Side is going for $180,000.
Number of listings priced below $200,000: 711
Percentage of listings priced below $200,000: 17%
Memphis buyers will save the most money becoming homeowners rather than remaining renters. They will also find the largest homes of any of the metros on this list. Plus, they can get a deal: About 1 in 6 sellers in the metro reduced their list price since they put their properties on the market.
Diane Malkin, an affiliate broker at Marx Bensdorf Realtors in Memphis, says the past few years have been hot for investors. The population has grown and home prices have risen fast, enticing those with the means to fix up the older homes in Memphis.
As the market has cooled, shoppers have become pickier about finding the right opportunities in the city. But they’re still buying.
“A lot of what I’m seeing, working with investors, they’re looking for some of those targeted ZIP codes that are still on the up and up,” she says. “It’s a lot of rehab.”
For $185,000, buyers can get get a studio condo in downtown Memphis, within walking distance of the Mississippi River. It comes with granite counters, a walk-in shower, and a rooftop grill with views of the river and city. Or they can get a fully renovated three-bedroom home in the Uptown neighborhood, 5 minutes north of downtown
Number of listings priced below $200,000: 879
Percentage of listings priced below $200,000: 15%
Indianapolis, known as the “Crossroads of America” and home to the Indy 500, is one of the most affordable metros in the nation. It has almost 900 homes listed for under $200,000.
Like Memphis, Indianapolis offers some of the larger homes of the metros on the list and about 1 in 6 sellers has also reduced prices.
This 2,100-square-foot, three-bedroom condo is available for $170,000 in the Farhill Woods neighborhood in the southern suburbs.
Number of listings priced below $200,000: 923
Percentage of listings priced below $200,000: 42%
Rochester, which sits on the shores of Lake Ontario, has had one of the hottest real estate markets in the nation for months. That’s due to its ultra-affordability: Almost half of Rochester’s homes are listed below $200,000.
Rochester also stands out for having the lowest percentage of homes with price reductions. So there doesn’t appear to be much room for negotiations on the price. It also has the quickest average time on the market before selling, at about seven weeks.
For $199,000, homebuyers can get a newly renovated three-bedroom, Colonial-style home in a cul-de-sac in the southwestern suburbs. Or for just $149,000, they can find a three-bedroom home, built in 1992, advertised as having a chicken raising variance—a nice way to blunt the fast-rising egg prices in the U.S.