Homebuyers had reason to be hopeful in July, when the share of homes listed with price cuts hit 19%, according to Realtor — a number not seen since 2017. And that happened just as the Mortgage rates were falling from their June highs (see the lowest mortgage rates you can get now here). Of course, most house prices are still very high, so we decided to look for cool cities where the median house price was around $250,000 or less (psst: in some cases, this budget might even afford to buy a house with an in-ground pool).
If you want to do lots of things: Omaha, Nebraska
Famous hometown of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Omaha has a lot to offer beyond just one of the richest men in the world. Once known as the Gateway to the West, Omaha, located on the Missouri River near the Iowa border, is the birthplace of many essential American inventions, including the Reuben sandwich, Top 40 radio format and TV dinner. The city is also home to the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, which offers 160 acres of immersive habitats; the Durham Museum, housed in an Art Deco building; and the Old Market, a district of cobbled streets that houses art galleries, restaurants and shops. Since Nebraska is one of the largest beef producers in the country, the city is home to many steakhouses, including the 801 Chophouse at the Paxton.
Typical home value: $271,446
Average cost of living: 10.2% lower than the US average
Source: Zillow; Best places in Sperlings
If you want a thriving art scene: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
After experiencing a period of decline at the end of the 20e century, when the city’s booming steel industry all but shut down production, Pittsburgh reinvented itself as a hub for medical and biotech companies. Indeed, more than 155 life science start-ups have been founded in the city since 2000. The city is also renowned for its cultural offerings, which include the Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art, as well as a cultural district home to the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the August Wilson African-American Cultural Center, and four art galleries operated by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Foodies will delight in a plethora of options, including dining at Chengdu Gourmet and 40 North, both helmed by chefs appointed by James Beard.
Typical home value: $235,267
Average cost of living: 12.5% lower than the US average
See the lowest mortgage rates you can get now here.
If you like the great outdoors: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Derived from a word Creek which means “rock rising to a point”, Chattanooga abounds in natural splendor, including nearby Lookout Mountain, home to the nation’s tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the audience. People who enjoy spending time outdoors will find plenty to do at attractions such as Rock City, a hiking spot with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, and Raccoon Mountain Caverns, which include 5.5 miles of trails through caves full of natural crystal formations. Other attractions include the Tennessee Aquarium, as well as Chattanooga Market, an outdoor craft and farmers market that also features live music. Chattanooga offers a variety of cuisines, including Japanese-style izakaya at Two Ten Jack and New Orleans-style Cajun seafood at Blue Orleans.
Typical home value: $285,178
Average cost of living: 16.2% lower than the US average
If you want to wear a t-shirt in January: Tallahassee, Florida
Home to Florida State University and Florida A&M University, Tallahassee also has the most educated population in Florida, with more than half of residents having a bachelor’s degree or higher. Living in Tallahassee means enjoying the classic southern landscape — think live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss — and being a short distance from the beach, as the white-sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico are only 22 miles away. South. Roughly equidistant between Jacksonville and Pensacola, Tallahassee prides itself on its cultural and outdoor attractions, including 24 art galleries and 15 museums. The 68,000 acre St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is just 25 miles away. Or leave your car at home and use the free trolley system to visit one of the city’s many restaurants, including the Edison, a chic restaurant in a former power station.
Typical home value: $266,278
Average cost of living: 6.2% lower than the US average
If you like those Texas vibes: El Paso, Texas
Located on the banks of the Rio Grande, El Paso offers attractions such as the El Paso Zoo, the El Paso Museum of Art, and Franklin Mountains State Park, which is one of the largest parks urban United States. If you love Mexican food, you’ll love the food in El Paso, home to restaurants like Taft Diaz and Café Mayapán, which serves traditional Mexican food prepared by women who also receive professional training.
Average home price: $201,398
Average cost of living: 18.6% lower than the US average
Any advice, recommendations, or rankings expressed in this article are those of MarketWatch Picks, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by our business partners.