According to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, the average price of a single-family home soared by more than 20% across the country year-on-year in April 2022. With low inventory levels persisting and mortgage rates on the rise, more and more Americans are looking further afield, considering relocation as a means of settling into an affordable family home.
Now, new data analysis published by Robertson Residential Group has revealed not only the cheapest states to buy a family home, but the states offering the best value-for-money, as well as some stand-out states for first-time buyers.
The leading Northern Virginia Realtors collated and analyzed the latest data from Zillow regarding three-bedroom homes across the nation and various other key metrics to determine affordability. Here’s a rundown of their findings:
Cheapest states for family homes
According to Robertson Residential Group’s analysis, the top ten cheapest states for purchasing a family (3-bedroom) home are:
- Mississippi – $205,153
- West Virginia – $221,277
- Iowa – $238,782
- Kansas – $241,806
- Indiana – $246,738
- Kentucky – $251,596
- Missouri – $252,314
- Ohio – $254,199
- Alabama – $256,817
- New York – $258,734
From there, six other states offer up 3-bedroom family home prices below the $300,000 threshold. These states are Louisiana ($263,955), Pennsylvania ($264,252), North Dakota ($265,353), Oklahoma ($273,069), Nebraska ($293,885), and Georgia ($299,541).
While these are the cheapest states to purchase property, the report dives far deeper into property market affordability by adding metrics such as average square footage cost and build dates into the equation. Even though location plays a major role in property value, home buyers are concerned with the size and age of their homes, perhaps more than ever before.
Cheapest states by average price per square footage
When considering a property purchase, one key metric for assessing value-for-money is the cost per square footage.
The top ten states for the lowest average price per square foot of property are:
- Mississippi – $113 per sq. ft.
- West Virginia – $130 per sq. ft.
- North Dakota – $133 per sq. ft.
- Kansas – $138 per sq. ft
- Ohio – $140 per sq. ft
- Maine – $142 per sq. ft.
- Indiana – $143 per sq. ft.
- Arkansas – $144 per sq. ft.
- Kentucky – $146 per sq. ft.
- Louisiana – $148 per sq. ft.
From there, two other states come in under $150 per square foot; Alabama ($144), and Missouri (149). According to the report, the state-by-state average price per square foot is $231, and 33 states come under this average. In addition, Mississippi takes the top spot for cheapest three-bedroom properties, as well as the lowest price per square foot of property in the U.S.
States with the newest homes
When it comes to three-bedroom properties, Arkansas offers the newest average property age, with build dates averaging 2013. From there, Louisiana, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, South Carolina, Alaska, and Florida all feature average three-bedroom build dates of 1990 or later.
Interestingly, six of the ten states that feature the newest three-bedroom properties are also within the top 20 most expensive states regarding price per square foot.
Top states for overall value-for-money property
By analyzing various data metrics in combination, the report concludes the top five U.S. states for the best value-for-money family properties.
Although Arkansas comes in 21st for the cheapest state for average property prices of $316,141, its overall value-for-money is cited as being due to its relatively new average build dates and relatively low cost per square footage.
Coming in 3rd for the lowest average price per square foot ($133), North Dakota is the thirteenth cheapest state for average (three-bedroom) property prices ($265,353).
This southern state ranks tenth for the lowest average price per square foot ($158) and eleventh for the average lowest three-bedroom property prices ($263,955). Louisiana’s relatively recent average build year of 1997 is what locks its position in the top five for overall value for money.
Average build dates for three-bedroom properties in Indiana are 1970, but the state comes in fifth for cheapest average family home prices ($246,738), and seventh for the lowest average cost per square foot ($143).
As we now know, Mississippi takes the top spot for both the lowest average property prices ($205,153) and the cheapest average price per square foot ($113), so it’s no surprise that it made it into the top five overall property value for money.
Other states in the report’s spotlight include Minnesota, Virginia, and Connecticut. While not representing the lowest overall average real estate prices, these states (and others lost in the mid-range data) offer prime investment options for home buyers, due to their market conditions and robust economies.
The bottom line
There are many factors to consider when deciding which state to call home. Of course, one of the most significant aspects of affordable living is the cost of housing. Still, space and maintenance are key considerations for families when determining value for money.