12 Hot Housing Markets Where the Good Life is Still Affordable

Worried about the high cost of living? Moving to these places may put your mind at ease.

aerial view of housing in Fontana California
Updated July 18, 2024
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Housing prices are finally starting to cool a bit as mortgage rates begin to rise. But prices are still elevated in many cities, making it tough to find a good bargain.

However, here’s some news to help lower your financial stress: There are some hot housing markets where prices remain affordable. Here are 11 hot markets with a median home price of less than $500,000.

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Raleigh, North Carolina

zimmytws/Adobe new homes on a quiet street in RaleighNC

Median home value: $429,266

Raleigh is a popular city for new residents who want to be a part of North Carolina’s Research Triangle. The city is renowned as a home to tech and healthcare companies and continues to grow.

Huntsville, Alabama

Christopher Boswell/Adobe dusk over the downtown urban City Center of Huntsville Alabama

Median home value: $277,985

You could say Huntsville is “out of this world,” as it is home to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. It's a city that has grown steadily and is built to be a long-term destination for families with various lifestyles and more prominent cities within driving distance.

Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana

Jack/Adobe Elkhart County Courthouse

Median home value: $233,010

Sister cities Elkhart and Goshen are located in northern Indiana close to South Bend, the home of the University of Notre Dame.

But be careful as it's an area that has seen a substantial amount of growth since the pandemic so it's not clear if the area will continue to climb at this rate or not.

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Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Durham North Carolina Skyline

Median home value: $399,402

The two western anchors of North Carolina’s Research Triangle are the cities of Durham and Chapel Hill, home to Duke University and the University of North Carolina, respectively.

Visalia-Porterville, California

Jacob/Adobe downtown Visalia California during spring

Median home value: $330,155

These two neighboring cities are located south of Fresno and close to Sequoia National Forest and Kings Canyon National Park. That could make them great destinations if you love the outdoors and want access to nature.

Johnson City, Tennessee

Jason/Adobe Johnson City Tennessee at night

Median home value: $265,702

Johnson City is in the eastern part of the state, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains near North Carolina. It’s known for being the birthplace of Mountain Dew soda.

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Nick/Adobe Promenade Park in downtown Fort Wayne

Median home value: $216,415

Fort Wayne is in the northeast corner of Indiana, close to the Ohio border. TripAdvisor named the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo one of the 10 best zoos in the nation.

Rapid City, South Dakota

Jacob/Adobe Rapid City South Dakota in Summer

Median home value: $333,263

Located in western South Dakota, Rapid City is near Mount Rushmore National Memorial, which brings in millions of visitors each year. It’s also close to Sturgis, home to the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Topeka, Kansas

Christopher Boswell/Adobe Topeka, Kansas

Median home value: $173,247

Topeka is the state capital of Kansas. The city is also home to the Kansas Museum of History and the Evel Knievel Museum.

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Jefferson City, Missouri

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe missouri river

Median home value: $235,413

Missouri’s capital was named after Thomas Jefferson and has gorgeous views of the Missouri River.

Burlington, North Carolina

David/Adobe Charlotte North Carolina skyline

Median home value: $229,881

The secret is out about Burlington, and homes are selling fast. In the second quarter of 2022, homes here were on the market for an average of just 15 days. While the market as cooled a little it's still a strong housing market.

Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, Kentucky

4kclips/Adobe street view in Louisville downtown

Median home value: $211,929

This area located near Louisville has recorded only a 3.4% growth in its listing price over the past year, making it an affordable place to live.

Bottom line

mozhjeralena/Adobe American suburban neighborhood

There are still trendy markets in the U.S. where you don’t have to break the bank to buy a home. In these places, you can get affordable digs that allow you to move beyond living paycheck to paycheck.

So, avoid throwing money away on expensive housing and consider these cities where life comes with a more reasonable price tag. Most can be great places to own real estate, raise a family, or enjoy a great quality of life.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.