Home Prices in These 8 Cheap Cities Will See Outsized Appreciation

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For Zillow Chief Economist Skylar Olsen, this means homes around the country that are relatively cheap should have tailwinds for appreciation in the years ahead.

“Because we have such affordability challenge, I think you could expect that kind of investment — that’s going to most certainly be a place that appreciates into the future,” Olsen told Business Insider last week.

While cheaper homes in every market should outperform, Olsen also said that the affordability crisis means that lower-cost cities around the US are well-positioned for appreciation.

“For example, the midwest is appreciating faster and yet is a much more feasible market to break into,” Olsen said.

In the interview, Olsen listed eight cities she sees benefiting from their more affordable prices. Most of them have median home prices below the national median sale price of $324,967, according to Zillow data, and most have lower monthly mortgage payments than the national average of $1,809.

Six of the cities are also in the Midwest, except for Hartford, Connecticut, and Providence, Rhode Island, which she said are well-positioned given that they are relatively cheap compared to nearby Boston and New York.

In addition to mostly being cheap on an absolute basis, most of the cities are cheap on a relative basis. Olsen has an affordability metric that measures how many years it would take to save up a 10% payment by saving 5% of local incomes. The national average as of February 2024 is 8.6 years, and most of the eight cities fall below that mark.

The eight cities Olsen listed are compiled below in no particular order. Median home price sale data (list price for Hartford) is included, as well as data from Olsen’s affordability metric and average monthly mortgage payments.