Affordable Alternatives to the 7 Largest U.S. Cities

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While home buyers fled urban areas during the pandemic in search of larger, more affordable homes, bidding wars are now pushing up housing prices in the suburbs and leaving many unsure of their next move. “Even before the pandemic, we saw that buyers were looking for more affordable towns near larger cities because as home prices rose, value and affordability became top of mind,” says Danielle Hale,®’s chief economist. “Thanks to extraordinary demand and low mortgage rates, prices have risen even more.”

Where can buyers still find pockets of affordability?®’s research team factored in existing inventory, median list prices in March compared to the metro area as a whole, and other items to compile a list of some of the top alternative locations to metropolitan areas that have relative affordability. These places may not boast “budget housing” per se, but they offer lower home prices than nearby big cities,® notes. The places topping®’s list are:

White Plains, N.Y. (suburb of New York)

  • Median list price: $430,000
  • New York metro median list price for comparison: $628,500

Irvine, Calif. (suburb of Los Angeles)

  • Median list price: $1,186,944
  • Los Angeles metro median list price for comparison: $1,198,500

Hoffman Estates, Ill. (suburb of Chicago)

  • Median list price: $154,900
  • Chicago metro median list price for comparison: $365,000

Mabank, Texas (suburb of Dallas)

  • Median list price: $244,200
  • Dallas metro median list price for comparison: $383,450

West Columbia, Texas (suburb of Houston)

  • Median list price: $244,651
  • Houston metro median list price for comparison: $354,500

Cherry Hill, N.J. (suburb of Philadelphia)

  • Median list price: $269,900
  • Philadelphia metro median list price: $334,950

Reston, Va. (suburb of Washington, D.C.)

  • Median list price: $434,750
  • Washington, D.C. metro median list price: $510,000