West News Wire: The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating economic consequences in the United States, grinding entire industries to a halt. One sector that did not suffer, however, was real estate. Driven by the pandemic, existing home sales in 2020 hit their highest level in nearly a decade and a half.

The median home sale price in the United States was $265,000 in 2020 — $30,000 more than it was the previous year. Buying a house for a quarter of a million dollars, however, is not affordable for many Americans. For those on a tight budget, there are many parts of the country where most homes are selling for far less.

To determine the least expensive ZIP codes, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data provided by ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate and property data provider. ZIP codes were ranked based on median sales price of condos and single-family homes in 2020. Only ZIP codes with at least 1,000 single-family homes and condos and where at least 500 of housing units were sold in 2020 were considered. The estimated market value is determined by ATTOM’s automated valuation model. Supplemental data on median household income, the share of households that are at least 50 years old, and unemployment are five-year estimates at the ZIP code level for 2015-2019 from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Due to a lack of sufficient data, no postal codes in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, South Dakota, or Vermont were considered.

5. ZIP: 63136

  • Location: Saint Louis, Missouri
  • Metro area: St. Louis, MO-IL
  • Median home sales price: $37,000
  • Median household income: $32,223
  • Homes that are at least 50 years old: 78.6%

Some of the least expensive — and most affordable — real estate being sold in the United States is in St. Louis’ 63136 ZIP code, which covers a section of the northernmost part of the city. The median home sale price in the area was just $37,000 in the last year, only slightly higher than the local median household income area of $32,223. For context, the median home sale price nationwide is 4.2 times higher than the national median household income of $62,843.

The area’s home prices are among the lowest in the country likely due in part to reduced demand, precipitated by population decline. Over the last five years, the number of people living in the area contracted by 6.0%.

4. ZIP: 21217

  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Metro area: Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
  • Median home sales price: $35,000
  • Median household income: $29,196
  • Homes that are at least 50 years old: 86.4%

Baltimore’s 21217 ZIP code is one of only five postal codes nationwide with a sufficient sample size, where the most homes sold in 2020 went for less than $40,000. The median price of the 500 area housing units sold last year was just $35,000. The area’s home prices are among the lowest in the country likely due in part to reduced demand, precipitated by population decline. Over the last five years, the number of people living in the area contracted by 16.8%.

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Housing prices can also be a reflection of what local residents can afford — and incomes are low in the 21217 postal code. Most area households earn less than $30,000 a year, and 35.4% of the population live below the poverty line. Nationwide, the typical household earns $62,843, and 13.4% of the population live in poverty.

3. ZIP: 48228

  • Location: Detroit, Michigan
  • Metro area: Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
  • Median home sales price: $34,500
  • Median household income: $27,337
  • Homes that are at least 50 years old: 87.6%

The 48228 ZIP code, located in western Detroit, has some of the least expensive homes in the United States. The typical area home that sold in 2020 went for just $34,500.

Home values are often a reflection of what area residents can afford — and just as home values are low in the area, so are incomes. The typical household in the 48228 ZIP code earns just $27,337 a year compared to the national median income of $62,843. Both incomes and home values are also affected by the local job market to some degree. Over the last five years, 19.0% of area workers were unemployed, more than triple the comparable 5.3% national unemployment rate.

  • 2. ZIP: 95969
  • Location: Paradise, California
  • Metro area: Chico, CA
  • Median home sales price: $30,000
  • Median household income: $51,625
  • Homes that are at least 50 years old: 37.2%

California’s 95969 ZIP code, located just east of Chico and encompassing the town of Paradise, has some of the least expensive homes in the United States. The typical area home sold for just $30,000 in 2020 — well below the local median household income of $51,625. For context, the median home sale price nationwide is 4.2 times higher than the national median household income of $62,843.

Low home values in the area are largely due to a devastating wildfire in November 2018. The fire spread over 240 square miles, destroyed nearly 14,000 homes, and killed 85 people. Before the wildfire, the typical home sale price in the area was $255,000.

1. ZIP: 21223

  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Metro area: Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
  • Median home sales price: $26,000
  • Median household income: $28,549
  • Homes that are at least 50 years old: 86.1%

The 21223 ZIP code in Baltimore, located just west of the city’s Inner Harbor area, has the least expensive housing of any postal code with a sufficient sample size in the United States. Of the 556 homes that were bought and sold in the area in 2020, most went for $26,000 or less — below the local median household income of $28,549. For context, the median home sale price nationwide is 4.2 times higher than the national median household income of $62,843.

Both incomes and home values are also affected by the local job market to some degree. Over the last five years, 15.3% of area workers were unemployed, nearly three times the comparable 5.3% national jobless rate.

 

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